Department of History

Department Objectives

Students graduating from the University of Nebraska at Kearney with a degree administered by the History Department will demonstrate the historical knowledge, skills, and values associated with an educated citizenry, including:

  1. a working knowledge of past events, people, ideas, and values in the United States and in other parts of the world.
  2. an understanding of contemporary society from a historical perspective that includes multi-cultural and global contexts.
  3. an understanding of the historical foundations of democracy, pluralism, and tolerance.
  4. the ability to interpret the meaning of historical texts in their social, political, economic, and cultural contexts, and to synthesize the implications of historical developments within a particular region or culture.
  5. the ability to create historical narratives that integrate change and continuity over time, employing current historiography and historical methods.
  6. critical thinking and analysis through effective communications skills appropriate to the discipline of history.
  7. an ability to locate, gather, and organize a variety of historical information.
  8. intellectual curiosity and a commitment to the pursuit of knowledge.
  9. an awareness and appreciation for diverse views and contributions to culture and society.
  10. an appreciation for the study of history as a means of understanding both past and contemporary societies.

History-Social Science Major

Four options are available in this major:

  1. History - Bachelor of Arts Degree
  2. History-Social Science Comprehensive - Bachelor of Science Degree
    • Economics Emphasis
    • Geography Emphasis
    • Political Science Emphasis
    • Psychology Emphasis
    • Sociology Emphasis
  3. History 7-12 Teaching Subject Endorsement - Bachelor of Arts in Education Degree
  4. History-Social Science 7-12 Teaching Field Endorsement - Bachelor of Arts in Education Degree

A minor in History is available for students pursuing majors in other disciplines. Elementary Education majors may also minor in Social Science.

Mark Ellis, Chair

Professor: Mary Ailes, Pradeep Barua, Douglas Biggs, Roger Davis, Mark Ellis, Carol Lilly, James Rohrer, Linda Van Ingen

Associate Professor: Chris Steinke, David Vail, Robert (Jeff) Wells

Assistant Professor: Torsten Homberger, William Stoutamire, Nathan Tye

History (HIST)

HIST 110 – History of Science & Medicine     3 credit hours

This course surveys the social, political, economic, and cultural histories of technologies and science in the modern era. By examining the dynamic relationships between science, medicine, technology, and society, this course will provide students with a deeper understanding of how these histories intersect with other sub-specialties such as medicine and health history as well as military, foreign relations, and environmental and agricultural histories.

HIST 111 – Nebraska in the World     3 credit hours

This course surveys the history of Nebraska from pre-contact to the present day from transnational and global perspectives. Nebraska in the World will explore readings and topics that situate the state, its people, politics, culture, economy, and environment within larger international and transnational contexts. By examining the contexts, connections, and circulations of peoples, ideas, and capital between Nebraska and the globe, this class will provide students with a deeper understanding of how Nebraska's history intersects with sub-fields like immigration, political, and environmental histories as well as the history of American empire and foreign relations. Nebraska in the World will also introduce students to the most influential monographs and scholars of transnational history and Nebraska history as well as new developments in the field.

HIST 112 – History of Religions in the World     3 credit hours

This course introduces students to the history of the world's religions. It surveys the origins and historical impact of several of the major religious traditions of the world and examines their core beliefs and rituals in comparative perspective. Topics include the nature of religion and varying approaches to the scholarly study of religion; the emergence of new religions; and overviews of the following religious traditions: African and Native American indigenous traditions; Hinduism; Jainism; Buddhism; Chinese Religions; Shinto; Judaism; Christianity; Islam; and Sikhism.

HIST 156 – Regional Field Study     3 credit hours

Designed to provide students with travel experiences to contribute to their understanding of the history of a particular area of the world.

HIST 176 – Democratic Debates     3 credit hours

A reading and discussion oriented class focusing on democratic development and practice from ancient origins to the modern period. Special attention will be devoted to the formulation of democratic principles and to the procedures and results of the democratic process. Efforts to reform and to expand democracy over time and place will also be highlighted.

