Spring 2014 Undergraduate Course Descriptions

November 4, 2013

Undergraduate Course Descriptions   Spring 2014


Please note that all Proseminars (497), Tutorials (498), are RESTRICTED classes.  This means that enrollment is by consent of the instructor only, and that you CANNOT enroll in them simply by asking for a permission number.  You must personally contact the professor so that he/she can determine whether your enrollment is appropriate given the particular content, approach, requirements, and level of the course.  Before contacting the professor, be sure you have read the description of the class provided below. The professor will then decide whether to give you a permission number.  Also, since these courses fill up quickly, DO NOT wait until your registration date (or even later) to contact the professor.  Do so as soon as you have determined that you wish to take the course.  Following these procedures will assist both you and your  professors.

 Hist 427 Israel’s History and Peoples (also available as JS 427)  Monday/Wednesday 1100-1215     SH186    Professor Jody Myers

Do you want to understand all the news about Israel in the Middle East?   Why is there a Jewish state in the Middle East?  Why don’t Palestinians have their own state?  What is everyone fighting about? Who are the people who live in Israel ~ their stories, their lives, and  their challenges? This course uses an innovative approach to learning:  Read on-line newspapers, watch YouTube videos, and assemble your own blogs. Available as Hist 427, course #18371 or JS 427, course #14001 (cross-listed, so both fulfill History major requirements)

 History 494SOC Internship Program         Arrange                      Dr. Merry Ovnick

Three units of elective credit while you gain work experience, build your résumé, and start a career network.  Consider working in a museum, a historic monument, an archive, in city government, in a community college, a non-profit agency, etc. this spring – or how about a summer in WashingtonDC or Deerfield, MA or a national park – in lieu of a traditional classroom experience?  A minimum 120 hours’ work under professional guidance allows you to “try out” your dream profession.  Open to upper division History majors and minors with a minimum 3.0 GPA and demonstrated writing and reasoning skills.  Graduate students in the History MA program may also participate.  Contact Prof. Merry Ovnick for an appointment:   

 History 497A:  Proseminar                    Tuesday  1600-1845                             SH184            Professor Miriam Neirick

 This research seminar will examine historical narratives written by women from around the world in the twentieth century. Students will consider whether women’s memoirs, diaries, and autobiographies variously challenge, enrich, supplement, or undermine historical narratives of world history that often focus on geo-politics, international diplomacy, trade relations, and broad social movements to the exclusion of the everyday experiences of people, particularly women. In the first half of the course, students will read a selection of women’s narratives, including the diary of a Brazilian woman living in a favela, the memoir of a Communist purged during the Soviet Terror, a collection of autobiographical writings by a South African writer, the autobiography of a Chinese worker at the turn of the century, and the memoir of a Polish born daughter of Holocaust survivors who immigrated to the United States by way of Canada.  During the second half of the course, students will write a 12-15pp. paper based on original research using women’s narratives as their primary sources. Students will also be required to present their research orally at the end of the semester.

History 497B:  Time Traveling to Pre-Modern Europe    Thursday  1600-1845       SH264        Professor Clementine Oliver                                                                             
 Using as our models scholarly works such as Keith Hopkins’ A World Full of Gods and Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England, this research seminar will direct students to write their own historically accurate time traveler’s guide (20 pages) to a particular moment in the pre-modern West.  Events or periods from the late Roman Empire to the Reformation will be considered fair game.  coliver@csun.edu

History 497C:  Proseminar                  Thursday  1900-2145                      SH268         Professor Thomas Devine

This proseminar will focus on the Vietnam War, 1945-1975. Since there are abundant primary sources available in translation, the major research paper topic need not focus on the U.S. involvement in the conflict. Students may also research topics from the French, Soviet, Chinese, North or South Vietnamese perspectives. During the first third of the semester, we will read and interpret numerous primary sources on various aspects of the war. In short writing assignments, students will practice transforming source material into interpretative narratives and jumbled ideas into clear, compelling arguments. In the second third of the semester we will discuss how to develop, research, and write a paper that analyzes and interprets a specific topic related to the Vietnam War. In particular, we will stress the integrated nature of researching and writing, how to devise a story that is worth telling, and how to organize and present an interpretive narrative that is accessible, logical, and worth reading. In the last third of the semester, students will complete a 20 page research paper and present their findings in a brief oral presentation.

