For thousands of years, empires have been one of the world’s most widespread and influential forms of political and social organization. Ranging in time from the empires of ancient Mesopotamia to the European empires that dominated much of the globe until the mid-20th century, they have done much to shape the contours of human history. The study of colonialism and imperialism includes attention to gender, environmental history, religion, slavery, the history of science and medicine, and histories of indigenous peoples. Colonial authorities remade landscapes, polities, and societies. Empires also shaped beliefs, impacting the inner worlds of colonizers and colonized alike.
Yet with colonial rule came dissent and contestation. In the face of often exploitative and hierarchical regimes, colonized peoples sought to retain control of their own lives, refashioning the dynamics of imperial influence in the process. In the modern era, the legitimacy of empires has been comprehensively called into question. The phenomenon of decolonization was one of the most important political developments of the twentieth century, and, while imperialism has not disappeared from the contemporary world, colonial practices have taken new forms.
Students who choose to pursue coursework in Colonialism and Imperialism will explore the complex dynamics of colonial interactions, which remain profoundly relevant to the textures and structures of contemporary human experience.
(HIST 1300) Latin American Civilization to the 1820s
(HIST 3140) Victorian Britain
(HIST 3160) Soviet Union
(HIST 3200) Age of Imperialism
(HIST 3540) The Japanese Empire
(HIST 3700) Colonial America
(HIST 4260) The French Colonial Empire from New France to the Algerian War(HIST 4270) Empire and Exploration 1400-1750
(HIST 4271) European Exploration, Imperialism, and Decolonization 1750-Present
(HIST 4290) The Americas After Columbus
(HIST 4720) The Worlds of Benjamin Franklin(HIST 4865) Gender, Race, and Empire in Asia