HMRT 30301/HIST 239304 Human Rights: Contemporary Issues (S. Gzesh) This interdisciplinary course presents an overview of several major contemporary human-rights problems as a means to explore the use of human-rights norms and mechanisms. The course addresses the roles of states, intergovernmental bodies, national courts, and civil-society actors, including NGOs, victims and their families, and other non-state actors. Topics are likely to include universalism, enforceability of human-rights norms, the prohibition against torture, US exceptionalism, and the rights of women, racial minorities, and noncitizens.
NEHC 30501/HIST 35704 Islamic History and Society 1: The Rise of Islam and the Caliphate (O. Bashkin) This sequence surveys the main trends in the political history of the Islamic world, with some attention to economic, social, and intellectual history. This course covers the period circa 600 to 1100, including the rise and spread of Islam, the Islamic empire under the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs, and the emergence of regional Islamic states from Afghanistan and eastern Iran to North Africa and Spain.
NEHC 30601/HIST 35610 Islamic Thought and Literature I (T. Qutbuddin) This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century CE through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. This course covers the period from circa 600 to 950, concentrating on the career of the Prophet Muhammad, Qur‘an and Hadith, the Caliphate, the development of Islamic legal, theological, philosophical, and mystical discourses, sectarian movements, and Arabic literature. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required. Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required.
NEHC 30605/HIST 36005 Colloquium: Sources for the Study of Islamic History (J. Woods) This course is designed to acquaint the student with the basic problems and concepts as well as the sources and methodology for the study of premodern Islamic history. Sources will be read in English translation and the tools acquired will be applied to specific research projects to be submitted as term papers.
NEHC 30852/HIST 58302 The Ottoman World in the Age of Suleyman the Magnificent (C. Fleischer) The course focuses on the formation of the Ottoman polity as an imperial entity following the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 and up to the end of the sixteenth century. Taking as its thematic center point the ideological, social, cultural, and administrative changes introduced by Sultan Suleyman (1520–1566), the seminar also provides a survey of the institutions of his most extensive of early modern Muslim empires. Themes of particular significance are the changing relationship of religion and state, the development of imperial culture, the rule of law, rivalry with contemporary Christian and Muslim powers, and the transition from universal to regional empire. Reading knowledge of at least one European language recommended.
GEOG 31900/HIST 38800 Historical Geography of the United States (M. Conzen) This course examines the historical and geographical roots of American regional diversity and national physical organization, from 1500 to 1900, and asks why American regions have developed and retained distinctive characteristics—and what consequences this has for contemporary society. These issues are pursued through an examination of colonization processes, economic development and differentiation, settlement patterns, and the changing role of cities. The emphasis is on the kind and quantity of European cultural transfer, physical changes wrought by colonization, the modification of natural environments, the conquest of distance, and the general approach of American society to the use of space. All-day trip to northern Illinois required.
SCTH 32802/HIST 39416 Risk and Uncertainty in Modern Social Thought (J. Issac) This course explores the intertwined histories of risk and uncertainty in modern social thought. Existing scholarship on risk tends to focus on the history of the quantification of risk: the rise of probability theory and statistics is central to these accounts of the emergence of ideas of risk. In modern economic and social thought, however, the challenge of managing unquantifiable risk—what is often called "true" or "radical" uncertainty—has become ever more central. Thinkers such as Joseph Schumpeter, Frank Knight, Frank Ramsey, and John Maynard Keynes grappled with problem of uncertainty and its relation to theories of decision-making prominent in economic theory. We will read key works of these prophets of uncertainty and consider their relations to the recent conjuring away of the problem of uncertainty in the form of subjective expected utility theory. We will also examine the connections between the concept of uncertainty and the understanding of modern capitalism.
HIST 34309 Histories of Shinto (J. Ketelaar) While examining key texts in translation along with cultural, philosophical, religious, and political dimensions relevant to different historical periods, this course will take as its starting point the meta-historical issues related to the construction of Shinto histories per se.
LACS 34600/HIST 36101 Introduction to Latin American Civilization 1 (A. Kolata) Taking these courses in sequence is not required. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This sequence is offered every year. This course introduces the history and cultures of Latin America (e.g., Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean Islands). The first quarter examines the origins of civilizations in Latin America with a focus on the political, social, and cultural features of the major pre-Columbian civilizations of the Maya, Inca, and Aztec. The quarter concludes with an analysis of the Spanish and Portuguese conquest and the construction of colonial societies in Latin America.
HIST 34612 Chinese Frontier History, circa 1600–Present (K. Pomeranz) A study of frontier regions, migration, and border policies in Qing (1644–1912) and twentieth-century China, focusing on selected case studies. Cases will include both actual border regions (where the Qing/China was adjacent to some other polity it recognized), ethnically diverse internal frontiers, and places where migrants moved into previously uninhabited regions (e.g., high mountains). Topics include the political economy and geopolitics of migration and frontier regions, the formation of ethnic and national identities in frontier contexts, borderland society (e.g., marriage, social stratification, and social mobility), and the environmental effects of migration. Assignments for undergraduates are two short papers, a midterm (which can be waived under certain circumstances), a final, and class participation; requirements for graduate students are negotiable, but will include roughly twenty pages of writing (and no in-class exams).
