Courses & Curriculum
The History Department offers a varied series of courses at both the introductory and advanced levels. These wide-ranging courses are designed to acquaint students with the richness of human historical experience and to introduce them to the historian’s craft. Through this intellectual endeavor, students will gain an appreciation of the inter-relatedness of human activity in social, political, economic, cultural and intellectual affairs. They will become aware of the impact of change over time and escape the tyranny of present-mindedness.
Courses at the 100 and 200-level serve as introductory courses for the major, and also satisfy Field 4 requirements in the Core Curriculum. These lower-level courses assume no prior college-level study. 100-level courses are broad surveys which furnish students with a general knowledge of the history and traditions of various regions and periods. 200-level courses are somewhat more specific in approach, focusing on the history of individual nations outside the United States, specific populations, or particular themes. Both 100- and 200-level courses provide the student with an intellectual and chronological framework within which study in other disciplines can be placed. They provide an appreciation of the fundamental trends that shape the world in which we live.
Courses at the 300 level deal with a wide variety of specialized areas of historical inquiry, including American, European and non-Western developments both ancient and modern. Some courses focus on major national or geographic areas, while others emphasize period, topical or thematic approaches. These upper-level courses provide the student with an opportunity for further development of their historical understanding and critical thinking. 300-level courses are appropriate for history majors and minors and for non-majors who have completed the Field 4 requirement and wish to continue their study of history at a more advanced level.
The History Department offers a departmental honors program consisting of four sequential seminars at the advanced level: HIS 401, HIS 402, HIS 410 and HIS 411. These courses are specifically designed to develop the research, writing and analytical skills necessary for success in graduate school or law school. Students who complete these four courses with a 3.25 average and a 3.00 average in all of their history courses graduate with Honors in history. The departmental honors program is appropriate for both history majors and students majoring in Social Studies Education. It is compatible with the All-college Honors Program, as well as the Core Curriculum.
History offers pre-professional experience for students through training in the evaluation of evidence, critical thinking and clarity of oral and written expression. The content and skills of the history major program are useful for those anticipating careers in law, communications media, journalism, library science, government service, teaching or managerial positions in business or industry.
1. Core Curriculum Requirements:
View the Core Curriculum requirements. All students complete these requirements as part of their overall Canisius education.
2. Major Requirements (12 courses)
One of the 12 courses must focus on the period before 1800.
|American history: two courses||6 credits|
|European history: two courses||6 credits|
|History of Africa, Asia or Latin America: two courses||6 credits|
|History electives (6 courses)||18 credits|
The 36 credits in history may not include more than 12 credit hours in 100-level courses, and must include 12 credit hours in 300-level courses.
3. Free electives:
Free electives are courses in addition to the Core Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach a minimum of 120 credit hours for graduation. Students may graduate with more but not less than 120 credit hours.
In planning their schedules, students should consult their advisors each semester about course selections and requirements. In addition, students will want to consult the on-line advisement guide, which is published each semester and contains valuable information about course offerings for the coming semester.
Note: Students majoring in history or in Social Studies education are strongly encouraged to study either an ancient or a modern foreign language. Foreign language study is essential for those who plan to study history at the graduate level; at the undergraduate level, it plays a vital role in achieving the Core goal of global awareness, and the history program’s objective of developing historical knowledge which is characterized by geographical and cultural breadth.
It is possible to combine the history major with many other programs to complete a dual major. History is a multifaceted discipline, and its students find connections with nearly other discipline. It is not surprising that our students pursue double majors in a wide variety of fields, including Anthropology, Communications, English, European Studies, International Relations, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology and Urban Studies.
The History minor complements majors in other academic departments by providing students with exposure to the study of history that is both comprehensive and intensive.
Students majoring in various disciplines such as English, communications, psychology, political science and philosophy can often benefit from pursuing a minor in history. Those students who hope to pursue graduate studies in the aforementioned disciplines, as well as law, would be well-advised to consider a history minor.
