“Students and readers in general may be wondering how to make sense of the ongoing war crisis and human tragedy in Ukraine,” says Dr. Wayne Tan, Assistant Professor of History, Hope College. “Here is one question to start with: Why does Ukraine occupy such an important place in Russian history?”
Here are a few of his book recommendations:
To learn more about the general history of Ukraine, from the ancient origins of its culture through the 2010s, check out “The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine” by Serhii Plokhy. As Ukraine is embroiled in an ongoing struggle with Russia to preserve its territorial integrity and political independence, Plokhy explains that today’s crisis is a case of history repeating itself: the Ukrainian conflict is only the latest in a long history of turmoil over Ukraine’s sovereignty.
For a focused study of how Ukraine emerged in historical discussions as the quintessential birthplace of Russian culture, check out “Children of Rus’: Right-Bank Ukraine and the Invention of a Russian Nation” by Faith Hillis. She recovers an all but forgotten chapter in the history of the tsarist empire and its southwestern borderlands.
“Well written and chock full of insights into the politics of late Imperial RussiaChildren of Rus’ is a model of meticulous scholarship and perceptive analysis and should be essential reading for anyone interested in learning about the complexities of Russian and Ukrainian identities.” Journal of Modern History
For more about the culture of government in Russia and how it affects everyday people, check out “The Future is History: How Totalitarianism reclaimed Russia” by Masha Gessen.
Winner of the 2017 National Book Award in Nonfiction
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Awards
Winner of the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award
Named Best Book of 2017 by the New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Seattle Times, Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek,Paste, and Pop Sugar.
Additionally, Dr. Janis Gibbs and Dr. Lauren Janes from the History Department share two great resources from Pulitzer Prize-Winning author and journalist, Anne Applebaum.
On NPR’s most popular podcast, Fresh Air, Anne will talk about why Putin takes Ukrainian democracy as a personal and political threat — and how Stalin created a famine to destroy the Ukrainian national movement in the 1930s.
In her non-fiction book, “Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine”, Anne analyzes the bitter history of Ukraine as a part of the Soviet Union, the disastrous results of collectivization of farms in Ukraine, and the policy decisions by the Soviet government that created famine in Ukraine. It is the fullest account yet published of these terrible events.
“With searing clarity, Red Famine demonstrates the horrific consequences of a campaign to eradicate ‘backwardness’ when undertaken by a regime in a state of war with its own people.” —The Economist
Advising week kicks off this coming Monday, with Registration starting Monday, 11/8. Take a look below at our options for this coming spring. You can always check out the full schedule here.
HIST 130 | Intro to Ancient Civilizations | Prof. Maggie Burr | TR 1:30 – 2:50 PM
This course will focus on significant developments in history from its Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greek origins through the Renaissance. It is designed to introduce the student to the discipline of history.
4 Credits | CH1
HIST 131 | Intro to Modern European History | Dr. Fred Johnson | TR 9:30 – 10:50 AM
The course will focus on significant developments in modern European history from the Renaissance to our own time. It is designed to introduce the student to the discipline of history.
4 Credits | CH2
HIST 140 | Religion, Politics, and Society in Europe | Dr. Janis Gibbs | MW 1-1:50 PM
Using the early modern period of European history (1500-1800) –think Renaissance, Reformation, the Thirty Years’ War, the Scientific Revolution, the French Revolution, among other topics–we will work on the basics of conducting historical research and writing analytical research papers. This course focuses on reading, understanding, and constructing historical arguments, on thinking like a historian, on conducting historical research, and on improving your writing skills in the context of scholarly historical writing. This course is required for history majors and minors, and is an option for fulfilling the methodology course requirement for the Global Studies major.
HIST 175 – 01A & 01B | Michigan History | Dr. Fred Johnson | TR 12-1:20 PM (01A) & TR 1:30-2:50 PM (01B)
This course is a survey of Michigan History to the present and is primarily designed for students majoring in education. The main objective of History 175 is for students to demonstrate an understanding of the chronology, narratives, perspectives, and interpretations of Michigan history from its beginnings to the present. To this end, students will: examine relationships, including cause and effect, among important events from the era; identify the sequence of these events and describe the setting and the people affected; analyze and compare interpretations of events from a variety of perspectives; and assess the implications and long-term consequences of key decisions made at critical turning points in Michigan history. 2 Credits
HIST 200 – 01A | The Holocaust | Dr. Janis Gibbs | TR 3-4:20 PM
The Holocaust is probably something most students have encountered, either in school, in movies, or in literature. (Think Schindler’s List or Life is Beautiful on screen, or Elie Wiesel’s masterpiece, Night.) In this class, we will consider the reasons for the development of a plan of genocide by the Nazis, and the methods by which they carried out their plans. We will use video, written primary sources, and historical analyses to study the Holocaust. It’s not cheerful, but it’s important. Think about the genocide of the Rohynga in Myanmar, or the Chinese attempts to destroy the culture of the Uighur population, or the genocide in Darfur in the early 2000s. As human beings, we are bound to understand atrocity, so we can resist it.
