Department of History

History Department Faculty (Fall 2015). Not pictured: Drs. Nana Amponsah, Yixin Chen, Venkat Dhulipala, Chris Fonvielle, Eva Mehl, and Alan Watson.

Welcome History Majors!

As usual, the UNCW history department will be active place during the 2016-2017 academic year. We'll be offering many new classes, leading great public discussions, publishing new materials, and offering lots of opportunities for you to learn more about history.


Some interesting career news-the History department is the department in the College of Arts and Sciences (according to the last survey of recent graduates) with the HIGHEST PERCENTAGE of our former majors in graduate programs-these include programs in Law, International Relations, and Education as well as History programs. Nearly 40% of our graduates wind up in graduate school. We will have some opportunities this year for majors to learn more about graduate school options in many areas.

Class Updates for Spring 2017 semester

Remember, we offer several classes each semester that have unique topics. Check out the list below to see what Spring 2016 has in store.

  • HST 290 satisfies Information Literacy, Explorations Beyond the Classroom:
    • HST 290-001 and 002 Russian Revolutions of 1917  (McaCaffray)
      • Examines the momentous events that occurred 100 years ago in Petrograd and across the Russian Empire, which removed a 300 year old dynasty and eventually installed a government rooted in Marxist theory, utopian thinking and experimental living: that is, the birth of the Soviet Union.
    • HST 290-003 The Civil Rights Movement (Gisolfi)
  • HST 270 satisfies Living in a Global Society

    • HST 270 Greek Athletes and Roman Gladiators: Sport and Recreation in the Ancient World (Usilton)
    • HST 270 History of Public Health (Johnson)
    • HST 270 World War II (Fain, Spaulding, and Chen)
    • HST 270 The Jewish Holocaust (Tanny)
      • Investigating the Holocaust, the state-sponsored systematic genocide of European Jews, concocted and unleashed by Nazi Germany.  Our main focus will be on the period from 1933 to 1945, covering Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, through the Nazi conquest of the Europe, and the subsequent segregation, dehumanization, and murder of the Jews.  We will situate Nazi Germany and its Jewish victims in their proper historical context: What allowed Nazism to triumph? Why were the Jews selected for extermination? To what extent did the other peoples of Europe participate in the carnage?  These are just a few of the questions we will tackle in our investigation of the twentieth century’s greatest tragedy.
  • Classes of interest
    • HST 329 Issues in Modern Science: Race Religion and Politics (Crowe)
      • Investigates the historical foundations of contemporary scientific controversies, including evolution and creationism, science and race, GMOs, and more.
    • HST 355 Civil War and Reconstruction (Fonvielle)
    • HST 377 The Vietnam War (McFarland)
      • Intensive, in-depth study of the Vietnam War covering the period from World War II to the reunification of Vietnam in 1975, though many events and topics before and after this period with be discussed to provide a proper perspective of the war and its implications.  The course will focus on historical background, colonization and decolonization, ideologies, causes, strategies and tactics, battles and campaigns, technologies, politics, culture and the arts (the music, film, and literature of the war and the anti-war), international relations, diplomacy, social impact, economics, and historiography (the battle over who won or lost the war and what should have been done).  The course will answer the question, “Why did the United States win every battle of the Vietnam War, yet still lost the war?”
    • HST 377 The Cold War in Asia (Gao Bei)
    • HST 391 Europe in the Age of Renaissance (Mollenauer)
    • HST 398 Europe in the Age of War and DIctatorship (Seidman)
    • HST 204 Women in Modern America (Bredbenner)
    • HST 206 History of Science II: Modern Science (Crowe)
      • Investigate the rise of our modern scientific world beginning with the Scientific Revolution and ending with contemporary concepts of science and technology
    • HST 208 Jewish History from 1492 to the Present (Tanny)
      • Explore the rich history of the Jewish people from the Spanish expulsion in 1492 until the present day. We will examine how the different Jewish communities across the globe have met the diverse challenges of a modernizing world. Topics will include: The breakup of medieval Jewish communities; Emancipation, cultural transformation, and religious reform; Expulsions, migrations, and the building of new Jewish communities in new lands; Assimilation and acculturation; Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust; Nationalism, Zionism, and the creation of modern Israel; Diversity and unity across the global Diaspora
    • HST 209 African American  History
  • HST 400s satisfy Capstone Course and Writing Intensive requirements:

    • HST 444 U.S. Political History: Freedom in the Age of Revolution (Houpt)
      • Explores the different, and often conflicting, definitions of what it meant to be “free” in the late eighteenth century. Topics covered include debates over existence of racial slavery, the nature of self-government and the struggle to create a country that balanced the pursuit of freedom with the realities of nation-building.
    • HST 450 Social Justice and Liberation Struggles (Harris)
    • HST 483 Accursed EMpire? The Ottoman Empire of the Long 19th C. (Iszmirlioglu)
    • HST 487 Empire and Environment: An Eco-History of the Modern World (Hart)
    • HST 495 War and Diplomacy in Europe: 1750-1854 (Spaulding)
    • HST 495 Women, Gender and Sexuality in West Africa (Amponsah)

Faculty and Staff Updates

Pat Lee has now joined us in the front office. She'll take care of any questions you might have, so feel free stop in and say hello!

Dr. Lynn Mollenauer is the new Chair of the history department, succeeding Dr. Townend who spent several years of successfully navigating the department through many trials and tribulations.

Dr. Paul Townend has taken a new position at the university as Vice Chancellor and Dean of Undergraduate Studies. He will still work with students when he can but will not be teaching classes.

Dr. Venkat Dhulipala will be on leave during the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters.

Dr. Nana Amponsah will be on leave during the fall 2016 semester.

Dr. Lisa Pollard retired this summer. She will be missed but we wish her well on her future adventures!