Fall Into Our New Courses!

We know – the last thing you are thinking about in these cold winter months is this fall, but registration is right around the corner! Take a look below at the upcoming upper-level History classes coming this Fall 2020 semester and save your picks for when registration starts in the week of March 30th.

HIST 141-01: The Historian’s Vocations (Gibbs) – MWF 12-12:50p

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

Do you love history, but struggle to answer when people ask you, “What are you going to do with that history major (or minor)?” In this course, we will examine the ways the study of history can become the foundation of your larger vocations in life, whether in a career or as a civically-engaged member of your community. We will consider how the skills you will develop as a historian (reading critically, researching widely, writing effectively) provide a foundation for a variety of careers, as well as for a life of meaning and purpose. As part of this course, students will work with the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career, learn practical skills, such as how to write a resume, and develop a plan for pursuing experiential learning opportunities that will aid in vocational exploration and discernment.
This course is required for all history majors and minors who entered Hope College in the Fall of 2018 and later.
Pre-requisite: HIST 140 (can be taken in the same semester)

HIST 200-01A: The Crusades (Gibbs) – MWF 9:30-10:20a

Image by Fabio Valeggia from Pixabay 

In the late eleventh century, groups of European Christians marched on the Middle East, carrying or wearing the banner of the Cross, and crying, “God Wills It!”  The Crusades brought Europeans and Middle Eastern people together, most often in violence, but sometimes in peaceful cultural exchange. Spend seven weeks investigating the causes, the stories, and the results of the Crusades.  We will examine them from both the European and the Middle Eastern point of view. Do these long-ago wars matter in the twenty-first century, and if so, why?
Fulfills Pre-1500 OR Global Requirement

Hist 200-01B: Peace Movements in the 20th Century U.S. (Petit) – MWF 2-2:50p

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. (1963). Equal rights in ’63 Retrieved from http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c7d26ee0-6be8-0135-43c5-4b491f56ccf2

Most history classes emphasize the impact of wars. This class will shift the focus of United States history and examine those who tried to prevent war and ensure peace. We will do a survey of peace movements that emerged during different contexts in the 20th-century United States with particular focus on the following: the Women’s Peace Party of the World War I Era, the labor movement of the 1930s, the Civil Rights Movement that emerged in the 1950s, the Vietnam-era peace  protests, and the late 20th-century anti-nuclear movement. Note: instead of a traditional research paper, students in this class will be building a research-based website. Fulfills U.S. Requirement. (Grand Challenges Initiative Pathways course) (GLD)

HIST 242: Topics in 20th Century European History (Tseng) – MWF 2-2:50p

Image by Andre Drechsel from Pixabay

This course surveys the history of twentieth-century Europe from three chronologically overlapping vantage points. These are “the age of catastrophe,” “the age of secular ideological extremes,” and “the limits of secularism.” Implied in the organization of the course is the argument that each of these vantage points in some ways epitomizes the century. The events and developments examined in this course are chosen to reflect these concerns. In addition to mastering the main events and developments that have defined the twentieth century, an important component of the course is to reflect on current events in light of the history of the past century. In other words, we as a class will learn to “think like a historian.” Fulfills European/Regional Requirement.

HIST 314: Modern Japan and Korea (Tan) – MWF 1-1:50p

Image by Sofia Terzoni from Pixabay

In the global economy, Japan and Korea are among the world’s leading nations driving economic and technological developments. Japanese and Korean brand names and icons are everywhere: Toyota, Samsung, Hello Kitty, Pokemon, and Psy’s Gangnam-style dance. In this course, we will ask these questions (and more): How did Japan become an empire? How was Korea implicated in World War II? What are the origins of the Korean War and the rise of North Korea? Why are Japan and Korea important for today’s U.S. foreign policies? This course focuses on key issues in Japanese and Korean history in the East Asian and global contexts since 1600 and explores how Japan and Korea have become the modern nations that they are today. Fulfills the Regional Requirement.

HIST 355: U.S. Foreign Policy (Johnson) – MW 3-4:50p

Image by Oliver Zühlke from Pixabay

This course traces the development of U.S. foreign policy from the 1898 Spanish-American War to the present. In this period the U.S. emerged as a great world power, assumed center stage during World War II, offset the threat of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and currently claims title to being the world’s lone superpower. Through readings, discussion, and special projects, students will examine the historical progression of America’s rise to global dominance and analyze the international challenges facing the nation as it strives to formulate an effective foreign policy in the 21st Century. 
Fulfills U.S. Requirement.

Questions about requirements? Check out the History Department website here.

International Insights: The Cultural Wealth of Japan

Hope History Major Brennan Church (Class of 2020) reflects on his trip to Japan during a 2019 May Term.

The 2019 Japan May Term Cohort

This past summer, I participated in the 2019 Japan May Term Program along with eleven other Hope students and two faculty leaders. I was very enthusiastic about exploring Japan, as this was my first time to Asia. I was anxious to see all the beautiful temples, taste the abundance of delicious food, and, of course, test out my two semesters of Japanese.

