Online History Courses

My broad geographic training and transnational approach enables me to teach expected survey courses in American, European, and World or Global history, but I also have designed more narrowly focused courses on cultural history and gender and sexuality. 

 
 

Undergraduate Survey Courses

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Global History I: From the Ancient World to Absolutism

Major developments in human history from Antiquity to the rise of Absolutism will be explored in this lecture course. In the first section, we will examine the rise of civilization along key rivers, state-building and the growth of empires, and the spread of trade and religions throughout Eurasia. Religion and state-building will receive a more intense focus in the second part of the course as we explore the human cost of religious divisions and the Medieval political and social structures that gave way to Early Modern absolutism. In the final section of this course, we will consider major cultural revolutions like the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation as well as the cataclysmic cultural convergence that occurred once Western Europe turned to seaborne empires. Students will interact with a number of primary sources in class and through assigned readings, and they should leave this course with a better understanding of ancient and early modern political and social structures, the persistent influence of major religions, and the ways seafaring produced the foundations of globalization in subsequent centuries.

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Global History II: From First Contact through Globalization

The Age of Exploration and subsequent globalization dramatically affected the ways in which different peoples interacted with one another across the globe. In the first section of this course, we will examine the rise of seaborne empires and new political models in Europe that led to waves of revolutions on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. For the second part of the course, we will explore the relationship between nationalism and imperialism by examining the rise of nation-states, the development of global trade networks, and the increased militarism that resulted in slaughter in several colonies and across Europe at the fin-de-siècle. Finally, we will turn to the crises that followed the two global wars of the 20th century, particularly noting postwar challenges to democracy and capitalism as well as growing discontent with a world stratified by political ideology, religion, and inequality. Students will interact with a number of primary sources in class and through assigned readings, and they should leave this course with the context needed to understand the current political order and the serious challenges, such as terrorism, climate change, and the global refugee crisis, that we face in the first quarter of the 21st century.

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Western Civilization I: Major Developments in Politics, Society, & Culture to 1660

Important developments in Western politics, society, and culture from Late Antiquity to the mid-seventeenth century will be explored in this lecture-based course. As such, we will examine the rise and fall of Rome, the influence of Christianity and growth of Islam, Medieval political and social structures that gave way to Early Modern absolutism, and major cultural revolutions like the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation. Students will interact with a number of primary sources in class and through assigned readings or viewings, and they should leave this course with a better understanding of the rise of European political systems, the persistent influence of modern religions, and an appreciation for Medieval and Early Modern cultural and scientific achievements.

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Western Civilization II: Major Developments in Politics, Society, & Culture since 1660

Modernity was not borne quietly. This course covers major developments in Western politics, society, and culture from Early Modern Europe through the fall of the Soviet Union. We will begin by examining the rise of Early Modern states and the Enlightenment before proceeding to the colonization of the New World. Next, we will compare a series of political and socioeconomic revolutions, such as the American and French revolutions and the Industrial Revolution(s). In our discussion of the “Long Nineteenth Century,” we will interrogate how the interrelation of capitalism, nationalism, imperialism, and militarism culminated in the First World War. Our examination of the twentieth century will focus on the experience of modernity and persistent challenges to the democratic system. Students should particularly note that the perseverance of democracy was not guaranteed and that the collapse of the Soviet Union was a gradual process despite its dramatic ending. Overall, this course provides a comprehensive understanding of the rise of the nation-state and modern democracy while noting growing pains and challenges to both during the past four centuries.

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United States History I: From Colonization to the Civil War

We are a nation created from a collision of peoples, and as such this course begins at colonization of North America and the development of the United States from its founding through the mid-nineteenth century. As such, we will explore initial European contact and colonization, the American Revolution and founding of the United States, the influence of religion upon American society, and the persistent issue of slavery. We will seek to understand the political, economic, social, and racial factors that led to the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves. Students will leave the course with a better understanding of American history as well as the ability to critique its appearances in popular culture like the musical Hamilton or recent feature films.

