History and Political Science
- International Relations
- Political Science
Salem College offers a major and a minor in history, a major in international relations major and a major and minor in political science.
The history major and minor
Whether you major or minor, your program will focus on American history and the history of Western Civilization, and also select from a wide variety of elective courses dealing with the histories of: Europe, East Asia and Africa; American and European women; American Indians and African Americans; colonialism, race and empire; and particular events that have shaped social, political and economic systems. As a major and/or minor the program invites you to explore historical narratives through the lens of race, class, gender, ethnicity and place. Majors study the theory and empirical methods of the history discipline and master the techniques of historical research and writing. The history degree emphasizes critical thinking, equipping students with knowledge and skills that prepare them for field work or graduate study.
The international relations major
This interdisciplinary major equips you for national and transnational careers in government, law, public policy, business and more. Objectives include the promotion of historical understanding; the ability to identify the political needs and social problems confronting modern society; and the development of personal skills in research, writing and criticism. By integrating the curriculum of a collective of departments, you will be exposed to a range of subjects and academic discipline perspectives.
The political science major and minor
The material offered in political science is intended to acquaint you with the many principles, institutions and problems that have historically shaped society and the state. Courses are offered in the fields of comparative politics, international politics and American politics, and the focus is on policy-making processes both in America and abroad. The curriculum will prepare you for a range of opportunities in advanced study or a professional career.
As a major and/or minor in history, you will undertake a rigorous analysis and criticism of historic documents and scholarship. You will have opportunities to learn outside the classroom, through original research projects, January Term travel courses and participation in the activities carried out and sponsored both by the department as well as Phi Alpha Theta, the history honors society, debates, lectures and discussions. You may also choose to participate in our Model United Nations program held in New York during the spring of each year. In addition, you and other students will have opportunities to present original research at national undergraduate student conferences.
Our faculty members are both teachers and scholars who conduct their own research and publish and present in scholarly journals and academic conferences. They will encourage you to challenge yourself academically and personally. Small class sizes and a faculty dedicated to teaching create strong student-teacher relationships in the Department of History and Political Science. Our faculty act as mentors who use both their professional expertise and experience to guide their students through the program while also preparing them for their professional lives afterwards.
As a history major or minor, you will graduate with exemplary skills in research, critical thinking and communication, while being versed in your discipline(s). Degrees in history, international relations and political science will prepare you for law school and other graduate programs.
With a major and/or minor in history, you will join other Salem graduates who are now working as professional historians, preservationists and museum workers; in local, state and national governments; in not-for-profit and nongovernmental organizations; and in primary, secondary and higher education.
History Major (B.A.)
The major in history requires the completion of eleven courses.
The minor in history requires the completion of five history courses and must include Survey of World History (HIST 103 and 104) or United States History (HIST 105 and 106), plus three history electives at the 200-level or above, excluding the internship in history (HIST 275). All courses must be taken at Salem or at Wake Forest University. Transfer students may submit the equivalent of HIST 103 and 104 or HIST 105 and 106 for credit toward the minor.
History Courses (HIST)
103. World History I One course
A survey of the ancient, medieval and early modern societies of African, Europe, Asia, America and the Middle East with a focus on economic, political and cultural developments and cross-cultural contacts and exchanges. Fall.
104. World History II One course
An examination of the economic, political and cultural forces that shaped world realities from early modern times to the present day, with a focus on the cause and ramifications of the increasing interconnectivity of Africa, Europe, Asia, America and the Middle East. Spring.
105. United States History to 1877 One course
This course introduces the history of the United States from the fifteenth century through Reconstruction. It emphasizes contact and collision between diverse racial and ethnic cultures; the changing experiences and status of diverse men and women; political, economic and social transformations; and the struggle over freedom and independence. Fall.
