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Faculty Unveil Fall 09 History Courses at Course Fair

Mar 13, 2009

Faculty members from the WIU Department of History spoke to students at the Associated Students of History's (ASH) Fall Course Fair about some of the undergraduate courses that will be offered by the Department in the Fall. Registration for WIU's Fall courses begins in April. ASH Vice President Dan Mieszala introduced the faculty who made course presentations, and the students who were present had the opportunity to ask questions about the courses. Light refreshments were provided by faculty members.

Dr. Ute Chamberlin, Assistant Professor of History, spoke about History 438 (Germany, 1918-1949). She explained that the course will deal with the political, social, economic, and military history of Germany during the Weimar and Nazi periods. Using scholarships, novels, and film, students will examine Germany in the aftermath of World War I, the Weimar Republic of 1920s Germany, the rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party, Nazi Germany before World War II, and Germany during and immediately after the war. Students in History 438 will write a research paper using translated primary sources. Graduate students may enroll in the course as History 438G.

Next to speak was Dr. Barclay Key, Assistant Professor of History, who spoke about History 313 (African-American History to 1877). Dr. Key stressed the importance of future secondary school history teachers knowing the history of African Americans. His course will include consideration of the experience of enslaved Blacks, southern free Blacks, escaped slaves, African Americans during the Civil War era, and freedmen and women after the Civil War. Using a combination of primary and secondary sources, students will write a series of short papers in the course based on the assigned books.

Dr. Walter Kretchik, Associate Professor of History, followed, and unveiled the topic for this Fall's History 488 (Topics in US History): "Global and Transnational Conflict from the Revolution to Contemporary Times." Using a seminar approach (with thematic lectures, class discussion of readings, and student presentations on their own research each week), the course will introduce students to global conflict since 1775 in North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Students will examine the transnational transfer of ideas about war across national borders, using readings that include memoirs of soldiers and journal articles. Undergraduates will produce a final research paper appropriate for Undergraduate Research Day in the Spring semester, and graduate students, who may enroll in the course as History 488G, will produce a paper suitable for presentation at a regional academic conference. In addition to History 488, Dr. Kretchik will be teaching his course on U.S. Military History (History 304) in the Fall.

The fourth speaker was Dr. Tim Roberts, Assistant Professor of History, who introduced two courses. In the Fall he will be teaching History 414 (Early American Republic, 1800-1848), which focuses on the nation's history from the end of the revolutionary era to the beginning of the Civil War era. The course will focus on three themes: the origins and development of American democracy, the paradoxical relationship between democracy and expansion, and the transnational context of American history. Dr. Roberts pointed out that America's history during this period bears many similarities to those of present-day developing nations. Graduate students may take the course as History 414G.

Dr. Roberts also spoke briefly about the course he will offer during the four-week June term of Summer School, History 415 (Civil War and Reconstruction), which examines the collapse and failure of American democracy. Students will consider the road to the Civil War (1848-1860), the war itself (1861-1865), and the postwar Reconstruction period (1865-1877). Graduate students may enroll in the course as History 415G.

The final presentation was made by Dr. Jennifer McNabb, Assistant Professor of History and ASH's Faculty Advisor, who introduced two courses. The first, History 434 (Topics in British History), has not been offered for many years. The focus of the course in the Fall will be "Britain during the Reign of Henry VIII." Using a seminar-style approach involving extensive readings in primary and secondary sources, students will examine King Henry VIII himself, the English Reformation under Henry, the structure of the English state, England's domestic and international affairs, elite and popular culture during Henry's reign, and demographic, economic, and social factors that had an impact on life in the British Isles during the Henrician era. Students will develop their skills in historical investigation and learn how to make informed decisions when evaluating historical scholarship. Their final project will be a research paper, which will be presented to the class. Graduate students may enroll in the course as History 434G.

Dr. McNabb also spoke about History 324 (The Middle Ages), which she will also offer this Fall. Students in the course will read a variety of sources, including primary and secondary sources, will participate in a number of group projects, and will write several papers, including one on the Middle Ages in Contemporary Popular Culture (how do the ways that the Middle Ages are used today challenge or reinforce our stereotypes about the era?). Students will examine a variety of themes, including the demographics, economics, and social hierarchy of the period (becoming themselves, for a time, a medieval village); the impact of religion (including the Crusades); the geopolitics of the era; and medieval popular and elite culture.

Although Dr. Roberto Mazza, the Department's new Assistant Professor of Middle East History beginning in the Fall, could not be present for the Course Fair (he is currently teaching at the University of London), he sent handouts about the Middle East History courses he will teach at WIU this Fall: History 144 (Middle East History from the rise of Islam to the present) and History 344 (Modern Middle East History). Both courses are available for General Education Multi-cultural credit, and History 144 is also available for Gen Ed Humanities credit.

Information was also made available at the end of the Course Fair about several other Fall courses whose professors were unable to be present, including Dr. Virginia Leonard's History 340 (Colonial Latin American, to 1860), which will be offered this Fall for the first time in many years; Dr. Ginny Jelatis's History 413 (American Revolution), available for graduate credit as 413G; Dr. Peter Cole's History 416 (Gilded Age and Progressive America, 1877-1914), available for graduate credit as 416G; Dr. Lee Brice's History 320 (Ancient Greece); Dr. Greg Hall's History 301 (Research and Writing in History), which will focus on labor and the American West this Fall; and Dr. Ginny Boynton's History 301 section, which will focus on American society during the era of World War I. In addition, in the Fall Dr. Scott Palmer will offer History 424 (Flight Culture), and Dr. Hall will offer, on the Quad Cities campus, History 422 (American Environmental History), available for graduate credit as 422G.

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