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Thematic Tracks

Studying history allows you to explore a wide range of topics, periods, and geographical locations. The history major is designed with this breadth in mind: you are free to take courses in those areas that you are most interested in. However, there are some advantages to pursuing more depth in specific themes or areas as you proceed. This is possible as well and is something to discuss with your advisor.

To help in this process, the department offers several thematic tracks (open to students who enter Loyola Fall 2022 and beyond). These are clusters of courses (at least three courses) that center around a set of related themes, that speak to particular interests, and that provide context and grounding for a variety of fields and careers.

The thematic tracks are entirely optional. Students do not need to choose or even finish a track to complete their major. Rather, these tracks are meant to offer guidance and structure as you navigate the major and explore your interests.

Thematic Track Descriptions and Courses

Gender and Sexuality Track

The history of gender and sexuality is the history not only of our most intimate sense of selves, but the ways gender and sexual identities, practices, regulations, and representations have shaped and were shaped by political, social, economic, and other forces. The gender and sexuality track will introduce students to the wide variety of ways human beings have ordered their intimate lives and relationships between women and men. Common themes in this track include, but are not limited to: the family and patriarchy, LGBTQ+ identities, women’s rights, politics, and feminism, moral, legal, and religious approaches to regulating sex and gender, and changing meanings of masculinity and femininity. Classes in the track also take an explicitly intersectional approach, emphasizing the ways that gender and sexual histories intersect with those of class, race, disability, and religion. Students anticipating careers in nonprofit work, political advocacy (especially related to women’s and LGBTQ+ rights), healthcare, law, education, or business will find the gender and sexuality track particularly useful.

Courses that currently fit into Gender and and Sexuality thematic track:

  • HS 216 A Queer History of Europe and North America
  • HS 223 Women and Gender in Middle East
  • HS 259/CL 259 Gender and Sexuality in Greece and Rome
  • HS 260/CL 260 Roman Private Life
  • HS 308 Medieval Bodies
  • HS 328 Sex and the City
  • HS 330 Gender, Race, and Class in Modern Europe
  • HS 389 Gender and Power in Modern Africa
  • HS 390 Gender and Sexuality in Latin America
  • HS 478 Global Histories of Sexuality

 Health, Environment, Science, and Technology Track

This track explores the history of medicine, science, technology, and the environment by integrating interdisciplinary approaches and local/global contexts. It is designed to give students an overview of some of the key historiographical debates and research in these fields and to provide a basic familiarity with the forms that these fields of historical interdisciplinary inquiry have taken in recent years. These courses will consider how gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality shaped the historical development of technology, science, medicine, and the natural world. Among other themes, students will explore the role of empire building in shaping medical, scientific, environmental, and technological knowledge; how indigenous, African, Asian, Latin American and mixed-race healers, artisans, activists, and scientists innovated, developed, and recreated their practices and societal roles under colonial and post-colonial rule; interactions between global processes of Western knowledge production and local-level multiethnic knowledge production; how historical change in human-technology-nature interactions reveals both how people have affected the environment and how nature has shaped human actions; the impact of technological advances, political ecology, conservation, and environmental science and movements; political, social, economic, technological, environmental, and cultural factors that have shaped individual well-being and public health.

Courses that currently fit into the Health, Environment, Science, and Technology thematic track:

  • HS 211 American Environmental History
  • HS 222 Global Environmental History
  • HS 251 Global Histories of Disability
  • HS 258/CL 258 Volcanoes, Fire, and Flood: Disasters of Ancient Rome
  • HS 308 Medieval Bodies
  • HS 314 Disasters in American History
  • HS 326 The Black Death in Global Perspective
  • HS 342 Health and Illness in Latin America
  • HS 490 Seminar: Environmental History in Latin America
  • HS 498 Seminar: Histories of Intellectual disabilities

Law, Politics, and Society Track

Law and politics have long been key components of traditional historical narratives. At their core, these topics help us to discuss the ideals, attempts at self-definition, and power structures of societies over time. Although legal and political institutions may at times appear as (or may be presented as) imposing, impersonal, and static structures, they are often important points of interaction between the ideas individuals and groups have about their societies and the difficulties of realizing those ideas. The skills practiced in the study of law and politics help us to contextualize, examine, and engage with the issues confronting society today. Especially those who wish to pursue careers in law, business, advocacy, and public service would benefit from this track. Some general topics covered in courses of the law, politics, and society track include: the formation and exercise of law, political structures and imbalances of power, especially involving gender, sexuality, race, and disability, the effects of colonial and post-colonial discourses, political advocacy and agency, ideology, and the formation of identity.

Courses that currently fit into the Law and Politics thematic track:

  • HS 220 Colonial Africa
  • HS 221 Africa in the Age of Globalization
  • HS 226 Introduction to the Modern Middle East
  • HS 228 Peace and War in Ancient Rome
  • HS 232 Law, Lawyers, and Litigants in European History
  • HS 233 Communism: A Global History
  • HS 234 The French Revolution and Napoleon
  • HS 237 History of the Soviet Union
  • HS 241 Revolutionary America
  • HS 242 Our Rights: A History of Civil and Human Rights Law in America
  • HS 243 The Civil War and Reconstruction
  • HS 250 Introduction to Islamic History
  • HS 251 Global Histories of Disability
  • HS 253/CL 253 Death of the Roman Republic
  • HS 254/CL 254 History of Christmas
  • HS 256/CL 256 Gladiators and Roman Spectacles
  • HS 257/CL 257 The Golden Age of Athens
  • HS 261/CL 261 The Multicultural Roman Empire
  • HS 275/CL 275 History of Ancient Greece
  • HS 317 Germans in Africa, Africans in Germany
  • HS 319 Nazi Germany and the Holocaust
  • HS 340 Policing and Borders: Race, Violence, and Empire in U.S. History
  • HS 373 Contesting Empire: Nationalism and Decolonization in the Afro-Atlantic World
  • HS 382 Crime and Punishment in Latin America
  • HS 391 The Middle East in the Media
  • HS 396 The Modern Middle East through Film
  • HS 462 Seminar: the U.S. in the 1960s
  • HS 481 Seminar: Ethnicity and Political Violence in Modern Africa
  • HS 492 Minority Identity and Citizenship in the Modern World
  • HS 498 Seminar: Histories of Intellectual Disabilities


What's New

Visit Student Planning for a list of the courses offered by the History department in Fall 2023. Students wishing to register for a closed (full) course must visit the Academic Advising Website and submit a course override request form (the link will be on the page under Fall 2023 Course Override Requests) requesting an override. Please do not submit your request directly to the course instructor or to the Department Chair. All course overrides are reviewed by the department chair and are only approved if there are extenuating circumstances. The override request will not be processed if there is a time conflict with your existing schedule, you do not have 6th course permission from your advisor, or if there is a financial hold on your account.