106. United States History Since 1877 One course
Surveying the history of the United States from Reconstruction to the present, this course integrates an array of perspectives concerning the evolution of modern America. In particular, it investigates historical struggles over issues that continue to shape our world, including gender roles, conceptions of race, civil rights, war, economic inequality, citizenship and the power of government in American society. Spring.
200. Independent Study in History One-quarter to one course
Independent study under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Open to students with a 2.0 cumulative average and permission of the chair of the department. Independent study may take the form of readings, research, conference, project and/or field experience. Students are expected to develop their independent study proposal with their faculty advisor prior to the term in which the independent study would take place. Independent study may be taken for a total of three courses. Prerequisite: Previous study in history or permission of the instructor.
205. History of the American South One course
This course examines the history of the American South from the colonial through the twentieth century. Course topics include slavery, the Civil War, lynching, segregation, the growth of industry and the civil rights movement. Additional topics include American Indians’ racial status; African American women and men in late 19th and early 20th -century politics. Fall, alternate years.
207. Native American History One course
This course examines the history of Native American peoples of North America from the pre-colonial period through the present. This course highlights the cultural and historical diversity among native peoples; cultural, religious and economic exchange between Native Americans and African and European newcomers to North America; and patterns of Native American cultural conquest, adaptation and survival. Alternate years.
208. American Frontier History One course
This course explores frontiers from treks West to Star Trek, in relation to key events and trends in American history from 16th-century Spanish explorations to 19th-century westward migrations, and from early 20th-century U.S. global expansion to contemporary sci-fi images. It examines how diverse European-descended, Native American and African American men and women have shaped and been influenced by frontier experiences. Alternate years.
209. African-American History One course
This course offers a topic-based chronological survey of African American history from the 1600s through the late 20th century. Woven into the course are the experiences and perspectives of women and men occupying different places in the spectrum between slavery and freedom. Key themes include African Americans’ work, political leadership, migration, role in shaping communities and experience of and resistance against slavery, violence, segregation and other forms of injustice. Spring, alternate years.
210. The Atlantic World One course
This course explores the history of African, European and Native American peoples who inhabited lands that bordered the Atlantic Ocean between the 15th and 19th centuries. The Atlantic World was a frontier zone for encounter, connection and conquest between peoples of diverse races, classes and genders. Alternate years.
211. Public History One course
This course provides students with knowledge of best practices in the field of public history.
Students will learn basic archival theory and methodology including how documents and
artifacts are preserved. The course teaches students to analyze, interpret, and evaluate historical evidence; apply historical perspective to contemporary issues; and include diverse cultural values. Students will explore issues of ethics, politics, interpretation, and access. The course also provides students with an introduction to fields of inquiry which support preservation and historic interpretation including: museum studies, special collections, historic preservation, and historical archaeology. Students of public history will gain historical and specialized knowledge and skills through internships and interactive activities with the goal of conveying historical understanding to the general public. Prerequisite: Either HIST 103 and 104 or HIST 105 and 106. Offered annually. Cross-listed with PRSV 250.
212. The Great Depression in History and Memory One course
The Great Depression of the late 1920s and 1930s brought profound change to American society. This course examines the Depression through sources that reflect its diversity of experiences, including film, oral histories, photography, drama, literature, music, political oratory and historical studies. Particular attention is paid to the importance of gender and race in the history of the Depression era. Fall, alternate years.
213. Vietnam War One course
This course begins with an overview of Vietnamese history and then situates the war within the broader context of global anti-imperialist movements of the past century. Students will examine a comprehensive variety of historical sources that reflect the global nature of the conflict, with authors from Vietnam, the United States and other areas of the world.
214. The Global Cold War One course
Rather than viewing the Cold War solely as a struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, this course seeks to reconceptualize the Cold War as a truly global conflict, shaped also by the peoples of Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Spring, alternate years.
215. Critical Issues in the History of Race and Ethnicity One course
This course introduces students to the critical analysis of race and ethnicity, with a focus on comprehending theoretical approaches to the study of race and ethnicity prevalent in the United States and throughout the world. Cross-listed with REST 210. Spring.
