Academics

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History

Program Details

The department offers undergraduate majors in history, history – teacher education and history – pre-law, all leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. At least 36 semester hours (sh) in history is required for each of the three history degrees. History – teacher education majors graduate with state licensure to teach history and/or other social studies subjects at the high school level. History – pre-law majors graduate with the skills and background necessary to do well on the LSAT exam and in law school.

As the cornerstone of a liberal arts education, the study of History helps us to understand self and society and to appreciate cultures and traditions that have shaped the present. As an academic discipline, its mastery imparts critical awareness, vital skills, and recognition of the essential value gained from pursuing greater knowledge.

The mission of the Department of History is to help students become informed citizens, capable of thinking intelligently about the past and its relevance to the present, while assisting them to develop the analytical, research, and communication skills that will enable them to excel in their chosen vocations. In support of this mission, the department offers a program that prepares graduates for success in teaching and graduate school as well as in a wide array of other careers and professions, including law, business, management, non-profits, and public service.

Program Objective

The successful and varied careers of Western’s history graduates stem from the nature of their chosen discipline. The fundamental goal of the study of history is to provide students with an understanding of cultures and traditions that have shaped the present and to develop their ability to solve problems by asking relevant questions, drawing meaningful conclusions from disparate evidence and presenting those conclusions clearly and cogently in oral and written forms.

Student-Faculty Interaction

The members of the WIU Department of History faculty are award-winning teachers and scholars, with advanced degrees from some of the finest universities in the world. Although many of Western’s outstanding history faculty have gained national and international reputations as scholars through their publications and conference presentations, all history faculty regularly teach classes at all levels, including freshman surveys, sophomore seminars, specialized upper-division courses and senior seminars. As a result, all WIU history courses are taught by full members of the history faculty dedicated to contributing to the success of our students. Graduate student assistants, selected from among the most outstanding graduate students pursuing the M.A. in history at WIU, provide additional individualized tutoring for those students needing it through the department’s academic assistance center.

The history department stresses excellent teaching, outstanding advising and close student-faculty interaction. Student evaluations of faculty reflect the emphasis on teaching. The department’s academic advisor works closely with students in planning their course of study. Small classes and individualized study courses are available to all history majors. Students and alumni have consistently praised the quality of instruction and advising they received from the history faculty at Western because of this attention.

One recent history graduate wrote that, “The strongest aspect of my experience at Western was the ability to work individually with my history professors.”

At Western, student-faculty interaction extends beyond the classroom. Students can join the Associated Students of History (ASH), which regularly holds professional development seminars, takes field trips and plans many social events for both students and faculty. If they qualify, students can also join Western’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the international history honor society.

Department Minors

  • History
  • Contemporary United States Studies
  • Military History
  • Middle Level Social Studies Teaching
  • Modern Global History

Additional Resources

History Alumna in London

A recent alumna in London to work on her Ph.D. in History.

Career Opportunities

Western Illinois University’s history graduates have entered a variety of careers. Many have found jobs in law, management, research and sales with private companies. An almost equal number have pursued careers in education, primarily as secondary school teachers. Other graduates have pursued careers in archival or library work, government and the military. A substantial number have elected to continue their education in either graduate or professional schools; the study of history is excellent preparation for law school and for graduate programs in museum studies, historic preservation, liberal arts disciplines and business.

As one of the WIU Department of History’s distinguished alumni observed recently, “An education in history at Western Illinois University thoroughly prepared me to compete in the business world.” Another commented that, “The world changes so quickly that it is virtually impossible to teach someone a skill that will still be in demand even five years after graduation, let alone twenty. A degree in history, however, gives one the skills necessary to be successful in any endeavor.”

Visit the History Department Career Page to learn more about additional career opportunities.

History (HIST) Courses

Please refer to the undergraduate catalog for detailed program information and course requirements.

105 American History to 1877. (3) (General Education/ Humanities) A survey of American history from European backgrounds to the close of Reconstruction. IAI: H2 904.

106 American History since 1877. (3) (General Education/Humanities) A survey of American history from the end of Reconstruction to the present. IAI: H2 905.

