Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College


History 398. Experimental Courses

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.


Religion and the State in Ancient Rome

In ancient Rome, the concept of “separation of church and state” would be nonsensical, as the two were so intertwined. This course explores this intimate connection between Roman “politics” and “religion,” from the city’s founding through the end of Rome’s empire. We will explore topics such as the role of divination in early Rome, the cult of the Roman emperor, and the turn to Christianity. We will analyze a broad range of both textual and material (archaeological) evidence.


My name is East; My name is West: Modern Turkey

One’s of world’s most populous Muslim majority countries today, Turkey is a member of NATO and a candidate for the European Union. Many see Turkey as a bridge between Europe and Asia. The founders of modern Turkey were former military officers, bureaucrats and intellectuals of the Ottoman Empire that spanned three continents and lasted over six centuries. Mapping the political, socio-economic and cultural landscape since the late 19th century, this course examines the formation of modern Turkey until the present day. We will particularly explore secularism, Islam, sexuality, the Kurdish question, recent political protests, memory, and arts and music. The course will consist of lectures and discussions and could also be taken as an upper level writing course.


A Social History of Death and Dead Bodies in Early Modern Europe

This social history course considers how humankind has dealt with death and dead bodies from the Middle Ages to the mid-nineteenth century. Discussion focuses on anthropological frameworks for death, Catholic and Protestant conceptions of purgatory and the fate of the human soul, body snatching and dissection of dead bodies, mourning and commemoration practices, society’s fascination with murder, execution as legalized death, forensic science and dead bodies, and ghosts.