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History

Bachelor of Arts

The History program at AIC provides a comprehensive study ancient, world, Western, African-American, and twentieth century histories, while also providing a rigorous examination of political and economic thought, research and writing, and legal history.

Our past informs us — personally, socially, culturally, politically, and ethically. So to truly understand who we are, we must first understand the foundations that shape our world. It is this intellectual insight that provides the best guide for action in an increasingly dynamic and changing society. AIC’s History program provides the course options and intellectual freedom to explore the topics that interest you, while the program’s small class size allows you to work closely with professors to put this knowledge into a personal and professional context.

As a graduate of the program, you’ll have the skills and knowledge needed for a variety of advanced degree programs and careers, including:

  • Education
  • Research and resource management
  • Communication, information, and archival management
  • Law and legislative work
  • Foreign service
  • Public affairs
  • Museums and cultural agencies

Learning Outcomes for History

AIC’s History major provides a broad understanding of the events that have shaped the world. Through reading, writing, and animated discussion, students will dig deep to understand why things are the way they are.

—Dr. Susanne Swanker, PhD Dean of the School of Business, Arts & Sciences

In the classroom. In the workforce.

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn

This program provides a comprehensive study of historical topics
, while also providing a rigorous examination of political and economic thought, historical research and writing, and legal history.

Future studies

Future studies

You’ll develop the communication and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in a variety of careers or graduate studies, including journalism, education, law, public affairs, or foreign service.

Career opportunities

Career opportunities

A graduate is prepared for careers in education, research and resource management, communication, information and archival management, and legal and legislative work.

Major:

  • HST1400: Western Civilization I
  • HST1410: Western Civilization II
  • HST1500: World History
  • HST1510: United States History to 1877
  • HST1520: United States History since 1877
  • HST2631: Introduction to Historical Research and Writing
  • HST4697: Senior Project
  • PHI1000: Introduction to Critical Thinking

At least one foreign written language course (modern or classical)

Plus 15 additional credit hours in history at the 3000-level or above (in addition to the capstone course, HST4697 Senior Project), including:  (1) at least one course on any topic of Western civilization before 1650; (2) at least one course on any topic of United States history; and (3) at least one course on any topic in non-Western or global history.

Minor:

Six (6) courses in history, including at least two courses on the 1000 or 2000 level. Students must take HST2631 Introduction to Historical Research and Writing.

Course Descriptions

An introductory survey of the historical evolution of Western civilization from its ancient origins to AD 1500. This course introduces students to methods of and issues in historical investigation. Its comprehensive approach includes the study of social and economic elements, religion, philosophy, literature, art, politics, and institutional developments.

An introductory survey of the historical evolution of Western civilization from AD 1500 to the present. This course introduces students to methods of and issues in historical investigation. Its comprehensive approach includes the study of social and economic elements, religion, philosophy, literature, art, politics, and institutional developments.

This course will provide a survey of World History from the origins of humanity to the Fifteenth Century, just before the European “voyages of discovery” that brought the Americas and Pacific into contact with the rest of the world. It will focus on the development of major civilizations around the globe with a special interest in the political, economic, cultural and other ties between these civilizations.

This course will provide a survey of World History from the Fifteenth Century to the present. It will focus on the global contacts and connections created since Columbus’s voyage in 1492 as well as on important political, economic, social and cultural trends that have contributed to the creation of the modern world.

A one-semester, sophomore-level survey of world history, comprehensive in both chronology and geography. Principal concepts in geography, political science, economics, and the history of science will be featured. Designed specifically for Massachusetts state teacher certification needs, this course will emphasize Western civilization, including United States history and Massachusetts state history.

A survey of the evolution of the United States from its colonial origins to the end of Reconstruction, this course explores the significant social, economic, intellectual, and political developments, including state history of Massachusetts.

A survey of the evolution of the United States from the late 19th century to the early 21st, this course explores the significant social, economic, intellectual, and political developments during “the American Age” of global history, including state history of Massachusetts.

The powers, function, and inherent conflicts of the Congress and the presidency are examined with emphasis placed on the historical development of institutions.

