Interested in a History Major or Minor?

The History Department has a dual advising system.  Melissa Calderon, our Student Services Advisor, helps History students navigate the Department and University requirements.  Faculty advisors help students plan their major and offer guidance for pursuing the field of history both within and beyond USC.

  • To declare a major or address questions and issues concerning Dornsife College and University requirements or to have advising holds lifted, please see Melissa Calderon, SOS 153, (213) 740-1659.

Please use the new Dornsife Advising Online Appointment Manager Portal to             schedule an appointment with Melissa by clicking here

  • To discuss History Majors, Minors, the Honors Program, overseas studies, courses, funding, internships, honors societies, or careers, make an appointment or visit the Faculty Advisors during their weekly office hours.

For more information, contact Professor Lindsay O’Neill, Director of Undergraduate Studies, SOS 255, (213) 821-1680.


Spring 2024 Course Descriptions

Please click below to learn more about our courses offered for the Fall 2023 semester.

To download this list as a PDF, please click here.

  • Kurashige                            T/Th                      2:00-3:30pm

    Course Description:

    Patterns of American development from Colonial times to the present. Duplicates credit in former HIST-200.

  • Fischer-Bovet                     M/W                      3:30-4:50pm

    Course Description:

    The goal of the course is to offer a better understanding of the ancient world through social analysis. How did humanity go from hunting and gathering to building cities and empires and what kind of consequences did it have for human beings? The course will focus on the Near East, Egypt, Greece, Rome and Han China and compare state formation at different places over time. It aims at developing historical thinking but intersects with the social sciences. Some of the readings and lectures will introduce students to tools in historical sociology, political science, geography and demography used by some ancient historians. These approaches provide complementary viewpoints to understand why and how ancient societies developed particular political, religious, military or economic institutions and how these institutions shaped the lives of individuals differently.

  • Soll                                         T/Th                      12:30-1:50pm

    Course Description: 

    Political, intellectual, and cultural developments in Europe,1300-1815. Renaissance and Reformation; absolute monarchy, scientific changes, and Enlightenment; French Revolution and Napoleon.


  • Goldstein                              T/Th                      9:30-10:50am

    Course Description:

    Study of the lives of selected individuals who have helped to shape Chinese politics and culture.

  • Uchiyama                             T/Th                      2:00-3:20pm

    Course Description:

    Japan from the earliest times to the present; social, cultural, and political dimensions.

  • Mseba                                    T/Th                      11:00-12:20pm             

    Course Description:

    Surveys the social, economic and political lives of Africans since the imposition of European colonial rule in the late nineteenth century.

  • Antaramian                         T/Th                      12:30-1:50pm

    Course Description:

    Methods and theories of historical interpretation of evidence; uses of archives; modes of presenting the past to the public. Required of all History majors. Duplicates credit in former HIST-300.


  • Becker                                   T/Th                      2:00-3:20pm

    Course Description:

    Students read and assess crucial historical, literary, and psychological approaches to history and themselves learn to research and write a family history.

    The most important research and writing that will take place in this class is this: each student will be trained in oral history in order to interview family members to develop a family history to be presented to the class.   Each student will also be invited to focus on the mechanics of writing/communicating that history.

  • Morgan                         T/Th                 2:00-3:20pm

    Course Description:

    This course will investigate what race is, how race has been instrumental in the formation of the American republic and of the Americas as a whole, how race has been entrenched through legal and legislative mechanisms, how it has been built into societal structures, and how it operates both obviously and subtly.  We will discuss how race and racial ideologies have been constructed since the first encounter with indigenous American populations, how they have shifted and changed over time, and how daily actions and systems reflect racist ideology. We will begin with the first European encounters of American Indigenous populations of the 16th Century and continue to the present day.

  • Ross                                       M/W                      10:00-11:50am

    Course Description:

    This course analyzes the nature of power in the United States—as exercised from above and below—and how it operated to shape the course of American history from the 1890s to the present. We will examine many of the fundamental social, political, and economic problems that have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries: industrialization, urbanization, war, poverty, crime, politics, success, race, class, and gender conflict.  Using methodologies drawn from history and cinema studies, we will learn how to navigate among three different types of sources that inform our knowledge of how human behavior has shaped the economic, political, cultural and social landscape: (a) primary documents that shed light on those issues and behaviors; (b) secondary sources (historical overviews) that assess those issues; (c) films made during the period that address those issues.