The History Minor (7 courses)
|Survey courses: two or three 100-level courses in American, European, Ancient, Asian or Latin American history||6 or 9 credits|
|Upper-level courses: four or five history courses (200-499)||12 or 15 credits|
Distribution: The seven courses must include at least one course in American history, one in European history, and one in the history of Africa, Asia or Latin America. At least one of the seven courses must concentrate on the period before 1800..
Note: With the chair’s permission, transfer students and students with an exceptional secondary background in history may be allowed to substitute upper-level courses for the 100-level requirement.
Note: History courses satisfying the field requirements are noted below. Some history courses may also satisfy knowledge and skills attributes in the Core Curriculum. Lists of courses satisfying field and attribute requirements will be available online.
CLS 103 Greek History 3 credits
See CLS 103 for course description. Fall
CLS 104 Roman History 3 credits
See CLS 104 for course description. Spring
HIS 106 The Medieval World 3 credits
The development of a distinctive European civilization between 500 and 1500. Emphasis on Europe’s contacts and conflicts with the “competing” cultures of Byzantium and Islam.(Field 4) Fall and/or Spring
HIS 107 History of Modern Europe to 1815 3 credits
The major political, economic, social and intellectual currents in Western Civilization from 1500 to 1815. (Field 4) Fall and/or Spring
HIS 108 History of Modern Europe since 1815 3 credits
The major political, economic, social and intellectual currents in Western Civilization from 1815 to the present. (Field 4) Fall and/or Spring
PSC 110 Western Political Tradition I 3 credits
See PSC 110 for course description.
PSC111 Western Political Tradition II 3 credits
See PSC111 for course description.
HIS 109 History of Asia to 1800 3 credits
Comparative study of civilizations, cultures, religions and institutions of the Far East, and South Asia. (Field 4) Fall
HIS 110 History of Asia since 1800 3 credits
The various independence and revolutionary movements and their evolution into the modern nation-states of Asia. (Field 4) Spring
HIS 123 History of the United States: The Colonial Period to Reconstruction 3 credits
Introduction to major themes of American history through the Civil War including: the Columbian Exchange and colonization, American Revolution, paradox of freedom and slavery, emergence of a market economy, secession and Reconstruction (Field 4) Fall and/or Spring
HIS 124 History of the United States: 1877 to the Present 3 credits
Industrialization and urbanization of the United States with the accompanying social, economic and political problems; America’s emergence as a major power in world affairs. (Field 4) Fall and/or Spring
HIS 131 Latin American History to 1830 3 credits
Pre-Columbian Indian civilizations. Conquest and colonization. Economy, society, and the Church. Eighteenth century reforms and independence. (Field 4) Fall
HIS 132 Latin American History since 1830 3 credits
Overview of economy and society. Upheavals and revolutions in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Chile and Mexico (Field 4) Spring
HIS 211 Women in the Western World 3 credits
Comparative history of women in Europe, Britain and America from Renaissance to present. Deals with changing role of women in society, politics and the economy and on the development of feminism as an intellectual and political force. (Field 4) Fall and/or Spring
HIS 212 Men and Ideas in History 3 credits
Role of ideas in historical change. Relationship between the ideas of a particular period and the social, political and economic forces that helped to shape them (Field 4) Fall and/or Spring
HIS 213 Twentieth Century Europe 3 credits
Major political, economic, social and intellectual currents in Europe since 1900. (Field 4) Fall and/or Spring
HIS 226 History of Ireland 3 credits
Examines political, social and cultural developments from medieval origins through invasion, conquest, colonization and finally independence from Great Britain. Special emphasis on the development of Irish nationalism and on the emergence of Eire as a modern European state. (Field 4) Spring
HIS 228 World War II in Films 3 credits
A survey history of World War II using films to examine military, political, cultural and psychological dimensions of the war. (Field 4) Summer
HIS 229 The Violent Century in Films 3 credits
The major events of the 20th century, including World Wars I and II, the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression, the rise of Fascism and the Vietnam War. (Field 4) Summer
HIS 230 The Holocaust in Historical Perspective 3 credits
A historical survey of the Holocaust that places Nazi Germany’s campaign to exterminate European Jewry during World War II (1939-45) in a broader historical context by tracing the history of anti-Semitism from its origins in late antiquity to the emergence of racial anti-Semitism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. (Field 4) Fall and/or Spring