219. The United States and the World One course
This course explores how competing conceptions of power—based upon changing narratives of race, gender, fear, economic interest and national purpose—have shaped the history of the U.S. foreign policy. Spanning from the era of colonial conquest to current conflicts throughout the world, it also examines broad patterns of continuity and change in arguments concerning the use of military force. Fall, alternate years.
221. American Women’s History One course
This course offers a topics-based chronological survey of U.S. women’s history from the 1790s through the 1990s. Woven into this course are the experiences and perspectives of women of diverse races, ethnicities, religions, classes and sexual orientations. Key themes include women’s paid employment, place in politics, role within families and communities, relationship to popular culture, and experience of slavery and social and economic upheaval. Spring.
222. The Greco-Roman World One course
An upper-division survey course of the Greco-Roman world (1150 BCE-400 CE). It offers students an opportunity to become culturally literate in the ideas, institutions and individuals of classical antiquity and their contribution to both western and Islamic civilizations. Alternate years.
223. Medieval Europe One course
An upper-division survey course of Medieval Europe (350-1450 CE). It offers students an opportunity to become culturally literate in the ideas, institutions, and individuals of medieval Europe. It also addresses the interactions between the Christian West and the Islamic East. Alternate years.
229. History of the British Isles One course
A political, social and cultural study of the British Isles from the Middle Ages to the present, including the impact of the British Empire on world history. Alternate years.
231. Renaissance and Reformation Europe, 1350-1650 One course
A study of the political, social and cultural history of Europe from 1350-1650. Prominent themeswill be the Italian Renaissance, Northern Renaissance, Protestant and Catholic Reformations and the Age of Exploration. Fall, alternate years.
235. Europe in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution, 1650-1815 One course
This course will examine the political, social and cultural history of Europe from the Scientific Revolution to the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars. All of these themes will be examined in the broader context of the Enlightenment and its relationship to other revolutions, including the Revolution of 1688 in England and the American and Haitian revolutions. Spring, alternate years.
237. Europe’s Radical Century, 1815-1914 One course
This course explores the Industrial Revolution, nationalism, socialism, communism, liberalism, feminism, imperialism, Social Darwinism and many other “isms” as well as their impact on Europe and the world. Fall, alternate years.
245. History of Germany One course
A political, social and cultural study of Germany from the Middle Ages to the present. Alternate years.
247. History of Russia One course
A political, social and cultural study of Russia from the Middle Ages to the present. Alternate years.
250. Special Topics in History One course
A special period, issue or theme in history will be studied intensively. The specific content and methods of study will be announced prior to the beginning of the course. Prerequisite: one 100-level HIST course or permission of the instructor. Offered as needed.
257. Modern Europe, 1914 to the Present One course
An examination of European history from the origins of World War I to the present. Themes will include World Wars I and II, the Russian Revolution, the Holocaust, decolonization, the Cold War, the Revolutions of 1989, Balkan crises and contemporary issues from environmentalism to globalization. Spring, alternate years.
265. U.S. Constitutional and Legal History One course
Studying the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court decisions, and other legal documents from throughout the nation’s history, students consider how the law has functioned to change, resist, and promote certain interests within society over time. Particular attention is devoted to legal constructions of race, gender roles and sexuality, the changing status of women within the legal system, and women’s activism concerning specific cases, policies, and legislation. Fall, alternate years.
269. America in Our Time: 1945 to Present One course
American domestic politics, social change and foreign policy since World War II. Emphasis on topics such as the Cold War, McCarthyism, the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, the Vietnam War and the post-New Deal welfare state. Spring, alternate years.