115 World History to 1500. (3) (General Education/ Humanities or Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) An introduction to the history of world societies from human origins to 1500 emphasizing social and political institutions, economics, thought, and culture as well as cross-cultural contacts. IAI: H2 906.

116 World History since 1500. (3) (General Education/Humanities or Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) An introduction to the history of world societies from 1500 to the present emphasizing social and political institutions, economics, thought, and culture as well as cross-cultural contacts.

201 Historical Methods. (3) Introduction to the discipline of history, including fundamental research, analytical, and writing skills required of historians. Prerequisites: History major; one of HIST 105, 106, 115, or 116; ENG 180; permission of department advisor.

210 (Formerly HIST 310) Crime, Policing, and Punishment. (3) An exploration of criminal justice in territories now composing the United Kingdom, the United States, and the nations of continental Europe, with emphasis on the integration of nation-state criminal codes and courts, professional police forces, and standardized state punishments. Prerequisite: HIST 105 or 106 or 115 or 116, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I or II.

211 Technology and Science in World History. (3) (General Education/Humanities) (Global Issues) An introduction to the history of global technology and science from ancient times to the present.

217 The History of Sports in the United States. (3) The history of American sports from their origins to the present focusing on college and professional sports as reflecting changes in American culture.

244 (Formerly HIST 144) History of the Middle East. (3) (General Education/Humanities or Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) A survey of the history of Middle Eastern social and political institutions, thought, and cultures from ancient times to the present. Directed Elective Area III.

245 (Formerly HIST 145) History of Asia. (3) (General Education/Humanities or Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) A survey of Asian history from ancient times to the present. Directed Elective Area III.

300 Urban America. (3) A survey of the growth and development of American urban society. The course is designed to show both how technological, economic, social, and political forces have shaped our cities over time and how cities have affected American life. No prerequisite. Directed Elective Area I.

302 American Indian History, Pre-Contact to the Present. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies) This course surveys the history of American Indians from pre-contact to recent times within the current area of the U.S. Prerequisite: HIST 105 or 106, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

303 American Legal History. (3) A study of American law, emphasizing the origins and development of fields of law and legal institutions, and the relationship between the law and American society and politics. Prerequisite: 3 s.h. of U.S. History or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

304 United States Military History. (3) (Global Issues) A survey of the military policies and engagements which had significance in America’s independence, expansion, and present world position. Prerequisites: HIST 105 and 106 or enrollment in or completion of MS 311, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

306 Vietnam War. (3) A survey of the origins of the Vietnam War and of its social, diplomatic, and political impact in the U.S. Directed Elective Area I or III.

307 U.S. Foreign Relations Since 1898. (3) (Global Issues) A history of American foreign relations with emphasis on the period from the war with Spain to the present, stressing the behavior of the United States as a world power. Prerequisite: HIST 106 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

308 American West. (3) The settlement and development of the West from the Appalachian Range to the Pacific Ocean. Prerequisite: HIST 105 or 106, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

309 American South. (3) A survey of the American South from the colonization period to the present. Prerequisite: HIST 105 or 106, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

311 History of Flight Culture. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) A cross-cultural survey of the origins, development, and representation of human flight from the ancient world to the present. Prerequisite: HIST 106 or 116, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I or II.

312 Technology, Culture, and Society. (3) (Global Issues) A history of key technological developments from the Industrial Revolution to the present, with an emphasis on how these innovations have transformed human culture and society. Directed Elective Area I or II.

313 (Cross-listed with AAS 313) African American History, 1400–1877. (3) (General Education/ Multicultural Studies) A survey of African American experiences in North America from 1400 to 1877. Not open to students with credit for AAS 313. Prerequisite: HIST 105 or AAS 100 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

314 (Cross-listed with AAS 314) African American History, 1877–Present. (3) (General Education/ Multicultural Studies) A survey of the African American experiences in the United States since 1877. Not open to students with credit for AAS 314. Prerequisite: HIST 106 or AAS 100 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

316 (Formerly HIST 422) American Environmental History. (3) A history of Americans’ interaction with their natural environment from pre-contact to the present with special emphasis on the last two hundred years. BGS online writing course. Prerequisites: HIST 105 or 106, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

317 (Cross-listed with WS 317) Women in American History. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies) A multicultural and historical survey of women in the United States, from 1500 to the present. Not open to students with credit in WS 317. Prerequisite: HIST 105 or 106, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