HIS231 The Holocaust in History and Literature 3 credits (Field 4)
HIS240 Women in American History, Colonial Times to 1880 3 credits
HIS241 Women in American History, 1880 to the Present 3 credits
HIS 242 The Family in American History 3 credits
This course explores the social history of American families from colonial times to the present. By looking at the experiences of a variety of families – colonial Puritan, slave, middle-class Victorian, frontier, immigrant, 20th century suburbanite — it examines themes such as work, childhood, marriage and gender roles. (Field 4)
HIS 243 The City in American History 3 credits
This course surveys the social, political, economic, and cultural history of American urban life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will focus on the changing face of the cities as well as on the people who lived, worked and played there. (Field 4)
HIS 245 US Social History: The Nineteenth Century 3 credits (Field 4)
HIS 246 US Social History: The Twentieth Century 3 credits
HIS 248 The War of 1812 3 credits
This course concentrates on the nature of American society before the War of 1812; the political, ideological, and social origins of the conflict; the course of the War of 1812; and its lasting political, economic, cultural and social consequences. (Field 4)
HIS 250 American Political Campaigns 3 credits (Field 4)
HIS 251 Sports in American History 3 credits
The historical development and impact of sports, especially spectator sports, in the United States. (Field 4)
HIS 254 First Peoples 3 credits
The story of the first peoples of the Americas from their initial appearance 20,000 years ago down to the present, with a special emphasis on native North America. Includes a survey of the histories and cultures of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, employing the latest findings from archaeology, anthropology, genetics, ethno botany as well as history. (Field 4)
HIS 255 African American History 3 credits
Overview of African American history from African roots and American enslavement to today’s hip-hop music. Emphasis is on black survival and strategies for liberation. (Field 4)
HIS 259 Environmental History of the US 3 credits
This course introduces students to the field of environmental history through an in-depth examination of the relationship between humans and the natural world in the United States. The course begins with Native American ecological practices and ends with the modern environmental movement. Students will read an array of primary and secondary sources relating to land development, western expansion, national parks, the timber industry, regional ecology and environmental policy. (Field 4)
History 260 Canada and the World 3 credits
A survey of Canada’s place in world history from the colonial period to the present. Among the topics examined are Native-Canadians, the British-French rivalry for North America, Canada’s emergence as a nation within the British empire, Canada-US relations and the modern multicultural Canadian state (Field 4)
HIS 263 Wars of Latin America 3 credits
Wars of independence and major conflicts of the nineteenth century. Military history of Mexican, Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions. Border clashes and guerilla insurgencies of the twentieth century. Argentina’s war with England. (Field 4)
HIS 280 The Making of Modern Africa 3 credits
Development of modern Africa from the diverse societies of pre-colonial Africa through the impact of imperialism to an examination of the problems facing modern African states. (Field 4)
HIS 300 Historical Geography 3 credits
Examines the interaction between the historical process and human, physical and cultural geography. Required for double-major in history and social studies education.
CLS 300 Roman Law and Society 3 credits
See CLS 300 for course description
CLS 301 Age of Cicero 3 credits
See CLS 301 for course description
CLS 308 Pagans and Christians 3 credits
See CLS 308 for course description
CLS 311 Alexander the Great 3 credits
See CLS 311 for course description
CLS 312 The Greek Enlightenment 3 credits
See CLS 312 for course description
CLS 314 The Decline and Fall 3 credits
See CLS 314 for course description
HIS 305 Disorderly Sisters and Mothers: Women in American Religious History 3 credits
This course focuses on the various roles women played from the colonial period to the present in the development of American religions and American theologies, paying special attention to the moments specific women provided direct, albeit often unsanctioned, spiritual and theological guidance.
HIS 306 The American Religious Experience 3 credits
Overview of major thoughts, movements and personalities of American Religious History from colonial era to present. Catholicism used as a model, focusing on themes of immigration and Americanization as central to understanding religious landscape of the U.S.
