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Stacy A. Cordery
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Monmouth, IL 61462



History from the documents up!
Course numbering reflects level and area
  • 100 and 200 level courses are appropriate for all students of all majors, especially freshmen and sophomores.
  • 300 level courses are research oriented. Junior level is advised.
  • 400 level courses are sophisticated surveys, intended to allow seniors to pull their college experience together.
  • x10: United States
  • x20 World History
  • x30 European History
  • x40 Comparative History
  • x90 Public History

The courses in the new History curriculum are designed to build upon the skills learned at each level. For that reason, successful completion of one credit at the 100 level by majors is required to take a 200-level course, and successful completion of one credit at the 200 level is required for majors to take a 300-level course. The specific courses below are examples---we regularly respond to student interest with new courses.

100-Level Primary Source Based History Courses
These courses introduce the interpretation of primary sources as the basis for constructing history. Each class is centered on a fascinating historical period, set of events, or group of people. You will learn how to ask questions of the documents, to seek corroboration of facts and their interpretations, and to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different document types.  The specific skills taught include how to cite, how to quote from, and how to interpret documents.  You will learn and practice the basic skills of historical interpretation:  primary-source analysis, understanding cause and effect, exploring change over time, and comprehending the importance of historical context.

110: United States

HIST 110: The Great Chicago Fire of 1871. In one memorable night and day, over three square miles of Chicago burned to the ground, consumed by a fire that mysteriously began in a backyard barn. Using pictures, maps, newspaper accounts, and written personal memories, students will study the social, political, and religious importance of this transformative Chicago disaster.

HIST 110: The President is Dead: The Assassination of Lincoln. Likely no other event of the 19th century so shocked and fascinated the public as the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. From the eyewitness accounts of the shooting at Ford?s Theater to sensational newspaper accounts of the trial of the conspirators who aided John Wilkes Booth, students will study the public response to his traumatic murder and how it affected Lincoln?s legacy.

HIST 110: Gods and Generals: Religion and the Civil War. The Civil War was not a war over religion, but it was fought by soldiers and civilians on both sides who imagined their cause as God?s cause. Using letters and diaries, as well as published accounts casting the war as a moral and spiritual event, students will consider this war as a religious event.

HIST 110: Stories in Blue and Gray: Lives of Civil War Soldiers. The lives of Civil War soldiers are richly illustrated through vivid letters, graphic photographs, and dramatic battlefield accounts. Students will analyze such sources to learn about the complex reasons for enlistment, how they adapted to life in their respective armies, and what it was like to be exposed to the drama and horror of battle.

HIST 110: Jonestown: Suicide or Murder? In 1978 over 900 Americans died deep in the jungles of Guyana in South America. Were they stereotypical fanatics who followed their crazed pied piper to the point of death, or were they innocent common people victimized in their quest for a better life? Students will seek answers to this question by reading diaries and newspaper accounts and listening to audio recordings of the People?s Temple movement.

HIST 110: Massacre at Waco. Questions of religious liberty and the place of new religious movements in a pluralist American society erupted in the summer of 1993 when federal agents attempting to end a six-week siege used chemicals to force Branch Davidians to leave their homes in Waco, Texas, setting off a deadly inferno. Students will seek to understand the Branch Davidians and the often complicated relationship between church and state by reading diaries and watching video accounts of the Branch Davidians and the raid.

HIST 110 Slaves, Saints, and Smallpox. Enter the fantastic yet tragic world of the 18thcentury-South, a world of slavery and slave rebellions, religious revivals and enlightenment discovery, muggy swamps and horrid disease, exquisite mansions and meager slave quarters. Students will enter this world through colonial newspapers, diaries, travel accounts, and personal letters and diaries.

HIST 110: Wild West. A study of the trans-Mississippi West from 1800 to 1890, using original narratives, government documents, and videos about the artists who recorded the era.

HIST 110: The Atomic Bomb "I am become death."  The atomic bomb was a highly controversial weapon. Its creation, use, and continuance were contested-and remain so. This class uses the words and arguments of those involved with the A-bomb to learn why and how it was employed in 1945 and to analyze its ramifications in the following decades.