For three weeks my companions and I stayed in Tokyo where we attended classes at Meiji Gakuin University. The classes focused on various Japanese topics ranging from traditional Japanese theatre (called “Kabuki”), to the business environment in Japan, to the ninja, to Japanese pop music, and to the baking of Japanese sweets called “Wagashi.” To my delight, these classes were frequently followed by field trips to observe firsthand. My favorite excursions were to the Tokyo Sumo Championship and a professional baseball game.

Hope students with their Meiji Gakuin friends.

Meiji Gakuin was a gracious host. We were paired with several Japanese student volunteers who were more than excited to share their city with us. Most days I only had one class, which provided me with plenty of time to explore Tokyo with my new friends!

Tokyo is so technologically advanced that some parts of it feel like you’re in the next century. Motorized carts in certain restaurants bring out your sushi seconds you order. Trains are always on time, fast, and silent. No space goes unused. Shops and restaurants have taken up residence even under the street, forming an underground world of sorts. Everything is immaculately clean, and don’t even get me started on the restrooms.

In beautiful contrast to the high-tech urban scene are gorgeous traditional Shinto shrines and the frequent festivals where it’s common to see people wearing kimonos. I was shocked to learn that awe-inspiring buildings like the Tokyo Imperial Palace and Tokyo’s famous Sensoji Temple had been destroyed in WWII because the reconstructions look as if they’ve stood there for centuries.

The busy streets of Shinjuku: Tokyo’s busiest district.

While Tokyo is the most populous city in the world, getting around is surprisingly easy! There are almost always signs in English, and it’s rare not to find a subway entrance nearby. People are so orderly in Japan, too! They always keep to one side on walkways and escalators, which assisted me in the subway on days when I was in a time crunch to make it to class.

Although I knew that Japan and the U.S. had been on friendly terms since the end of the post-WWII American occupation in 1952, I had expected there to still be some bitterness toward Americans. However, the complete opposite seemed to be true based on my interactions with the Japanese. They seem to adore American culture, including its music, food and clothing brands, and sports. Many young Japanese desire to learn English, and I tried my hand at teaching a little to my newfound friends and host family.

People in Japan show great respect to all foreigners, and they are so polite! For example, when my class took the shinkansen (bullet train) to western Japan, the train staff bowed to the passengers in each car regardless of the nationality of those in the car. I was surprised by this gesture because the staff had no reason to show me such respect, yet they did!

An important aspect of Japanese culture is service to others. Both at Meiji Gakuin and at my homestay, everyone was very accommodating and planned their day around what I wanted to do, which was often visiting temples, castles, and singing karaoke. Karaoke is so popular in Japan that there are buildings dedicated to just karaoke! At these locations, people rent a room for just their group so singing is unintimidating, and the song selection to choose from is extensive and multilingual. One day my friends and I even went to Tokyo Disneyland! Conversing in Japanese with locals and going on adventures with Japanese students was truly the highlight of my time in Japan.

I found that Japanese people are more than helpful if you ask. One time I found myself lost in the Shinagawa district of Tokyo while I was going to meet my friends for a yakiniku (Japanese barbeque) dinner, so I stopped inside a nearby office building and asked the receptionist if she could point me in the direction of the restaurant. Instead of simply telling me, the employee got up from her desk and walked with me all the way to the restaurant. How kind!

My homestay took place east of Tokyo in Chiba Prefecture. I was hosted by the Kanazawa family of Matsudo, who were wonderful to me. Much of my time with them was spent away from their house; instead, we were at their ancestral home in Tateyama. I assisted them in cleaning up their ancestral gravesite. This was followed by a picnic in a bamboo forest nearby and my first visit to an onsen (a public bath). I found the onsen to be awkward initially, but once I got over my nerves, it was relaxing.

The Kanazawas and I returned to Matsudo. My host sisters showed me around their town and their school. I began to realize what it felt like to be a minority. Matsudo and Tateyama were small cities, and as far as I could see, I was the only non-Japanese person in either of them. This made me appreciate more what life must be like for people of color in the U.S. Much to my displeasure, the homestay was only for a weekend, which was not nearly long enough. My host family treated me to a sukiyaki dinner (beef and vegetables dipped in raw egg), a dish I highly recommend.

Back in Tokyo, our program concluded after each of the Hope students presented their research on Japan. I presented on the unification of Japan and the legacy of the Tokugawa Shoguns. Then my fellow travelers and I embarked on our weeklong expedition around western Japan, passing through Kanazawa, Kyoto, Kobe, and Hiroshima.

Kanazawa, a city that bears the same name as my host family, is a very small city and a former samurai fortress town. Kyoto is a paradise for any person interested in Japanese history. There seem to be too many ancient structures there to count, as Kyoto was the only major city spared from the American air raids. Most of these structures are accessible to the public. My favorite was Fushimi Inari, a shrine that includes a wonderful mountain hike, but foot traffic is heavy.