RST 325 Early Christianity 3 credits
See RST 325 for course description
RST 326 Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation Christianity 3 credits
See RST 326 for course description
RST 327 Modern Global Christianity
See RST 327 for course description
HIS 309 World War I 3 credits
A study of the origins, conduct and aftermath of the Great War from a global perspective. Emphasis on the diplomatic, social and military aspects of the War.
HIS 316 Reformation Europe 3 credits
The Reformation from Luther to the 30 Years War.
HIS 319 The Enlightenment 3 credits
Intellectual, cultural and social history of 18th century enlightenment with specific emphasis on Voltaire, Diderot, Montesquieu and Rousseau.
HIS 320 The French Revolution and Napoleon 3 credits
The transformation of aristocratic Europe into a modern society controlled by a bourgeoisie and oriented toward scientific and industrial progress.
HIS332 Medieval and Early Modern England 3 credits
Growth of English society and government from 1154 to 1688. Topics include the evolution of parliamentary government and the social effects of reformation and revolution.
HIS 333 Britain in an Age of Revolution 3 credits
Social and political history of eighteenth century Britain. Emphasis on responses to the American, French and Industrial revolutions.
HIS 334 Britain in the Age of Victoria 3 credits
Social and political history of 19th-century Britain. Topics include the transition from rural to urban society, the evolution from aristocratic to democratic politics, and the emergence of characteristically ‘Victorian’ social and cultural patterns.
HIS 335 Britain in the Era of Total War 3 credits
Investigates the social and political history of Britain from 1901to the present. Topics include the impact of two world wars, the loss of Empire and Britain’s changing relationship with Europe. Emphasis will be placed on Britain’s transition from a hierarchical society to a theoretically classless one, and from a United Kingdom defined by “Englishness” to one which is increasingly multinational and multiethnic.
HIS 336 Modern Mexico 3 credits
History of Mexico since the Mexican Revolution. Society, petroleum, and one-party rule until 2000. Mexico in the Twenty-First Century.
HIS 337 The History of Globalization 3 credits
A survey of the cultural, institutional, economic and historical origins and nature of today’s global economy.
HIS 338 The British Empire 3 credits
The growth and character of the British Empire from 17th century throughout the 20th. Emphasis in social, cultural and political impact of colonization and decolonization in such regions as India, Africa, the Caribbean and Australia.
HIS 339 Nazi Germany, World War II and the Holocaust, 1933-45 3 credits
An intensive study of the Third Reich from Hitler’s appointment as chancellor in 1933 to the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945. Course will focus on the political, diplomatic and military history of the Third Reich with special attention on the mass murder of European Jewry.
HIS 341 Decade of War: 1936-48 3 credits
The course will examine in detail the Spanish Civil War, the Rise of the Radical Right in Central and Eastern Europe, Soviet Totalitarianism, World War II and its aftermath.
HIS 344 Imperial Russia 3 credits
From Peter the Great to the Russian Revolution.
HIS 345 Twentieth Century Russia 3 credits
Political, economic and foreign policies of the Communist regime and after.
HIS 346 The Age of European Fascism, 1919-1945 3 credits
A comparative analysis of fascist movements and regimes in Europe between the two world wars with particular attention devoted to fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
HIS 347 The History of Marxism 3 credits
History of Marxism as an intellectual tradition, with emphasis on writings of Marx and Lenin, from the nineteenth to the twentieth century.
HIS 350 20th Century Eastern Europe 3 credits
Ethnic, linguistic and geographic origins. Emphasis on social, political, economic and cultural developments since 1918.
HIS 352 Cuban Revolution 3 credits
Origins of the Cuban Revolution. Fidel Castro and the insurrection. Confrontations with the United States: Bay of Pigs and Missile Crisis. The construction of a socialist economy and a new society. Cuba in the Twenty-First Century
HIS 355 Chinese Culture and Civilization before 1900 3 credits
The course traces the roots of Chinese culture and civilization from the ancient period to the end of the Imperial era. Among the topics considered are Confucianism, the Dynastic cycle, and intellectual and scientific advances.
HIS 356 Twentieth Century China 3 credits
Examines the evolution of Chinese society from the imperial era, through the world wars, the Communist Revolution and the re-emergence of China as a major economic and political power.