A survey of major themes in the cultural history of the Ancient Mediterranean world, beginning with the near east and continuing through Greek and Roman civilization. These cultures were remarkable for the scope of their intellectual achievements, ambition and power. As a result, the study of classical civilization is the traditional basis of a liberal education, providing a vital understanding of the moral and intellectual roots of current ideas on morality, politics, language and literature. This course explores the history of the Mediterranean world from the time of Homer to the fall of the Roman Empire. Topics include: Greek and Roman mythology, the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, Greek and Roman theater, Latin classics (Seneca, Cato, Caesar, Tacitus, Livy) and major styles of art and architecture.

This course examines the structure of both presidential and congressional elections and the resultant consequences of those structures. The historical development of elections is emphasized. A case study of either the presidential or congressional midterm election will be analyzed with special attention given to campaign strategies.

A study of medieval Europe. This course will focus on the institutional, intellectual, and cultural aspects of the period, especially as they became the foundation for the Western heritage of today’s world. Covering from late antiquity to the Italian Renaissance, the topics will include social and economic study as well.

This course will explore the topic of European integration from a variety of perspectives, including those of history, political science and sociology. The first half of the course will concentrate on the pre-history and history of the European communities leading to the creation of the European Union in November 1993. Then, it will look at the European Union’s institutions and how they function, the relationship between the member states and the EU, and special issues that face the EU today.

This seminar will introduce students to the basic issues and methods involved in the academic discipline of history. It will require them to write a paper based on independent research on a topic related to the theme chosen by the instructor for the seminar.

A systematic examination of world history from the international rivalries leading to World War I through the early twenty-first century. Emphasis will be on the political, economic, and cultural evolution of global society and the forces that unify as well as fragment that society.

This course will examine immigration and ethnicity in American history and life. In order to do so we will examine successive waves of free and forced immigration from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas, from the 1600s to the 2000s. Particular attention will be paid to the nature of the immigrant experience and the regulation of immigration.

The First World War was arguably the most important event of the twentieth century. It had a profound impact on international relations, political ideas, the conduct of war, the global economy, Western society, and culture and the arts. It altered the map of both Europe and the Middle East and set the stage for another world war as well as for decolonization. We are still living with many of its legacies today. This discussion-based course will begin by reviewing the nineteenth century international system and discuss the reasons why the war broke out in August 1914. It will then examine the course of the war on all its fronts as well as its effects on the home fronts of the belligerent countries, including on the arts and literature. Finally, it will consider the Paris Peace Settlement of 1919 and war’s long term consequences, including its place in historical memory around the world.

The Second World War was the bloodiest conflict in recent history. It had a profound impact on our world. This discussion-based course will explore the international system in the 1920s and 1930s and the various factors that led to the outbreak of the conflict in Europe and Asia. It will then examine the course of the global war itself, including its impact on civilians. Finally, it will consider the consequences of the war and how it is remembered in various countries today.

This course will examine the international history of the Cold War. Special emphasis will be placed not only on the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, but also on how the entire world between 1945 and 1991 was influenced by the competition between the different ideologies and socio-economic systems that those countries represented. It also will suggest how the Cold War has continued to influence our present era.

This course will focus on German history from the late nineteenth century to the present. Topics covered include the creation of a German nation state in the form of the Second Empire in 1870-71; politics and society in imperial Germany; the origins of the first world war and the collapse of the empire in 1918; Germany’s first experiment with democracy between 1918 and 1933; the rise of national socialism with its devastating consequences; the era of two German states after 1945, one on each side of the Cold War; and the unexpected peaceful reunification of 1989-90.

A study of the cultural movement known as the Renaissance. Focus is on the Italian version of this movement; specific features to be examined include humanism, “new” scholarship, literature, and art. Though medieval in its origins, the Italian Renaissance marks the beginning of modernity; emphasis will be on its heritage today.

A general survey of the practices and purposes of war through the ages. Special attention will be given to theories of aggression and to reasons for war. Tactics, strategy, and major battles of great military commanders will be covered.

This course will examine the nature and significance of the American radical tradition from the American Revolution to the present-day. Among the radical philosophies and movements to be covered will be the American Revolution; abolitism; utopian experiments; womens rights; the labor movement; populism; socialism and communism; civil rights; Black power; feminism; the New Left; environmentalism; the gay and lesbian movement; and the global justice movement. Examination of the American radical tradition suggests that radicalism has been a persistent and significant feature of American history.