HIST 188 – GS Portal     3 credit hours

Students analyze critical issues confronting individuals and society in a global context as they pertain to the discipline in which the Portal course is taught. The Portal is intended to help students succeed in their university education by being mentored in process of thinking critically about important ideas and articulating their own conclusions. Students may take the Portal in any discipline, irrespective of their major or minor. Satisfies the General Studies Portal course requirement. Students may take their Portal course in any discipline. Students who transfer 24 or more hours of General Studies credit to UNK are exempt from taking a portal course.
Total Credits Allowed: 6.00
Prerequisite: First year freshman standing or sophomore standing only.

HIST 210 – Western Civilization     3 credit hours

A brief survey of ancient Near Eastern civilization, history of Greek and Roman peoples, feudalism, medieval church, crusades, Renaissance and Reformation.

HIST 211 – Western Civilization     3 credit hours

The Age of Absolute Monarchy, the French Revolution and Napoleon, Age of Nationalism and the two World Wars.

HIST 212 – Non-Western World History     3 credit hours

A survey of the historical interaction of the specific civilizations which together comprise non-Western world civilization in their intellectual, political, economic, and religious aspects.

HIST 215 – Introduction to Latin America     3 credit hours

A concise review of the history of Latin America from the Aztec and Inca to contemporary affairs. Designed to introduce the student to highlights of political, social, economic, and cultural themes which have coalesced to distinguish these societies in this important part of the Third World.

HIST 250 – American History     3 credit hours

American history covering the period from 1492 to 1865.

HIST 251 – American History     3 credit hours

American history covering the period from 1865 to present.

HIST 280H – Special Topics-Honors     1-3 credit hours

A General Studies course for Honors students. Interdiscplinary course that examines the connections between disciplines.
Total Credits Allowed: 3.00

HIST 290 – Special Topics     1-3 credit hours

Topics are studied which are not assigned or covered in other courses in the department. The format of this course will vary depending on the topic, instructor and the needs of the students.
Total Credits Allowed: 3.00

HIST 299 – The Historian's Craft     3 credit hours

An introduction to the practice of history. The course will introduce students to historical thinking, fields of historical inquiry, research methods, professional standards, and the diverse careers pursued by historians. Students will engage in critical reading, analytical thinking, researching, collaborating, writing, and presenting. Students will engage in experiential learning through a public history activity.

HIST 315 – American Military History     3 credit hours

A survey of American military history.

HIST 327 – World War I     3 credit hours

This course examines the causes, course, and effects of World War I in Europe and the wider world. It places the conflict in the context of a rapidly industrializing continent at the beginning of the twentieth century and explains how the Great War was the disaster of the century, one that set the stage for many of the conflicts that followed.

HIST 328 – World War II     3 credit hours

This course survey the political, ideological, economic, and military causes of World War II and discusses the political and military history of the conflict.

HIST 375 – English History     3 credit hours

English history to 1660.

HIST 376 – English History     3 credit hours

English history since 1660.

HIST 388 – GS Capstone     3 credit hours

An interdisciplinary experience where students apply the knowledge, cognitive abilities, and communication skills they have gained from General Studies in designing and completing an original project or paper. Students employ methods and interpretive means of two or more disciplines to integrate knowledge and synthesize their results. Satisfies the General Studies capstone course requirement. Students may take their Capstone course in any discipline.
Prerequisite: Junior or senior level standing or within 6 hours of completing general studies requirements.

HIST 402 – Age of Alexander the Great     3 credit hours

This course will focus on the change between the Classical Age and the Hellenistic Age. The course will cover the period from the end of the Peloponnesian war to the Jewish independence of the Maccabees. This time period is crucial to Western Civilization since we witness the collapse of the independent Greek city states and the rise of the great national monarchies.

HIST 405 – The Plains Indians     3 credit hours

This course will examine the major tribes of the Great Plains from their earliest occupation on the plains to the present day. While we will examine archaeological, anthropologic, and ethnographic materials, the emphasis will be on the historical record of the late eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. We will examine Indian-White relations as well as the development of Native American societies.

HIST 406 – History and Film     3 credit hours

This course will look at history through the lens of feature films produced in the United States and abroad. Particular emphasis will be placed on how historical representation and interpretation has changed with each generation of film makers. The topics of this course will vary depending on the instructor and the needs of the students.

