Illinois State University
Illinois State University
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Detailed Course Descriptions

Fall 2014


History 300, Senior Seminar

Section 1, 3:35-4:50 MW, Professor Wood

"Crime and Punishment" - this course will focus broadly on the history of violent crime and criminal justice in the United States. We will trae how various social groups in the U.S. have defined crime, conceptualized criminality, and exacted legal and extralegal punichments over time. In particular, we will be focusing on the development of our modern criminal justice systm, the structures of which were larely in place by the first decades of the 20th century. some of the topics we will address include: the historical reasons for high homicide rates in the U.S.; the rise of the penitentiary system in the 19th century; the history of capital punishment; crime and media sensationalism; and the rise of the field of criminology and its impact on criminal justie at the turn of the twentieth century.

Section 2, 4-6:50 T, Professor Adedze

"History of Things" - This course looks thematically at history through its material culture. It introduces students to the understanding of objects and their use in cultural specific terms and their use in the construction of identity - social hierarchy, ethnicity, gender, etc. Students will have first hand experience working in Children's discovery Museum and McLean County Museum of History

Section 3, 9-9:50 MWF, Professor Biles

"The History of Chicago" - Students will be asked to write a 15-20 page essay using primary and secondary sources. In addition, students will also write reviews for three books dealing with the history of Chicago.

Section 4, 11-12:15 TR, Professor Reda

“America’s First “West” - America’s first “West” was the area between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. This course will examine the rich colonial history of this region and its subsequent incorporation into the newly formed United States.  Starting with the French explorers who were the first Europeans to discover the route between the upper Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and down to the Gulf of Mexico, we will trace the interactions in the West between Native Americans and Europeans played out against a backdrop of the imperial competition for North America conducted by France, Spain and England.  We will conclude with an analysis of the events by which this region ultimately became part of the United States. 

Section 5, 10-10:50 MWF, Professor Jasper

“Roman Writers" - This course will explore the various genres and styles in Roman writing from the end of the Republic through Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages (the first century BC to the sixth century AD). We will read a range of documents, including personal correspondence, military accounts, romances, and universal history. We will also read secondary articles addressing these sources to practice analyzing and criticizing scholarly arguments. Discussions and assignments will prepare students for writing a substantial research paper. In class we will focus on interpreting primary sources and formulating an argument based on original research. The papers may address topics proposed in class, or any topic on an ancient or medieval subject outside the parameters of the course.


History 307, Topics in Non-Western History

Section 1, 12:35-1:50 MW, Professor Topdar



Section 2, 5-7:50 M, Professor Nassar



History 309, Topics in US History

Section 1, 9:35-10:50 TR, Professor Reed




Email History

Department of History
Normal, Il 61790-4420
Phone: (309) 438-5641
Fax: (309) 438-5607