    A note on our use of film as an analytic tool: Few contemporary institutions have a greater effect on molding popular understandings of the world than film and television.  Yet, most citizens lack the critical tools to contextualize, analyze, and critique the images and ideologies conveyed on the screen.  This course is designed to join elements of film studies with various schools of historical analysis to provide students with the critical skills needed to analyze the images and ideologies they see on the screen and to understand how those images effect our views of the past and present.

    Our films and documents cover the period from 1900 to the 2010s. We only watch films (which include fiction films, documentaries, and newsreels) that were made during that decade and deal with one or more of the major problems of the time.  In this way, these films serve as another primary source. But movies offer only one perspective on the world.  Each week we will also read and analyze works that offer additional perspectives: secondary source readings that discuss the general historical events of the era; readings that offer primary documents that shed light on how people of the time saw their world and sought to change it; and contemporaneous films that deal with the problems of the time. In short, we will triangulate our way through American history using different methodologies and sources to understand the past, the present, and the possibilities for the future.  It is the student’s job to figure out which of these perspectives seem most convincing, why it seems so, and the implications of one form of knowledge being more powerful than another.

    GE Learning Objectives:  Courses in the Social Analysis category prepare students to: “Apply methods of social analysis from at least one social science discipline to the study of human behavior and experience in economic, political, cultural, and/or social settings; understand the nature of empirical evidence and assess the usefulness of qualitative and/or quantitative evidence in explaining specific social phenomena; understand the interplay between human action and organizations, institutions, and/or the social and cultural settings of human action.”

  • Antaramian                         T/Th                      11:00-12:20pm

    Course Description:

    Overview of the history of the Ottomans and their imperial subjects.

  • Mayfield                               T/Th                      11:00-12:20pm

    Course Description:

    An introduction to the field of heritage studies as it is practiced today, examining archaeological, ethnohistorical and ethnographic theory and methodologies, mixed-methods approaches and research.

    • Crosslist: This course is offered by the ANTH department but may qualify for major credit in HIST. To register, enroll in ANTH 343


  • Rubenstein                           T/Th                      9:30-10:50am

    Course Description: 

    Knighthood, chivalry, courtly love, the gothic cathedral, the formation of the university, urban growth, bloody conflicts between bishops and kings, war, plague, and prophets of doom — these are just a few of the characteristics of European society in the High Middle Ages. In this class we will examine how these different cultural threads weave together to create medieval civilization in its classic form. We will trace its development from the spectacular economic and cultural growth of the twelfth century and to the catastrophes of the fourteenth. Readings will be drawn mainly from primary sources. Written work will consist of three essays, a midterm, and a final.

  • Alexander                            M/W                      12:00-1:50pm          

    Course Description: 

    Studies how law, politics and culture interacted to shape the institution of slavery and the development of modern conceptions of race.

    • Crosslist: This course is offered by the LAW department but may qualify for major credit in HIST. To register, enroll in LAW 320.


  • Fischer-Bovet                      M/W                      11:00-12:20pm

    Course Description: 

    Alexander the Great’s conquest transformed the geopolitics of the eastern Mediterranean at the end of the fourth century BC. What impact did this conquest have on the Egyptian state and its society? The purpose of this class is to introduce students to the history and culture of what is called Ptolemaic Egypt after the name of Alexander’s general, Ptolemy, who secured Egypt for himself and his descendants (305-30 BC) until the death of Cleopatra VII and the annexation of Egypt by the Roman emperor-to-be, Augustus (30 BC). Students will engage with texts (in translation) written more than two thousand years ago by ordinary people and with archeological material and coins found in Egypt to analyze a vast range of topics: immigration, ethnic interactions, religion, warfare, taxes, and land tenure, trade and monetization of the economy, as well as scientific, philosophical and literary achievements connected to the new intellectual capital, Alexandria, and its famous library.

    • Crosslist: This course is offered by the CLAS department but may qualify for major credit in HIST. To register, enroll in CLAS 378.


  • Goldgar                                T/Th                      11:00-12:20pm

    Course Description: 

    Early modern English and European social and cultural history viewed though everyday and luxury material objects.