Nara’s Todaiji Temple

Taking a day to see Nara, Japan’s first capital, is also enjoyable. Todaiji Temple won’t disappoint; it’s magnificent. Just watch out for the deer in Nara; they tried to eat the clothes off my back when I ran out of food! Next, we briefly stopped in Kobe, a city famous for its savory steaks. They are expensive but well worth it. We met some local students at Kobe Gakuin before making our way south to Hiroshima. The shinkansen truly are the best way to travel in Japan; they’re incredibly comfortable and never have to stop for cars, as they operate on a completely different track system. Japanese engineering is marvelous.

I found Hiroshima to be deeply thought-provoking. The streets were far less active than cities I’d visited previously. We saw the Genbaku Dome, the last standing structure to survive the bombing. Then we moved onto the memorial and museum which included many firsthand accounts of the atomic bombing. This experience made me acutely aware of the tragic results of war and the effect of atomic weapons. How well the city is rebuilt today really speaks to the work ethic of the Japanese people. If one had no knowledge of the bombing, one would never know it had happened.

Hiroshima’s Genbaku Dome, a remnant of WWII.

After Hiroshima, we returned to Tokyo for the final portion of the May term. We reconnected with our Meiji Gakuin friends who kindly took us to the fireworks festival in nearby Yokohama! Soon after, my Hope friends, my new Japanese friends, and I went our separate ways, but I know I’ve made some friendships for life. I returned to Tokyo’s Narita Airport, not to leave, but instead to meet my father, who had taken time off to come visit me!

Showing Japan to my Dad was the ultimate bonding experience! I got to impart all the knowledge I’d gained in my month-long tour, really impressing my Dad with how much I’d grown while away. He’d never heard me speak Japanese before then, so with me acting as our translator, his pride was over the moon.

The two of us traveled around for an additional week after the May term. I wanted to give my Dad the complete Japanese experience, so we hit four cities in seven days. Each day, I exposed him to a different Japanese food. One delicacy any traveler to Japan should be sure to try is okonomiyaki (Japanese omelet); it’s exquisite!

I showed him Tokyo, which I’d become skilled in traversing by that point. Next, we headed to Tokyo station to catch the shinkansen to Nagano. However, we got disoriented in the terminal after our tempura lunch (breaded and fried food), which almost led to us missing our train. We bolted across the platform and made it onto the train right before the doors closed… Imagine the scene in Indiana Jones where the hero slips through the closing temple door right before it shuts.

My father and I at Osaka Castle.

Nagano is a mountain settlement famous for hosting the 1998 Winter Olympics, something the people there are still very proud of. We stayed at a ryokan (a traditional Japanese inn), which looked like a home from the Tokugawa-era (1600-1867). Our ryokan hosts were so friendly; they provided us with two gourmet Japanese-style meals a day and any supplies we needed. They even drove us all the way back into Nagano city from the mountains so we didn’t have to catch the bus! The man who owned our ryokan was a Shinto priest. He invited us to sit in on his service in a nearby mountain-top shrine. It was the most incredible, authentic experience of my trip!

However, I was motivated to visit Nagano, not for the ryokan, but for the snow monkeys. We hired a guide to show us the national park close to the city where visitors can come face to face with the red-faced, white-furred monkeys. I loved every second of it! Before leaving Nagano, we took another hike because this place was gorgeous! We trekked through the forests and villages, finding various shrines as we went, and stopped for soba noodles on the road. There were bears around the area of our hike, but we were undeterred. Nagano is a fabulous get away from the city.

We closed out our adventure with a return trip (for me) to Kyoto. The two of us briefly attended a samurai school in Kyoto, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Then we caught a shinkansen bound for Osaka. Osaka is a prominent port city and renowned for its food culture. It seemed to me like everywhere I went I’d see a takoyaki (octopus dumplings) restaurant. We rented bikes and rode through the city’s crowded streets, sometimes going faster than the cars, and other times at a snail’s pace. We made a stop at Osaka’s most impressive structure, the imposing Osaka Castle. Today the castle is a museum, so one can walk through most of it. The view is amazing! The following day, we made the journey back to Tokyo for the homeward leg of the trip.

This May term opened my eyes to the cultural wealth Japan has to offer. It inspired me to continue my Japanese language studies with even more vigor! I’m eager to return to Japan and motivated to experience other parts of Asia.

Brennan Church (Class of 2020)

A History Minor’s Insights

This week, we’re talking to former History Minor Marly Borovich Torres (Class of 2012) as she shares how her minor helped her in her post-grad field of child therapy.

Marly Borovich Torres was a 2012 Hope Alum and History Minor.

What was your area of study at Hope?

While at Hope, I doubled majored in psychology and sociology and had a minor in history.

What are some of the things you learned as a history minor?

