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Politics & History (P&H)


P&H 1010 - U.S. History I: Ancient America through Reconstruction - 3 credits

Fall and Spring Semesters

US History I in a Global Context introduces students to a chronological study of early American History from prehistoric American civilizations through the Civil War. Students will experience a fully integrated exploration of the US experiment by placing the history of the nation within that of the wider world. Topics include the Americas before European conquest, European colonization and the transformation of North America, colonial America in the Atlantic community, the American Revolution and Constitution founding, the emergency of a democratic republic, the Age of Jackson and the market revolution, Manifest Destiny, and the Civil War and Reconstruction (1877). Students will analyze changes in the economy, society, polity, and culture through the period, using lectures, classroom discussion, and readings from primary and secondary sources. In addition, students will explore the unique perspective of History as a discipline and its place in the Liberal Arts.

This course meets the General Education Humanities Breadth requirement.


P&H 1020 - U.S. History II: In a Global Context Reconstruction to the Present - 3 credits

U.S. History II in a Global Context introduces the student to a chronological study of the United States to the present day. Students will experience a fully integrated exploration of the US experiment by placing the history of the nation within that of the wider world. They will examine the ways in which the US has both benefitted from and helped determine a global culture through historical events such as World War II, institutions such as the United Nations, technology such as the automobile, and cultural advances such as television, film, music, and social media. In addition, students will explore the unique perspective of History as a discipline and its place in the Liberal Arts. By exploring the elements that go into forming a distinctive US culture, students will ultimately gain a deeper, broader understanding of themselves, and gain a richer appreciation of the United States’ place in the world both now and into the future.

This course meets the General Education Humanities Breadth requirement.


P&H 1050 - US Politics - 3 credits

This course provides a comprehensive survey of American politics. Students will understand the basic institutions of the US government: including the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial), federalism, elections, and political parties. Students will appreciate the distinct political culture of the US including a respect for regional, racial, and gender differences. Finally, students will critically assess social movements, interest groups, issues in political economy, and foreign policy. In the end, they will appreciate the complexity of our political system and comprehend the historical factors that mold American political decisions.

This course meets the General Education Social Science Breadth requirement.


P&H 1060 - World Politics - 3 credits

This course provides an introduction to world politics. Students will appreciate the complexity of state-building and the diversity of political institutions around the world (including presidentialism, parliamentarianism, elections, and political parties). Students will comprehend the crucial institutional differences between democratic and authoritarian governments and understand the precarious nature of political transitions. Finally, students will critically assess issues in political economy and sustainable development with a better understanding of the sharp contrasts between the developed and the developing world. In the end, they will appreciate the variation and complexity of global political processes in a vast array of countries.

This course meets the General Education Social Science Breadth and Information Literacy Enhancement requirements.


P&H 2000 - Contemporary Black Worlds - 3 credits

This seminar explores culturally relevant topics in the contemporary African American world. Changing topic with each offering, students will consider African American experiences from economic, social, historical, racial, cultural, national, and global perspectives. Themes will include such topics as Black Success, contemporary black film, movements for social justice, modern African American literature etc. The specific course description will be in the course selection guide. (Same course as BLKS 2000).

This course meets the General Education Diversity requirement.


P&H 2250 - International Relations - 3 credits

This course provides a basic introduction to international politics. Students will learn the major political theories of the subfield (Realism, Liberalism, and Marxism). Additionally, students will study crucial issues in international politics like war and peace, human rights, the environment, political economy, and international organizations like the United Nations. Either this course or P&H 2001 Current Economic Problems is required for the International part of the P&H major.

This course meets the General Education International/Global Interdependence requirement.


P&H 2310 - U.S. Constitutional Law - 3 credits

Examines the American Constitution as it has been developed by Supreme Court decisions. Among the cases considered are those involving various aspects of privacy such as the extent to which the government has the right to search homes and persons. Also considered are the rights of citizens after they have been arrested, the legality of capital punishment and issues such as the extent of presidential power. Students argue imaginary court cases. The course is strongly recommended to students interested in law.


P&H 2330 - Africans in the United States - 3 credits

Comprehensively examines the history of Africans in the United States from their beginnings in Africa through the Middle Passage to the present day. The approach will be topical within a chronological framework. The course will consider the interaction between social, economic, and educational mechanisms created by whites to govern race relations in the US and on efforts by African Americans to accommodate with, modify, and/or abolish these mechanisms. It will also consider the place of African Americans within the Black Diaspora and thus will explore the place of Africans in today’s world. (Same course as BLKS 2330).

This course meets the General Education Diversity requirement.


P&H 2450 - Introduction to African-American Cultures - 3 credits

An introduction to the elements that construct black culture/s identities n the United States. While there is no monolithic black experience, by exploring elements of the past, we can see how constructed identities have impacted the ways that African Americans are seen and see themselves aiding in the creation of a distinctly rich culture. To aide in this discovery, this objective driven course is organized into chronological and thematic modules taught through both fictional and non-fictional readings, and a Portfolio Project intended to allow students to explore social change over time. Students should note that this is a reading and writing heavy course. (Same course as BLKS 2450).

This course meets the General Education Diversity requirement.


P&H 2492 - African-American Cinema - 3 credits

This course will be an examination of films made by African- Americans or featuring all-black casts from the early years of cinema to the present. Course Our examination will include a focus on the content of the films as well as consideration of the larger social, cultural, economic, and political context of the society in which the films were produced. Particular attention will be made to black actors, directors and producers. Teaching will take the form of screenings, lectures, and class discussions. (Same course as BLKS 2492).

This course meets the General Education Diversity requirement.

Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.


P&H 3350 - Electing the President - 3 credits

Run every four years during the presidential election cycle

In real time, students will explore events, ideas, and issues as they shape this year’s presidential election. These will include the study of electoral demographics, interest groups, critical constituencies, contests in key battleground states, and the relative importance of issues to electoral outcomes. We will also connect the election to historic campaigns. This course will be conducted as a team-taught interdisciplinary seminar with frequent, brief presentations of material from faculty to enhance readings and discussions. Key assignments include a battleground state prediction and an analysis of the election’s outcome. Students will assemble on election night and project a winner of their battleground state as returns come in.


P&H 3700 - Seminar: Research Methods and Strategies in History and Political Science - 3 credits

This class is designed to introduce students to inquiry in the disciplines of History and Political Science. Historians learn to situate ideas, actors, events, and institutions in their historical context, and identify patterns of change and continuity over time. Political Scientists use techniques from social science to analyze the theory and practice of governance and the political behavior of individuals and institutions at the local, national, and international levels. Students will learn to work within each discipline’s sources and methods, and then combine these sources and methods to pose and answer questions from history and politics. Required of Politics and History majors, the course will provide students in Management, Criminal Justice, Journalism, along with those interested in civic engagement and advocacy in any field, a powerful interdisciplinary set of analytical tools to make meaning of their world.