HIST 110: Boom! A Sixties Snapshot. Through primary documents this class will explore several interconnected rebellions of the tumultuous 1960's era, examining topics such as (but not limited to) African-American civil rights, women's liberation, the Vietnam conflict, gay rights, Chicano rights, environmentalism, the American Indian movement, and the conservative backlash. Student interest will influence the topics chosen for the term.

HIST110: Women?s Liberation: Wanting It All in the 1960?s and 1970?s.

HIST110: Uppity Women: Seneca Falls 1848.

120: World

HIST 120: Literature is Fire: Radical Thought in Latin America. This course will focus on Latin America?s dissenting voices in literature, history, politics, philosophy and the arts during the 20th century.

HIST 120: The Long Today, 1900-1950.  A study of the contemporary world using documents up to the immediate aftermath of World War II focused on the ways in which people collectively and as individuals understood and dealt with the changing world around them.

HIST 120: The Long Today, 1950-2000.  A study of the contemporary world using documents from the Cold War to the present focused on how the threat of nuclear annihilation, the construction of a bipolar world, and the collapse of communism influenced people?s perception of their lives and cultures.

HIST 120:The Ancient World. Egypt, Mesopotamia and Jerusalem contributed much to the development of western civilization. This course will look at original documents from the three civilizations to determine what their laws and religion beliefs were, and from that to see how these have come to influence even our own times.

130: Europe

HIST 130: Mad Emperors and Bad Ones.  A study of Roman rulers from Caesar to Vespasian based on original sources.

HIST130: Cranks, Reformers & Radicals in Victorian England

HIST 130: World War I. Students in this course will learn about all aspects of World War I, both on the front lines and on the home front. Primary sources used will include artifacts, artwork, contemporary novels, diaries, film footage, letters, newspapers, poems, propaganda posters, speeches, telegrams, treaties, and the trenches themselves.

HIST 130: London Blitz.  In this course students will learn what life was like for people living in London during Germany's blitzkrieg attacks that started in September 1940. Readings will include diaries, letters, and other recollections from Londoners, and we will listen to speeches and songs, and examine cartoons and illustrations from the era showing people's responses to the air strikes. Photographs and film footage of the effects of the bombing will also be considered as historical evidence to complete students' understanding of the impact of The Blitz.

140: World

HIST 140: Arch of Sex, Love & Gender. This course offers an introduction to love, sex and gender, as expressed in the art, archaeology and texts of civilizations from across the globe. Open to all students. This course begins with discussions on how to define love, sex and gender. We will then discuss examples of individual and collective expressions of these universal aspects of life. Under the rubric of the former would be the statuette of Pan coupling with a goat found in a garden in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Under the latter would be the relief sculptures of loving couples illustrating the kama sutra on the walls of Lakshmana temple at Khajuraho, India. Topics covered may include the hypersexual vs. the non-sexual, aberrations, deviations, marriage, the "normal," eternal love, and expressions/constructions of gender, all as expressed in material culture. Possible areas of focus will be Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and the Mediterranean.

HIST 140: Archaeology of Urbanism. This course is an introductory survey of the urban centers of the ancient Near Eastern, Egyptian and Mediterranean worlds. We will begin with the earliest known settlements, ca. 7000 BC, and trace urbanization as far as, perhaps, the modern era. Possible topics include planned vs. organic urban sites, the role of topography, and cities as centers of power, religious ritual, mass residence and elite patronage. Cities examined will be drawn from Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Central, South and North America, and the Mediterranean. Emphasis will be placed on comparing the characteristics of urbanism and the archaeological evidence for urbanization in different cultures from around the world.

190: Public History

HIST 190: Introduction to Archives. An introduction to handling cataloging, and locating materials in the Monmouth College Archives for scholars and classes. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. May be repeated for credit.