318 (Cross-listed with WS 318) Women and Gender in European History. (3) (General Education/ Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) A study of women and gender in Europe, from antiquity to the present, focusing on changes in culture, society, the economy, and politics. Not open to students with credit in WS 318. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or 116, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

319 Ancient Near East and Egypt. (3) Intermediate survey covering several ancient civilizations in an area that includes the modern Middle East, Egypt, Persia, and Turkey, beginning with the emergence of civilization in Mesopotamia and continuing to the conquest of Alexander the Great. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

320 Ancient Greece. (3) A study of Hellenic civilization and the institutional and cultural life of the Greeks. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

321 Ancient Rome. (3) A study of Roman civilization from the Republic through the Empire. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

322 Pre-Modern Military History. (3) Intermediate survey of military history from the ancient world through the Renaissance. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

323 The Crusades. (3) A history of the Christian Crusades (1095–1291), emphasizing the historical contexts, causes, and impacts of the conflicts that started in the Eastern Mediterranean and spread to France, Spain, and the Baltic. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II or III.

324 Middle Ages. (3) A study of the political, economic, and cultural institutions of Europe from the Germanic invasions and the fall of Rome to 1300. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

325 Early Modern Europe, 1350–1648. (3) Study of political, economic, social, and cultural developments of early modern Europe from the mid-fourteenth to mid-seventeenth centuries, including the Renaissance, the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, the age of religious wars, state-building, witchcraft persecution, and the Age of Discovery. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

326 Old-Regime Europe, 1648–1815. (3) An intermediate survey of European politics, society, economics, and culture; with emphasis on how Old-Regime beliefs, practices, and institutions either culminated or broke down in the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era. Prerequisite: HIST 116 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

327 (Formerly HIST 428) Nineteenth-Century Europe. (3) A study of Europe from 1815 to 1914. Prerequisites: HIST 116 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

328 (Formerly HIST 429) Europe, 1914–1968. (3) A study of Europe from 1914 to 1968. Prerequisites: HIST 116 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

329 Great-Power Diplomacy. (3) A history of relations between the great powers from the 1890s to the present. In addition to the major European powers, the course includes the U.S., China, and Japan. Prerequisite: HIST 116 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II or III.

333 Britain to 1688. (3) A survey of British social and political history, with emphasis on constitutional development. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

334 Britain since 1688. (3) A survey of the political, social, and economic factors behind the rise and decline of Britain as a world power. Prerequisite: HIST 116 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

337 (Cross-listed with GER 337) The Holocaust. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) Examines the pre-history, history, and posthistory of the Holocaust and its representations from a German Studies perspective and within the broader context of European culture. Not open to students with credit for GER 337. Prerequisite: HIST 116 or GER 224, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

338 Germany. (3) A survey of German history from beginnings to the present time. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or 116, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

340 Latin America to 1860. (3) (General Education/ Multicultural Studies) A survey of the history and culture of Latin America from the pre-colonial era through the national revolutions to the mid-nineteenth century. Prerequisite: HIST 105 or 115, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

341 Latin America since 1860. (3) (General Education/ Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) A survey of the history and culture of Latin America from the midnineteenth century to the present. Prerequisite: HIST 106 or 116, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

342 (Cross-listed with WS 342) Women and Gender in Asian History. (3) (General Education/ Multicultural Studies) A study of women and gender in Asia from ancient times to the present, with an emphasis on social, political, economic, and cultural aspects of their lives. Not open to students with credit for WS 342. Prerequisite: HIST 116 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

344 Modern Middle East. (3) (General Education/ Multicultural Studies) (Global Issues) An intensive study of the history of the Middle East in the modern era. Prerequisite: HIST 116 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

345 China. (3) A survey of Chinese history from ancient times to the present, with emphasis from the late dynastic (Ching) period through the Cultural Revolution. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or 116 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

346 Japan. (3) (Global Issues) A survey of Japanese history from ancient times to the present, with emphasis on the period from the late feudal (Tokugawa) period. Prerequisite: HIST 115 or 116 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