HIST 207 | Introduction to World History to 1500 | Dr. Wayne Tan | MWF: 9:30-10:20 AM (Online synchronous)
What is world history? This is a question of great interest among historians across the fields and of relevance to all of us today. In this course, we will discover details and the broad canvas of world history. We will study major themes in world history from the ancient times until around 1500—from the foundations of the ancient civilizations through the rise of medieval empires and the early modern maritime global order. Who were the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols, and Chinese? How did various foreign cultures interact with one another? How were empires built and why did they go to war? These are some questions related to the themes we will regularly consider throughout this course. By the end of this course, we will learn that the world we live in today is (and continues to be) shaped by events from the distant past, and appreciate how texts, art, and digital media can help us tell our shared histories.
4 Credits | CH1, GLI
HIST 208 | Intro World History since 1500 | Dr. Lauren Janes | Online Asynchronous
This course examines global connectivity in the last 500 years of world history. An online asynchronous course, students engage with the material through readings, asynchronous discussions of texts, video lectures, podcasts, and a digital textbook. Students also meet once a week, at a set and consistent time, in a required Google Meet with Dr. Janes for a small group tutorial session discussing the week’s material.
4 Credits | CH2, GLI
HIST 215 | The Roman World | Dr. Bram ten Berge | MWF 12-12:50 PM
The Romans dominated the Mediterranean world for centuries. Their language, literature and architecture are still the basis for western culture. Sometimes they seem like modern people, except for those funny togas, but when we look at them more closely we see that their culture might have been a thin veneer over the barbarism of gladiator games, slavery, and vast inequality between social classes. Through the study of written documents and archaeological remains we will try to understand who the Romans were and why we are still so fascinated by them.
HIST 270 | Modern China | Dr. Gloria Tseng | MWF 2-2:50 PM
This course offers a narrative history of China from its last Imperial dynasty to its current Communist regime. The first three weeks of the course are devoted to the late Qing dynasty, or the society, institutions, and ways of thought of “traditional” China. The remaining twelve weeks of the course are devoted to twentieth-century China, which spans the Republican and Communist eras. Building upon the knowledge acquired in the first third of the course, we will seek to comprehend the making of “modern” China, a process that was often violent and tumultuous.
HIST 295 | Overthrowing Empire: Decolonization Across the Globe | Dr. Lauren Janes | TR 12-1:20 PM
This global history course examines the end of modern imperialism through a close look at two examples of revolutions leading to decolonization: India and Algeria. Throughout the course we will focus on studying the writings, theories, and tactics of anti-colonial leaders. Student research projects will focus on decolonization case studies in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East.
4 Credits | GLI
HIST 351 | Slavery & Race in America, 1619-Present: The Struggle Within | Dr. Fred Johnson | MW 3- 4:20 PM
From its origins as a British colonial society to its dominance as a global superpower, the United States has struggled to resolve conflicts arising from issues of race, ethnicity, and immigration. This course examines how such factors have influenced the overall development of the United States while exploring strategies for reconciling those and related challenges confronting Americans in the 21st century.
Dr. Gloria Tseng shares her insights from taking on a challenging climb last year and what it illuminated her publishing process. She is the editor of Cross-Cultural Encounters: China and the Reformed Church in America, a text that includes research from Hope College History graduates.
“Hmm…, this experience is so far out of my comfort zone, I don’t quite have the words to convey it,” I said, sitting in my cousin’s car on our way back to his home from Eleven Mile Canyon, a national forest about an hour’s drive west of Colorado Springs. “It’s a metaphor for life,” he replied in his usual laconic fashion. We had gone rock climbing that morning, or more accurately, I had tagged along with him and his friend on their outing. They wanted to go rock climbing. I happened to be visiting from Michigan, so they invited me to join them. We got to a cliff by the beautiful South Platte River. Upon their friendly nudging, I put on a pair of rented climbing shoes and the extra helmet and harness brought by the friend. After a few minutes of crash coaching, I said a silent prayer for courage and started on the “easy” route they picked, my first and only time on a rock. To my own amazement, I eventually reached the anchor at the top of the route, and after some more coaching shouted from the ground by my cousin, who was belaying me, I started back down. When my feet stood on firm ground again, I thanked the two men and spent the rest of the morning recovering from my wired nerves and the mental and physical exertion involved, admiring the beauty of my surroundings and the strength and grace of these two climbers who went on to climb several other routes on the same cliff.