I enjoy helping people and learning about their stories. I’m endlessly curious, and have a deep compassion for humanity at large. I have loved history since early elementary school. I would check out book after book about topics like Anastasia and her royal family, Ancient Egypt, and the Holocaust. What I learned through my history studies at Hope was how to have a more thorough appreciation and understanding for human existence and how people have both remained constant and changed throughout the ages. Studying history has helped me learn and grow as a person, and has benefited my practice as a therapist.

Marly (left) was also a member of the Sigma Sorority.

How do you see your history minor benefiting your career track and where you are now in your career?

A minor in history was a perfect pairing to my two degrees in the Social Sciences. The combination ultimately led to my Masters in Social Work. If you have an understanding and appreciation of history, it is much easier to help others. Understanding a person’s history, and then linking that to world events, customs and culture, definitely helps aid in the therapeutic connection and in therapy sessions. My history minor at Hope will continue to benefit me throughout my career because as long as people have ties to and ascribe meaning to their pasts, and as long as we can continue to learn from our past as humans, history will be relevant.

Marly by Big Red in Holland.

If someone was on the fence about possibly becoming a history major or minor, what would you say to them?

I would highly advise someone who was on the fence to give a history class or two a try at Hope! If you are unsure of whether to major in the subject or not, consider that learning about humans and our history as people is always relevant regardless of what you pursue after graduation. Hope has an excellent history department, fabulous faculty, and more than likely your classes will be held in the more beautiful and historical buildings on campus, so what do you have to lose??!

Anything else to add?


Transformed by Hope: An English & History Alum Returns

Meet our new Office Manager & Hope Alum ’12, Alison Lechner, as she shares how her experience at Hope shaped her career.

How did your Hope education shape you?

Alison Lechner, Class of 2012

I feel very blessed to have earned a liberal arts education and that has absolutely benefited me in my career post-graduation. I was History and Environmental Studies composite major, which allowed me to tailor a lot of my research in a way that I know I would have never been able to do had I gone to a traditional university. I eventually went on to work in arts administration and earn my Masters in Art History, and I know that my writing skills set me apart as a candidate in the art world. In grad school, I was much more prepared than most of my classmates when it came to research writing and critical thinking. The liberal arts do such a tremendous job at teaching you how to think, not necessarily what to think. I’ve spent a lot of my art historical research on the notion of institutional critique, and I think my interest in that topic was inspired by this innate sense of questioning that I learned here.

Alison with her research on artist Carrie Mae Weems displayed at an exhibition at the Jepson Museum of Contemporary Art in Savannah, 2018.

I also took writing courses that allowed me to be creative. I know my work in copywriting and art criticism has truly benefited from the creative writing courses I took at Hope. Heather Sellers was my creative writing professor and was my first example of how much discipline needs to be a constant companion of a creative life. She often preached to us about routine, prompts, and a need to see your writing as a kind of muscle that should be stretched and challenged in order to grow. I’m a highly organized person (hence why I love being an office manager), and I think her way of approaching the writing process really made sense to me as a creative person who also needs order to produce results. I’ve never been some bohemian artist; I thrive on strategy and timelines, and Heather was the first person to show me that there was more than one way to nurture your life as a creative. That has probably been one of the most important things I ever learned at Hope.

Favorite book read recently or in college?

Alison as a Freshman at Hope (center), 2008.

I have a 3-way tie for this! Two recent choices are Michael Pollen’s How to Change Your Mind and Sarah Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World, plus one from my college days: Marion Winik’s Glen Rock Book of the Dead.

Pollan is an exceptional researcher, someone who has a real talent for fleshing out the origins of the topic he is writing about – in this case, the use of Psilocybin in therapy. I learn so much from his writing, both from a historian’s perspective and from a deep appreciation of his ability to make complex topics engaging.

Thornton’s Seven Days in the Art World really inspired me to pursue work in the arts and is a refreshingly honest take on how the modern art world operates. Working with and for artists on a large scale can be both challenging and rewarding, and Thornton doesn’t shy away from the sometimes contradictory aspects of working in the arts. I re-read it usually once a year and I always take something new away from it every time.

I was really lucky to read Winik’s Glen Rock Book of the Dead in Heather Seller’s ENGL 454 class, and it quickly became my favorite book of all time (See my lovely classmate Stephanie Mouw’s similar adoration for this text in her blog post). Winik’s skill as a poet is so visible in her short stories; she creates these incredibly tender, artful vignettes of people she knew who have died. I’ve had a recent loss of someone who was really larger-than-life, and Winik’s writing always seems like the most complete understanding of grief which otherwise has felt like such an enigma.

What do you now wish you had learned or done in college?

Alison with Senator Tim Kaine during the Washington, D.C. semester, 2011.

I wish that I had been more focused on my life after college, which is something that took me longer than I’d like to figure out. My advice is to talk to professionals whose career you admire while you’re in school, and don’t stop learning even once you are out of the classroom. Stay curious about the things you love and they will never become work.

What are your goals for the History & English Departments?

Alison (left) with her Hope roommate Anne in 2011.