An offering of topics that vary. Examples of past or anticipated future subjects include: Classical Mythology; Augustine to Chaucer; Medieval Literary Culture; Three Crowns: Dante, Bocaccio, and Petrarch; Women in Medieval and Renaissance Italy; The Scientific Revolution; The History of Italy.

This course will introduce students to the theory, methodology and practice of oral history research. As the primary requirement for the course students will record an interview with a family or community member using a standard oral history questionnaire and then transcribe and analyze their interview. With the permission of the interviewee the recording and transcribed interview will be donated to an oral history archive to be housed in the college library.

Topics to be examined will include slavery and racism, abolitionist and antislavery movements, Civil War and Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Great Migration, the Depression and New Deal, World War Two and Cold War, Civil Rights and Black Power, and the impact of de-industrialization, unemployment and incarceration. Emphasis will be placed on the experience of African-Americans and their contributions to the development of a democratic society. Course readings will consist of relevant primary sources and recent secondary scholarship.

The course will examine the African American experience from 1400 to 1877. Topics will include African Slavery, the rise of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, Slavery and racism in Colonial America, the American Revolution and Slavery, Antebellum Slavery in the South, Abolitionist and Antislavery movements in the North, the Civil War & Emancipation, and Reconstruction. Emphasis will be placed on the African and African-American experience and the contributions of African-Americans to the growth of democracy. Readings will consist of the recent secondary scholarship and primary sources.

Topics to be examined will include the origins of the Cold War, the post-World War Two economic boom, the liberal and radical movements of the Sixties, the Conservative revival of the Seventies and Eighties, the end of the Cold War, and the impact of globalization and terrorism. Emphasis will be placed on the experience of ordinary men and women and their contributions to the development of a democratic society. Course readings will consist of relevant primary sources and recent secondary scholarship.

Topics to be examined will include Progressivism, World War One, the Twenties, the Crash and Great Depression, New Deal and World War Two. Emphasis will be placed on the experience of ordinary men and women and their contributions to the development of a democratic society. Course readings will consist of relevant primary sources and recent secondary scholarship.

A study of the historical role of the U. S. Supreme Court and its impact on American society, including an examination of issues of political theory and major court cases.

An analysis of the Holocaust, including examination of its causes and the conduct of it. Emphasis will be on the political, social, and moral issues involved in war and on the impact of the Holocaust on today’s Jewish experience worldwide.

An examination of the evolution of the United States from the late 19th century through the early 21st, this course explores significant social, economic, intellectual, and political developments during “the American Century” of global history.

This course surveys the ideas of leading political thinkers from ancient times to the Renaissance. Figures such as Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, Ibu Khalduhn, and Machiavelli will be discussed.

This course is a study of the evolution of American political thought from 1776 to the present day, with special reference to the liberal tradition. Among the figures surveyed are Hamilton, Madison, Calhoun, Sumner, Dewey, Santayana, Skinner, Marcuse, and others. This course is not open to freshmen.

Designed as a reading seminar, participants will read some material in common at the beginning of the semester in order to provide a basic body of knowledge. The emphasis of the course will be independent readings on chosen topics within twentieth-century world history, to be reported on in open discussion with other participants throughout the semester. This course is repeatable for credit with an appropriate change of individual topics.

This course is the capstone experience for all history majors. They will select a topic in conjunction with the instructor and write a substantial paper on it based on independent research. It is offered every semester and may be taken either in the fall or spring of the senior year.

Students may pursue supervised reading and/or research in topics they find especially interesting, for one, two, or three credit hours. Advance arrangement and permission of the department chair required.

This course allows history majors to enhance their knowledge of historical research or of public history by designing their own internship at a local museum, archive, or similar institution. They will be required to work a regular number of hours (usually ten) each week during the semester. Besides fulfilling the expectations of their on-site supervisors, they must also write regular reports for their faculty supervisor. This course is offered every semester. It also may be taken over the summer if the internship opportunity is located outside of the greater Springfield area. In this case, it is expected that the participant will work a full-time schedule covering at least several weeks for their sponsoring institution. Students may take it only once for academic credit.

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