Jul 09, 2020  
Course Catalog 2018-2019 
Course Catalog 2018-2019 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Renee C. Romano, Professor of History, Africana Studies and Comparative American Studies; Chair of History
Zeinab Abul-Magd, Associate Professor of History
Matthew Bahar, Assistant Professor of History
David E. Kelley, Associate Professor of History and East Asian Studies
Clayton R. Koppes, Professor of History
Shelley Lee, Associate Professor of History and Comparative American Studies
Pablo Mitchell, Professor of History and Comparative American Studies
Tamika Nunley, Assistant Professor of History
Leonard V. Smith, Frederick B. Artz Professor of History
Emer O’Dwyer, Associate Professor of History and East Asian Studies
Annemarie H. Sammartino,  Professor of History
Danielle Terrazas Williams, Assistant Professor of History
Ellen Wurtzel, Associate Professor of History

History encompasses the study of peoples, cultures, and institutions across many periods of time. The History Department offers courses on the United States, Latin America, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and South, East and Central Asia. History classes examine these areas from a variety of historical approaches, including political, social, cultural, intellectual, economic, and environmental perspectives. Many also focus on gender, religion, labor, race and/or ethnicity. Some courses concentrate on particular national or regional histories, while others are comparative, transnational or global. Our faculty uses a variety

Advanced Placement.

Students with a grade of 4 or 5 on the US History, European History, or World History AP examinations may receive one full course of social science credit toward graduation for each qualifying score.

Students receiving scores of 6 or 7 for IB History of the Americas or IB European may also receive one course of social science credit toward graduation. To apply for graduation credit for other IB courses, students should bring the transcript, the syllabus, and a sample written work to the History Department chair for review. Students may not receive credit for both AP and IB courses in overlapping areas.  No student may receive credit toward graduation for any combination of more than 2 courses in either the IB or AP programs in History. AP or IB credit is granted only during the first year that a student enrolls at Oberlin College.

All AP or IB courses transferred in through the History Department count toward the 5-course (20 credit) maximum that may be transferred for all courses taken before matriculation, as per Oberlin College. Credit from AP or IB courses do not count towards the 9-course History major requirements.

History Course Levels

Course Levels: 

  • 100-level courses are introductory-level survey classes that focus on large geographical areas over long periods of time. They introduce content as well as historiography, and help students develop skills in historical thinking. Survey classes usually comprise a two-semester sequence, though the first is not a prerequisite for the second, and students are not obligated to take both semesters. 
  • 200-level courses are generally offered without prerequisites, and focus on a theme, a shorter time period, a particular group of people, or a smaller geographical unit than 100-level surveys. Like 100-level courses, they introduce content as well as historiography. They help students develop skills in historical thinking and, often, research methodologies. 
  • 300-level courses are research-oriented courses and are open to students with appropriate preparation with the instructor’s consent. They explore a theme, time period, and/or particular location. They emphasize the tools and processes that historians use to do research, including work in primary sources as appropriate. 
  • 400-level courses are open to students with appropriate preparation with the instructor’s consent. They focus on exploring the historiography of specific areas, themes, and/or time periods, and emphasize critical reading and writing. 
  • 500-level courses include Senior Projects (History 500, a one-semester course in which seniors pursue an in-depth research project) and the honors sequence (History 501-502), available by departmental invitation to seniors (see “Honors” below).


The History Major requires 9 full courses, including:

  • At least 1 course at the 100-level (excluding FYSP)
  • At least 1 course at the 200-level 
  • At least 1 course at the 300-level
  • At least 1 course at the 400-level
  • Introduction to Historical Methods (History 299)

In addition, the 9 courses must include

  •  At least 1 course designated as “Pre-Modern”
  •  At least 1 course in three of the different geographic areas regularly or occasionally offered by the Department:

- Africa
- East Asia
- Europe
- Latin America
- Middle East/North Africa
- Russia/USSR
- South Asia
- United States

  •  At least 5 full courses taught by faculty regularly appointed in the History Department
  •  No more than 2 full courses taken in approved study-away programs
  •  No more than 3 full courses taken from selected courses based on historical methodologies taught in other departments or programs. A list of approved courses is available on the History Department website.

Note: Students may find the additional courses needed to complete 9 full courses at the 100- 200- 300- 400- or 500-levels. Credit earned in First-Year Seminars taught by members of the Oberlin History Department may be applied toward the major but cannot be used to fulfill the 100-level course requirement. Students must earn minimum grades of C- or P for all courses that apply toward the major. Courses that count towards the major but originate in other departments can be used to fulfill any History major requirement except that of the 300-level course. The list of courses approved for the History Major but taught outside the History Department is available on the History Department’s website.



  • Five full classes in History, including at least one 300 or 400 level
  • 3 of the 5 classes must be taught by members of the Oberlin History Department


The Honors Program in history offers the opportunity for recognition of distinguished achievement in historical research and writing. Qualified students apply to enter the program in their sixth semester. Proposals are due in mid-April and should be prepared in consultation with department faculty. Further information is available from the chair or the History Honors coordinator. For more detailed guidelines, see the information on Honors available on our web site (www.oberlin.edu/history).

Transfer of Credit

Students seeking to transfer credit toward the History Major for classes not taken at Oberlin must consult with their advisors and/or the chair of the History Department in advance, and gain written preliminary approval for courses they wish to take elsewhere.

A detailed explanation of History Department Transfer Guidelines is available on-line. Students may be eligible to transfer toward the major credit for a maximum of two full courses completed outside Oberlin. Other courses may be transferred for general credit toward graduation. Normally, the History Department does not accept toward the major any courses completed at two-year institutions after a student has declared a major in History at Oberlin.

Winter Term

The History Department maintains a list of faculty who will be available to sponsor projects during winter term.

History Online

For more information on the History Department, courses, times, and instructors, please visit our home page at: www.oberlin.edu/history.

VI. Capstone

The History major does not have a required capstone, but majors are encouraged to consider pursing a senior capstone that focuses on advanced work in their area of interest through either the one-semester Senior Projects course (History 500), available to seniors by consent of the instructor, or the two-semester Honors Program (History 501-502), open to students admitted to the Honors program

Private Readings

Students may request that individual faculty members supervise private readings. Private readings must focus on material that is not covered in the regular History Department curriculum. Private readings typically count for two credits.


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