Sample Syllabi

Modern African History

How did African nations get their shapes? Why did colonialism by Christian Europeans prompt a rapid spread of Islam? Why would Africans sell other Africans into slavery? Why don't more people in the coffee-growing mountains of Tanzania drink coffee? This survey-level course examines the huge changes that have occurred in Africa since the beginning of the 19th century through lectures, discussions, readings, and film analysis. Centering African agency and the limits on that agency, this class explores the slave trade, colonialism, the formation of independent nation states, and contemporary engagements with the global cultural-economic market from African perspectives. 

Link to syllabus forthcoming

Early African History

Until the mid-twentieth century Africa was not often imagined as having a history. But today we know that the continent's history did not begin with slavery. What was the history of this vast and diverse land before the era of colonialism? In what different ways did Africans organize their societies and imagine their worlds? How did Africans help create the premodern and early modern world? This survey-level course introduces students to historical methods through a consideration of the textual and extra-textual sources historians have used to examine Africa's precolonial past.

Link to syllabus forthcoming

African History 

Islam in Africa

Islam and Africa are both hugely diverse, and yet they are both often imagined as monoliths. This seminar-level course seeks to challenge both of these "single stories" by exploring the variations of African Muslim experiences since the introduction of Islam to Africa to the present. The readings are chosen to encourage students to think historiographically as well and historically about the assigned readings. Students will be asked to write an original research paper based on their own interests and will be guided through the steps of conceptualizing, researching, and writing an article-length paper. 

Link to syllabus forthcoming

Global History

Migration in Global History


Migration has been a feature of the human experience throughout our species' history. Rather than being a banal fact of life, however, migration today is a divisive political issue. This intermediate-level class combines lectures and discussions to examine migration from prehistory to the present, exploring the diversity of experiences, motivations, and interactions encountered by migrants.

Link to syllabus forthcoming

Indian Ocean World History

How​ have the movements of objects, people, and ideas created a global world? This lecture and discussion-based world history course takes this question that is more frequently asked of an expanding Euro--American world system and seeks to answer it in the context of the Indian Ocean world. Centering material culture, social histories, and the experiences of individual historical actors through autobiographies and creative works, this class traces the history of the Indian Ocean as an interconnected world region from the slave trade through the present. 

Link to syllabus forthcoming

Early World History

We tend to assume that globalization and global mobility are products of the modern world. But in what ways did global systems operate prior to the "age of exploration"? How did long distance trade, migration, empires, connections, and conflicts occur in the premodern world? What were the limitations on these connections? Rather than jump from one civilization to another, this survey-level global history course addresses the early history of global interconnectivity through a combination of lectures and discussions. 

Link to syllabus forthcoming

Modern World History


How did our contemporary world come into being? How are headscarf bans in French schools today related to principles promoted by Napoleon? How does the opening of a new Chinese restaurant near campus relate to colonialism in Asia or the American idea of Manifest Destiny? How does news coverage of the Super Bowl relate to colonialism and the slave trade? This survey-level course teaches writing, research, and presentation skills by guiding students in tracing their own contemporary interests back in time. 

Link to syllabus forthcoming

Gender and Sexuality

History of Sex and Sexuality

Sex is simultaneously a basic biological act and a complex social performance which has been understood, moralized, and controlled in an array of different ways around the world over the course of human history. It is both intensely private and personal and a deeply political matter of public discourse. This survey-level course introduces students to the cultural, social, and political histories of sex and sexuality around the globe through a combination of lectures and discussions.

Link to syllabus forthcoming

Muslim Women in Global History


What is the role of women in Islam? How have the lives of Muslim women changed over time and differed from place to place? This intermediate-level class traces the history of Muslim women from the earliest days of Islam to the present. The course frequently makes use of biography to prompt students to place individual life histories within the context of larger historical narratives. 

Link to syllabus forthcoming