  • Menchaca                     T/Th                 9:30-10:50am           

    Course Description:

    This course examines the longstanding presence of Mexicans in and their migration to the United States, from 1848 to the present. We will draw on interdisciplinary and transnational approaches to examine the movement of people, ideas, and cultural productions between Mexico and the United States. We will place Mexican migration within the context of larger global, imperial, and/or colonial socio-economic forces that propelled US-bound migratory flows from the Americas. The course highlights key historical moments and themes such as the Mexican American War, detention and deportation regimes, the Mexican American Civil Rights Movements, the Bracero Program, anti-nativist discourses/policies, cultural expressions, immigration debates, and immigrant rights organizing. Students will produce a podcast as their final project.

  • Ethington                             T/Th                      12:30-1:50pm

    Course Description: 

    Critical turning-points in the twentieth century; sources of major social and political change. Course materials include primary documents and historic radio/television recordings.

  • Molina                                  M/W                      2:00-3:20pm

    Course Description:

    Racial and cultural background of Mexico; immigration and conquest; the Mexican in California and the southwest; the rise of contemporary Mexican-American consciousness.

    • Diversity: This course satisfies the university’s diversity requirement.
    • Crosslist: This course is offered by the AMST department but may qualify for major credit in HIST. To register, enroll in AMST 373.


  • Becker                                   T/Th                      12:30-1:50pm

    Course Description:

    History of Mexico traces the crucial themes and events informing Mexico’s history from the sixteenth century to the contemporary period. This course allows students to learn about the central individuals and themes that made Mexico the fascinating nation it has become.

  • Harsini                                  M/W                      5:00-6:20pm

    Course Description:

    Arab immigration and acculturation in the U.S. from late-19th century to present; emphasis on community formation, race, religion and gender.

    • Crosslist: This course is offered by the AMST department but may qualify for major credit in HIST. To register, enroll in AMST 379.
  • Faraji                                    M/W/F                  10:00-10:50am

    Course Description:

    History and culture of modern Iran from the nineteenth century to present through historical and ethnographic approaches to Iran today, richly contextualizing events and people.

    • Crosslist: This course is offered by the MDES department but may qualify for major credit in HIST. To register, enroll in MDES 313.
  • Pant                                       T/Th                      12:30-1:50pm

    Course Description:

    History of South Asia with attention to questions of gender, sexuality and power with a focus on the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

  • Kurashige                            T/Th                      9:30-10:50am

    Course Description:

    Reading and doing quantitative research with historical data. Covers research designs, appropriate statistical analysis, and software packages for the use of historians.

  • O’Neill                                  W                            12:30-1:50pm

    Course Description:

    TRAVEL TO LONDON: May 13-22, 2024

    Ideas about sex and gender were changing in England as the eighteenth century folded into the nineteenth. As medical ideas altered, as the notion of the individual became cemented, and as a consumer culture grew, the way people thought about gender changed. This period saw the creation of separate spheres for men and women and this transformed expectations for each gender and thus influenced people’s family lives, work experiences, and sense of self. This class looks at how ideas about gender were refracted through objects and spaces, not only because societies imprint their gender expectations on objects, but because during this period things had come to matter more to the British. We will examine changing gender roles and expectations as revealed in class specific fashions in clothing and in design. We will explore the ways place mattered by looking at how the home and institutions such as brothels, public schools, and department stores presented a blueprint for gender ideals and realities. We will also look at how these ideas were reinforced through law, which both policed sexual mores and protected the established gender hierarchy.

    The only way to truly understand the power of these objects is to see them, so this class, after meeting once a week during the semester, will travel to London for a week. We will go to museums that show what people wore and how they utilized space, both in private and in public. We will frequent the restaurants that bachelors did and have high tea, the purview of the female sex. We will also visit the houses, palaces, streets, and stores that the men and women of the period wandered among. This course aims to have students emerge with a critical sense of the ways ideas about gender are historically constructed, to make them critical readers of primary and secondary sources, and to have them think about the way these ideas are presented to the public in situ.