HIST 34803 Histories in Japan (J. Ketelaar) An examination of the discipline of history as practiced in Japan from ancient times to the modern. Readings in translation of works such as the Kojiki, Okagami, Taiheiki, and others will be used to explore both the Japanese past and the manner of interpretation of that past.
HIST 35425 Censorship, Information Control, and Revolutions in Information Technology from the Printing Press to Internet (A. Johns & A. Palmer) The digital revolution is triggering a wave of new information control efforts and censorship attempts, ranging from monopolistic copyright laws to the "Great Firewall" of China. The print revolution after 1450 was a moment like our own, when the explosive dissemination of a new information technology triggered a wave of information control efforts. Many of today's attempts at information control closely parallel early responses to the printing press, so the premodern case gives us centuries of data showing how diverse attempts to control or censor information variously incentivized, discouraged, curated, silenced, commodified, or nurtured art, thought, and science. This unique course is part of a collaborative research project funded by the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and is co-organized with digital information expert Cory Doctorow. The course will bring pairs of experts working on the print and digital revolutions to campus to discuss parallels between their research with the class. Classes will be open to the public, filmed, and shared on the Internet to create an international public conversation. Rather than writing traditional papers, students will create web resources and publications (print and digital) to contribute to the ongoing collaborative research project.
HIST 38000 US Latinos: Origins and Histories (R. Gutiérrez) An examination of the diverse social, economic, political, and cultural histories of those who are now commonly identified as Latinos in the United States. Particular emphasis will be placed on the formative historical experiences of Mexican Americans and mainland Puerto Ricans, although some consideration will also be given to the histories of other Latino groups, i.e., Cubans, Central Americans, and Dominicans. Topics include cultural and geographic origins and ties; imperialism and colonization; the economics of migration and employment; legal status; work, women, and the family; racism and other forms of discrimination; the politics of national identity; language and popular culture; and the place of Latinos in US society.
TURK 40589/HIST 58301 Colloquium: Advanced Ottoman Historical Texts (C. Fleischer) Based on selected readings from major Ottoman chronicles from the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries, the course provides an introduction to the use of primary narrative materials and an overview of the development and range of Ottoman historical writing. Knowledge of modern and Ottoman Turkish required.
ANTH 41200/HIST 44901 Anthropology of History (S. Palmié) Anthropologists have long been concerned with the temporal dimension of human culture and sociality but, until fairly recently (and with significant exceptions), have rarely gone beyond processual modeling. This has dramatically changed. Anthropologists have played a prominent role in the so-called "historic turn in the social sciences," acknowledging and theorizing the historical subjectivities historical agency of the ethnographic "other" and problematizing the historicity of the ethnographic endeavor itself. The last decades have seen a proliferation of empirically rich and theoretically sophisticated historical ethnographies and a decisive move towards ethnographies of the historical imagination. Taking its point of departure from a concise introduction to the genealogy of the trope of "historicity" in anthropological discourse, this course aims to explore the possibilities of an anthropology of historical consciousness, discourse, and praxis, i.e., the ways in which human groups select, represent, give meaning to, and strategically manipulate constructions of the past. In this, our discussion will focus not only on non-Western forms of historical knowledge but include the analysis of Western disciplined historiography as a culturally and historically specific form of promulgating conceptions of the past and its relation to the present.
HIST 42603 Colloquium: Virtues and Vices in Medieval Christian Thought (R. Fulton Brown) What is virtue? How does a soul acquire it? What happens when it succumbs to vice? As medieval monks, preachers, poets, and scholastics understood, training the soul in virtue is no easy task. The vices, like demons, are ever ready to attack, rendering the soul a battlefield—or a castle under siege. How ought the soul prepare? In this course, we read across the medieval tradition of thinking about the soul's struggle with virtue and vice from Prudentius's Psychomachia to Dante's Inferno and Purgatorio. We will consider sources commenting on scripture, particularly Gregory the Great's Moralia in Job, as well as those drawing on Aristotle, including William of Auvergne's Treatise on the Virtues. We will pay special attention to the role of memory, allegory, and confession as practices for training the soul, along with more formal theories of virtue and vice.
HIST 48501 Colloquium: Debt and the State (D. Jenkins) With a focus on the long twentieth century, we explore how government debt—whether repudiated by the American Confederacy, used to finance municipal infrastructure, or issued by the World Bank to stimulate development around the globe—shaped matters of governance, sovereignty, and inequality. Readings consist of some theory, a handful of primary sources, and mostly secondary readings that cut across geographical and political boundaries.
AMER 50001/HIST 62304 The Multidisciplinary Study of American Culture (E. Slauter) This proseminar surveys the advanced study of American culture as it is currently practiced at the University of Chicago. Seminar members read and discuss recent work by and then meet with faculty specialists from the graduate divisions of the Humanities and Social Sciences as well as from the the Divinity School, the Law School, and the Booth School of Business. Though interested in how different disciplines frame questions and problems, we will be attuned to convergences in themes, approaches, and methods. During the last half of our seminar meetings our authors will join us for a focused discussion of their work. Many of our guests will also deliver public lectures the day before visiting the seminar.
