Fall 2024 Courses

Welcome to the Fall 2024 semester! This is a great moment to plan and declare your History major, minor, or cluster. The BA in history is a flexible major that consists of 10 courses, although many students exceed that number. The history minor requires 6 courses. The department also offers over sixteen options for the 3-course clusters in History. For more info on declaring, please visit the following page: Declaring a major or minor

History students also have considerable research opportunities through the HOUR Program, the Honors Program, and other initiatives.

First- and Second-Year Students

Students in the Class of 2028 and 2027 should enroll in HIST 200 – Gateway to History. This course is required for the History major and serves as an introduction to historical practice. Gateway courses explore what professional historians actually do and how they do it.

In Fall 2024, we are offering two Gateway courses: Eastern Front and Rise and Fall of Apartheid.


Eastern Front

Professor Matthew Lenoe, M/W 11:50 am -1:05 pm


In this course, we will examine the most gigantic, devastating war in world history: the Nazi-Soviet conflict of 1941-45. We will explore life on the Soviet home front, the Holocaust and life in the occupied territories, partisan warfare, the significance of Lend Lease for the Soviet war effort, soldiers’ experience of the war, and key battles such as the Battle of Moscow in the winter of 1941-42 and the Battle of Stalingrad.

World War Two snow covered battle of the Eastern Front 


Third- and Fourth-Year Students

Students in the Class of 2026 and 2025 should pursue writing-intensive “W” courses and work of completing their focus area. All majors are required to take two “W” courses, one of which must be at the 300-level. 

Transfer students interested in the major or minor should schedule a meeting to talk with Prof. Thomas Fleischman, director of undergraduate studies, by emailing thomas.fleischman@rochester.edu.


Suggested Fall 2024 courses


HIST 119: The Black Death 


Professor Laura Smoller, T/R 12:30-1:45pm

This course examines the Black Death (1346-53) as an epidemiological, cultural, and historical phenomenon. Analyzing such disparate types of evidence as paleogenetics, chronicles, art, and literature, we will address questions of the plague’s etiology, spread, mortality rate, and social and economic effects. Inspired by our own recent experience with COVID-19, we will also consider cultural reactions to pandemic disease and rampant death, as well as the disparate interpretations and responses of contemporaries and modern observers alike.

 14th Century Black Death Image

HIST 149: America's Latinos 


Professor Ruben Flores, M/W 3:25-4:40 pm

Latinos now number more than 60 million people and represent one of the quickest population surges in the history of the American republic. But they include a diverse collection of nationalities and ethnic groups whose variety poses analytical challenges to historians and other scholars. Using a case study approach that will emphasize primary sources and monographs, we will analyze a variety of strategies through which recent historians have interpreted the relationship of Latinos to American society. We will ask whether it makes a difference to understand Latinos as immigrants with unique histories, products of empire resulting from American economic expansion, or sojourners with ongoing ties to Latin America. We will consider national differences between Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. And we will examine how scholars have interpreted the relationship of Latinos to America's other myriad peoples. Our ultimate concern will be to prepare students for further research and writing in the field.

Chicano art mural from San Francisco

HIST 191: America’s Best Idea? History of National Parks


Instructor Daniel McDermottT/R 2-3:15 pm


This course explores the creation and function of national parks, and therefore more broadly nature conservation, around the globe from the 19th century until the present. The course will be broken into two parts. The first part explores the history of national parks in the United States, examining Ken Burn’s claim, and later the National Park Service’s centennial slogan, that national parks were “America’s best idea.” The course will cover the creation of well-known national parks in the American West, the influence of New Deal era programs like the Civilian Conservation Corp, the controversy regarding national parks in Alaska, and the rising popularity of national parks in the postwar era. The second part of the course will then examine national parks outside the United States where some countries exported the American model, while others formed national parks in completely different historical contexts.

Everglades National Park at sunset 

HIST 197: Race and Labor in American History: Immigration, Migration, and Labor Stereotypes


Instructor Katelyn P. GetchelM/W 11:50 am - 1:05 pm


Race and Labor in American History will cover the various ways labor in American history is racialized to specific ethnic groups as a byproduct of migration and immigration. Often, this labor is stereotyped as these immigrants, migrants, and their ethnic groups often get associated with specific labor niches; it was expected for only that group to be said workers. This course will cover topics from the Mammy to H1-B visas in the tech industry. From this course, students will gain an understanding of the ways labor in this country is racialized, where these stereotypes come from, and to what extent these labor niches have become part of the American narrative.

1912 Labor Day parade featuring Suffragists 

HIST 229/W: Victorian England: Portrait of an Age


Professor Stewart Weaver, M/W 9-10:15 am


This course is a thematic introduction to the political, social, intellectual, and cultural history of Victorian England (and, by extension, Victorian Britain and the nineteenth-century British empire). It has no pre-requisites and is open to anyone with a genuine interest in the subject. Our approach will be both topical and chronological: by way of selective moments and episodes in Victorian history, we will move roughly but not perfectly forward in time in order the bring the main themes of the period into focus. Our format is a mix of open lectures and discussions supplemented by the occasional documentary film.

Drawing of Victorian era women

HIST 276/W: Sports in US History


Professor Brianna Theobald, M/W 9-10:15am


Recent acts of protest by high school, collegiate, and professional athletes--including, at times, a refusal to play--remind us that sports are not and have never been separate from the world of politics, nor are they isolated from social, cultural, and economic contexts. Rather, sports reflect the society in which they are embedded and at times have spurred change in these realms. This course will explore U.S. history in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries through the lens of sports. Among the many questions we will consider are: How might one define a sport, and how have popular understandings of sport changed over time? What functions have sports served in American life? How have sports reinforced inequities in American society, such as those along racial, socioeconomic, and/or gendered lines? To what degree have sports defied these boundaries, acting as agents of democratization?Above all, we will ask: What does it mean to study sports historically?

 Jacking Robinson sliding into homebase

HIST 277/W: When New York was the Wild West


Professor Michael JarvisT/R 9:40-10:55 am


This lecture course considers New York as a dynamic site of historic encounters and development from 1500 to 1850, a multicultural frontier where Indigenous, Dutch, French, British, and American clashed and mingled. We will particularly emphasize New York City and Western New York's past as we study global events through local lenses.

Historic New Amsterdam drawing 

HIST 278/W: bell hooks: Writer and Theorist 


Professor Melanie Chambliss, T/R 3:25-4:40 pm


bell hooks published her landmark book Ain’t I a Woman in 1981, and with it, she became one of the most prominent voices to emerge from the Black feminist movement. hooks challenged intersecting oppressions throughout her versatile canon. She authored more than two dozen books with topics ranging from classism to education, history, movies, literature, and love. hooks gravitated towards popular culture because she wanted to connect with larger audiences while still maintaining her critical voice. Scholars and readers are now starting to assess this prolific writer’s legacy after hooks died in 2021. In this course, we will read hooks's work as a lens for examining larger themes within Black women’s intellectual history. We will also explore nineteenth- and twentieth-century Black women writers—hooks’s peers and foremothers—as we ask questions about hooks's intellectual lineage, revolutionary vision, populist approach, and lasting legacy.

bell hook's photograph