History 497D:    The Victorian Age in Britain and America                M 1900-2145       SH 207                              Prof. Auerbach


 Bloomers and bicycles, prudery and pornography, self-help and selfishness, Trollope and Twain, steamships and steampunk. The Victorian Age was the age of cities and suburbs, dogmatism and doubt, empire and etiquette, homosexuality and hypocrisy. It was also an age of contradictions: optimism and anxiety; religious enthusiasm and declining church attendance; industrial growth and progressive reform; separate spheres and female emancipation. The Victorians invented the theme park, the department store, the Christmas card, movies, roller coasters, crime novels, even the internet (or at least the telegraph). This course, which focuses on the Victorian Age in Britain and America, is designed to satisfy the proseminar requirement of the history major by giving students the opportunity to research and write an original essay on a topic of their choice based on relevant primary and secondary sources. After several weeks of common readings on Victorianism on both sides of the Atlantic, students will pursue their own individual research topics through a series of guided assignments including a book review, annotated bibliography, note-taking exercises, rough draft, and final polished essay.


History 498C.  Tutorial in History.  “Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima: Controversies in World War II.”  Professor James Sefton.  Mondays 4-7 PM.  Sierra Hall 288.

 This is a reading, discussion, and writing course about Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.  We will begin with a recent book by John Dower, “Cultures of War.”  Then we will devote several weeks each t Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima, studying causes, effects, results, and historians’ analyses.  Each student will be responsible for one significant individual in the story of the event, and will read, write, and report on that person’s thoughts, views, and actions.  The course thus contains a significant amount of role-playing. History 441 is not a prerequisite, but the standard prerequisite of Grade “C” in 301 does apply.  Since the catalog allows six units of credit in 498, a student may use a second 498 as one of the required upper division electives.  For further information and permission numbers, please consult with me about the course.  I can be reached at 818/677-3549.

 HIST 498C:  Telling the Tale: Narrating the Past for the Public  Wednesday 1600-1845      SH279    Professor Jessica Kim

 This course takes students out of the classroom, away from traditional textbooks, and into the rich world of public history.  With an emphasis on historical museums, landmarks, archives, websites, and documentary films, the course will take a “hands-on” approach to understanding how public audiences engage with the past.  As part of the course, students will visit a number of public history institutions in southern California, including the San Fernando Mission, the Reagan Presidential Library, the Huntington Library, and the Autry National Center.  Students will also have the opportunity to curate their own digital exhibits on a topic of their choice.  Through this approach, students will explore the many creative ways that historians engage public audiences in discussions of the past. 

 History 498C:  Crime and Punishment:  Criminal Action and Public Discourse   Wednesday 1900-2145 SH224  Kathleen Addison

 From the infamous cases of Jack the Ripper to less generally known cases of murder and mayhem, the public conception and consumption of murder and popular justice became part of mass culture in 19th and 20th-century Europe.   The popularity of sensationalist journalism, the rise of detective fiction such as Sherlock Holmes, and the moral discussions regarding justification of violence permeated boundaries of class and restrictions of manners to fascinate and enthrall, as well as create a public discourse on murder, the judicial system, and life in the modern world.  The growth of forensic sciences and administration of justice procedures led to the expectation of rapid resolution, as well as the public participation in the spectacle of justice.  Why were the victims of Jack the Ripper (many of them prostitutes) seen as collateral damage, while the murder of a small child within a gentrified family elicited horror?  What differences were explored among "the other" when murders had religious overtones?  This class will explore case studies of famous murders in 19th and 20th-century Europe to explore the questions of popular conceptions of and rationales for justice.