This was the second summer of the pandemic, a milestone in more ways than one. A project that began in the summer of 2013 with the first of two cohorts of students doing research in the Joint Archives on Reformed Church in America missionaries to China finally came to fruition. The research was conducted in the summers of 2013 and 2014 by a cohort of three students each summer, resulting in six essays. The students—Eric Dawson ’14, Rebekah Llorens ’15, Madalyn Northuis ’14 DeJonge, Katelyn Dickerson ’15, Victoria Henry ’15 Longfield, and Claire Barrett ’15—have since moved on to the next adventures in their lives. What followed for me was six years of painstaking editing, fact-checking, and revision. When I first embarked on the task of preparing these essays for publication in the fall of 2014, I did not know all the twists and turns the process would have. I signed a contract with Wipf and Stock in January 2017 and submitted the final manuscript in August 2019. After the publisher typeset the manuscript in December 2020, it had to be proofread. I returned the proofs with final corrections and changes in July of this year. This month the book, entitled Cross-Cultural Encounters: China and the Reformed Church in America, appeared in print.
“Focus on the window where your arms and feet can reach. Always be thinking of your next two to three moves. Where your hands are in your current position is probably where your feet should follow next.” I hung on every word during my climbing crash course. Until I was almost at the anchor, I couldn’t see the end of the route. I only saw the rock and barely where my hands and feet could reach. Every move brought me a little closer to the top, but it was not a straight trajectory. At one point what looked like a good ledge for my next move just above was too far for my arm to reach. I had to back down a distance to go up a different angle. Finally, the anchor came in sight, and once at the top, the view was beautiful!
This project was about more than the final product. At its core were three professors and six students partaking in the labors of research and writing and the wonders of discovery together, like an invitation to go rock climbing. And in life, we all have opportunities to be both coaches offering crash courses and students saying a silent prayer for courage.
You can read more about the student research project that led to Dr. Tseng’s book here. Dr. Tseng is teaching IDS 171 – 03 and IDS 171-05: Jews, Pagans and Christians: The Ancient and Medieval Worlds Reconsidered this semester. To learn more about Dr. Tseng, you can check out her faculty feature blog here.
This post is dedicated to our annual award winners. We are proud of all of them, and we are happy to recognize their hard work and their contributions to the History Department and to Hope College.
Future History Teacher Prize – Winner: Andre Joe (’21)
This award is given to the History student who is deemed as the most promising future teacher, based on commitment to the discipline and achievement in both history and education courses.
Dr. Lauren Janes has said the following of Andre: “Andre has a real passion for education and the importance of teaching history. This passion comes through in his capstone research on the history of education in the Philippines, which examines the role of American teachers in shaping Filipino education and culture.”
The Ray de Young History Prize – Winners: Autumn Balamucki (’21) & Laura Anthon (’21)
This award is given to the senior student(s) whose interest, achievement, and promise in history, as indicated by his/her academic record and a significant piece of historical research, most merit the award.
Dr. Lauren Janes has said the following of Autumn: “Autumn Balamucki has tackled challening research projects and educational adventures, including a semester in Peru, a summer research project in the Joint Archives of Holland, and an excellent history seminar paper on changing perceptions of the Spanish American War by local veterans.”
Dr. Lauren Janes has said the following of Laura: “Laura Anthon interned at the Smithsonian American History Museum in Washington, DC. Her current research takes a global history lens towards understanding the early twentieth-century boom in cocoa production in the small West African island of São Tomé.”
The Robert L. Melka Memorial Award – Winners: Kent Colbrunn (’24) & Luke Ruiter (’23)
This prize is awarded annually to a freshman or sophomore for an essay in European history that is judged superior by the faculty of the Department of History.
Dr. Janis Gibbs has said the following of Kent: “Kent Colbrunn used the Alexiad of Anna Comnena and a variety of secondary and graphic sources to create an excellent analysis of the role the Byzantine Empire played in the Crusades.”
Dr. Janis Gibbs has said the following of Luke: “Luke Ruiter skillfully analyzed the Albigensian Crusade of the thirteenth century, using Bernard Gui’s Manual for Inquisitors and Peter of Vaux-de-Cernay’s Historia Albigensis, as well as scholarly secondary sources.”
The Miles Award in Law – Winner: Jacob Woodford (’21)
This is an award established by Judge Wendell A. Miles in honor of his father, Judge Fred Thomas Miles, presented to a senior student whose promise in the study of law is judged superior by the faculty of the Department of History.
Dr. Jeffrey Polet has said the following of Jacob: “Jacob Woodford’s classroom work and LSAT scores all point to success both in law school and in the legal career. His many on campus activities and leadership roles have embodied elements of Hope’s mission.”
Metta J. Ross History Prize – Winner: Grace Pettinger (’22)
This award is given to the junior student whose interest, achievement, and promise in history, as indicated by academic record and career plans, in the judgment of the History faculty, most merit recognition.
Dr. Jeanne Petit has said the following of Grace: “Grace has fully engaged as a history major, both in classes and through her job in the archives. She has demonstrated creative thinking and an excellent work ethic.”
