International Relations Major

Major in International Relations, History

International Relations is an interdisciplinary field concerned with understanding global interactions, both in the historical past and in the present. IR-History is one of the three tracks of the interdepartmental major in International Relations.

Students who successfully complete a major in IR-History will have acquired, in addition to the body of knowledge, experience, and intellectual skill shared by majors in History (see History Major):

  • Interdisciplinary background training, especially in economics and political science.
  • Specific knowledge about the history of modern international relations.
  • An appreciation of the importance of culturally and geographically localized historical knowledge to a larger understanding of international relations.
  • An understanding, through case studies, of the relevance of history to contemporary international issues.

Requirements for the Major

The IR-History major consists of 14 units of course work as described below. In addition to this course work, all IR-History students are required to demonstrate advanced proficiency in a modern language, normally defined as two units of language study beyond the minimum required by the College. Language courses do not count towards the minimum 14 courses, nor do AP/IB credits.

I. IR-History majors take the same set of five "core" courses as their counterparts in the IR-Political Science and IR-Economics tracks:

  • Econ 101
  • Econ 102
  • Econ 213 or 214 or 220
  • HIST 205
  • POL3 221

II. IR-History majors take, in addition to these courses, nine courses distributed as follows:

(a) Two courses dealing with early history.

In this category fall the following courses:

Kapteijns: HIST 264 (The History of Precolonial Africa).

Matsusaka: HIST 274 (China, Japan, and Korea in Comparative and Global Perspective).

Osorio: HIST 206 (From Conquest to Revolution: A History of Colonial Latin America); HIST 211 (The Empire of the Indies: Spanish Rule in America and the Philippines (ca. 1500s- ca. 1780s); HIST 359 (Speaking Ruins: The Role of Antiquity in the History of Modernity in the Spanish World, and HIST 358 (Pepper, Silver and Silk: The Political Culture of Early Modern Commodity Circulation in Latin America).

Quintana: HIST 312 (Understanding Race in the United States, 1776-1918).

Tumarkin: HIST 246 (Vikings, Icons, Mongols, and Tsars), and HIST 247 (Splendor and Serfdom: Russia under the Romanovs).

Grandjean, Grote, Ramseyer, and Rogers: all courses.

(b) Three courses in the modern history of countries or regions.

Modern international history courses may be included here but they must be in addition to two required modern international history courses (see under 4).

This category includes all courses by:

Profs. Giersch, Greer, Rao, and Slobodian, as well as all courses offered by Profs. Giersch, Kapteijns, Matsusaka, Osorio, Quintana, and Tumarkin that are NOT listed under early courses.

(c) Two courses in modern international history to be chosen from the below:

Giersch: HIST 277 (China and U.S.), and HIST 395 (International History Seminar: Legacies of Conquest: Empires in Chinese and World History).

Kapteijns: HIST 265 (The History of Modern Africa); HIST 266 (Port Cities of theIndian Ocean); HIST 284 (The Middle East in Modern History; HIST 366 (Greater Syria under Ottoman and European Mandate Rule), and HIST 369 (Histories of ‘Ethnic’ and ‘Religious’ Violence).

Matsusaka: HIST 269 (Japan, the Great Powers, and East Asia, 1853-1993), and HIST 346 (Japan’s East Asian Empire in Comparative Perspective, 1879-1951).

Osorio: HIST 207 (Contemporary Problems in Latin American History). and HIST 212 (Atlantic Revolutions and the Birth of Nations).

Quintana: HIST 261 (The Civil War and the World).

Rao: Hist 275 (Emergence of Ethnic Identities in Modern South Asia), Hist 275 (Emergence of Ethnic Identities in Modern South Asia), and Hist 383 (1947: Partition in India and Pakistan)

Slobodian: HIST 242 (The Three Germanies) and HIST 334 (World Economic Orders).

(d) HIST 395: International History Seminar.

IV IR-History majors must take one additional 200- or 300-level course dealing with a particular country or region, or with relations among nations, or with transnational institutions or phenomena. This course can, for example, be in Africana Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Environmental Studies, Peace & Justice Studies, Philosophy, Religion, Political Science, Sociology, or Women’s & Gender Studies. This course should be chosen in consultation with the major advisor, who will note it on the student’s major declaration. This course must be approved by the major advisor and does not have to be counted towards the GPA in the major.

V. Overlay requirements

(a) Among the above history courses, three must focus on one region of the world.

(b) Among the eight History courses that must be taken in addition to HIST 205, four must deal with the world beyond Europe and North America (HIST 395, when relevant, may be included here).

(c) Among the eight History courses that must be taken in addition to HIST 205, four must deal with the world beyond Europe and North America (HIST 395, when relevant, may be included here).

(d) Among the above history courses, two must be seminars (may include HIST 395). And at least two 300-level units must be completed at Wellesley.

IR-History majors are strongly encouraged to spend at least one semester in a study abroad program. Transfer credits from study abroad programs must be approved by the department chair (or designee). Students are strongly encouraged to seek the relevant approval before studying abroad.

Honors in IR-History are governed by the same provisions and procedures as Honors in History.

IR-History Committee (Major Advisors)

  • Pat Giersch
  • Lidwien Kapteijns
  • Tak Matsusaka
  • Alejandra Osorio
  • Ryan Quintana
  • Nikhil Rao, Director
  • Quinn Slobodian