Core Curriculum

Course Descriptions

GHS201 - "South Asian Civilizations" ~ Show Description

This course will provide an overview of South Asian civilizations in comparative perspective, and will focus on the subcontinent's geography and history, its cultures and religions, its arts (i.e. music, dance, literature, and film), its notions of virtue and gender, its economic realities and role in the global marketplace, and its political development. Though covering the entire region, the course will pay particular attention to Pakistan and India, which, because of their religious demographics, provide an interesting contrast and a history of conflict. Nevertheless, the course will also draw attention to the ways in which religious, ethnic, communal, gender, and political lines have been blurred in South Asian history.

GHS202 - "Postcolonial Studies: The Caribbean" ~ Show Description

Ever since Toussaint-L'Ouverture led the first successful modern slave rebellion in Haiti in the late eighteenth century, defeating the armies of France, Britain, and Spain, the Caribbean has been a pivotal region in understanding the legacy of colonialism in the Americas. In this course, we will examine, from an interdisciplinary and comparative framework, the long history of interaction between the Caribbean and the West. Beginning with Christopher Columbus's "discovery" of the New World, Europe's development of the Atlantic slave trade, and the world-changing Haitian Revolution, we will follow the efforts of formerly colonized people of this region to forge new nations, cultures, and identities in the aftermath of European imperialism. Topics likely to receive particular emphasis this semester include Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism, Rastafarianism and Obeah (Voodoo), Bob Marley and Jamaican popular music, international capitalism and the tourist industry, and the role of Caribbean women in the struggle for postcolonial identity and the development of a diasporic consciousness.

GHS203 - "Modernizing and Contemporary Europe" ~ Show Description

This course will study the early modern establishment of nation states, the Enlightenment advocacy of human rights and constitutional government and the revolutionary movements to realize those ideas, the World Wars and the Cold War, and the establishment and expansion of the European Union."

GHS204 - "Frontiers in Latin America"" ~ Show Description

This interdisciplinary course explores the historical development of the notion of "frontiers": in Latin America though three units of study: 1) The Frontier as Contact Zone: The Amazon 2) The Promise of Modernization in the Southern Cone, and 3) Crossing Frontiers: Mexico and the United States. The themes of social and cultural identity, citizen participation, sustainable development and migration will be interwoven through the course."

GHS205 - "East Asian Interactions" ~ Show Description

This course explores the interactions among China, Korea, and Japan. It will examine how each of the three states has contributed to the evolution of a common tradition, how each of them has benefited from the interactions, and how some of the interactions have caused destruction in the regions.

GHS206 - "Resistance and Reaction: Colonialism and Post-Colonialism in Africa"" ~ Show Description

This course intends to explore the more complex realities of African responses to the imposition of European military, cultural, and economic domination in the colonial era and the effects of such responses continuing into the postcolonial period up to the present.

GHS207 - "Resistance and Rights: Global Women"" ~ Show Description

In this course, we will examine the means by which women around the globe work individually and collectively to gain basic human rights. Issues of culture, religion, tradition, beauty, tourism, health, war, immigration, and the media will be explored as we consider the possibilities for activism and resistance to oppression.

GHS208 - "Change and Tradition in China and the Islamic Middle East"" ~ Show Description

This course examines the roots of the oldest continuing civilization today, China, and the origin and emergence of Islam as a major world culture and religion. It addresses the challenges of modernity for these two traditional cultures, particularly as they have responded to a world increasingly influenced by the West. (This course was previously listed as ID201and CC208). The General Syllabus for GHS208

GHS209 - "Change and Tradition in Revolutionary Europe and Nigeria"" ~ Show Description

The course examines the cultural traditions of Europe and Nigeria and their confrontations with modernity in the 19th and 20th centuries. The old order ends in violence, replaced by the beginnings of democracy, science, capitalism and imperialism. This (course was previously listed as ID202 and CC209)

Students cannot fulfill the 6-hour requirement with both ID202 /GHS209 "Change and Tradition in Revolutionary Europe and Nigeria" and the new "Contemporary Europe" class (GHS 203) due to an overlap in the material.


All Butler students must complete two semesters (6 credit hours) of Global and Historical Studies as a requirement for graduation. If a student studies abroad in a Butler-approved program AND completes 9 or more credit hours of coursework while abroad, the student automatically receives a 1-semester/3-hour waiver from GHS.  Similarly all International students automatically receive a 1-semester/3-hour waiver of GHS.

If you have studied abroad but do not meet the requirements listed above, you may submit a GHS Waiver Request Form (PDF) to the Global and Historical Studies Program Coordinator (to be reviewed by the Faculty Coordinator).

Program Administration: Day-to-day operations of the Global and Historical Studies program are handled by the GHS Program Coordinator, Laura Cobb ( , while program direction is overseen by the Faculty Director, Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh,Ph.D. If you have a question about GHS, please contact the Global and Historical Studies Program Coordinator in JH 209 at (317) 940-9480.

Permission Numbers: Because every student at Butler is required to take two semesters of GHS, the Global and Historical Studies program makes every effort to accommodate the greatest number of GHS students while maintaining a consistent class size conducive to student learning. To that end, both the GHS faculty and program coordinator keep a vigilant eye on section enrollment and will distribute permission numbers as conditions permit.

To enroll in a closed section of GHS, you may submit a GHS permission number request form.  If we cannot accommodate your section preference, we will try to find you a place in a GHS class that does not conflict with your scheduled courses.