Bill Cohen Memorial Award – Winners: Maria Siedl (’22) & Mary Kamara-Hagemeyer (’22)
This is a new award this year and is honor of our beloved late colleague, Bill Cohen. This award honors the undergrad student(s) who have demostrated the most promising historical study thus far.
Dr. Jeanne Petit has said the following of Maria: “Maria took on a challenging topic in the World War I America class in her examination of the fight for citizenship by Native American soldiers. She found excellent sources and wrote a strong analysis of how these men made their case for national belonging.”
Dr. Fred Johnson has said the following of Mary: “Using the facts of America’s tortured history of race and racism, Mary wrote an unflinching analysis that examined the nation’s likely response if presented with the opportunity to, once and for all, remove African Americans from daily life. Her skilled use of sources to find details used for making her powerful, persuasive argument highlighted Mary’s critical-thinking strengths and her power of exposition.”
Congrats to all of our winners! These award winners will be honored at a private ceremony on May 4th.
We’re sharing some of our Fall 2021 course descriptions this week. Remember, Fall 2021 Registration starts Monday, March 29th!
HIST 141: The Historian’s Vocations | Dr. Lauren Janes | MW 12:00 pm – 12:50 pm
What are you going to do with a history major? Join us to start articulating some answers. This course introduces students to vocational exploration and discernment; connections between historical thinking, research skills, and writing to jobs and careers; and the skills necessary for successful pursuit of experiential learning opportunities. Our course will include reading and writing about careers using historical thinking, conversations with Hope history alumni, help from the Boerigter Center on resumes and applications, and setting forth a plan for experiential learning for the rest of your time at Hope. Required of all majors and minors, we recommend you take this course by the end of sophomore year if possible. 2 Credits.
HIST 200 – 01: Global Food History | Dr. Lauren Janes | MW 9:30 am – 10:20 AM
In this new class we will examine world history through the lens of global foods–foods and have moved from one part of the world to the other. These global foods have transformed diets, economies, and cultures around the world. This class will examine global connectivity through the history of potatoes, sugar, tacos, curry, corn and more. 2 Credits | GLI
HIST 200 – 02B: 20th Century Military History | Dr. Fred Johnson | TR 9:30 – 10:50 AM
During the 20th Century, the United States’ military became a major force confronting threats to America’s international interests while symbolizing the struggle to achieve justice at home. This course examines the activities and impact of the women and men who shaped the U.S. military into one of contemporary human history’s most potent instruments of power. Along with examining the military’s purpose and performance during periods of conflict, assessment will also be made of the institution’s role in advancing or stifling domestic socio-economic and political justice; its successes and setbacks as an instrument of foreign policy; its relevance and function during peacetime; and the evolution of the strategies, tactics, and technology that have positioned the United States military as one of the most well-trained and equipped, lethal armed forces of the 21st century. 2 Credits.
HIST-207: Introduction to World History to 1500 – Dr. Wayne Tan | MWF: 9:30-10:20 AM | Online Synchronous
What is world history? This is a question of great interest among historians across the fields and of relevance to all of us today. In this course, we will discover details and the broad canvas of world history. We will study major themes in world history from the ancient times until around 1500—from the foundations of the ancient civilizations through the rise of medieval empires and the early modern maritime global order. Who were the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols, and Chinese? How did various foreign cultures interact with one another? How were empires built and why did they go to war? These are some questions related to the themes we will regularly consider throughout this course. By the end of this course, we will learn that the world we live in today is (and continues to be) shaped by events from the distant past, and appreciate how texts, art, and digital media can help us tell our shared histories. 4 Credits| CH1, GLI
HIST 208: Intro World History since 1500 | Dr. Lauren Janes | Online Asynchronous
This course examines global connectivity in the last 500 years of world history. An online asynchronous course, students engage with the material through readings, asynchronous discussions of texts, video lectures, podcasts, and a digital textbook. Students also meet once a week, at a set and consistent time, in a required Google Meet with Dr. Janes for a small group tutorial session discussing the week’s material. 4 Credits | CH2, GLI
HIST-268: Russian History: Russia from Peter the Great to the USSR – Dr. Wayne Tan | MWF: 1-1:50PM | Online Synchronous
Russia is one of the most influential nations on the global stage today. With humble beginnings as a conglomeration of fragmented principalities, it grew into a vast empire spanning Asia and Europe by the 19th century and, as the core of the Soviet Union, dominated world politics for much of the 20th century. A land of untold riches, it was also a land of enigmas and contradictions. What is Russia’s identity today after the fall of the Soviet Union? What are the origins of Russia’s imperial traditions and institutions? How did the 1917 Revolution affect the rest of the world? What lessons does the story of Russia hold for the future of global diplomacy and conflict resolution? This course explores these questions by surveying Russian history from the reign of Peter the Great to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and recent developments in the 21st century. This course fulfills the regional requirement of the History major. 4 Credits | GLI
HIST 295: Classical Art and Archaeology | Maggie Burr | TR 1:30 – 2:50 PM
The cultures of the ancient Mediterranean—i.e., the classical world—left behind a vast material record, in the form of sculpture, architecture, wall painting, mosaics, painted pottery, burials, and objects of daily life. This course is designed to introduce the student to the range and variety of Greek and Roman art and archaeology and to examine how scholars use those artifacts to build a picture of the ancient societies that created them. The course will focus both on well-known ‘heavy hitters’ (i.e., the Parthenon and the Roman Forum) and on the humbler objects left behind by people like you and me. Throughout, we will examine how ancient art and visual culture can be used to understand the complex societies of ancient Greece and Rome, and the multitude of individuals who lived their lives there. 4 Credits.