I would love to gain more exposure for both departments among the student body. Both English and History are programs that are applicable to wide variety of career paths.  I believe a core foundation of writing and research are so vital to success in the working world; being able to communicate your ideas effectively and creatively is truly invaluable. All of the professors that work in these departments are so passionate about their area of expertise and we are really lucky to be able to learn from them.

What do you like to do in your free time?

You can catch Alison taking photos all around campus for both departments’ social media, like this one from Lubbers.

I’m an avid boxer and I love being active – yoga, lifting, running, hiking. Since I’ve moved back to Michigan, I spend as much time outside in nature as I can. I’m also a photographer and try to participate in the arts scene between here, Saugatuck, and Grand Rapids – my goal is to start writing art reviews, which I was lucky enough to do in Atlanta [where Alison spent the past 7 years]. I try to spend a lot of time with my family and close girlfriends here as well, it’s one of the main reasons I wanted to move back.

Hope Graduation, 2012.

What I Learned from the Children of Agent Orange

Governance in today’s world often resembles organized chaos, existing solely for the prevention of complete anarchy. Specific people, or groups, with destructive intentions take charge while others either applaud or shake their heads, wondering about the decisions of such leaders. Passively accepting defective, corrupt governance as if there were no other choice also causes much suffering and injustice. Citizens in a democracy must stay informed about the actions of their government or risk the costly consequences risked by such ignorance. 

During the 2019 Vietnam May Term, I witnessed the long-term effects of what happens when national leaders take actions that are harmful to citizens, and others. Such was the case for American soldiers and Vietnamese civilians who were exposed to the deadly chemical Agent Orange during the Vietnam war. 

Molly Douma with Vietnamese schoolchildren.

From 1962 – 1971, the U.S. military sprayed vast amounts of Agent Orange across parts of Vietnam. The goal of the program, known as “Operation Ranch Hand,” was to kill off vegetation to make targeting the enemy easier. The real, long-term consequence of this operation, however, was that the chemical seeped into the water table and caused multiple generations of Vietnamese children to be born with various mental and physical disabilities. While the U. S. government has, in recent years, taken actions to assist with cleaning up the devastation caused by Agent Orange, it still insists that there’s no direct connection between the chemical and subsequent generations of children with birth defects. 

Vietnamese children who had been exposed to Agent Orange.

During our trip to Vietnam, our class visited a facility for children struggling with the mental and physical effects caused by Agent Orange. As I played hide-and-seek and catch with these loving and joyful children, it pained me to know that their learning challenges, and the ostracism they’ve suffered, was caused by a chemical introduced by my own government. One could only wonder: “What would have happened if the political leaders during the Vietnam War had been able to look into the smiling faces or hear the laughter of the children whose lives were going to harmed by Agent Orange? Would it have made a difference? Would there have been a different outcome?” 

Many politicians have had the luxury of being safely removed from conflict and the consequences of their decisions. That separation also allows them to ignore possibilities regarding the moral bankruptcy of their actions. The violent chaos that has engulfed the opening decades of the 21st century has proven that such separation, reinforced by indifference and ignorance, is neither workable nor safe. 

Nations of the 21st century need leaders who comprehend that their policies ultimately become personal. For a global superpower like the United States, having leadership with that kind of awareness is especially important, because as the children affected by Agent Orange taught me during the 2019 Vietnam May Term, we need to pursue what is good and what is just and demand the same from those who have been given the privilege to govern. 

Molly Douma, Class of 2022, in Vietnam last May.

Spring 2020 Courses are Here!

Not sure which History classes to take in the Spring? Our upper-level courses are available below for your perusing! If you have questions about them, please contact Dr. Jeanne Petit (petit@hope.edu).

History 141-01 A The Historian’s Vocation (2 Credits)
MWF 12:00 -12:50 PM | Janis Gibbs

Do you love history, but struggle to answer when people ask you, “What are you going to do with that history major (or minor)?” In this course, we will examine the ways the study of history can become the foundation of your larger vocations in life, whether in a career or as a civically-engaged member of your community. We will consider how the skills you will develop as a historian (reading critically, researching widely, writing effectively) provide a foundation for a variety of careers, as well as for a life of meaning and purpose. As part of this course, students will work with the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career, learn practical skills, such as how to write a resume, and develop a plan for pursuing experiential learning opportunities that will aid in vocational exploration and discernment.

This course is required for all history majors and minors who entered Hope College in the Fall of 2018 and later.
Pre-requisite: HIST 140 (can be taken in the same semester)

History 200 01A: Ovid’s Metamorphoses (2 Credits)

R 6:30 – 9:20 PM |Albert Bell

Ovid’s Metamorphoses are the source for many of the myths familiar to us from antiquity, such as Pyramis and Thisbe (the inspiration for Romeo and Juliet) and Pygmalion and Galatea (the inspiration for My Fair Lady). But Ovid ran into trouble. The emperor Augustus disliked the tone of his poetry so much he sent him into exile. This course will read selections from the poem and examine Ovid’s troubled life.