HIST 407 – History of Sea Power     3 credit hours

This course seeks to introduce students to different themes in the history of the evolution of sea power.

HIST 408 – War and Society     3 credit hours

This course is designed to introduce students to the field of military history. Students will tackle the debate on old vs. new military history. In particular students will examine the impact of social studies or the evolution of military history. A considerable portion of the course will also be spent on examining military history in a non-western setting.

HIST 409 – The High Middle Ages 1050-1350     3 credit hours

This course examines the cultural, political, economic, and social developments of the High Middle Ages, a period of dramatic and important change in the western world, focusing on the religious reformation of the eleventh century, the twelfth-century renaissance, and the rise of towns and urban commerce, and the growth of centralized governments.

HIST 410 – Methods and Historiography     3 credit hours

An examination of the historian's craft that considers philosophical and interpretive issues central to the discipline, major schools of interpretation, and the process of historical research and writing.

HIST 411 – Saints and Sinners     3 credit hours

This course examines social organization and cultural institutions that shaped the western world between late antiquity and the Renaissance, focusing on the interaction between major institutions, such as family and religion, and the lives of medieval women and men.

HIST 412 – Society and Gender in the Middle Ages     3 credit hours

This class is designed to introduce students to the ways that gender and sexuality were defined, understood, and enacted in medieval society. The course examines both accepted and deviant sexual behaviors as well as notions of masculinity and femininity. Attitudes toward these ideas and behaviors are considered within the social, political, and religious contexts of the Middle Ages.

HIST 416 – History of Christianity     3 credit hours

A broad overview of Christian history from antiquity to the present, with special emphasis upon the complex social, economic, and political forces which have made Christianity a global religion of incredible diversity. Special attention will be given to Christianity in the non-Western world, as well as the central role of women in Christian tradition.

HIST 420 – Women in Europe     3 credit hours

A history of women in Europe from prehistoric times to the present.

HIST 421 – Women in America     3 credit hours

A history of women in America from the colonial period to the present.

HIST 422 – Nazi Germany     3 credit hours

This is an upper level course that focuses on the history of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust from 1919 to 1945. It is designed to give students a more in-depth understanding of the events those years and to show how the events that took place in Europe between 1933 and 1945 not only led to the most destructive war of the twentieth century, but led to the worst atrocity in recorded history - the Holocaust.

HIST 429 – Religion in America     3 credit hours

A historical introduction to the various religious communities of the United States from Pre-Columbian times to the present. The course gives special attention to religious influences upon social and political institutions, changing patterns of church-state relations, and the challenges posed by religious pluralism throughout American history.

HIST 431 – Colonial America 1492-1750     3 credit hours

Examines the development of Colonial British America from the first English explorers to the French and Indian War.

HIST 432 – Revolutionary America, 1750-1800     3 credit hours

Examines the American Revolution from its origins through its culmination in the adoption and implementation of the Constitution.

HIST 433 – The National Period, 1800-1850     3 credit hours

Explores the expansion and development of the American nation from the Louisiana Purchase through the Mexican-American War.

HIST 439 – Pre-Hispanic and Colonial Latin America     3 credit hours

Political, social, economic, and cultural dynamics of Amerindian civilizations and colonial Latin America up to independence.

HIST 441 – Modern Latin America     3 credit hours

Examination of political, cultural, social, and economic dynamics of Latin American nations and region from independence to present.

HIST 445 – The Civil War and Reconstruction     3 credit hours

Causes leading to the Civil War, the war itself, and the attempt to reunify the social, economic, and political framework of America.

HIST 450 – Variable Topics in Latin American History     3 credit hours

In-depth study of a country or region in Latin American or an in-depth analysis of a specific topic of historical or contemporary importance in understanding Latin American history and culture.

HIST 451 – Comparative Colonialism: Asia and Africa     3 credit hours

This course will analyze the primary social, cultural, and political forces that helped create and sustain the vast colonial empires in Asia and Africa.

HIST 452 – Colonial India     3 credit hours

This course will examine the major social, cultural and political forces that helped create colonial India.

