Loyola University Maryland

Department of History

HS 100 Course Descriptions

Why does history matter? HS 100 Encountering the Past explores why the study of the past is essential for understanding our present. Through the lens of a single historical topic that varies by instructor, students are introduced to what it means to think like a historian and weave compelling stories. Along the way, students learn to ask critical questions, to evaluate evidence, to make persuasive arguments, and to write clearly and cogently. The course introduces students to how and why histories are produced, but more than that, it sets out to provide new ways of thinking about the human experience and about our place in the world today.

Below you will find information about individual topics, sections and professors.

Fall 2023

HS 100.01S, HS100.08 Encountering the Past: The Other Middle Ages: Persecution and Toleration in Medieval Europe

Dr. Brandon Parlopiano

This course sets out to introduce students to some of the methods used by historians, while bearing in mind that historical knowledge is provisional and complex. Along the way, students will develop the skills necessary for understanding and producing histories, which include the critical evaluation of sources and the ability to write cogently and persuasively about events in the past. Finally, this course also asks students to think about why the study of history is important to our lives today. Indeed, our introduction to the discipline of history takes aim at answering a deceptively simple question: why does history matter?

For many in the modern world, mention of the Middle Ages conjures up images of backwards ignorance and the savage persecution of any who dared deviate from all-powerful kings and popes. This is a depiction that historians have continued to debate. Some scholars have represented medieval Europe as a “persecuting society,” while others have stressed that toleration was much more the rule rather than the exception. In this course, we’ll examine the ways in which historians have tried to tell the stories of various groups and identities that faced persecution or marginalization in medieval Europe, such as women, Jewish communities, non-conformist Christians, queer individuals, and the disabled. We’ll explore the mechanisms of marginalization and persecution as well as the ways in which these identities survived or found acceptance in a sometimes hostile society.

HS100.04S, HS100.05S Encountering the Past: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery in Africa 

Dr. Oghenetoja Okoh

In this course, students will develop the skills necessary for understanding and producing histories, which include the critical evaluation of sources and the ability to write cogently and persuasively about events in the past. It also asks students to think about why the study of history is important to our lives today. We will engage these topics and questions by exploring the trans-Atlantic slave trade and slavery as a practice and institution in Africa. The development of this economic system was critical to the making of the modern world. We will explore the conditions that led to its development, consider the humanistic contradictions inherent in its evolution, the debates over abolition, and its legacy on our modern world.

HS100.06V, HS100.09, HS100.10 Encountering the Past: The Middle East in Myth and Reality

Dr. Bahar Jalali

This course will explore myths and realities about the Middle East. The term Middle East is loaded with implications, stereotypes, projections and clichés. Often defined as a “cradle of civilization,” the region has not only been the setting for premodern events and narratives of lasting impact upon the world at large; it has also been mythicized from outside like few other places in the modern era, and remains globally contested both in myth and in reality. In this course, students will be introduced to the Middle East as region where its real-life experiences often clash with past and present expectations and prejudices.

HS100.07 Encountering the Past: Immigration in the Americas

Dr. David Carey

By exploring immigration from Mexico and Central America to the United States, students will learn about aspects of the history of Latin America and the United States that remain relevant today. Considering current debates about immigration from the perspective of those who are often the subject of them offers a more profound and personal understanding of the issues than sound bites and many media outlets. As you come to understand the issues, needs, accomplishments, and challenges of migrating from Latin America to the United States through the lenses of Latin American immigrants, you will enrich your comprehension of Latin America and the United States. By becoming more aware of another culture and history, we also become more aware of our own.

HS100.11 Encountering the Past: Blackness in Ancient Greece and Rome: Representation and Interpretation

Dr. Thomas McCreight

The course will examine how ancient Greeks and Romans encountered, represented, reacted to and interacted with peoples and individuals with dark skin.  Primary source evidence for the class will include literary, documentary and large portions of visual evidence, including various art forms like sculpture, painting and mosaic.  We will investigate in detail how later European and American scholars (from the 1800s to the present) have interpreted this evidence.  These early interpretations established racist ways of viewing these populations and significantly influenced the creation of academic disciplines like Art History and Classics (the study of ancient Greeks and Romans).  The last portion of the course will focus on two topics: 1. Contemporary critiques of these traditional approaches and new ways of approaching and studying the topic, and 2. The recent use and misuse in Western political discourse of the history of peoples in the ancient Mediterranean.


HS100.12, HS100.13 Encountering the Past: A Century of Black Migration

Dr. Donald Earl Collins

Migration from farms to cities and from one region to another has been a constant theme of American history and culture. But there has perhaps been no group more transformative in and more transformed by the process of migration than African Americans. The “push” and the “pull” factors, the range of emotions, the psychological pressures millions of Black Americans faced in leaving their homes for the not-so-bright lights of America’s big cities and across different regions of the US began to change them and the nation starting in the 1910s. In the process, a largely rural Southern population had become largely urbanized with communities in every major city in the US by the end of the 1960s. Only to move again, to suburbs, to the Sun Belt, and in recent decades, to the urban South. With Black migration, we will reach beyond the words “origin” and “destination” and the idea that migration has merely been a physical manifestation of a difficult and seemingly unending cultural and spiritual journey in the US. In considering migration, we will also consider the cultural baggage of African Americans and the US, from racism and socioeconomic inequality to massive changes Blacks wrought in music, literature, the arts, and the culinary as part of this process.

HS100.17,  HS100.18G, HS100.19V Encountering the Past: Legacies of Modern Empire

Dr. Sam Klug

Far from being a relic of the ancient world, empires existed across the world well into the twentieth century, and some people would argue they still exist today. This course will explore the legacies of modern empire with a focus on two questions. How did colonial empires leave their mark on the contemporary world? And what were the consequences of the fall of modern empires and the rise of independent nation-states—a process sometimes called decolonization? Rather than taking a survey approach, we will investigate these questions through two case studies: Ghana, which gained its independence from the British Empire in 1957; and Puerto Rico, which remains an unincorporated territory of the United States. These very different cases are useful lenses for looking at how historians interpret the past, because they shed light on historical debates about what defines an empire, how (and whether) empires should be compared, and what happens when empires end. As we examine these debates, we will also discuss how the legacy of empire has influenced contemporary ideas about democracy, citizenship, migration, race, gender, and capitalism.



Emma Cogan

Emma Cogan

Emma’s undergraduate experience at Loyola formed the basis for her work in human rights and public health