Meredith College Homepage

 

History and Political Science Program

Department Courses

HIS-101 - Emergence of Western Civilization
The evolution of Western civilization from the ancient Greek, Roman, Judaeo-Christian, and Germanic traditions, the medieval synthesis of these traditions, and the rebirth of classicism during the Renaissance. The final evolution of these traditions through the commercial, religious, political, and scientific revolutions to 1750.


HIS-102 - Modern Western Civilization
The rise of industrialism, nationalism, socialism, and science. The role of imperialism, Fascism, and Communism as challenges to traditional Western culture. The study of contemporary Western culture and its role in the modern world.


HIS-103 - The World in the 20th Century
This course will examine key events, issues and developments in the 20th century world predominantly from the perspective of non-Western cultures. It will pay particular attention to the issues of European imperialism and de-colonization; the application of Western ideologies of liberalism, communism, and nationalism in non-Western settings; and economic and cultural globalization. Case studies will demonstrate differing responses to the challenges of modernization in the 20th century.


HIS-200 - Introduction to Latin American History
This course will begin with a study of colonial independence, ending with the study of contemporary characteristics of modern Latin American states.


HIS-214 - American History to 1876
The emergence of the federal system, democracy, states' rights, nationalism, territorial expansion, slavery and Civil War, Reconstruction.


HIS-215 - American History Since 1876
The development of modern America. Emphasis on expansion, industrialism, urbanization, race relations, and the growth of federal power.


HIS-224 - Introduction to Asian History
This course examines the intellectual, cultural, and political foundations of traditional Asian societies, following their transformation from ancient times to twenty-first century modernity.


HIS-250 - Introduction to Archaeology
This course provides students with a basic introduction to the scope and concerns of archaeology, a deeper understanding of the human past, and a greater sensitivity to issues surrounding the reconstruction and representation of that past. We will survey some famous archaeological discoveries. Over the semester we will also conduct several activities dealing with the hands-on analysis of material culture, and will visit and critically analyze local archaeological sites and reconstructions.


HIS-270 - Introduction to Native American History and Cultures
An overview of the history of Native Americans in North America. Students will be introduced to such topics as original migrations into North America, impact of European contact, demographics, evolution of stereotypes, historical events, important leaders, religions, societal structures, indigenous arts, traditional lifeways, and current political and social issues.


HIS-281 - Introduction to African History
This course will introduce students to the history of the African continent. It will survey the variety of environmental conditions and the ecological impact on the growth of African civilization and culture. It will examine the emergence of states and kingdoms such as the trader empires of West Africa and Great Zimbabwe in the south. It will also examine traditional African myths and epics. Other topics include the impact of Islam, European contact and the slave trade, the struggle against colonialism and apartheid, the rise of nationalism, and the problems of Africa's newly independent states including the chaos of the Congo and Rwanda, and the legacy of Mandela's South Africa. And the course will show the amazing resilience of the Africans and their uncanny talent to survive and even prosper despite the best efforts of authority and environment.


HIS-282 - The Modern Middle East
This course will address cultural, social and political issues in the Middle East since the late 19th and into the 21st century. Topics covered will include imperialism, nationalism, the creation of modern states, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Iranian Revolution, the politics of oil, U.S. - Middle East relations, and the emergence of activist Islamic groups. Also offered as POL-282.


HIS-285 - Women in Global Perspective
Economic systems have a formative impact on women's lives and the nature of their role in society. Women's experiences and the expression of these experiences in artifacts, historical documents, and literature will be studied to shed light on this relationship.


HIS-300 - Introduction to Public History
An introduction to the theoretical background of public history and its disciplines; historic preservation, museum studies, archives and records administration and documentary editing. Students read literature in these disciplines and solve practical problems in public history.


HIS-302 - Modern British History
This course will examine the significant political, social, economic, and cultural transformations that have shaped British history in the modern era. It will explore key events and themes that influenced British development, including: the nature of "Britain" as a multinational, multi-ethnic polity; the impact and influence of Britain as a commercial, and later military, global empire; the role of Britain as a "model" of evolutionary historical development; the British experience of the two world wars; the creation of a socialist welfare state in the intellectual homeland of economic and political liberalism; and recent efforts to question and reform the post-war social and political consensus.


HIS-304 - Greek and Roman History
A study of the cultural and historical characteristics of the ancient Greeks and Romans with special emphasis on their contributions to subsequent civilizations.


HIS-305 - Holocaust Experiences
The twentieth century has witnessed the mass destruction of peoples on a scale unprecedented on the planet. Using the Holocaust in Germany as a focus and point of departure, this class will examine the Holocaust experience, as it was understood by the participants-the persecuted and the persecutors, and by those who passively acquiesced and by those who resisted.