HIST 453 – Modern India     3 credit hours

This course aims to introduce students to the complex cultural, political and economic factors that created the 'nation' of India as it is known today. The course begins in 1947 when India grained independence from Britain. It will examine in detail the major issues that have helped mold the history of contemporary India.

HIST 455 – Comparative Studies in Ethnic Conflict     3 credit hours

This course is designed to engage students in an intense study of theories of ethnic conflict. Students will also be involved in a comparative study of the militarization of ethnic conflict in various regions of the world.

HIST 456 – Regional Field Study     1-4 credit hours

Designed to provide students with travel experiences to contribute to their understanding of the history of a particular area of the world.
Total Credits Allowed: 4.00

HIST 457 – British Empire     3 credit hours

The rise and expansion of the British Empire from its earliest beginnings to the present.

HIST 458 – Great Plains Studies     1-3 credit hours

Offers the opportunity to reflect on life through the literature and other lore of the Great Plains. Through a different subject focus each offering, the course integrates literary, historical, and paleontological investigations around issues affecting the plains, with a special focus on prairie.
Total Credits Allowed: 3.00

HIST 459 – European Expansion and Exploration     3 credit hours

The motivations for European expansion and exploration overseas from 1300 until 1800 and the impact that European contact with the rest of the world had upon the societies of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe.

HIST 461 – Renaissance and Reformation     3 credit hours

The political, economic, religious and social development of Europe from the Crusades through the era of the European Reformation.

HIST 462 – Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Europe     3 credit hours

History of Europe from the Thirty Years' War to the French Revolution with special emphasis on the Enlightenment.

HIST 463 – French Revolution and Napoleon     3 credit hours

The causes of the French Revolution and the political, social, and intellectual impact of the Revolution upon western Europe.

HIST 464 – Introduction to Public History     3 credit hours

This course will introduce students to the history, theory, and practice of public history. Public history is a catchall phrase for the ways that people produce, consume, and disseminate historical knowledge outside of the classroom. This includes how both scholars and the general public process and transmit history, apply history to real-life situations, and seek to preserve historic resources. Students will develop an understanding of non-academic forms of historical knowledge while being exposed to some of the field's many disciplines, including museums, archives, and historic preservation.

HIST 465 – Community History & Preservation     3 credit hours

Students in this class will learn the basics of conducting public history projects in small communities. To do this they will develop an understanding of the concept of "community," particularly as it relates to the formation of collective identities grounded in a real or imagined past. Although topics and projects vary by semester, students will come away from this class with a better understanding of how communities create, transmit, and contest historical knowledge as well as imprint it on the physical landscape. This class includes a community-based project with preservation and/or conservation components.

HIST 466 – Museums & Archives     3 credit hours

Museums / Archives Museums and archives hold special places in contemporary society, as they are charged with protecting and preserving historical resources that contribute to understanding of local, state, and national pasts. This class includes three components. Students will develop knowledge of the history of museums and archives in the United States, coming to understand them not as static institutions but as dynamic social constructs that reflect the values and worldviews of their creators. The second portion will introduce students to key functions of museums and archives, including collections management, fundraising, and organizational structures. Finally, the course will include guidance on professional development.

HIST 468 – Digital History     3 credit hours

This course explores the use of digital tools and sources in historical research and the sharing of historical information with public and scholarly audiences.

HIST 471 – History of the Pacific Rim     3 credit hours

This course will examine the development of Pacific Rim nations from 1500 to the present. While the entire region will be studied, the emphasis will be on the cultural, political, and economic relations between the United States, Japan, China, and Russia as well as the colonizing powers of Spain, France, and Great Britain.

HIST 473 – American Constitutional History I     3 credit hours

Constitutional history of the United States to 1860.

HIST 474 – American Constitutional History II     3 credit hours

Continuation of History 473. Period covered is from 1860 to the present.

HIST 475 – Internship in History     1-9 credit hours

This course emphasizes the professional development of the student in the area of the student's professional interest. Grade will be recorded as credit/no credit.
Total Credits Allowed: 9.00

HIST 476 – Applied Digital History     3 credit hours

Students in this course will collaborate on the creation of a digital history project for public and scholarly audiences. The focus of the course will be on the applied use of specific digital tools.