HIST 370: Modern Middle East | Dr. Janis Gibbs | MWF 2:00 – 2:50 PM
To understand what is going on in the Middle East today, it is crucial that we understand its history. In this course, we will survey the social, political, religious, geographic, and economic history of the Middle East, broadly defined to include the regions of North Africa and Iran, as well as the core lands of the Middle East, from Turkey through the eastern Mediterranean to the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt. Most of our attention will be devoted to the modern period—that is, the period between the 19th century and the present. To understand the context of the history of the modern Middle East, we’ll spend the first few weeks considering the rise of Islam and some of the facets of the history of the earlier Middle East that influence the region today. 4 Credits |GLI
HIST 495: Seminar in History | Dr. Lauren Janes | T 6:00 pm – 8:50 PM
Note: This course is offered Fall 2021 and will not be offered Sp 2022. In this capstone to the history major, students will use the skills and capabilities developed during their time at Hope College to research and write a significant research paper on some aspect of the history of modern imperialism (c. 1800-1994). Modern imperialism provides us with a global framework to look at history from a wide variety of approaches including social, intellectual, gender, political, religious, military, scientific, and cultural history. We will create a supportive researching and writing community. 4 Credits.
History major Autumn Balamucki (’21) began research with the Joint Archives this summer with Geoffrey Reynolds under abnormal circumstances. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, she had to do almost all of her work remotely. With some creative solutions and a lot of hard work, Autumn managed to transcribe decades’ worth of meeting minutes of the United Spanish War Veterans of Holland and write a great article for the Joint Archives Quarterly.
Below is an excerpt of Autumn’s completed research project, The Trials of Transcriptions: A Look Into the United Spanish War Veterans of Holland, Michigan.
Tucked away in Centennial Park, under a small bush near the Veterans’ Monument, sits a medium-sized boulder with a faded bronze plate, lying in dedication to the Spanish-American War Veterans from 1898–1902. Simple block writing provides the only dedication to these veterans in Centennial Park—a small point of recognition, remembering the United Spanish War Veterans (USWV), and solidifying their place in Holland’s history. As a student intern for the Joint Archives of Holland, my first interaction with this stone slab occurred while reading through the meeting minutes of the United Spanish War Veterans Camp No. 38.
As a student at Hope College approaching my senior year, I found the existence of this memorial surprising. How had I lived in Holland, as a history major no less, and never come across it? My initial response was to make sure that this boulder still actually existed in Centennial Park. What surprised me most was not only that it did, but that finding photos or information on it was so difficult. The only proof I could find of its existence was a small passage in the Digital Holland segment on Centennial Park, briefly mentioning it under the War Memorials section. I mention this small memorial because, as I spent my summer studying the United Spanish War Veterans Camp No. 38 of Holland, I found that their history is very much like that of this boulder—a little tucked away and hidden, but still buried in the heart of Holland.
My journey with the USWV and the Joint Archives began in January of this year, when Professor Petit of the history department at Hope College put me in contact with Geoffrey Reynolds, the Mary Riepma Ross Director of the Joint Archives of Holland, regarding a potential summer internship. At the end of the previous semester, I had briefly expressed my interest to Professor Petit in finding an opportunity to gain experience in my field over the summer, as the next year would be my last at Hope. This opportunity through the Joint Archives seemingly came out of nowhere for me, and I was as surprised as I was excited when it did. And although I had no idea what to expect, I jumped at the opportunity to work in Holland over the summer.
However, as we now know, plans shifted a bit for everyone when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, and my story is no different. It began in March earlier this year, when I was eating chifa (a Peruvian take on Chinese food) with two of my fellow students at a small restaurant on the Calle Marcavalle in Cuzco, Peru, about a month into my study-abroad term. The COVID19 scare hadn’t struck Peru with the persistence that it had the United States yet, but most of my group still harbored concerns that our program would send us home in the coming months, especially if the case count elevated. On that day in March 2020, Cuzco had just reported its first two positive cases of the virus (tourists no less), while Michigan’s numbers were quickly elevating. Rather than book an international flight home, it would have been safer to stay there, right? That was our line of thought anyway.
