HCHR 30200/HIST 31902 History of Christian Thought II (W. Otten) This second class in this sequence deals with the period from late antiquity until the end of the early Middle Ages, stretching roughly from 450 through 1350. The following authors and themes will be analyzed and discussed: the transition from Roman antiquity to the medieval period: Boethius and Cassiodorus; the rise of asceticism in the West: the Rule of St. Benedict and Gregory the Great; connecting East and West: Dionysius the Areopagite and John Scottus Eriugena; monastic and scholastic paragons: Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Abelard; high-medieval monastic developments: Cistercians (Bernard of Clairvaux) and Victorines (Hugh and Richard of St. Victor), beguines (Hadewijch) and mendicants (Bonaventure); scholastic synthesis and spiritual alternatives: Thomas Aquinas, Marguerite Porete, and Eckhart.
NEHC 30201/HIST 35621 Islamicate Civilization I, 600–950 (A. El Shamsy) This course covers the rise and spread of Islam, the Islamic empire under the Umayyad and early Abbasid caliphs, and the emergence of regional Islamic states from Afghanistan and eastern Iran to North Africa and Spain. The main focus will be on political, economic, and social history.
NEHC 20601/HIST 25610 Islamic Thought and Literature I (A. El Shamsy) This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. It 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. All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required.
NEHC 30840/HIST 35901 Radical Islamic Pieties, 1200–1600 (C. Fleischer) This course examines responses to the Mongol destruction of the Abbasid caliphate in 1258 and the background to formation of regional Muslim empires. Topics include the opening of confessional boundaries; Ibn Arabi, Ibn Taymiyya, and Ibn Khaldun; the development of alternative spiritualities, mysticism, and messianism in the fifteenth century; and transconfessionalism, antinomianism, and the articulation of sacral sovereignties in the sixteenth century. All work in English, but some knowledge of primary languages (i.e., Arabic, French, German, Greek, Latin, Persian, Spanish, Turkish) helpful.
HMRT 31002/HIST 39319 Human Rights: Philosophical Foundations (B. Laurence) Human rights are claims of justice that hold merely in virtue of our shared humanity. In this course we will explore philosophical theories of this elementary and crucial form of justice. Among topics to be considered are the role that dignity and humanity play in grounding such rights, their relation to political and economic institutions, and the distinction between duties of justice and claims of charity or humanitarian aid. Finally we will consider the application of such theories to concrete, problematic, and pressing problems, such as global poverty, torture, and genocide.
CHSS 32000/HIST 56800 Colloquium: Introduction to Science Studies (M. Rossi) This course explores the interdisciplinary study of science as an enterprise. During the twentieth century, sociologists, historians, philosophers, and anthropologists all raised interesting and consequential questions about the sciences. Taken together their various approaches came to constitute a field, "science studies." The course provides an introduction to this field. Students will not only investigate how the field coalesced and why, but will also apply science-studies perspectives in a fieldwork project focused on a science or science-policy setting. Among the topics we may examine are the sociology of scientific knowledge and its applications, actor-network theories of science, constructivism and the history of science, images of normal and revolutionary science, accounts of research in the commercial university, and the examined links between science and policy.
PHIL 32000/HIST 35109 Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (T. Pashby) We will begin by trying to explicate the manner in which science is a rational response to observational facts. This will involve a discussion of inductivism, Popper's deductivism, Lakatos and Kuhn. After this, we will briefly survey some other important topics in the philosophy of science, including underdetermination, theories of evidence, Bayesianism, the problem of induction, explanation, and laws of nature.
HIST 33209 France and Its Empire, 1830–2020 (L. Auslander) Opening with the French invasion of Algeria and closing with the contemporary debates around race, gender, secularism, and Islam, this course will provide both an overview of France's engagement in the world and its consequences and an in-depth knowledge of some key moments or events. Special attention will be given to the engagement of French feminists in the imperial project and the development of feminist movements in West and North Africa; the role of indigenous intermediaries; and the mobilization of culture in the interests of both imperial rule and anti-colonial nationalism. Materials will include primary printed and visual and material sources, such as films, as well as a textbook for background. The format will combine lecture and discussion. Assignments: class presentations on the readings, a midterm paper, and a final paper. Attendance will be required and participation graded.
HIST 34513 Documentary Chinese (G. Alitto) This course guides students through critical readings of primary historical documents from approximately 1800 through 1950. These documents are translated sentence by sentence, and then historiographically analyzed. Most of these documents are from the nineteenth century. Genres include public imperial edicts, secret imperial edicts, secret memorials to the throne from officials, official reports to superiors and from superiors, funereal essays, depositions ("confessions"), local gazetteers (fangzhi), newspapers, and periodicals. To provide an introduction to these genres, the first six weeks of the course will use the Fairbank and Kuhn textbook The Rebellion of Chung Jen-chieh (Harvard-Yanjing Institute). The textbook provides ten different genres of document with vocabulary glosses and grammatical explanations; all documents relate to an 1841–42 rebellion in Hubei province. Assignments: each week prior to class students electronically submit a written translation of the document or documents to be read; a day after the class they electronically submit a corrected translation of the document or documents read. A fifteen-page term paper based on original sources in documentary Chinese is also required. A reading knowledge of modern (baihua) Chinese and some familiarity with classical Chinese (wenyan) or Japanese Kanbun. Other students may take the course with permission from the instructor.