275. Internship in History One course
An opportunity to use the knowledge and skills the student has learned in coursework to solve problems in a real work setting; the apprenticeship aspect of the internship implies that the student has some base of knowledge and will increase her knowledge and skills by direct contact with an experienced, knowledgeable mentor. Application to and permission of the department is required. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors with a 2.0 cumulative average. Maximum credit per term is one course. PRSV 270 may substitute for HIST 275.
280. History of Economic Thought One course
A study of the major economists and schools of economic thought from the classical through the contemporary period, with special emphasis on their contributions to economic theory. Cross-listed as ECON 280. Prerequisite: ECON 100 or ECON 110 and 120. Fall.
281. Ottoman Empire One course
An upper-division course examining the political, social and cultural history of the Ottoman Empire (1300-1921). The Ottoman Empire was an Islamic empire with significant Christian and Jewish minorities. The Ottoman legacy has had a profound impact on the Middle East and Europe. Alternate years.
285. Modern East Asia One course
This course provides an overview of East Asia since 1800, focusing on the interconnected histories of China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam. Students examine how diverse peoples from this region shaped ideas, processes, and events of global significance, including anti-colonialism, nationalism, feminism, modernity, communism, capitalism, militarism, the World Wars and the Cold War. Emphasis is also placed on the relationship between East Asia, Europe and the United States throughout this period. Alternate years.
286. Modern Japan One course
This course examines the revolutionary changes that have characterized Japanese society since the mid-nineteenth century. Analyzing literature, film and other original works, we will study social and cultural critiques of Japanese identity that challenge popular conceptions of national mission, gender roles, economic development and militarism. Fall, alternate years.
290. Honors Independent Study in History One course
Advanced independent study under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Normally open to juniors and seniors with a 3.5 major average in history, subject to approval of the chair of the department. Honors work may be taken for a maximum of two courses.
310. The Clio Colloquium One course
Advanced study of problems in modern historical scholarship involving new interpretations and conceptual models. Required of majors in their senior year. Juniors may take the seminar with permission of the instructor. Spring.
Old Salem Museum & Gardens
The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Art (MESDA)
The Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.
The U.S. House of Representatives and the White House, local and national law firms.
Dr. Daniel Prosterman
Where are you from?
Chattanooga, TN, via Chicago, via New York.
What were your reasons for choosing Salem?
I’m thrilled to teach at Salem College and play a role in continuing the tradition of excellence in education for which Salem is known. The small classes and dedicated faculty offer an energetic and supportive environment in which all students are encouraged to participate, thereby developing skills that will benefit them throughout their academic and professional careers.
Tell us about your global experiences.
I have traveled to 17 countries and speak four languages (some far better than others). I recently presented my research in Dublin, Ireland, and London, England. I am eager to visit Japan in the future.
What are your areas of special interest within your discipline?
My research investigates the practice of democracy in the United States and throughout the world, with a focus on the ways in which people mobilize to further democracy in their countries. My first book, Defining Democracy: Electoral Reform and the Struggle for Power in New York City, is scheduled to be published by Oxford University Press in 2012.
What kind of interaction do you have with your students beyond the classroom?
As director of the Salem Signature General Education Program, I have the opportunity to advise students throughout their academic careers. I also serve as the faculty advisor to Salem’s chapter of CHANGE, direct independent research projects, supervise internships, and guide students through the graduate school application process.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
“The great work begins.”—Tony Kushner
Tell us about your favorite books or movies that you would
recommend to students.
- Unbowed by Wangari Maathai
- God’s Bits of Wood by Sembene Ousmane
- Lost in Translation (2003)
- My Neighbor Totoro (1988) The first two books detail the origins and impact of women’s activism in sub-Saharan Africa. The two films provide masterful depictions of modern Japanese society and culture.
Tell us about your family.
I’m married to a successful children’s book author, and we have a four-year-old daughter, who has been roaming the campus since before she could walk. We also have one cat and an enormous dog.
What do you do for fun when you aren't working?
Learn Japanese with my daughter.
What is your favorite place at Salem?
The classroom, of course!