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United States History II: The Rise of the American Century

This lecture-based survey of American history from Reconstruction to the present will explore the development of the American Century. We will proceed in four sections focusing on the social and economic reconstruction of our nation after the Civil War; the rise of American internationalism and intervention; Americanization and the nuclear age; and domestic unrest and advancements from the 1960s forward. Students will interact with a number of primary sources in class and through assigned readings and viewings. By the end of the course, students will not only be able to explain how Americans transformed their society and nation following the Civil War but also why the United States emerged as a major international power during the twentieth century.

 

Undergraduate Thematic Courses

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Experiencing Nineteenth-Century Europe: A Focus on History and Culture

Students will seek to understand as well as experience nineteenth-century Europe in this course, which covers from the Napoleonic Wars to the outbreak of the First World War. Although war brackets the period under consideration, students will explore Europe’s social, political, cultural, and economic transformations. In particular, we will examine the rise of new political ideas, the effects of economic and technological revolutions, stratification based on wealth and the rise of the bourgeoisie, the emergence of new nations and imperial conquest, and the cultural cataclysm of modernity. Lectures and the accompanying textbook will provide students with the history and context needed for their interactions with primary sources, which will include artwork, literature, and music. By the end of the course, students should have a greater understanding of the major dynamics at play in nineteenth-century Europe and be familiar with its culture.

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 “Doublethinking” Twentieth Century European History

The twentieth century has been called the American century, which inherently suggests a decline in European power and influence. This course, which broadly surveys twentieth-century Europe, takes a negative or dystopian outlook as a critical lens for better understanding politics, society, and culture in (post)modern Europe. In doing so, students will learn about a war-ravaged continent affected by two global conflicts, the rise of new political ideas and totalitarian systems that challenged democracy, decolonization and its effects upon former imperial powers, and will seek to understand growing divisions in Europe after democracy’s celebratory moment—the fall of the Soviet Union. In addition to attending lectures and reading Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent, students will watch films and read novels to interrogate whether twentieth-century Europe was as dystopian as Mazower and others argue. Despite the noir-like framework, students will learn about major twentieth-century European events and issues, and they will be encouraged to “doublethink” in the Orwellian sense to consider narratives of simultaneous historical progress and decline, which complicate as well as complete our understanding of European history during this troubled century.

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The Cultural Cold War (1945-1991)

When ideological tensions flared between the United States and the Soviet Union after World War Two, the world braced for another major military conflict. Although a series of political and military crises ensued, the Cold War was largely fought through proxy wars in the Third World and through cultural exchanges. This course will cover the Americanization of Postwar Europe and the rise of the Iron Curtain; the Red Scare and Containment; the fear of mutually-assured destruction and rise of cultural diplomacy; superpower interventions in Vietnam and Afghanistan; and the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Students will search for insights into the period from contemporary films and music as well as from dance diplomacy and historic Olympic match-ups between American and Soviet athletes. Ultimately, this course offers an explanation of the major currents of the Cold War while introducing students to the methods used by cultural historians.

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Imperial Russian History and Culture from Peter the Great to Nicholas II

 Important moments in the development of Imperial Russian culture from the reign of Peter the Great to the end of the empire under Nicholas II will be explored in this course. As a cultural history course, this class pushes students to consider cultural developments within their historical contexts, which will include Petrine Russia, the Enlightenment, Nicolaevan Russia, the Great Reforms, and the Twilight of the Empire. We will devote particular attention to depictions of gender and class relations, intergenerational conflicts, and the positive or negative effects of westernization within the literature, artwork, and performances we encounter throughout the quarter. Students will gain a comprehensive introduction to the masterpieces of Imperial Russian culture preparing them for future explorations in Russian history, literature, drama, or music.