HIST 477 – American Thought and Culture, 1620-1865     3 credit hours

Examines the origins and development of American social, political, and religious ideas through the Civil War.

HIST 478 – American Thought and Culture, 1865-1990     3 credit hours

Examines the origins and development of American social, political, and religious ideas after the Civil War.

HIST 479 – Nebraska and the Great Plains History     3 credit hours

This course will emphasize the natural environment of the plains, human attempts to settle and utilize the region's resources, and the role of Nebraska and the Great Plains in United States History. Recommended for elementary teachers.

HIST 481 – North American Frontiers, 1500-1850     3 credit hours

This course will examine the process of European frontier expansion from the 1500s to the point at which the new nations of North America had basically developed both the geographic boundaries and political structures that essentially ended territorial expansion on this continent. We will examine not only the United States' frontier, but also those of Spain, Mexico, France, Britain, and Russia in North America, providing a chance for students to compare various aspects of the frontier in different regions under different authorities. Major themes in the course will stress the interaction between Whites and Indians, as well as European efforts to utilize the continent's natural resources.

HIST 482 – The American West, 1850-Present     3 credit hours

This course will examine the development of the western United States. After a very short review of western settlement prior to 1850s, the course will examine the tremendous development that occurred in the West in the later half of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. The course will then examine the changes in the West that were brought about by the New Deal and World War II, and finish by looking at the particular problems that face the West since 1945. Major emphasis will be given to ethnic interaction in the West, resource exploitation/development, and the emergence in the West of new industries.

HIST 483 – The Gilded Age 1870-1898     3 credit hours

An analysis of the transformation of an agrarian America into an urban-industrial society, 1870-1898.

HIST 484 – The United States: 1898-1941     3 credit hours

The rise of America as a world power and the problems of reform and industrial expansion in early twentieth century America.

HIST 485 – The United States Since 1941     3 credit hours

A detailed study of some of the more important aspects of the history of the period.

HIST 486 – Imperial Russia     3 credit hours

A general survey of the political, social, economic, diplomatic, and cultural developments of Russian civilization from 800 A.D. to 1917.

HIST 488 – Nineteenth Century Europe     3 credit hours

The period from the French Revolution and Napoleon to World War I.

HIST 489 – Fascism and Communism in Twentieth Century Europe     3 credit hours

This course will explore the commonalities and divergences between fascism, communism, and nationalism and their twentieth century manifestations. After investigating the intellectual roots, social bases and key elements of these ideologies, we will examine their concrete manifestations in Europe, including Hitler's Germany, Soviet communism under Stalin, and postwar Yugoslavia.

HIST 490 – Twentieth Century Europe     3 credit hours

Cultural and political aspects of the history of Europe since World War I.

HIST 492 – Soviet Russia     3 credit hours

The 1917 revolution and the development of the Soviet state with an emphasis on domestic policies.

HIST 493 – Modern Eastern Europe     3 credit hours

While we will survey the nineteenth century, the thrust of the course will be on the post World War I period. Here issues such as nationalism, big power rivalry, modernization, the peasantry, the political left and the extreme right will be closely examined for the period up to World War II. Then World War II with the crucial postwar period of Sovietization will be covered. Finally, we will consider the Revolutions of 1989 and their aftermath.

HIST 495 – Topical Studies     3 credit hours

Topics are studied which are not assigned or covered in other courses in the department. The format of this course will vary depending on the topic, instructor and the needs of the students.
Total Credits Allowed: 15.00

HIST 496 – Senior Seminar in History: Variable Topics     3 credit hours

The purpose of this course is to allow students to explore a selected topic in depth. Topics will be selected in accordance with the research expertise of the instructor. Students will spend the first seven weeks of the course reading secondary literature on the topic. In the final eight weeks, students will design, research, and write a twenty-page original research paper. They will present their work, in oral and written form, to the seminar.
Total Credits Allowed: 9.00

HIST 499 – Independent Study     1-4 credit hours

Independent readings in history for the advanced undergraduate. Readings to be selected and directed by a history faculty member. Students wishing to take this course must obtain written approval in advance from the department chair.
Total Credits Allowed: 9.00