HIS 357 The Old South 3 credits
Investigation of the American South from colonization to the Civil War. Special attention will be paid to those factors which seem to make the South a distinct region, especially the peculiar institution of slavery.
HIS 358 Traditional Japan 3 credits
This course examines the roots of Japanese history and culture from ancient times. Among the topics studied are early Japanese religion and society, the court culture of the Heian era, Japanese feudalism and the transition to the modern world in the Tokugawa period.
HIS 359 History of Japan: 1868 - Present 3 credits
Development of modern Japan from Restoration of 1868 to the present.
HIS 361 Origins of American Constitutionalism 3 credits
Sources of American political ideology and constitutional theory in the American experience from the 17th century beginnings until the Civil War. Recommended for pre-law students.
HIS 362 The Constitution in an Age of Crisis 3 credits
American Constitutional theory and practice from Civil War to present. Emphasis on Supreme Court development, economic relationships, civil liberties, civil rights and criminal justice.
HIS 363 The Early Republic: 1787-1848 3 credits
This course will investigate a number of topics in the Early American republic including: westward expansion and Indian removal, industrialization, immigration, the development of political parties, the nullification crisis and moral reform. We will also concentrate on larger themes, particularly the growth of an American identity, the origins of market capitalism, and the growing tensions between North and South.
HIS 365 U.S. - Latin American Relations Since 1898 3 credits
Occupations of Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Central America; interventions in Columbia, Mexico, Panama, Guatemala. Response to Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions and South American military dictatorships.
HIS 366 Race in Early America 3 credits
This course focuses on the interaction of Americans of various ethnicities and backgrounds: the social, economic, religious and cultural implications of these interactions, and the development and evolution of racial identities as a result of such encounters from the exploration and contact of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries through the mid-nineteenth century.
HIS 367 Slavery in America 3 credits
An overview of the 500-year African diaspora to the New World. Considers African origins, the Middle Passage, slavery in the Americas, abolitionism and the Civil War. Special opportunities will include nationally known speakers, a theatrical performance, instruction in African drumming and out-of-town travel.
HIS 368 Native American History 3 credits
History of Native Americans from Pre-Colonial era to the present day.
HIS 370 Murder and Madness Since 1900 3 credits
Focuses on murder cases and episodes of madness in 20th century America. Considers why American society has long had the high-est murder rate in the industrialized world. Examines different kinds of murders including assassinations, ideological killings, serial killings, spree killings, contract murders and garden variety household murders. Examines the ways in which murderers have been punished, and the ways in which Americans have been preoccupied by murder in popular culture, e. g. crime TV shows, novels and films.
HIS371 Colonial America 3 credits
Examination of British North America including the nature of the colonists, their contact with other peoples, the origins of slavery and the creation of a distinct American society.
HIS 372 American Revolution 3 credits
Exploration of the political, social and constitutional issues in the era of American Independence. In particular we will try to answer the question, “Was the American Revolution truly revolutionary?”
HIS 373 Urban Portraits: Topics in American Urban History 3 credits
An exploration of six cities in critical periods of the development of American urban culture. Philadelphia and New York City, 1660-1880; Chicago and New Orleans, 1880-1920; and Atlanta and Los Angeles, 1870-1968.
HIS 376 The American Military Tradition 3 credits
Examination of major conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the Gulf War. Nature of warfare in the Civil War and in World War II. The citizen soldier and the rise of the professional army. Defense consolidation of the three services. Spring 2009
HIS 379 Recent American History 3 credits
This course covers the United States from the early 1970s to today. Topics include the Reagan Revolution, the culture wars, the AIDS epidemic, Generation X, the birth of the VCR and the Internet, and the rise of terrorism.
HIS 380 America and the Cold War 3 credits
This course explores the tense Cold War period (1945-1991) when the two superpowers dominated the entire world. Topics include hysteria over the atom bomb, chilling espionage, political witch-hunts, international diplomacy, “wars” (Korea and Vietnam), race relations from a foreign perspective, popular culture (comic books, films, rock & roll) and the collapse of the “evil empire.”