200-Level Secondary Source Courses 
The skills practiced in the 100-Level Introduction to History courses will be deepened in courses designed to teach you how to read secondary sources critically.  You will be encouraged to understand how and why historians have a particular way of writing and thinking, to see how some strive for the elusive goal of objectivity while others follow specific ideological, theoretical, or political agendas in their work, and why some even refuse to admit the possibility of properly understanding the past.  The analysis of secondary sources trains you to see how historians use primary sources to reconstruct and interpret the past, thus serving as a bridge connecting the 100-Level courses with these 200-Level offerings. 

200: Historiography. These courses are based on secondary sources, emphasizing the skill of close reading and introspection.

HIST 200: American Historiography. A study of the ways that historians have interpreted the past; conducted as a seminar based on student reports.

HIST 200: European Historiography. A seminar examining selected aspects of the changing interpretations and uses of source material by historians and other scholars recreating the European past.

210: United States

HIST 210: George Washington. A survey of the life and times of George Washington based on videos and secondary-source readings.

HIST 210: Gods and Generals: Religion and the Civil War. The Civil War was not a war over religion, but it was fought by soldiers and civilians on both sides who imagined their cause as God?s cause. Students will read important secondary sources to get a sense of the uses and abuses of religion during this national crisis.

HIST 210: From Prairie to Rust Belt: Illinois and the Midwest. A survey of the history of the Midwest considering , among other topics, the great Mississippian Indian culture whose heartland was centered in western Illinois, the old ?West? that was frontier Illinois, the Midwest during the great sectional conflict that culminated in the Civil War, and the Midwest as both the promise of an American industrial future and the blight of the ?Rustbelt.? Students will enjoy a wide variety of secondary sources, including film, creative non-fiction, historic sites, and scholarly works.

HIST 210: Antebellum America. From the Trail of Tears to the thrill of the steamboat and locomotive, antebellum America burst with tragedy and excitement. Democracy expanded, public schools were built, society reformed, and missionaries commissioned. Abolitionists fought pro-slavery forces in print, in Congress, and in the streets, while slaves worked, built communities, rebelled, and escaped. Armies messed with Texas and pioneers began moving into the newly added Southwest. President Jackson presided over this era that came to bear his name. Students will read works by historians trying to make sense of this expansive American nation from 1820 to 1850.

HIST 210: American Revolution. In 1760 British colonists in North America paraded through their towns celebrating the coronation of their King George III. In 1783 they managed to close out their war for independence from this same King. What happened to bring about this American Revolution, and what were its political and cultural consequences? Students will survey what historians have said about this foundational period in American history, from the lead-up to war through the writing of the Constitution.

HIST 210: Revenge Served Cold: WWII in the Pacific.

HIST 210: The War of 1812. The year 2012 marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the long-forgotten War of 1812. Recent books on the war will remind students of this second war with Great Britain, a rather unremarkable military event that nonetheless changed the continent for Anglo-Americans, British, and Native Americans, gave the nation its national anthem, and made a folk hero?and a president?of Andrew Jackson.

HIST 210: The Grand Experiment: Early American Republic. Independence achieved, former British colonists in the original 13 states faced the daunting challenge of making their new nation work in an Atlantic environment still dominated by powerful European empires and Native American alliances. Difficult questions still dogged American society and politics: would this nation be slave or free, urban or rural, commercial or agrarian, federal or national? Perhaps most important, who would get to answer these questions? Students will read some of the best secondary sources covering the period 1790 to 1820.

HIST 210: The 51% Minority: Women's History. This course will explore an ever-changing series of fascinating subjects in U.S. women's history through the writings of historians and other secondary sources. Topics might range from witches to abolitionists, from social reformers to entrepreneurs, from artists to athletes.

220: World

HIST 220: Sports History in a Global Context

HIST 220: Breaking the Chains, Forging the Nation: Pan-Africanism, Culture and Politics. The African diaspora was formed through the violence of slavery and the slave trade and through the racial oppression and political colonization that followed abolition. African peoples from different parts of the world have at many times tried to come together to pursue common political goals and forge a common identity. This class looks at key incidents of this struggle and the cultural and political challenges it has faced.