Sitting in that restaurant, the three of us experienced one of those moments where all eyes are drawn to the news playing on the television, and, looking around, you slowly realize that everyone else, employee and customer alike, is watching as intently as you are. As the screen showed the words “FRONTERA CERRADA” (“BORDER CLOSED”) during the Peruvian president’s speech, each of us met each other’s eyes with confused shock on our faces and thought, “Well, what now?”
Registration for next semester courses starts the week of October 26th. Here’s a quick preview of what the History Department will be offering!
HIST 130 – Intro to Ancient Civilization – Maggie Burr
Online Synchronous, TR 1:30 pm – 2:50
This course will focus on significant developments in history from its Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Greek origins through the Renaissance. It is designed to introduce the student to the discipline of history.
HIST 140 – Disability History – Wayne Tan
Online Synchronous, MWF 1 – 1:50 pm – First half of the semester
In view of current debates about racial and gender identities, the discussion of disability is more urgent than ever. This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to answer this overarching question: Why does disability matter to us? Each week, we will survey major themes in disability studies and the history of medicine that push the boundaries of disability as we know it—by drawing upon a range of historical, literary, and medical sources, as well as digital media archives. By comparing disability cultures in a broad global historical context, from the 19th century to the present, we will uncover the roots of the stereotypes and representations of disability in today’s popular media, and make sense of disability as “difference” in productive and constructive ways. The course is flagged for Global Learning International (GLI).
HIST 161 – U.S. History Since 1877 – Jeanne Petit
Hybrid, MWF 11-11:50 am
This course surveys U.S. history from Reconstruction to the present. It examines the major social, cultural, political, and economic events that shaped the U.S. after the Civil War, focusing especially on industrialization, Progressivism, WW I, the Great Depression, the New Deal, WW II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, the Sixties and Reagan Republicanism.
HIST 175 – Michigan History – Jeanne Petit
Hybrid (Fri) MWF 2-2:50 pm
This course is a survey of Michigan History to the present and is primarily designed for students majoring in education. The main objective of History 175 is for students to demonstrate an understanding of the chronology, narratives, perspectives, and interpretations of Michigan history from its beginnings to the present. To this end, students will: examine relationships, including cause and effect, among important events from the era; identify the sequence of these events and describe the setting and the people affected; analyze and compare interpretations of events from a variety of perspectives; and assess the implications and long-term consequences of key decisions made at critical turning points in Michigan history.
HIST 200 – History of Global Pandemics – Wayne Tan
Online Synchronous, MWF 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm – Second half of the semester
In this course, we will look at various sources for studying the history of pandemics. We will begin with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and survey national and global responses to it. In our work, we will use data and make sense of the contexts of history and data, e.g. how do we use social media like Twitter to track real-time reactions? How do we write historical narratives about public health with statistical information? How do national and global responses to pandemics show the inequities of global systems of health? We will also look at other new initiatives in digital humanities (e.g. digital mapping) for studying pandemics in previous eras, e.g. the 1918 flu and the Black Death. For hands-on experiences with databases, the course will involve planned digital workshops. The course is flagged for Global Learning International (GLI).
HIST 207 – Intro to World History to 1500 – Wayne Tan
Online Synchronous, MWF 9:30 am – 10:20 am
We will study major themes in world history from the ancient times until around 1500—from the foundations of the ancient civilizations through the rise of medieval empires and the early modern maritime global order. Who were the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols, and Chinese? Who were “barbarians”? How did various foreign cultures interact with one another? How were ancient empires built and why did they go to war? What lessons can we draw from victory and defeat? These are examples of some of the questions related to the themes we will regularly consider throughout this course. By the end of this course, we will learn to appreciate how the world that we live in today is (and continues to be) shaped by events from the distant past and how texts, art, and digital media can help us tell our shared histories. The course is flagged for Global Learning International (GLI).
HIST 208 – Intro to World History Since 1500 – Lauren Janes
An asynchronous online course that uses a digital textbook, social annotation, videos, podcasts, and weekly small group tutorials to examine the events that have shaped world history since 1500. How did Europe and America come to dominate the global economy and colonize much of the world by the beginning of the twentieth century? What are the impacts of trans-Atlantic slvavery? What is nationalism, and why is our world organized into nation-states? Did potatoes really change world history? We will examine these questions and more. (GLI, CHII History)
HIST 210 – The Greek World – Bram ten Berge
Online Synchronous, MWF 12-12:50 pm
This course surveys the major cultural and historical developments of ancient Greece from preclassical times to the end of the Hellenistic period, starting with the Bronze Age and Homer’s Trojan War and ending with the incorporation of Greece and Hellenistic Egypt into the Roman Empire. This interdisciplinary course analyzes ancient Greece on the basis of a combination of literary, historical, archaeological, and art historical materials, looking at, among other things, the Bronze Age Collapse, the establishment of democracy in Athens, the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars, the revolutionary advances in Classical art and philosophy, and the conquests of Philip II and Alexander the Great.
