The Dakota War

The study of the American Civil War often focuses on the eastern theater and often views the struggle as a black and white affair. This senior seminar seeks to expand our understanding of the Civil War by moving westward and examining conflicts with Native Americans. Specifically, this senior seminar will focus on the US-Dakota War, a conflict between Minnesota settlers and the Dakota Indians in August 1862. The war resulted in the deaths of approximately 600 whites, the incarceration and removal of the Dakota Indians from Minnesota, and the largest mass execution in United States history. Students will explore primary and secondary sources on the Dakota War and write an original research paper on a related topic.

Sophomore Seminar in History

History is not just a set of facts that we string together to reveal what really happened. Students move beyond the facts of history to examine the interpretations of history. This section of the Sophomore Seminar (HI 300) challenges students to think critically and creatively to research historical topics, analyze historical evidence, and formulate and present historical interpretations. We will focus on the U. S. – Dakota War (1862) to expose students to the process of researching and writing history. The war originated from decades of conflict between the Dakota Indians and settlers in Minnesota and resulted in hundreds of deaths, the largest mass execution in American history, and the forced removal of Indians from Minnesota. We may study the nineteenth century in the course, but our methods will be decidedly twenty-first century. Students will use a variety of tools—both analog and digital—to research, write, and present history.

Introduction to the Civil War and Reconstruction

The Civil War represents a central event in US history over which battles continue to be fought today. Introduction to the Civil War and Reconstruction (HI 346) explores the origins of the war, the war years themselves, and the reconstruction that followed. We will begin with an examination of the road to disunion and the causes of the war. For the war years, we will explore the political, cultural, social, and ideological connections between the battlefield and the homefront. This course follows the struggles of the war into the postwar period as various groups attempted to reconstruct the American nation. Finally, we will explore how and why the Civil War and Reconstruction continue to grip the imaginations and the passions of Americans today.

Topics in the Civil War and Reconstruction

Topics in the Civil War and Reconstruction (HI 446 and 546) is an advanced readings seminar that examines the historiography of the American Civil War and Reconstruction. Topics include the origins of the war, military strategy, the northern and southern homefront, nationalism and citizenship, slavery and freed labor, changing gender roles and ideologies, struggles over racial inequality, and conservatism and radicalism during Reconstruction.

Civil War Era in North Carolina

Civil War Era North CarolinaThis undergraduate senior seminar, Civil War Era in North Carolina (HI 491), explores the origins of the Civil War, the war itself, and the Reconstruction that followed with a specific focus on North Carolina. Many white North Carolinians initially opposed secession, but they ultimately contributed more troops to the Confederacy than any other state. Still, divisions remained as southern Unionists and disaffected Confederates led a peace movement during the war, and slaves offered their services to the Union. For their final project, students choose a topic on the sectional crisis, the Civil War, or Reconstruction in North Carolina. They create an online archive of primary sources and an online essay that explores a significant historical question.

Theory and Practice of Digital History

SOHTheory and Practice of Digital History (HI 534) explores how new technologies are transforming the discipline of history. This graduate-level course focuses on the theory and practice of digital history. Students examine scholarship on digital history, exploring issues of accessibility, authority, and interactivity. Students also critique examples of digital history including archives, scholarship, exhibits, and teaching and learning resources. Students apply their knowledge in the creation of their own digital history projects. Through theoretical readings and hands-on experience, this course introduces students to the promises and problems of teaching, researching, and presenting history in the digital age.