HIS-306 - Russia in the 20th Century
This course will examine the significant events, themes, and personalities that have shaped the turbulent history of Russia and the Soviet Union in the twentieth century. Key periods and topics will include: the failed "constitutional experiment" of late Imperial Russia; the dynamics of the Russian Revolution and Civil War; the impact of Josef Stalin's "revolution from above" and its program of collectivization, industrialization, and mass terror; the traumatic Soviet experience of World War II; the role of the Soviet Union in the Cold War; the rise of Gorbachev and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union.


HIS-308 - 20th Century Europe
This course will examine the significant events, ideas, and social transformations that shaped Europe in its most tumultuous and destructive century ever, a century marked by wars, revolutions, genocides, and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Topics will include: the nature and impact of mass industrialized warfare in the Great War; the legacies of post-war disillusionment, depression, and appeasement; the murderous conflict of the ideologies of liberalism, communism, and fascism; the European experience of Cold War and decolonization; the role of gender in modern consumer society; the evolution of European integration; and the place of Europe in the global community.


HIS-310 - Modern China
China from the 19th century to the present, with emphasis on traditional values in transition, the overthrow of the Manchus, the Republic, the rise of communism, and recent economic liberalization. Focus on social, political, and intellectual change.


HIS-312 - India Past and Present
After an overview of the contemporary scene in India, this course will explore traditional Indian history and culture, including the ancient Indus Valley civilization, Aryan civilization, the Indo-Aryan synthesis, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam in India, Mughal imperial unification, the arrival of the British in India, the rise of Indian nationalism with Gandhi and Nehru, Indian independence, modern India and the role of India in the world today. Carefully selected films will complement the readings and lectures, and students will be made aware of resources concerning India in the academic community in Raleigh and in the Research Triangle.


HIS-314 - Colonial American History
The colonial origins of American society and ethnic diversity to the emergence of the American nation in the Revolutionary period.


HIS-315 - Civil War and Reconstruction
A study of the years 1861-1876 with attention to causes and effects, social and political impacts, and lasting legacies of what was arguably the most important decade and a half in U.S. history.


HIS-319 - Contemporary American History
An in-depth study of the United States since 1945. Major emphasis on domestic politics, foreign relations, economic policy, urban crisis, civil rights, youth movement, and women's rights.


HIS-330 - Modern US Foreign Policy
A study of global issues involving the United States vis-a-vis Europe, the former Soviet Union, Latin America, Africa, Middle East, and Asia. May be taken for credit in political science or history. Also offered as POL-330.


HIS-333 - History of the South
A study of those aspects of Southern experience which have made the South a unique region from its early settlement to the present; includes social, political, cultural, and economic developments.


HIS-334 - Methods of Historical Research
An introductory course in historical research and writing that is required of all majors and is usually taken during the junior year. It focuses on finding, evaluating, and using historical sources; on organizing and presenting historical research; and on analyzing historical literature. Each student should plan to take this course the semester before she undertakes HIS-499, Senior Research or HIS-498, Senior Thesis.


HIS-343 - History of North Carolina
A study of North Carolina from the colonial period to the present. Emphasis on the social, economic, and political forces which shaped the state and her contributions in the national history.


HIS-375 - Warfare, Culture, and Social Change in European History
This course examines the powerful and enduring influence of warfare in European history within a global perspective. Students will explore the nature of war in the broadest sense, addressing its military, political, economic, social, and cultural aspects. Particular attention will be paid to the role of warfare in the social transformation, political development, and cultural evolution of Europe, as well as in Europeans' encounters with non-Western civilizations and cultures of war. Students will examine such specific issues as the nature of modern combat, the destructive role of technology, the influence of popular nationalism and militarism, values and attitudes regarding violence, conceptions of gender, the experience of the home front, and the practice of ethnic discrimination and genocide. A combination of lecture, discussion, and media will be used.


HIS-385 - Europe in the Middle Ages
This course will survey major developments in Western Europe from roughly 400 CE to 1300 CE. It will use primary and secondary sources to explore the growth of a distinctly European civilization upon its Judeo-Christian, classical and Germanic roots, and will trace the expression of this civilization through its political, religious and educational institutions; its formal religious thought and vernacular literature; its art, architecture and music; and its interactions with different cultures both within and beyond its borders. Specific topics covered will include the Germanic invasions, monasticism, the conversion of Europe, the growth of the manorial and feudal systems, scholastic thought in the universities, heresy and the crusades, the growth of representative government and others. Also offered as RES-385.


