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School of Humanities

History Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Spring 2020


HIS 101/102: World Civilization Registration Guide

  Find the right HIS 101/102 class for you!

  • Enroll in a big auditorium class like those taught by Dr. Wiest, Dr. Chambers, and Dr. Stur.
  • Enroll in the online section with Drs. Abra and Haynes. *Online requires discipline and motivation. If you lack this, it’s harder than a face-to-face class.
  • Mr. Hazzard teaches a large lecture class.
  • Dr. Luckhardt’s class has students seated at tables of 6; lecture breaks every 15 minutes to ensure understanding before moving on.
  • Dr. Peterson's class is taught as a large lecture class with shorter meeting times (50 mins, 3x week).



HIS 306

History in the Digital Age

MW 1:00PM - 2:15PM

Dr. Susannah Ural

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The digital humanities, and digital history in particular, has revolutionized the way we study and learn about history. Data mining, digitization, and geographic information systems have changed how we gather and analyze data, Wikipedia, blogs, open-access journals, and social media are transforming traditional publishing. This course engages with these cutting-edge developments by introducing students to digital history to help them understand how technology has transformed the process of human knowledge. Topics include databases and searching, crowdsourcing and Wikipedia, blogging and podcasting, data mining and textual analysis, and presenting audio and visual forms of history.



HIS 328

Ancient and Medieval Women

MW 9:30-10:45

Dr. Courtney Luckhardt 

In this course, we will explore the ancient and medieval roots of our modern ideas about women, marriage, and gender roles. From the Roman period through the Middle Ages, and ending in the Renaissance, we examine the ancient and medieval practices of marriage and divorce, as well as the important role that childbearing, motherhood, and sexuality played in women’s lives. We will see relationships between women and men, including the personal, the professional, the political, and the spiritual. The dangers and challenges women of the past faced were the same as modern women in terms of domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, prostitution, abortion, and access to contraception, and we will explore as a class how they dealt with those issues. At the same time, the joys, friendships, and adventures of medieval women will also be key. From queens to peasants, from abbesses to brewsters, ancient and medieval women’s experiences and work were as diverse as our own, with cultural changes affecting women's daily lives and reality.


HIS 374

African American History, 1890–present
MW 11:00-12:15
Dr. Rebecca Tuuri


African American History II seeks to do the following: 1.) provide an overview of significant events, movements, and people from the beginning  of Reconstruction to the present 2.) examine the history of cultural formation within the African American community. 3.) Examine the struggle towards freedom of African Americans themselves 4.) Consider how larger American society, especially that of white America, has manipulated images and ideas in an oppositional way to African Americans 5.) Consider how “memory,” literacy, and access to archival sources affect African American historiography. 


HIS 375

Economic History of the United States

TR 9:30 – 10:45am

Dr. Max Grivno


Today, Americans live in a world characterized by profound and often wrenching economic change.  The lingering effects of the financial crisis of 2008, growing income and wealth inequality, and the combined challenges of automation, climate change, and globalization have touched almost every aspect of our lives.  While we might imagine these challenges are unprecedented, Americans have always grappled with economic change and uncertainty.  This course traces the evolution of the American economy from the colonial period to the present.  Designed to meet the needs of students from many disciplines and to serve a broad constituency, it caters to students in the Social Studies Licensure Program, as well as to those pursuing degrees in Business, Economics, and Social Work.  We will examine a range of topics, including the legal and social construction of capitalism, the booms and busts that shook the economy, and the lives of workers—free and enslaved, men and women—who created our nation’s wealth.  Along the way, we will learn how Americans responded to earlier economic upheavals and how those changes created the world we face today.



HIS 400

Senior Capstone

Communities in Conflict

MW 9:30AM - 10:45AM

Dr. Susannah Ural

History 400 is the capstone of the history major at the University of Southern Mississippi; it requires that students demonstrate their facility with historical thinking by crafting an original research paper. The focus of this class is “Communities in Conflict.” This theme will shape each student’s research paper and allow it to be grounded in the collections of Southern Miss’s McCain Archives as well as our Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage and the Civil War & Reconstruction Governors of Mississippi Project or some other major, easily accessed collection. Conflict can be defined as everything from war to social reform efforts to social responses to revolutionary change like industrialization.



HIS 416/516

World War II

TR 1:00-2:15

Dr. Allison Abra 


The Second World War was the most devastating war the world has ever witnessed. People of all sexes, ages, backgrounds, and regions of the world were gripped by the dangers, deprivations, and duties that accompanied a “total war.” Millions took on new roles and responsibilities on the home and battle fronts, and endured the horrors of aerial bombardment, occupation, and genocide. At the same time, the war inspired remarkable acts of compassion and feats of heroism. In this course we will survey the history of the war, with attention being paid to social, cultural, political, and military perspectives. We will explore the profound and enduring effects of this global conflict, and why more than seventy years later it continues to fascinate historians and the general public alike, and to resonate across 21st century society.

Required Books

Diana Lary, The Chinese People at War: Human Suffering and Social Transformation, 1937-1945, (Cambridge, 2010). ISBN: 978-0521144100
Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz, (Touchstone, 1996). ISBN: 978-0684826806
J. Samuel Walker, Prompt and Utter Destruction: Truman and the Use of Atomic Bombs Against Japan, (Dev Books, 2017). ISBN: 978-9381406717


HIS 458

The Soviet Union and Post-Communist Russia

MW 1:00-2:15

Dr.  Brian LaPierre

lapierre cd

For anti-capitalist intellectuals, the Soviet Union was a savior society that promised non-exploitative economic development and classless international cooperation. For its many conservative and liberal opponents, the Soviet Union was a militaristic monster that exemplified godless atheism, aggressive expansionism, social repression, and brutal state terror. In this class, we will look at the Soviet Union from all its angles – both good and bad. We will look at a state that dragged Russia from rural idiocy to industrial modernity, eliminated illiteracy, equalized gender opportunities, achieved enviable scientific accomplishments and instituted a generous cradle-to-grave system of state-supported social welfare. On the other hand, we will also look at a state that slaughtered and starved to death millions of its citizens and imprisoned millions more in the service of its utopian ideological ideals. Topics to be explored include the causes and consequences of the 1917 Revolution, Stalinism, the war of annihilation against the Nazis, the Cold War-era clash of civilizations, the Gorbachev reforms, the collapse of communism, and the Putin dictatorship.


HIS 463

The U.S. Civil War Era

MW 2:30PM - 3:45PM

Dr. Susannah Ural


The U.S. Civil War Era is one of the most popular periods of study in American history among the public and scholars alike.  Despite this interest, stubborn disagreements remain regarding its causes and consequences. This course looks at the divisions that led to the conflict, the war itself, and the possibilities and failures of Reconstruction. Lectures and readings will focus on the defining themes of the era, while examining the impact of the war on representative individuals or communities in the Union and the Confederacy and how they, in turn, influenced the conflict around them.  In addition, the class will discuss how scholars have interpreted the war in the past and today.  Successful students will emerge with a better understanding of the broad issues that shaped the period and they will be conversant — in speech and in writing — on this definitive American era. Class includes a trip/tour of the Vicksburg National Military Park.



 Fall 2019 Course Descriptions


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