    You will need to apply for this class. You must be a major in the department (LHC & CLLAS can apply) due to funding restrictions. All class levels can apply, including seniors. It’s more likely that I will take upper classmen since lower classmen have other chances to take the class, but you never know. Applications are due Oct 16th: QR Code to application below:

  • O’Neill                                  W                            3:30-6:20pm

    Course Description:

    Our very existence is predicated on our ability to drink. Water is one of the necessities of life, but we have long gulped things beyond water. This class explores how what we drink explains a lot about who we are and the society we live in. We will cover a range of different beverages from beer, wine, rum, tequila, gin, whiskey, and vodka to less alcoholic varieties like tea. Each has a different story to tell. Beer can tell us about gender. Rum tells us about slavery. Gin about social control and tequila about national identity. Each is a window into how society works and how it has developed overtime. Yet historians approach the story of drink differently. We will look at the multiplicity of ways that historians have used drinks to highlight historical change and we will use what we have learned from these different stories and different approaches to tell our own. For the goal of this class is for students to produce their own piece of research that explores the relationship between a beverage of their choice and the society that drank it.

  • Gruner                                  T/Th                      2:00-3:20pm

    Course Description:

    This class is a capstone for the interdisciplinary undergraduate minor “Resistance to Genocide” and a prerequisite for HIST 446 “Resistance to Genocide.”

    Systematic mass murder of large populations is one of the main features of modern world history. Hence, this seminar will methodically explore and compare the origins, developments and forms of mass violence and genocide. Using both primary and secondary sources, we will start with the study of the mass murder of indigenous people in different parts of the world from the 16th until the early 20th century (Colonial genocides from the Spanish conquest of the Americas to the German massacres of the Herero in South West Africa). Next, the class will focus on the analysis of the genocide of Armenians and other Christians in Turkey during World War I, the Holocaust against the Jews and the genocides in Cambodia and Rwanda. For comparative reasons, the genocides following the partition of India and Pakistan as well as in Bangladesh and Guatemala are included. In contrast to common approaches, we will especially investigate the preconditions and early stages of persecution to discuss the transition and alternatives to mass murder. For this purpose, we will also study cases from Africa and the Americas, where groups were fiercely discriminated against without being exterminated. We will compare the factors, which motivated states and groups throughout history to instigate mass murder as well as people to participate in these mass crimes. We will trace the history of the public discussion about Genocides, dig into the still vital debate about an appropriate definition of mass extermination and discuss different theoretical approaches to this dark pattern of history.


  • Mseba                                    Th                           2:00-4:50pm

    Course Description:

    Introduces students to the system known as apartheid in South Africa and examines the forces behind its rise and South Africans struggles to undo it.


  • Wilson                                   T/Th                      12:30-1:50pm

    Course Description:

    Examines the roots and routes of 20th century Black nationalist and radical movements, paying close attention to place, gender, religion and culture.

  • Uchiyama                             T/Th                      5:00-6:20pm

    Course Description:

    History of the Allied Occupation of Japan after the Second World War, with particular focus on democratic reforms, war crime trials, gender and popular culture.

  • Ibarra                                   T                             2:00-4:50pm

    Course Description:

    The Spanish Inquisition is often invoked as the early modern paragon of fanaticism, violence, bureaucratization, surveillance, and institutional persecution. This course will provide an introduction to the legal and institutional history of the Inquisition across the Iberian world, from Spain and Portugal on the peninsula itself, to the tribunals established in the Americas and the Indian Ocean. Students will consider the legal procedures and institutional frameworks involved in its creation and operation, as well as major myths, theories, and interpretations of the impact of the Inquisition on Iberian societies from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. Along the way, we will also explore critiques of the “inquisitorial” mindset from the period and consider the tensions between legislation and social practice. In addition, students will become familiar with the primary sources produced by the Inquisition, both in translation as well as through images of original manuscript trials, in order to consider the extent to which these documents can serve as evidence about everyday experiences, culture, and beliefs. The final product of the course will be a research paper, produced in stages throughout the semester, that will answer the question: what can we expect to learn from the Inquisition and the documents it produced that can advance our understanding of law, society, and culture in the early modern Iberian world?

  • Sheehan                                T                             2:00-4:50pm

    Course Description:

    Writing of the honors thesis; for students in the History Honors Program.

  • Davidson                              Th                           2:00-4:50pm

    Course Description:

    Writing of the honors thesis; capstone for students in the Law, History and Culture major.

    • Restriction: Registration open to the following major(s): Law, History and Culture