This course explores the colonial experiences of Africans as well as the legacies of European colonial rule in Africa. We will examine the different ways Africans responded to European military conquest and political domination from the mid -1850s to the 1960s and the ways Africans struggled for independence. We will take an especially close look at Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The course is flagged for cultural diversity and Global Learning International (GLI).
HIST 344 – Genocide in the Modern World – Janis Gibbs
Hybrid, TR 1:20 – 2:50 pm
The 20th century has been called “The Century of Genocide.” This course will examine case studies of 20th-century genocide, selected from the Holocaust, Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and other less-famous examples. We will analyze different definitions of genocide, examine the international legal structures dealing with genocide and crimes against humanity, and investigate the historical context of the varied genocides in the modern world. The course is flagged for Global Learning International (GLI).
HIST 357 – U.S. Cultural History – Jeanne Petit
Hybrid – MWF 9:30-10:20 am
In this course, students will consider cultural history on two levels. First, we will explore changes in the ways American men and women of different classes, races, and regions expressed themselves through popular and high culture—including forms like vaudeville, world’s fairs, movies, television, and literary movements like the Harlem Renaissance. Second, we will analyze the influence of cultural ideas on political, economic and social changes, such as fights for African-American and women’s rights, the emergence of consumer culture, class struggles during the Great Depression, participation in World War II, protesting in the 1960s, and the rise of conservatism in the 1980s. Students will learn the various ways historians interpret cultural phenomena and then do their own interpretations in a research paper. Flagged for Global Learning Domestic (GLD).
Emeritus History Department Professor Bill Cohen passed away on September 7, 2020. Professor Emeritus and former History Department Chair Marc Baer shares his memories of the late Professor below.
“I am currently revising an essay on Herbert Butterfield, perhaps the most important Christian historian of the twentieth century. My Ph.D. supervisor in graduate school did his doctorate at Cambridge University, working under Butterfield. My mentor repeated a story several times, a conversation in which Butterfield told him he was never satisfied with something he wrote until the fifteenth draft. And so, when I taught the History department seminar I, of course, repeated the story for my students.
Professor William Cohen—his colleagues only knew him as Bill—was the Hope History department’s Herbert Butterfield. Bill not only invented the department’s seminar in the 1970s, but so left his imprint on it that we often referred to it as the “Cohen seminar.” Bill cast a large shadow: Those who later taught the seminar, Professors Johnson, Gibbs and Baer, and now Janes, tried as hard as we could to emulate our colleague, both in terms of his rigor and emphases—getting structure, mechanics, and especially footnotes just right. Hence our departmental tee shirt, seen here; notice the footnote.
Bill, who retired in 2001, died on September 7, 2020. During his time at Hope he taught his students in all his history courses and his colleagues to understand why standards matter. In my case when I taught the seminar, as I sat in my office thinking about a topic like evaluating evidence I would be addressing in a few hours, my mind would invariably take me to, “How would Bill have done this?” My guess is that my colleagues who taught the seminar did the same. Bill’s shadow, like Butterfield’s will last a very long time.
Reading the reminiscences of faculty in other departments brought smiles to our faces, as we lament that Bill is no longer with us. What they could not convey, but I hope I have, is that Bill took his calling as a scholar—getting the past right—so seriously that he never let us, his departmental colleagues and his students, forget what that meant. At a moment in our national history when truth no longer seems crucial to many people, Bill’s legacy matters more than ever.” – Dr. Marc Baer
Bill passed away peacefully on Sept. 7, 2020. He was a proud son of New York, who completed his B.A. at Brooklyn College, his M.A. at Columbia University, and his Ph.D. at New York University. He was a veteran of the United States Army, and served in the intelligence branch during the Korean conflict. He moved to Chicago, where he worked with the late Professor John Hope Franklin at the Center for Urban Studies at the University of Chicago. While there, he published “Thomas Jefferson and the Problem of Slavery,” a significant re-examination of Jefferson’s understanding of the institution of slavery.
In 1971, he came to Hope College, and remained a member of the faculty until his retirement in 2001. While at Hope, he published his 1991 monograph, At Freedom’s Edge: Black Mobility and the Southern White Quest for Racial Control, 1861-1915. He taught generations of Hope College history students in the History Seminar, a rigorous capstone experience which he designed and taught for many years. He also mentored Hope College students who applied for Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships. After his retirement from Hope College, he served as a Fulbright Scholar, teaching American history in Japan. He was a generous colleague, and his work made us all a better scholarly and collegial community. He is survived by his son, Alan (JuHong Lee) , and two daughters, Elizabeth (John Speiser) and Mia (Neal Franklin). He also had three beloved grandchildren, Soren, Miri, and Sonny
A virtual memorial will be held for Bill this Saturday, September 12th, 2020. If you are interested in attending, please email History@Hope.edu to get further details.