HIS-387 - Age of Renaissance/Reformation
This course will work primarily through class discussion of primary sources to understand the changes in outlook expressed in the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Scientific Revolution between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. In particular, it will focus upon the transition from medieval toward modern attitudes in areas such as historical and scientific thought, political and educational theory, philosophy, art, music and religious thought and practice. It will also address the economic, social and political variables that underlay these changes in intellectual life, as well as the impact that these ideas had upon European society. Students will be encouraged to explore individual interests from their own major fields and personal backgrounds. Also offered as RES-387.


HIS-401 - Global Questions: Technology and Social Change
Though technology in various forms pervades and sometimes greatly enhances our lives, individuals in modern societies often have little say in choosing the technologies they will adopt. Using a case study approach, this course examines the social impact of technological innovation from antiquity to the present, and in diverse world cultures of our time. Readings and discussions lead toward team projects where students identify a problem or opportunity using technology and social change, research the issue, prepare a proposal for a foundation grant, and present the proposal to the class. Students are particularly encouraged to make personal contact with human resources. Students are also invited to publish proposals and presentations at the undergraduate research conference.


HIS-409 - Global Slavery in Historical Context
This course is designed to explore the global history of slavery and understand the growing role that slavery and "unfree labor" still plays in individual countries and the world economy. Because of its extensive history with this institution, the United States' experience with slavery will serve as a reference point for comparing historic and contemporary forms of slavery and "unfree labor".


HIS-498 - Honors Thesis in History
A research and seminar course that brings together work done across the major, builds upon HIS-334 and includes a senior research project of exceptional quality. Students will improve oral and written communication skills through class discussion and formal presentations. They will also make and implement plans for postgraduate education and careers. Each student will also formulate and execute an original research project that will culminate in a paper and an oral presentation. The director of the research project must approve a preliminary research proposal during the semester before the student takes this course, as must the appropriate director(s) of Honors and/or Teaching Fellows. The project must meet Honors and teaching fellows requirements as well as those of the History department. The course substitutes for the HIS-499 requirement. Prerequisites: HIS-334 or permission of instructor. A student who completes the HIS-498 Seminar as a prerequisite may undertake a second elective HIS-498 or HIS-499 research project on her own with an individual faculty director without attending the seminar a second time.


HIS-499 - Senior Research
A research and seminar course required of all majors that brings together work done across the major, builds upon HIS-334 and includes a senior research project. Students will improve oral and written communication skills through class discussion and formal presentations. They will also make and implement plans for post-graduate education and careers. Each student will also formulate and execute an original research project that will culminate in a paper and an oral presentation. The director of the research project must approve a preliminary research proposal during the semester before the student takes this course. A student who completes the HIS-499 Seminar as a prerequisite may undertake a second elective HIS-499 research project on her own with an individual faculty director without attending the seminar a second time.


HIS-764 - The Teaching of Social Studies
A study of the methods required for teaching grades 6-9, and grades 9-12, social studies. May not count toward a major.


POL-100 - American Political Systems
An introduction to American government and politics with an emphasis on the basic constitutional structure of the government and on the political institutions that surround it. Attention given to current political events and issues.


POL-203 - Contemporary American Policy & Politics
A study of public policies and the political processes that support them. Models and methods used by policy analysts will be studied.


POL-204 - Comparative Politics
An introduction to the theory and practice of government in major contrasting political systems. Liberal democratic, authoritarian and developing systems are considered.


POL-205 - Political Ideas Seminar
Selected readings from original sources in the area of modern and contemporary political philosophy. Topics covered include democracy, liberalism, Marxism, and liberation ideologies. Emphasis is on developing writing and analytic skills. [Required for political science majors who should take it in their sophomore or junior year.] Also offered as PHI-205. Prerequisite: ENG-111.


POL-207 - Political Leadership Practicum
Students will design and implement the Meredith Votes campaign, a campus-wide, nonpartisan voter registration, education and turn out effort. This is a service learning course.


POL-210 - International Politics
An introduction to world politics. A survey of current issues and trends in major regions and the principles of interactions among nations, blocks, international organizations, and multinational corporations.


POL-282 - The Modern Middle East
This course will address cultural, social and political issues in the Middle East since the late 19th and into the 21st century. Topics covered will include imperialism, nationalism, the creation of modern states, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Iranian Revolution, the politics of oil, U.S. - Middle East relations, and the emergence of activist Islamic groups. Also offered as HIS-282.


POL-300 - Law and Society
An introduction to the nature and function of law, to the structure and operation of the court systems of the United States and to the legal professions. Also considers current legal controversies.