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Twentieth-Century Russian History and Culture, 1905-2000

The twilight of the Russian Empire brought with it many types of revolution. This course particularly explores Modern Russia’s cultural history from the 1905 Revolution throughout the Soviet and Post-Soviet periods. Each lecture offers a fusion of history, politics, and culture, and students will interact with a variety of primary sources and cultural texts including artwork, ballets, films, manifestos, novels, oral histories, plays, poems, sporting events, and more. The course will begin with the revolutionary experiments of the avant-garde before turning to the Early Soviet period when cultural figures and government officials began working toward the creation of a socialist culture. The predominance of socialist realism will be explored as will cultural liberalization and opportunities for dissent during and after the Thaw. Watershed moments in domestic politics and history as well as economic reforms will serve as backgrounds or catalysts for key cultural moments, movements, and texts. Likewise, international events, such as World War II and the Cold War, will be examined in order to assess their effects upon the culture of the Soviet Union and its diplomatic relationships with the West. Although our primary focus will be on the interrelationship between politics and culture, we will also explore the effects of Soviet interactions with western culture, which contributed to the fall of the Soviet Union

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At the Periphery of Europe: The History of Women & Gender in Russia, 1700-2020

In the period from Peter to Putin, women in Russia led incredibly interesting and often markedly different lives from Western Women. By the 18th century, Russia was a rapidly expanding landed empire ruled and managed by elite women for almost the entire century. In the 19th century, the women of Russia faced changing ideals of domesticity, major shifts in their economic status, and increased opportunities to be educated, join “the professions,” and dominate the stage. Likewise, the depiction of women in Golden Age literature as well as the actions of radical reformers and murderous assassins offer fascinating insight into the consideration of “the Woman Question” in Europe. Finally, when faced with war and terror in the twentieth century, the women of Russia met these challenges head-on and massively contributed to the war effort and the (re)building of the state, society, and economy under Lenin and Stalin. The course will end with gender roles in transition once again as the Soviet Union collapsed upon itself and was reborn as the Russian Federation. We will read firsthand accounts of women’s lives in Imperial Russia, encounter female literary characters with varying degrees of agency, and examine the practical realities of the New Soviet Woman archetype. Students will walk away from this course with the ability to compare and contrast the lives of women in Russia to those from other Western nations.

 

Workshops and Seminars

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Queering American History from Colonization to the Present

This workshop course will combine lectures, research, and methods discussions in order to uncover queer acts and identities in American history. This is a history course, and will inform you from the practices and perspectives of only this discipline. We will be exploring acts, actors, identities, and so forth from our perch in the present, but we will be beholden to the terms and constructs of the past in order to measure change over time. This course is not as exhaustive, comprehensive, or as intersectional as some students may like given its broad themes and chronological coverage, but it is designed in a way that allows you interact with primary sources, historical scholarship, and a textbook that ambitiously attempts to “queer” American history.


Broadly, the first part of this course covers from the colonial period, in which assessments of sins dominated the way people thought about sex acts and identities, through the nineteenth-century growth of same-sex relationships and new identities pulled from the fields of science and medicine. In the second part, we will consider the rise of twentieth-century queer spaces, cultures, and communities as queer Americans struggled to achieve visibility and some measure of equality under the law. By gaining a better understanding of this history, students will be able to complement the theoretical perspectives they learn in other gender and sexuality courses.

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Seminar on Gender and Sexuality in Modern Britain

Any gender historian should note that the words seminar and seminal are inherently gendered derivatives of the Latin word for semen meant to designate importance and rigor, so this course will familiarize students with key texts that contribute to historiographical debates on gender, class, and sexuality in Modern British history. We will begin with considerations of patriarchy and same-sex desires in 18th-century Britain before turning to the Industrial Revolution’s effects upon gender, class, and sexuality in the 19th century. Students will read about the extension of male suffrage, middle-class experiences of domesticity, and working-class gender roles. In regard to the Victorian period, we will explore prostitution and slumming, the sexual politics of an expanding colonial power, and the emergence of new ways of thinking about people with same-sex desires. Our examination of the first half of the twentieth century will consider the effects of two global wars upon British men and women, the extension of suffrage and changing gender roles, and the rise of queer urban subcultures and their suppression by the state. Finally, we will end the course by reading about the rise of “the Permissive Society” and investigating Labour and Conservative policies relating to gender and sexuality. By the end of our intensive study, students will not only be enriched by the content of the histories they read about British men and women of various class-backgrounds and sexualities but also be able to distinguish analytical shifts between earlier histories on women or sexuality and more recent works on gender and queer history.

J.T. Carroll, Historian

Online History Courses

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