Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


History 398. Experimental Courses

Nations and Nationalism in Modern Europe

This course explores the development of nationalist ideologies and the emergence and consolidation of nation-states in Europe from the eighteenth to the beginning of the twenty-first century. To gain an understanding of the various theoretical and methodological approaches to studying the nation and nationalist movements, as well as the historiography of nationalism, students will read historical case studies covering the breadth of the continent, scholarly and popular articles, and theoretical works. Students will examine the relationship between the state and the nation, nationalism and violence, and the connections between race/ethnicity/religion/language/locality and national identity.

Harry Merritt


European Fascisms

Today many are concerned with the possibility of fascism’s return to Europe in the form of extreme right-wing parties while others see elements of fascism emerging from the presidential campaign of Donald Trump in the US. What sets fascist movements apart from other kinds of revolutionary and/or nationalist movements? Historians often disagree on what fascism is or how to define it. We will review several theories about fascism before examining Italian Fascism and German National Socialism, but also less familiar movements such as the Iron Guard in Romania, the Arrow Cross in Hungary, the Grey Wolves in Turkey, the British Union of Fascists and the Croix de Feu in France. There are no prerequisites for this course.


When Cultures Collide: Conflict and Interaction at the Edges of the Ancient World

This course takes as its main focus areas of increased cultural interaction within the ancient world. Our aim is to understand the role small, local populations played within the larger, better-studied cultural regions and empires such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome. What, for instance, can a study of the material practices of the communities in Nubia contribute to the study of Pharaonic Egypt? How does learning about northern Britain, beyond the walls erected by the Emperor Hadrian, nuance our understanding of the Roman Empire? Through this perspective, we will deconstruct the narrative of a “pure” culture and show that all states, empires and cultures are comprised of structured political organizations, nuanced social relationships, and complicated cultural constructs that can be traced through the archaeological and textual record.