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Courses

Course numbering reflects level:

  • 100 and 200 level courses are appropriate for all students of all majors, especially freshmen and sophomores.

  • 300 level courses are research oriented. Junior level is advised.

  • 400 level courses are sophisticated surveys, intended to allow seniors to pull their college experience together.


Course numbering reflects the area of study, too:

  • x10 = United States

  • x20 = Global History

  • x30 = European History

  • x90 = Public History Track

The courses in the unique Monmouth College History curriculum are designed to build upon the skills learned at each level. For that reason, successful completion of one credit at the 100 level by majors is recommended before a student takes a 200-level course, and successful completion of one credit at the 200 level is required before majors can take a 300-level course.

Sample History Courses

The course titles below are examples---we regularly rotate courses in and out of the schedule and we respond to student interest by creating new courses. For a list of current course offerings and their descriptions, see the Monmouth College Course Schedule linked to the Registrar’s page.

100-Level Primary Source Based History Courses

These courses teach students how to locate and interpret primary sources and use them as the basis for constructing history. Each class is centered on a narrow slice of history. You will learn how to ask questions of the documents, to seek corroboration of facts and their interpretations, and to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different document types. The specific skills taught include how to cite, how to quote from, and how to interpret documents. You will learn and practice the basic skills of historical interpretation: primary-source analysis, understanding cause and effect, exploring change over time, and comprehending the importance of historical context.

110: United States

  • The Boston Tea Party
  • Slaves, Saints, and Smallpox: The 18th Century South
  • Uppity Women in 1848: The First Women’s Rights Convention
  • The Wild West
  • Stories in Blue and Gray: Lives of Civil War Soldiers
  • Gods and Generals: Religion and the Civil War
  • The President is Dead: The Assassination of Lincoln
  • The Great Chicago Fire of 1871
  • The Sinking of the Lusitania
  • The Atom Bomb: “I Have Become Death”
  • Boom! A Sixties Snapshot
  • Women’s Liberation: Wanting It All in the 1960’s and 1970’s
  • Jonestown: Suicide or Murder?
  • Massacre at Waco: Raid on the Branch Davidian Compound
  • AIDS in America
  • U.S. History Through Holidays

120: Global

  • The Ancient World: Egypt, Mesopotamia, Jerusalem
  • Literature is Fire: Radical Thought in Latin America
  • The Long Today

130: Europe

  • Mad Emperors and Bad Ones: From Caesar to Vespasian
  • Medieval History: Vikings
  • Cops and Robin Hood
  • Mary Queen of Scots
  • Cranks, Reformers & Radicals in Victorian England
  • Women in Victorian Scotland
  • Ireland and World War I
  • The London Blitz
  • European Union

200-Level Secondary Source Based History Courses

These courses will teach you how to read secondary sources critically and deepen the skills learned in the 100-level courses. You will be encouraged to understand how and why historians have a particular way of thinking and writing, to see how some strive for the elusive goal of objectivity while others follow specific ideological, theoretical, or political agendas in their work, and why some even refuse to admit the possibility of properly understanding the past. Secondary source analysis explains how historians use primary sources to reconstruct and interpret the past, thus serving as a bridge between the 100-level courses and these 200-level offerings.

200: Historiography

These courses are based on secondary sources, emphasizing the skill of close reading in a study of how historians have interpreted the past.