History 200 01B: Cosimo, The Renaissance Man (2 Credits)
R 6:30 – 9:20 PM | Albert Bell

Cosimo de Medici dominated the city of Florence for the first half of the 15th century without ever being elected or appointed to an office. Using wealth acquired from his bank, he hand-picked people who were chosen for office. He also hired artists to decorate the city and his home. But he lived in the terror of going to hell when he died because he was so rich and, according to Jesus, rich men could not get into heaven. Cosimo’s efforts to buy his way out of hell created the Italian Renaissance.

History 255 01: World War I America (GLD)
MWF 9:30 – 10:20 AM |Jeanne Petit

This course will examine how World War I changed the United States politically, socially, culturally, and economically.  We will focus on the war’s impact in many areas, including industrialization, unionization, urbanization, the environmental movement, progressive politics, the freedom struggle of African Americans, women’s suffrage, immigration, the Red Scare, and the cultural transformations of “the Roaring Twenties.” 

Flagged for domestic global learning.

History 268 01: Glory & Decadence: Russian History from Peter the Great to the USSR (GLI)
MW 1:00-1:50 PM |Wayne Tan

Russia is, arguably, one of the most influential nations today on the global stage. With humble beginnings as 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? What are the origins of Russian imperial traditions and institutions? How did its literature convey the political anxieties of the centuries? How did the 1917 Revolution affect the rest of the world? Why did the Soviet Union emerge and then slowly unravel? 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 time of Peter the Great to the dissolution of the Soviet Union and recent developments in the 21st century.

This course is flagged for global learning international & fufills the regional requirement of the History major.

History 341 01: World War II: Collaboration and Resistance (GLI)

MWF 11:00-11:50 PM | Gloria Tseng

This course aims to explore one specific dimension of twentieth-century history, namely, how societies and individuals faced the moral ambiguities caused by the Second World War. Our goal is to learn about the significant events of the Second World War as it unfolded in different parts of the world.  But more importantly, we will examine several noteworthy individuals and the specific circumstance in which they made significant moral choices and acted for good or for ill. It is the instructor’s hope that each person in the course will be challenged to consider what it means to act ethically in situations that require discernment and courage.

History 351 01: Slavery and Race in American (GLI)

MWF 3:00 – 4:20 PM | Fred Johnson

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.

History 370 01: Modern Middle East (GLI)

MWF 2:00-2:50 PM | Janis Gibbs

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.

Flagged for Global Learning.

Don’t forget! Dr. Lauren Janes is leading the 2020 Paris May Term: Art, History, & Global Citizenship.

This is a Grand Challenges Initiative Pathways course. This qualifies as HIST 131 (CHII), HIST295 (Europe Since 1500), Art 111 (FA1), or Senior Seminar. Contact Dr. Janes at janes@hope.edu to apply.

Graduate Insight: A History Degree at Work

Jennifer Cimmarusti (’18) at the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center in Douglas, MI.

Hello to all the current History students, faculty and staff, and alumni. It has been well over a year since I stepped foot into Lubbers to attend a class and a lot has changed since then. I took a well-needed year off from school to figure out what I exactly was going to do with my newly acquired degree. After some soul searching, I started volunteering at my local museum. At the time, I was considering museum work but was having trouble getting my foot in the door. Then, Dr. Janes passed along a flyer for a museum internship in Douglas, MI. And, after a few short weeks, I started working at the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center.

My official job title is the “Communication and Events Intern” but that hardly fits what I do. I have worked in nearly all aspects of the museum, from archives to customer service. My first big project was working on the annual newspaper, The Historical Chronicle. It was my responsibility to call advertisers, pick articles, lay out the page design and edit copy. It was truly a challenge for a newcomer like me. Thankfully, we were able to complete the newspaper and have it printed for the summer tourists. My other work included creating advertisements for events and exhibit openings, working as a greeter and cashier, and writing articles for the monthly newsletter. Along with that, I was able to work in the archives and cataloged all of the center’s LGBTQ items. My favorite project was working in the art gallery. In August, the History Center opened an exhibit on local artist and art teacher, Cora Bliss Taylor. I researched the artist and helped collect paintings for the exhibit. I also played a role in writing the artifact labels. It was hard work, but I loved every minute of it. From my experience at the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center, I now know I want to become a museum curator and will be applying to graduate school for Museum Studies.

Artist Cora Bliss Taylor’s exhibition didactic from the Saugatuck-Douglas History Center, featuring Jen Cimmarusti (’18) as Assistant Curator.

My advice for future historians: if you think you might be interested in working in a museum – try volunteering. I know from first-hand experience that small museums have many projects and not enough people to help. On behalf of The Saugatuck-Douglas History Center, we would like to extend a special invitation for Hope students to intern for class credit. If interning does not fit your schedule, you can still volunteer your time for the experience. The History Center currently needs help in arranging their holiday events, writing the monthly newsletter and annual newspaper, and working on Fall 2019 and Summer 2020 exhibits. If you are interested, please let them know! Saugatuck and Douglas are a short distance from campus (about 20 minutes). If you do not have transportation, no problem. There is a bus service, the Interurban, which travels from Holland to Saugatuck and Douglas.