POL-301 - Constitution & Rights of Americans
The law and practice of constitutional interpretation with a focus on civil liberties and the bill of rights. The case method and intensive discussion are used to introduce the process of legal reasoning and disciplined analytic thinking.


POL-305 - Introduction to Public Administration
An introduction to the field of public administration. The executive branch of American government will be examined. Methods, theories, and skills of administration in the public sector will be studied.


POL-309 - The Politics of the Vietnam War
The course will offer an in-depth examination of the war in Vietnam and the participation of the United States in that war. There will be an extensive study of the causes of the war. The political environment of the prosecution and termination of the conflict will be addressed. Foreign and defense policy will be a primary perspective.


POL-310 - Gender Issues in Law & Policy
This course explores current law and policy concerning contemporary gender issues as well as conflicting perspectives on those issues. Students will critically analyze and compare a wide range of different feminist and masculinist approaches to issues like workplace discrimination, violence against women, abortion and pornography.


POL-320 - International Political Economy
This course examines the politics of international economic relations between countries and in the world as a whole. The course orients students with the basic underpinnings of international economic policymaking and the basic theoretical paradigms of the field of international political economy. Specific topics of discussion include the politics of international trade, the effect of globalization on the U.S. economy and political system, the role of multinational corporations and nongovernmental organizations in global politics, relations between the developed and developing worlds, and the rise of regional economic blocs.


POL-330 - Modern US Foreign Policy
A study of global issues involving the United States vis-a-vis Europe, the former Soviet Union, Latin America, Africa, Middle East, and Asia. May be taken for credit in political science or history. Also offered as HIS-330.


POL-331 - Environmental Politics & Policy
This course will examine the politics and policy of environmental issues both in the United States and globally. We will study the forces and constraints that shape policy at local, state and national levels of government. We will also examine the issues and problems of the global environment and international policy being developed to address those issues. Students will examine and assess proposed solutions to the problems.


POL-334 - Research Design and Methods
This course provides a broad overview of the nature of inquiry in political science and is intended to give students an understanding of how to do empirical research. Students will finish the course knowing how philosophy of science, research design, and statistical and causal inference are understood in the discipline of political science. To be taken during semester before POL-498/9.


POL-340 - State & Local Political Systems
This course provides a survey of politics and policy at the state and local levels of government. Institutions, processes, and behaviors of governments and political participants will be studied. The federal system will be examined from the viewpoint of states and localities.


POL-350 - Congress and the Presidency
This course will examine the elective branches of government: the Congress and the President. Students will examine the structure and function of each branch separately and then study the relationship of each to the other.


POL-360 - British Parliamentary Government
This course introduces students to the nature and background of the British form of government with an emphasis on Parliament and the European Union. Because this course is taught in London and meets several times in Westminster Palace, students have a unique opportunity to observe government at work. Students supplement what they learn in class and in their texts with what they see as they attend committee meetings and sessions of both Houses and what they hear from the broad spectrum of members of Parliament, peers, and parliamentary staff who speak to them.


POL-370 - Model United Nations
This course will introduce students to the origins, functions, structure and issues facing the contemporary world and prepares students to participate in a world politics simulation. Participation in the simulation is a requirement for this course. Students will earn 3 credits the first time they complete this course. The course may be repeated for 1-2 hours of credit.


POL-498 - Honors Thesis in Political Studies
A research and seminar course required of Honors Scholars and Teaching Fellows in which each student will formulate and execute an original research project that will culminate in a paper and an oral presentation. The director of the research project must approve a preliminary research proposal during the semester before the student takes this course, as must the appropriate director(s) of Honors and/or Teaching Fellows. The project must meet Honors and Teaching Fellows requirements as well as those of the History and Political Science Department. This course substitutes for the POL-499 requirement. Prerequisites: Students must complete one WI course and POL-334 or LEG-401, or permission of instructor. A student who completes the POL-498 Research Seminar as a prerequisite may undertake a second elective POL-498 or POL-499 research project on her own with an individual faculty director without attending the seminar a second time.


POL-499 - Senior Research
A research and seminar course required of all majors not in Honors or Teaching Fellows, in which each student will formulate and execute an original research project that will culminate in a paper. The director of the research project must approve a preliminary research proposal during the semester before the student takes this course. Prerequisites: Students must complete one WI course and POL-334 or LEG-401, or permission of instructor. A student who completes the POL-499 Research Seminar as a prerequisite may undertake a second elective POL- 499 research project on her own with an individual faculty director without attending the seminar a second time.