347 (Formerly HIST 445) Modern East Asia. (3) (Global Issues) A study of China, Japan, and Korea in the 20th century. Prerequisites: HIST 116 or 245 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

349 (Cross-listed with AAS 349) Africa since 1800. (3) (General Education/Multicultural Studies) A study of major themes from 1800 to the present from an African perspective: slave trade and its abolition, European colonialism, independence movements, and problems of independence. Not open to students with credit for AAS 349. Prerequisite: HIST 116 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

350 (Formerly HIST 412) American Colonial History. (3) A history of the discovery, settlement, and development of the American colonies to 1763. Prerequisites: HIST 105 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

351 (Formerly HIST 413) American Revolution and the New Nation. (3) An intermediate survey of the social, economic, and political causes of the American Revolution, the War of Independence, the development of a new system of government, and the early years of the new nation to 1824. Prerequisites: HIST 105 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

352 (Formerly HIST 415) Civil War Era and Reconstruction. (3) An intermediate survey of the political, social, economic, military, and diplomatic history of the period 1824 to 1877, with focus on the causes, course, and consequences of the American Civil War. Prerequisites: HIST 105 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

353 (Formerly HIST 416) America in Transition, 1877–1914. (3) An examination of the forces transforming America from Reconstruction to the Wilson administration. Prerequisites: HIST 106 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

354 (Formerly HIST 418) Emergence of Modern America, 1914–1945. (3) A study of American history from World War I to the end of World War II. Prerequisites: HIST 106 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

355 (Formerly HIST 419) Recent America, 1945 to Present. (3) An examination of American History from the end of World War II to the present. Prerequisites: HIST 106 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

380 The Great War, 1914–1918. (3) (Global Issues) A history of World War I emphasizing military, cultural, political, and technological developments and the conflict’s global impact in shaping the twentieth century. Prerequisite: HIST 106 or 116, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I or II.

381 World War II. (3) A history of the Second World War emphasizing the military conflict’s impact in transforming politics, cultures, and societies around the globe and its foundational role in sparking the “Cold War” that dominated the last half of the twentieth century. Prerequisite: HIST 106 or 116, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II or III.

399 Imperial Russia, 1689–1917. (3) A survey of major cultural, intellectual, and political developments within the Russian Empire from the reign of Peter the Great to the fall of the Romanov dynasty. Prerequisite: HIST 116 or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

400 Soviet Union, 1917–1991. (3) An intensive study of political, diplomatic, economic, social, and cultural developments in the Soviet Union from the Bolshevik revolution to the USSR’s collapse. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 116 or 399, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

402 (Cross-listed with AAS 402) The Civil Rights Movement. (3) An intensive study of the history of the African American civil rights movement, concentrating on the period from World War II through the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1978 Bakke decision. Not open to students with credit for AAS 402. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and either HIST 106 or AAS 100; or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

414 Early American Republic, 1800–1848. (3) An intensive study of the development of the United States from 1800 to 1848, emphasizing the development of political culture within the expanding nation, among post-revolutionary Americans. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 105, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

420 Capstone Seminar: Illinois History. (3) Periods and themes in Illinois history including social, political, economic, cultural, and environmental change. Working in a seminar setting, students complete a major historical research project. Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) course. Prerequisites: HIST 105, 106, and 201; ENG 280; and at least junior standing; or consent of instructor.

421 Seminar in Global Environmental History. (3) This thematic seminar is an in-depth comparative, historical study of the interactions between humans and the natural environment from 1500 to the present. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 116 or 316, or consent of instructor.

423 The Vietnam War and Its Times. (3) A seminar on the Vietnam War, with particular emphasis on domestic social and political aspects during the 1960s. Research in primary sources will be required. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 106, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I or III.