HIST 220: Freedom and Power: African Nationalism and the Independence Struggle. This class looks at the struggles of African people for freedom and self-determination from colonialism and white-minority rule. Through a series of case studies we will consider both the political and armed struggles and at questions of gender, generation, popular culture, ethnicity and religion within them.

230: Europe

HIST 230: 20th Century European History

HIST 230: Scottish Witches. The Salem Witch Trials pale in comparison to those in early modern Scotland. In this course students will learn about the reasons for the witch hunts and the methods used in examining, prosecuting, and punishing both men and women accused of witchcraft. The short and long-term implications of this frenzy will also be considered in their Scottish, British, European, and world contexts.

HIST 230: Stalin. Stalin made his way from revolutionary to bureaucrat to despot by a combination of clever and brutal means. Under his leadership the Soviet Union industrialized quickly, then built a military machine that despite his poor leadership managed to defeat the Nazis. His plans to dominate Europe led to the Cold War, but the concept of a society in which equality and justice were guaranteed by a powerful state run by trained party officials was widely admired until stories of the reality of life in the Soviet Union seeped past the censorship and propaganda.

HIST 230: History & Culture of Ireland. A survey of Irish history and culture appropriate for students interested in visiting the Emerald Isle. Students are not required to join the May trip, but will be prepared to more fully appreciate travel there on their own.

HIST 230: Cops and Robin Hood. A study of medieval history, mostly in England, organized around four Robin Hood movies.

HIST 230: War and Peace.  War is a human activity of great complexity, and whenever anyone says "wars don't solve anything," they are suggesting that it didn't matter that Hitler and Japanese militarists lost the wars they started. This class will cover the philosophy of conflict, how wars start and are fought, and how they are ended.

HIST 230: Henry VIII. In this course students will learn about the life of one of England's most notorious kings, Henry VIII. Along with studying his 6 wives, particular focus will be placed on England's relations with other European nations and on the formation of the Anglican Church. Henry's image in art and film will also be a key component of the course.

HIST 230: History thru Movies: Political Thrillers. A study of how movies have reflected and influenced American political attitudes from the eve of World War Two to the end of the Cold War.

HIST 230: History thru Movies: France, Romance and Drama. A history of France from Louis XIV to de Gaulle through movies and readings.

240: Comparative

HIST 240: Pirates of the Caribbean & Barbary Coast. In this course students will examine how historians and others have defined and interpreted acts of piracy in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean seas, looking at articles, documentaries, monographs, novels, and also feature films.

HIST 240: History Thru Movies: Brazilian Cinema and the Creation of a National Identity.

HIST 240: The Crusades. The crusades began as European expeditions to recover the holy places in Jerusalem, but soon there were calls to defend Christendom (or expand it) in Spain and Africa, in the Baltics, and in the Balkans.

HIST 240: Everyday Life in Ancient Greece.

HIST 240: Everyday Life in Ancient Rome. Focuses on various aspects of daily life in the ancient Rome and a comparative examination of human activities in the ancient and modern worlds. The course surveys topics like urban vs. rural life, travel, economy and trade, writing, education, slavery, etc. Many types of evidence will be discussed, including readings in translation from several ancient Greek and Latin texts, painting, sculpture, and archaeological remains.

HIST 240: The Black Atlantic. This course will analyze the concept of the Black Atlantic from 1500-2000. We will highlight the importance of and key roles played by Africans in the making of the modern Atlantic world. Themes we will explore include resistance and struggles, the African diaspora, the transatlantic slave trade and racism.

HIST 240: The Mexican Revolution.

270: Archeology

HIST270: Archeology of World Mythology.

HIST270: Archeology of the Clash of Civilizations.

290: Public History

HIST 290: Practicum in Archival Work. Study in the theory and practice of archival work. Involves supervision of students in HIST 190. Prerequisites: HIST 190 and permission of the instructor. May be repeated for credit.