HIS 381 History of Buffalo 3 credits
Development of Buffalo as a city through its 150-year history. Emphasis on social and cultural aspects of Buffalo’s history.
HIS 382 New York State History 3 credits
History of the Empire State will stress social and cultural development from the Iroquois background to the present.
HIS 383 The Gilded Age and the Progressive Era 3 credits
Explores American social and political reform around the turn of the century (1890-1920) with particular emphasis on: conflicts that accompanied rapid urbanization and industrialization, debates on democracy, freedom and the role of government, the rise of the “New Woman,” modernism in art and literature and World War I.
HIS 386 The Civil War Era 3 credits
Covers the events leading up to the War, including abolitionism and Bleeding Kansas. There will also be an in-depth examination of the military strategies and tactics of the War as well as the process of modernization that War engendered. The course will conclude with an analysis of the successes and failures of Reconstruction.
HIS 388 The Age of Rock n’ Roll 3 credits
Covers the supposedly “quiet” period after World War II. Topics include the baby boom, the Soviet Menace, atomic espionage, the Hollywood blacklist, the rise of television, Elvis Presley and teen culture, desegregation and the Beats.
HIS 389 The 1960s 3 credits
Treats one of the most tumultuous decades in American history. Topics include the Kennedys and Camelot, the civil rights movement, the drug culture, “free love,” race riots and domestic terrorism.
HIS 390 The Civil Rights Movement 3 credits
Examines the African-American movement to end racial injustice. Focus is on dramatic events since World War II, black leaders and organizations, white resistance, and the federal government’s response. The impact and the legacy of the movement will be considered.
HIS 392 Historical Archaeology 3 credits
An exploration of the history of native peoples in the Americas from an archaeological perspective. Will begin with the basics of archaeological research and include presentations by experts in the field, and visits to archaeological collections and sites.
HIS 394 Contemporary Middle East 3 credits
History of Middle East from the last days of the Ottoman Empire through mandate system established by Versailles Peace Conference to struggle for independence during and after World War II.
HIS 395 Topics in American Women’s History 3 credits
Examines the social experiences of American women from colonial times to the present with particular emphasis on work, marriage and the family, politics, and reform.
HIS 396 Politics and Society in American Film 3 credits
Explores how film illuminates American social and political life with attention to the origins of the motion picture industry, the struggle over censorship and the challenges of political radicalism. Focus on classic films that reflect immigration and urbanization, women and the family, civil rights and political leadership.
HIS 399 History of U.S. Foreign Relations 3 credits
An overview of American foreign policy from the Revolutionary War to the Gulf War. Emphasis on the imperial period since 1898.
HIS 401 Seminar: Introduction to Historical Research 3 credits
Methods of historical research and criticism, including consideration of basic bibliographical and reference works, note-taking, and evaluation of sources. Research paper required. Prerequisite: History honors students and others with permission of chair. Spring
HIS 402 Seminar: Historiography 3 credits
A study of the major historians of Western civilization, emphasizing the student’s development of a meaningful personal philosophy of history.Prerequisite: History honors students and others with permission of chair. Spring
HIS 410 Senior Honors Colloquium 3 credits
Reading course organized around central theme that varies from semester to semester. Deals with American and European history and occasionally with history of Third World. Satisfies requirement for graduation with departmental honors in history. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor or department chair. Spring
HIS 411 Seniors Honors Thesis 3 credits
Research and writing of a thesis to satisfy requirements for graduation with Honors in History. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor and/or permission of the chair. Fall
HIS 413 Representations of the Holocaust in Film and Literature, Art and Music 3 credits
A multi-disciplinary study of how the Holocaust has been represented in works of art, film literature and music in Europe, America and Israel. Examines the literary works and first-person testimony of Holocaust survivors, as well as cinematic representations of the Holocaust from 1945 to the present.
HIS 468 Reservation Experience 3 credits
HIS 498 Internships 3 credits
Internships may be arranged with a variety of organizations including, the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site Foundation and the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor and permission of the chair.
HIS 499 Independent Study 3 credits
Offers the opportunity to conduct a program of independent readings and/or research on a topic of the student’s choice under the supervision of a member of the History Department. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor and permission