We’re taking on a new challenge this semester, the #GetToKnowYourProf challenge! You may have noticed a similar challenge with our Lubbers 3rd Floor neighbors, the English Department, and we wanted in on the fun! We wanted to re-introduce ourselves to the student body through interesting facts about each of our faculty – we hope you learn something new!
Professor Margaret Burr
How long have you been at Hope? Two weeks!
Favorite subject to teach? HIST 130, naturally 😉
Favorite movie? Can I say TV show? I’m really into the Italian detective show Il Commissario Montalbano right now–Bram and I watch it whenever we have time, which is almost never these days (we have a 6 month old).
Favorite book? I like everything by Giorgos Seferis and Patrick Leigh Fermor. I’m reading Emily Wilson’s new translation of Homer’s Odyssey right now and it’s quickly becoming a new favorite. Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian is an exciting trip from Amsterdam to Oxford, Turkey to the Balkans, and I reread it every time I need to “get away” (although it’s about vampires, so I’m not sure I should admit to loving it as much as I do). And last but not least, Ann Shelton’s Sourcebook of Roman Literature, As the Romans Did, is an oldie but a goodie in my opinion, as it got me really interested in reading Roman literature and letters when I was younger. I bring it with me everywhere.
Favorite hobbies? Travel, hiking, photography, looking at old things in museums or in the ground, hanging out with my husband and baby. Not in that order, obviously 🙂
Dr. Janis Gibbs
How long have you been at Hope? 24 years
Favorite subject to teach? I like all my classes, so it’s hard to pick. Of course, I like teaching history, but I like the interdisciplinary Cultural Heritage courses and my First Year Seminar (which, this year, is basically political geography), too. Maybe I should say that my favorite subject is what I’m teaching at the moment.
Favorite movie? I saw Star Wars eleven times in the theater in 1977-78, so maybe that’s it. That would be the one that’s now called Episode IV: A New Hope. Back then, it was just Star Wars.
Favorite book? Can I have a triple header? Lord of the Rings.
Favorite hobbies? I like to cook. The pandemic has given me lots of new cooking opportunities. The only bad part is that I haven’t been able to cook for guests. I went on a cream of asparagus soup binge in the spring.
Dr. Lauren Janes
How long have you been at Hope? Starting my 8th year teaching at Hope. I was also a Hope student for four years!
Favorite subject to teach? Well, maybe this is cheating, but the Paris May Term is my favorite class and the one I am the most proud of. I LOVE sharing the city I love so much with students, many of whom have never left the US before our class.
Favorite movie?Best in Show
Favorite book? Well this is just too hard of a question! I will say King Leopold’s Ghost remains my favorite book to teach.
Favorite hobbies? Cooking, gardening, and yoga.
Dr. Fred Johnson
How long have you been at Hope? Twenty years as of August 2020.
Favorite subject to teach? Modern European History, the American Civil War, and Military History.
Favorite movie? ANY movie with Star Trek or Star Wars in the title.
Favorite book?The Bible, A Different Drummer, Chaneysville Incident, and This Present Darkness
Favorite hobbies? Hiking, Writing, Long Road Trips, and going to the Movies [and will be going lots when we’re allowed again].
Dr. Jeanne Petit
How long have you been at Hope? Twenty years this summer!
Favorite subject to teach? Oh, this is hard, since I love all my classes in their own special way. Instead I’ll say some of my favorite topics to teach: the populist movement of the 1890s, abolitionist debates, the tensions of the “roaring twenties,” and social movements of the 1960s. My favorite texts to teach: a tie between Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody and Frankenstein by Mary Shelly.
Favorite movie? I’m actually not much of a movie person, but some movies I always watch if they come on are The Godfather, Drumline, and Groundhog Day.
Favorite book?A Midwife’s Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Favorite hobbies? I enjoy running, even though I am pretty slow. My favorite race I did was the North Country Trail run in Manistee National Forest. I got a medal as big as my head!
Dr. Wayne Tan
How long have you been at Hope? 4 years
Favorite subject to teach? Disability history
Favorite movie?Aliens (sequel to Alien)
Favorite book? Natasha’s Dance (it’s about Russian cultural history)
Favorite hobbies? I love picking peaches!
Dr. Gloria Tseng
How long have you been at Hope? Since 2003
Favorite subject to teach? 20th-century Europe (this semester, ha!)
Favorite movie? I’m rather dated here–I know many lines in Le Chambon, a French historical drama about a small Protestant village in Vichy France whose inhabitants gave shelter to perhaps as many as 3,000 Jews, mostly children, in WWII.
Favorite book?The Gospel According to Luke
Favorite hobbies? Gardening, hiking, piano playing.