HIST 50002 Colloquium: Africa in the Era of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (E. Osborn) This graduate course explores the history of the slave trade and the making of the Atlantic world using a range of secondary and primary sources, from oral traditions to digital datasets to diaries and ship records. We will start by examining African social and political systems prior to European contact and then investigate the emergence of the slave trade as a major force of change across the oceanic basin. Themes of study include oral, archaeological, and textual sources of history; definitions and practices of slavery; the dynamics of trade, gender, warfare, and enslavement; and the making of the Atlantic world.
HCHR 51703/HIST 66003 Theological Criticism: Christology (W. Otten) This seminar on theological criticism aims to explore the problem of how constructive theology can best make use of historical sources and do so in responsible fashion. While simply adhering to one's confessional tradition yields uncritical positions, an eclectic attitude towards historical sources may not be a wise alternative. Without forcing theologians to become historians, this seminar deals with the larger issue of how to select and use one's source material in such a way that the historical work is methodologically sound and the theological end product accessible and informative, while remaining properly constructive. The seminar concentrates especially but not exclusively on the use of premodern sources but other, later sources will also be brought to the discussion. As the seminar is in large part student driven, students are invited to bring in sources of their choice to the table as well. This year's theological critical focus will be on Christology and is loosely structured around Kathryn Tanner's Christ the Key. Authors to be included are Athanasius, Gregory of Nyssa, Augustine, Aquinas, Eckhart, Calvin, Schleiermacher, Barth, Rahner.
HIST 58601 Colloquium: Iran and Central Asia (J. Woods) A colloquium on the sources for and the literature on the political, social, economic, technological, and cultural history of Western and Central Asia from 900 to 1750. Specific topics will vary and focus on the Turks and the Islamic world, the Mongol universal empire, the age of Timur and the Turkmens, and the development of the "Gunpowder Empires."
HIST 60302 Colloquium: Immigration and Assimilation in American Life (R. Gutiérrez) This course explores the history of immigration in what is now the United States, starting with the colonial origins of Spanish, French, Dutch, and English settlements, the importation of African slaves, and the massive waves of immigrants that arrived in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Additionally, we will study the adaptation of these immigrants, exploring the validity of the concept of assimilation, comparing and contrasting the experiences of the "old" and "new" immigrants based on their race, religion, and class standing.
HIST 70803 Seminar: Text and Material Culture in the Greek and Roman World 1 (J. Hall & C. Kearns) This two-quarter graduate seminar, which fulfills the seminar requirement for graduates in the Department of History History and the Department of Classics' Program in the Ancient Mediterranean World, will explore the theoretical, methodological, political, and ethical dimensions involved in juxtaposing textual documentation with archaeological evidence to reconstruct the past. Discussion of themes such as the economy, death, colonization, and memory will be interspersed with detailed case studies. The first quarter will be devoted to guided reading and discussion while the second quarter will be reserved for writing a major research paper. Students will also be permitted to enroll for just the first quarter by arrangement with the instructors. Note: Students may enroll for just the first quarter by arrangement with the instructors.
HIST 75801 Seminar: Law and Society in China 1 (J. Ransmeier) This two-quarter seminar of reading and research explores the intersection of law and society in Modern China. During the autumn we read primary and secondary texts drawn from the Qing through the PRC periods. Readings are both in translation and in Chinese. (Students should expect that primary source research for their winter quarter seminar papers extend beyond the sources sampled on the autumn syllabus.) We will engage with debates about the extent of civil law in imperial China. To what extent are legal practices in the Republican era and PRC a legacy of Qing law or Qing custom? How does Chinese society's definition of a crime change over time, and what role does the law play in shaping social attitudes toward different behavior? The course includes opportunities to reflect upon the overall evolution of China's legal system throughout this dynamic period and to study foundational texts for a field exam.
HIST 76603 Seminar 1: Japan's Empire, 1868–1945 (S. Burns) This seminar explores the rise, fall, and aftermath of the Japanese empire through an intensive reading of classic and recent scholarship. Topics to be explored include imperial ideology, relationships between the metropole and colonies, techniques of colonial rule, the political economy of the empire, and the afterlife of empire for East Asia. This course can be taken as a one-quarter colloquium or a two-part seminar. The latter requires the research and writing of an original seminar paper of 50–60 pages.
HIST 85600 Seminar: Globalization and Its Discontents, Europe and United States 1 (J. Levy & T. Zahra) This two-quarter graduate seminar will explore the economic, cultural, political, and social history of globalization and de-globalization in Europe and the United States since the late-eighteenth century. Taking the perspective that "globalization" is not a teleological process, but one with pauses and reversals, we will analyze how Europeans and Americans have responded to mass migration; global economies in the production, distribution, and consumption of commodities; the rise of international finance; the "globalization" of culture; and relationships between globalization and empire, nationalism, and mass politics (including socialism, fascism, and populism). We will consider the history of Europeans and Americans both as "globalizers" and as opponents of globalization, as well as at responses to Europe and the United States as global powers.