• CSUN History Department

Spring 2017 Undergraduate Course Descriptions

November 10, 2016

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Spring 2017



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 497A Proseminar Afro-Latin Americans: Legal and Religious Contentions        Monday 1600-1845       SH268            

For over five centuries Africans and their descendants have been agents of economic, political, and cultural transformations in Latin America societies. Violently uprooted from their communities in Africa, born in bondage or freedom across the Atlantic, Afro-Latin Americans resorted to multiple strategies of adjustment and resistance to class, racial, gender, and religious domination during colonial times. After independence and gradual abolition, Afro-descendants have seen their status as citizens marred by old and new forms of discrimination and inequality. In both periods, law and religion have played significant roles in the lives of Afro-Latin Americans and in their efforts to cope with and fight against those adverse conditions.

In this seminar we will discuss some of the most recent scholarship about the legal strategies used by slave and free Afro-Latin Americans to restrain their masters’ powers and gain freedom, to contend for legal rights and assert their status as citizens, and to demand effective public policies to redress inequalities. We will also analyze how religions such as Brazilian Candomblé, Cuban Santería, or Haitian Vodou have provided networks of identity and bases of support for the struggles of Afro-Latin Americans. Last, we will discuss how and why after been considered for decades as icons of barbarism and crime, Afro-Latin American religions became legitimate symbols national identity and, more recently, emblems of Afro-descendants’ race-conscious mobilization.

By the end of the semester, each student will complete a research paper based on primary sources and focused on topics designed by the instructor of the course.  Please contact the History Department at 818 677 3566 for a permission number.

History 497B Proseminar:   Thursday    1900-2145   SH184       Dr.  Robert Cleve

The popular image of the Roman emperor in the modern world is of a sovereign monarch exercising absolute power and authority, a ruler responsible only to himself and able to employ the vast resources of the Roman Empire in any way and for any purpose he chooses, whether for his own selfish benefit or for the public good. All law, public policy, and government action emanates from the emperor. In the modern media, popular fiction and “blockbuster” Hollywood movies, Roman emperors are almost always depicted as hopelessly decadent figures that spend most of their time and energy indulging in drunken orgies. However, is this the accurate image of ancient Rome?

The ancient historian Cassius Dio told a story about the emperor Hadrian that presents quite a different picture: “When a women made a request of him as he passed on a journey, he at first said to her, ‘I haven’t time,’ but afterwards, when she cried out, ‘Stop being emperor then,’ he turned about and granted her a hearing.”

This seminar will review both primary and secondary sources to analyze the basis, origins, extent, and limits of the emperor’s power and authority in the Roman world and attempt to arrive at a more accurate and realistic image of the of the Roman emperor.

 History 497C  Proseminar:   Homefront Southern California          Professor Nan Yamane        Wednesday   1900 -2145       SH184      

In the wake of the Great Depression, WWII and the Cold War brought bittersweet prosperity to Americans.  What was the full impact of these wars on the lives and ideals of Southern Californians in the 1940s and 1950s?  In this seminar, we will explore the intertwined themes of reality and rhetoric in the Southern California of the forties and fifties, and the dark side of a "homefront" that so critically defined our region.

We will begin with the legacy of the thirties, as expressed in the 1939 writings of Nathaniel West, Raymond Chandler, Aldous Huxley, as well as Erle Stanley Gardner and John MacDonald.  These writers render a cynical view of human nature, and also introduce us to the region of our focus at the end of the thirties--Los Angeles, Hollywood, Ventura, and Santa Barbara.  Second, we will spend most of our time understanding ways in which people coped with conflicts over race, class, and gender and crime, as well as problems of alcohol, drugs, addiction, and mental illness. Third, cultural representations of the era in comic books, hard-boiled fiction, radio, film noir, and non-fiction writing on religion and ethics give us a view of the ways in which people understood their times, as well as examples of ways in which people began to "name" and to address negative aspects of life in the era of the "Greatest Generation."       

Alongside the building of war-centered industries we see the flourishing of Hollywood, organized crime, Jails, the Los Angeles Police Department (and its organization under Chief William H. Parker), Camarillo State Hospital (and psychiatry), religious organizations, and the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions—to name a few.  We will look into the cracks of "fortress California" for a deeper understanding of the full impact of war and mobilization at a time when "We Can Do it" and "Democracy" were the slogans of the day.

History 498C  Tutorial: Resistance in Latin America through Film and Literature       Professor Juarez-Dappe      Wednesday 4:00-6:45pm    SH184 

Latin Americans have been more defiant than the available literature will lead us to believe. Scholars tend to equate protest with guerrilla wars or terrorism but the evidence indicates that resistance takes many forms and articulates a broad spectrum of ideologies. In this course we will explore alternative expressions of popular resistance in different parts of Latin America during the 19th and 20th centuries. We will critically analyze historical developments in the region with particular emphasis on women, slaves, natives, and workers. Through the analysis of films, monographs, scholarly articles and primary sources, you will achieve a thorough appreciation of how diverse and successful popular resistance has been among Latin Americans. Please contact Professor Juarez-Dappe at

History 498C  Tutorial:  The Enlightenment        Thursday 1600-1845     SH268       Professor Erik Goldner   

This course introduces advanced undergraduate students to the history of the Enlightenment. What was the Enlightenment? Why is it important? How “enlightened” was it really? And how was Enlightenment thinking related to social and political transformations that occurred in the period? Students will engage with these and other questions by reading some of the Enlightenment’s most famous works and discussing, analyzing, and writing about them in an intensive way.

History 498C:  Women in European Life In the Modern Era      Tuesday  1900-2145      SH268              Prof. Kathleen Addison                         

This discussion course will explore the diverse lives of women in European society as travelers, workers, agents of change, revolutionaries, writers, artists, scientists and rulers, as well as their traditionally prescribed realm of motherhood.   We will also look at their participation in the social, political, and economic activities in context, both from the action as well as the margins. What were their legal rights?  What access to literature and education?  What options in the public versus private spheres?  We will explore the lives of women from their own perspective and sources in the modern age through biographies, journals, as well as their own contributions to the growing "woman question."    Students interested in taking the class should email Professor Addison at