For questions, contact Eric Gollannek.
Phone: (269) 857-5751, Email: info@sdhistoricalsociety.org

**If you want history credit for it, please contact the Hope College History Department.

Student Feature: Reed Hanson

Reed with a Franciscan friar in Assisi.

Going to Rome felt like a death sentence the first week. I knew nobody else from Hope and didn’t have any other friends from high school in Europe with me, so I was plagued by intense feelings of isolation and loneliness for about a week after I arrived. It reminded me of freshman year all over again, except multiplied by a new language and culture that is completely foreign to anything I had ever experienced before. I came in thinking ‘I am going to find travel buddies right away and plan all sorts of amazing and wonderful adventures!’ But when that didn’t happen I was left confused and aimless. I knew I shouldn’t waste this experience overseas but I felt homesick and longed for familiarity- something that would make me feel better.

It wasn’t until going to Malta the second week of February that I leaned into myself and really felt convicted. I went with one of my housemates and his friends, so I stayed in an apartment with four guys I didn’t know at all. I decided to travel the island by myself and it was easily the best decision I have made while being in Rome! I knew right then and there that I don’t need to depend on others for going on trips! Going solo through Malta allowed me to do things I wanted to do, and I got so much more out of it than if I had stayed with other people.

The Grand Harbour, Valletta, Malta

As a result of that realization, I have traveled to Cassino and Florence solo, and have planned trips to Venice and Normandy by myself. People might say that I’ll be lonely there, and having friends can make experiences better (Like Assisi, I traveled with two amazing friends and it was my favorite town I’ve been to in Italy!), but I also learned that it’s okay to travel alone and see the things I want to see and enjoy this beautiful country on my own terms. In addition, I am staying an extra few weeks after my program ends to explore Europe and see my uncle in Egypt, and I found a good friend from the Bible study here who is also staying! He and I are spending time in London and Dublin the second week of May.

I chose Rome for the History and Classics program, my two majors. Seeing things that I learned about in class for years has been a dream come true; I have studied Latin since middle school, so seeing the Roman Forum and thousands of ancient inscriptions across the city has opened my eyes and allowed me to learn the material unlike any other semester. In any given week, we learn about certain subjects in class and then go out into the city and see them in person later! There have been so many times this semester where I have been completely speechless as I stare and admire Roman ruins that have survived for two thousand years.

The Roman Forum, from the Capitoline Museum

Every week I am blown away at things I see that we learn about in lecture, and I can’t help but praise the Lord for putting me in this amazing program. For being able to travel outside the city and explore Italy and Europe. To see the Normandy battlefields in France, Zurich and the Swiss Alps, London/Dublin and the British Isles, and the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. All of it is for His glory, with each part representing His majesty. This city, this experience, this world is night and day compared to Holland, Michigan, and yet I am oddly charmed by the inviting sense of wonder Europe offers. I will miss all that Italy has to offer when I fly home in May. Except for the cigarette smoke. I can’t stand the smoking.

Overall, Rome has been an absolute blessing. The food has been kind to me, the views and scenic sights have blown me away with their magnificence and elegance, the small towns in the Italian countryside have given me memories I will carry with me for years to come, and the abundance of Roman ruins have been a daily reminder of why I came here. I discover something new about this Eternal City on a daily basis, and a lifetime of living here wouldn’t be enough to uncover every secret Rome has to offer.

Day of Giving

Hope Day of Giving starts this Thursday, April 11. This year it’s all about “Give to What you Love,” and for 36 hours you can give directly to support the Hope History Department as we work to teach historical thinking skills, expand students’ global engagement, and engage students in original research.  You can help us keep making a difference by heading to http://dayofgiving.hope.edu  this Thursday and giving directly to the History Department or to student scholarships.


Fred Johnson teaching students in Vietnam-War era bunker during Vietnam: History, People, Culture May Term in 2017.

Your gift, no matter the amount, is an investment in today’s history students. Your contributions will help us further enrich our majors and minors with experiences that help them engage with history and cultures around the world.

We hope to offer financial support to history students pursuing summer off-campus study in programs like the Vienna Summer School as well as newer options like history May Terms in Paris and Vietnam. We also want to continue to support summer student research projects, like the team of history majors who created the website  We All Must Do Our Utmost: Holland, Michigan in World War I. We would like to increase opportunities for students to present their research at national history conferences, as Aine O’Connor (‘20) did this winter at the Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association.

Avery Lowe (’19), Aine O’Connor (’20), and Natalie Fulk (’18), worked with History Department Chair Dr. Jeanne Petit and Mary Riepma Ross Director of the Archives Geoffrey Reynolds in the summer of 2017 to create a community resource on local history in WWI.