300-Level Research Courses
These courses will put into practice the skills of problem solving, fact-finding, and historical interpretation introduced and honed in the 100- and 200-level courses you have taken.  You will research a narrowly defined topic within a specific theme, using the skills and deploying the knowledge you have previously learned.  The outcome of the research courses will be a paper of substance based on your interpretation and narrativization of primary and secondary sources.

310: United States

HIST 310: Research in Monmouth College History. An introduction to the process of research and writing focused on the history and personalities of this College, culminating in a paper of permanent value at the end.

HIST 310: Family History. Research seminar on student's own family histories. Students learn how to find, then use, information about their ancestry to construct a family history that is more than names and dates. Sources include the internet, the genealogical collect at the Warren County Library, family albums and Bibles, and interviews. Social history of the 20th century will be studied as background to the research.

HIST 310: Fragments of U.S. Past. Distinguished historian Lewis L. Gould has donated an extraordinary collection of primary documents to Monmouth College drawn from his years as a writer and professor. These documents cover roughly a century from 1880 to 1980 and offer glimpses of the rich political and social life of the country. Students will utilize the Gould Papers to identify a topic of interest to them and produce an original research paper. Students must have taken at least one 100-level and one 200-level History course at Monmouth College before enrolling in this HIST 310.

HIST 310: In God We Trust: Religion in America. Religion in America has always been dynamic and diverse, and there are many ways to tell its tale. In class readings, lecture, and discussion we will tell the stories of Puritanism, the First and Second Great Awakenings, the First Amendment, the rise of Mormonism, immigration, the encounter with Darwinism and war, and the place of religion in modern, urban America. Much of the class will focus on how we as historians go about investigating and writing about religion in America, and the semester will culminate in a major research paper.

320: World

HIST 320: Black Atlantic Rebels. This course will focus on the intellectual history of the African diaspora in the Americas and their participation in the revolutionary movements in Europe and the Americas during the 19thand 20th centuries.

330: Europe

HIST 330: Islands & Nations British and Irish History. Broad secondary source readings will introduce students to the interactions between nations in the British Isles. Students will then select a research topic of interest from any time period in English, Irish, Scottish, or Welsh history (or a comparative topic) that they will research during the semester.

390: Public History

HIST 390: Internship Practicum/Archival Management.

400-Level Survey Courses

To reinforce your understanding of the past these broad-ranging surveys will offer wide perspectives on the history of a general geographical region or period in time. The 400-level survey courses will continue the process of preparing you for your life-long engagement with our deeply globalized, highly networked society. By concentrating on the global interrelatedness of one geographical area or time period the surveys will provide a useful link to Citizenship courses. We will encourage you to make connections with previous coursework and to understand specific information in broad contexts.

410: United States

HIST 410: The American Century. This senior level survey will connect the Monmouth College student's various courses to the larger tapestry of recent U.S. history. Using books, articles, and primary sources, this survey course will cover political, social, economic, military, and cultural history in an effort to discover and then analyze major turning points of the twentieth century. There are no prerequisites for this class but we recommend it only for seniors and advanced juniors.

420: World

HIST 420: World Histories, 1400-Present. How does history look different when viewed not from a national or regional perspective, but from a global or transnational one? In this course we will look at the history of the world from 1400-1750. We will learn about the major developments of this period (the interior development of the Ming Dynasty; the expansion of Ottoman and European trading and political empires; conquest and colonization of the Americas; the Atlantic slave trade and the creation of the African diaspora; the rise of new political powers in Africa) and about how historians have tried to understand these developments in the context of a shared world and interconnected history. We will also look at attempts to understand world history through the simultaneous events of a single year, through the experience of a people linked by shared history and the idea of race, and through the operations of a single commodity (tea).

430: Europe

HIST 330: Western Civ 1450-1848. This course will examine the history of what is known as Western civilization from the years 1450 to 1850. Instead of concentrating on names and dates, we will organize the class around important historical themes, revolutions, political ideologies, religious upheavals, and philosophical movements. The major events we will analyze include: the Renaissance, the Reformation, the English Civil War, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the age of ideologies. There are no prerequisites for this class but we recommend it only for seniors and advanced juniors.


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