  • 210: American Historiography
  • 220: Global Historiography
  • 230: European Historiography

210: United States

  • The Life of George Washington
  • The War of 1812
  • Gods and Generals: Religion & the Civil War
  • From Prairie to Rust Belt: Illinois & the Midwest
  • The U.S. and World War I
  • Revenge Served Cold: WWII in the Pacific

  • The Vietnam Era
  • History thru Movies: Political Thrillers

220: Global

  • Modern Global History

  • The Black Atlantic World
  • The Crusades
  • Pirates of the Barbary and the Caribbean
  • World History of Food: From Apple Pie to Zabaglione

  • Films for Foodies: Food, History, & Identity
  • The Mexican Revolution
  • The Marvelous City: A Cultural History of Rio de Janeiro
  • History thru Movies: Brazilian Cinema & the Creation of a National Identity

230: Europe

  • Everyday Life in Rome
  • Scottish Witches
  • The Renaissance
  • Henry VIII
  • The French Revolution
  • Napoleon & the Congress of Vienna
  • Scottish Scientists
  • World War I Hospitals
  • Scottish Spies
  • Stalin
  • War & Peace
  • History & Culture of Ireland
  • 20th Century European History
  • History thru Movies: France, Romance, & Drama
  • History thru Movies: Espionage

300-Level Research Courses

In these courses you will research a narrowly defined topic within a specific theme, using the skills and deploying the knowledge you have previously learned. The outcome of the research courses will be a paper of substance based on your interpretation of primary and secondary sources.

310: United States

  • Research Topics in Monmouth College History
  • Family History
  • Fragments of the U.S. Past: Political History
  • Virtue & Vice in Early America
  • In God We Trust: Religion in America
  • The Great Depression

320: Global

  • World’s Fairs

330: Europe

  • Islands & Nations: Research in British & Irish History

400-Level Survey Courses

These broad-ranging surveys offer wide perspectives on the history of a general geographical region or era. The survey courses will continue the process of preparing you for your life-long engagement with our deeply globalized, highly networked society. By concentrating on the interrelatedness of geographical areas, the surveys will provide a useful link to Citizenship courses. We will encourage you to make connections with previous coursework and to understand specific information in the broad contexts provided by your liberal arts education.

410: United States

  • The American Century

420: Global

  • World Histories, 1400-1750
  • World Histories, 1700-Present

430: Europe

  • Western Civilization, 1450-1848
  • The British Empire

Public History Track

This exciting series of courses is meant for those students interested in careers in Museum Studies, Archives, Archives Management, Library Science, and Archaeology. Monmouth College is one of only a very small group of colleges to teach such courses at the undergraduate level.

HIST 140: Archaeological Methods
An introduction to the theoretical approaches and field methodologies of archaeology.

HIST 190: Introduction to Archives
A hands-on introduction to handling, cataloging, preserving, and locating materials in the Monmouth College Archives.

HIST 192: Introduction to Public History
This course introduces students to the use of historical thinking and historical methods outside of the classroom for museums, libraries, archives, businesses, and other non-academic audiences. We will practice historical research, preservation, and presentation in public forums, and we will consider the ethical implications of doing such work. We will also explore public history as a vocational alternative to teaching history.

HIST 195: Archaeology Lab
This course provides hands-on experience working with the MC Native American Artifact Collection in a laboratory setting. Through the handling of authentic antiquities in a scientific manner students will be introduced to cultural resource management. After introductory lectures on Western Illinois prehistory and lithic technology, students will be taught how to assess and catalogue the collection’s artifacts properly. Other avenues of possible student collection management include artifact photography, website development, database management, and community outreach programs. No prerequisite.

HIST 210: Public Memory
This course explores how non-historians, such as politicians, journalists, popular authors, and others use the past to assert a particular social or political agenda. This is contributes to what has been called “public memory,” or conceptions of the past that are generated, modified, and employed in public conversation, sometimes in contradiction to scholarly depictions of the past.

HIST 270: Archaeology Topics
Offered on various topics which change frequently, these courses will introduce students to the work of archaeologists through secondary sources.

HIST 290: Practicum in Archival Work
A course in the theory and practice of archival work, building upon the skills learned in HIST 190, and usually including work in digitization.

HIST 390: Internship Practicum/Archival Management
An on- or off-campus internship experience. Students will create a portfolio of their project to use for graduate school and/or job applications.

ENGL 490: Library Science Internship
This course will introduce the basics of library science work and explore the career field.

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