Interested in supporting other programs at Hope? You can give to more than one area, including our greatest need: scholarships!  http://dayofgiving.hope.edu

Thank you for participating in Day of Giving!



It’s Course Registration Time!

Take a look at the upper-level courses being taught by our great professors for Fall 2019! If you have questions about them, please contact Dr. Jeanne Petit (petit@hope.edu).

History 141-01 The Historian’s Vocation
MWF 12:00 -12:50 PM
Jeanne Petit

Do you love history, but struggle to answer when people ask you, “What are you going to do with that history major (or minor)?” In this course, we will examine the ways the study of history can become the foundation of your larger vocations in life, whether in a career or as a civically-engaged member of your community. We will consider how the skills you will develop as a historian (reading critically, researching widely, writing effectively) provide a foundation for a variety of careers, as well as for a life of meaning and purpose. As part of this course, students will work with the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career, learn practical skills, such as how to write a resume, and develop a plan for pursuing experiential learning opportunities that will aid in vocational exploration and discernment.

This course is required for all history majors and minors who entered Hope College in the Fall of 2018 and later.
Pre-requisite: HIST 140 (can be taken in the same semester)

History 200 02A: The Iron Curtain: Eastern Europe during the Cold War
TR 1:30-2:50 PM
Mizuho Nakada

This course will focus on the relationship between Eastern-European citizens and their communist party regimes during the Cold War. The course will explore how people were mobilized for and also spontaneously participated in the “national socialist revolution” of 1950s. We will also examine the changes in later decades as those in civil society contested their regimes in the 1960s and then shifted to conformity and retreat into private life in 1970s. Special emphasis will be placed on the compatibility between social justice and civil liberty.

History 200 01B: Asia in Western Imagination (GLI)
MWF 1:00-1:50 PM
Wayne Tan

What is Asia? Where are Asia’s boundaries? How do we encounter Asia in everyday life? In this course, we will find answers to these questions through a survey of historical sources written since the 1800s about travels in foreign lands, the violent clash of empires, and the possibilities and limits of cultural exchanges. We will learn how to read texts and images—how English-speaking and non-English-speaking writers encountered the Other, how knowledge was disseminated across cultural borders, and how we, as contemporary readers, have inherited some of these assumptions. In other words, we use Asia as a space for questioning how we render the foreign vaguely familiar, and produce (and reproduce) what we thought we always knew.

Flagged for global learning international.

History 210 01: The Roman World (GLI)
MWF 2:00-2:50 PM
Al Bell

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.

Flagged for global learning international.

History 252 01: Civil War America (GLD)
MW 3:00-4:50 PM
Fred Johnson

This course spans the years from 1820 to 1877, starting with the Missouri Compromise and progressing through the Civil War and Reconstruction. During this period, as the United States expanded its territorial boundaries, forged a political identity, and further achieved a sense of national unity, sectional rivalries, industrialization, reform movements, and increasingly hostile confrontations over the language and interpretation of the Constitution led to crisis. This course will examine how those factors contributed toward the 1861-1865 Civil War, with subsequent special emphasis being placed upon how the conflict and post-war Reconstruction influenced America’s social, political, cultural, and economic development as it prepared to enter the 20th

This course is flagged for global learning domestic.

History 295 01: Ancient Rome & The Third Reich: Facist Appropriations of Classical Thought
MWF 2:00-2:50 PM
Lee Forester & Bram ten Berge

This course is an in-depth examination of Nazi Germany and the ancient Greco-Roman ethnic perceptions that influenced the formation of Nazi ideology. We start by looking at Tacitus’ Germania, an ethnographic account of the peoples, geography, resources, and customs of the Germani, the Germanic tribes that eventually overthrew the Western Roman Empire. We will then analyze how this text, and the Roman perceptions of the Germanic peoples expressed in it, were appropriated by the leaders of the Third Reich to support their vision of racial superiority. This course will train students to recognize the dangers in using ancient documents to justify modern beliefs and practices.

History 357 01: U.S. Cultural History (GLD)
MWF 9:30-10:20 AM
Jeanne Petit

Spanning the years from the Civil War through the late 20th century, this course examines the ways both ordinary people and elites created, challenged and shaped American culture.  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, 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 an extensive research paper. Flagged for global learning domestic.

History 395 01: Friend or Foe: China and the U.S. in Trade, War, and the Missionary Movement
MWF 11:00-11:50 AM
Gloria Tseng

America’s trade war with China has been much in the news, the latest episode in a multifaceted relationship that began in the eighteenth century. The US was a young nation; China was a declining empire. Yankee merchants were eager to make a fortune in the China trade, and missionaries were eager to take the Gospel to “China’s millions.” As the young nation became the leader of the free world, and revolutionaries turned China into a Communist state, the two countries have been both allies and enemies, and their citizens have regarded “the other” with curiosity, benevolence, suspicion, admiration, contempt, or hostility at different points in the two countries’ relationship. This course offers a historical overview of this evolving relationship.