426 The Enlightenment, 1721–1784. (3) Advanced study of a cultural revolution in the Atlantic world; a “republic” of philosophers, ideas, and debates; social institutions promoting reform; emergence of new media, mass literacy, public opinion, and private sentiment, and the broader context in which these flourished. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 116, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

427 French Revolution and Napoleon. (3) A detailed examination of the period from 1789 to 1815 in Europe. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 116, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

430 Topics in Ancient History. (3, repeatable to 6 with permission of department chairperson) Study of a theme or chronological period in Greek or Roman History. Topics will vary. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 115, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

431 Alexander the Great. (3) Advanced study of the life, achievements, and historical context of Alexander III of Macedon, with particular focus on his impact outside Europe. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 319 or 320, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

433 Tudor/Stuart England: 1485–1714. (3) Political, economic, cultural, and social history of early modern England during the reigns of the Tudor and Stuart monarchs, emphasizing social structures, cultural movements, religious continuity and change, and constitutional developments. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 115 or 325 or 333, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

434 Topics in British History. (3, repeatable to 6 with permission of department chairperson) Selected topics dealing with the political, social, and economic development of Britain. Topics will vary. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 115 or 116 or 333 or 334 (as appropriate), or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

438 Hitler’s Germany, 1919 to 1949. (3) Study of Germany from the end of World War I to its division following World War II, focusing on the Weimar Republic, the rise and fall of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, the Holocaust, and Germany’s postwar breakup. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 116 or 338, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

440 Topics in Latin American History. (3, repeatable to 6, for different topics, with permission of department chairperson) Selected topics in the social, political, economic, or intellectual history of Latin America. Topics will vary. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 105 or 106 or 116 or 340 or 341 (as appropriate), or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

444 Topics in Middle Eastern History. (3, repeatable to 6 with permission of department chairperson) Selected topics in the political, social, economic, and intellectual history of the Middle East. Topics may vary. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 115 or 116 or 344, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

451 Problems in History. (1–6, repeatable to 6) Research into areas not specifically covered in other courses. Course credit depends on the nature of the problem and the length of time required to complete the project. Only 3 s.h. may be applied to major or minor requirements. Prerequisites: 9 s.h. of History, 3 s.h. of which must be from WIU; junior standing; and consent of instructor.

452 Readings in History. (1–3, repeatable to 3) Prerequisites: 9 s.h. of History, 3 s.h. of which must be from WIU; junior standing; and consent of instructor.

482 Topics in European History. (3, repeatable to 6) In-depth study of a theme or chronological period in European history. Topics will vary. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 115 or 116 (as appropriate), or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area II.

483 Topics in the History of Science and Technology. (3) In-depth study of a subject or theme in the History of Science and Technology. Topics will vary. Prerequisites: HIST 105, 106, 115, or 116, and at least junior standing; or consent of the instructor. Directed Elective Area I or II.

485 Topics in Asian History. (3, repeatable to 6) Indepth study of a theme or chronological period in Asian History. Topics will vary. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 116 or 345 or 346 or 347, or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area III.

488 Topics in U.S. History. (3, repeatable to 6) In-depth study of a theme or chronological period in U.S. history, from the colonial period to the present. Topics will vary. Prerequisites: at least junior standing and HIST 105 or 106 (as appropriate), or consent of instructor. Directed Elective Area I.

490 Honors Thesis in History. (3) The preparation by an honors student of an undergraduate History thesis under the direction of one or more members of the History Department. Prerequisite: Honors major in History with junior or senior standing.

491 Capstone Seminar in History. (3) Historical research and writing in a seminar setting is the primary focus of this course. Students will complete a major historical research project. Writing Instruction in the Disciplines (WID) course. Prerequisites: History major; HIST 105, 106, 115, 116, and 201; at least two upper-division History courses; ENG 280; at least junior standing; and permission of department advisor.

494 Internship. (1-12, repeatable to 12) Supervised experience of work in archives, historical institutions, or other institutions requiring historical expertise. Prerequisites: consent of department chairperson and junior or senior standing.

Contact Information

Department of History

Dr. Jennifer McNabb, Chairperson
Email: JL-Mcnabb@wiu.edu
Location: Morgan Hall 438
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1053
Fax: (309) 298-2540

History Website

History Directory

College of Arts & Sciences (CAS)

Dr. Susan Martinelli-Fernandez, Dean
Email: Martinelli-Fernandez@wiu.edu
CAS Email: cas@wiu.edu
Location: Morgan Hall 114
1 University Circle
Macomb, IL 61455-1390
Phone: (309) 298-1828

CAS Website

History Advising

Ralph Heissinger
Morgan Hall 436
Phone: (309) 298-1129
Email: RW-Heissinger@wiu.edu

Morgan Hall