LACS 34600/HIST 36101 Introduction to Latin American Civilization I (E. Kourí) 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 35304 Goethe: Literature, Science, Philosophy (R. Richards) This lecture-discussion course will examine Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's intellectual development, from the time he wrote Sorrows of a Young Werther through the final stages of Faust. Along the way, we will read a selection of Goethe's plays, poetry, and travel literature. We will also examine his scientific work, especially his theory of color and his morphological theories. On the philosophical side, we will discuss Goethe's coming to terms with Kant (especially the third Critique), and his adoption of Schelling's transcendental idealism. The theme uniting the exploration of the various works of Goethe will be the unity of the artistic and scientific understanding of nature, especially as he exemplified that unity in "the eternal feminine."
HREL 36260/HIST 36703 Buddhism in Early Theravada Literature (J. Holt) A critical examination of important canonical (Buddhavacana, attributed to the Buddha) and non-canonical Pali literature central to the religious "imaginaire" of Theravada Buddhists in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Literary texts include Vinayapitaka (Book of Monastic Discipline), Dhammapada (didactic verses attributed to the Buddha), Mahaparinibbana Sutta (sermon recounting the final three months of the Buddha's career), Vessantara Jataka (epic narrative of the Buddha's next-to-last rebirth as a king), the Edicts of Asoka (proclamations of the third-century BCE Indian emperor), Anagatavamsa Desana (prophecy of the future Buddha Metteyya), Mahavamsa (the monastic "Great Chronicle" recounting the history of Buddhism), and royal inscriptions and paintings from the late medieval period.
HIST 36320 Latin American Historiography, 19th–21st Century (M. Tenorio) Review of recent trends in the history of the regions. Weekly reviews.
HIST 36614 Making the Monsoon: The Ancient Indian Ocean (R. Payne) The course will explore the human adaptation to a climatic phenomenon and its transformative impacts on the littoral societies of the Indian Ocean, circa 1000 BCE–1000 CE. Monsoon means season, a time and space in which favorable winds made possible the efficient, rapid crossing of thousands of miles of ocean. Its discovery—at different times in different places—resulted in communication and commerce across vast distances at speeds more commonly associated with the industrial than the preindustrial era, as merchants, sailors, religious specialists, and scholars made monsoon crossings. The course will consider the participation of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and East African actors in the making of monsoon worlds and their relations to the Indian Ocean societies they encountered; the course is based on literary and archaeological sources, with attention to recent comparative historiography on oceanic, climatic, and global histories.
HIST 37006 Not Just the Facts: Telling About the American South (J. Dailey) This course engages the various ways people have tried to make sense of the American South, past and present. Main themes of the course include the difference between historical scholarship and writing history in fictional form; the role of the author in each, and consideration of the interstitial space of autobiography; the question of authorial authenticity; and the tension between contemporary demands for truthfulness and the rejection of "facts" and "truth." We will read across several genres, including historical scholarship, biography, and fiction.
REES 37019/HIST 33413 Holocaust Object (B. Shallcross) In this course, we explore various ontological and representational modes of the Holocaust material object world as it was represented during World War II; then, we explore post-Holocaust artifacts and material remnants, as they are displayed, controlled, and narrated in memorial sites and museums of former ghettos and extermination and concentration camps. These sites—once the locations of genocide—are now places of remembrance in which (post)human and material remnants also serve educational purposes. Therefore, we study the ways in which this material world, ranging from infrastructure to detritus, has been subjected to two, often conflicting, tasks of representation and preservation, which we view through a prism of authenticity. In order to study representation, we engage critically a textual and visual reading of museum narrations and fiction writings; to tackle the demands of preservation, we apply a neo-materialist approach. Of special interest are survivors' testimonies as appended to the artifacts they donated. The course will also equip you with salient critical tools for future creative research in Holocaust studies.
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.
HIST 39000 Latin American Religions, Old and New (D. Borges) This course will consider select pre-twentieth-century issues, such as the transformations of Christianity in colonial society and the Catholic Church as a state institution. It will emphasize twentieth-century developments: religious rebellions, conversion to evangelical Protestant churches, Afro-diasporan religions, reformist and revolutionary Catholicism, new and New Age religions. Assignments: class participation, weekly short memos (250 words) responding to questions about the required reading, and a short (8–10 pages) problem paper. There will be two short midterm exams, but no final exam.
REES 39013/HIST 34005 The Burden of History: The Nation and Its Lost Paradise (A. Ilieva) What makes it possible for the imagined communities called nations to command the emotional attachments that they do? This course considers some possible answers to Benedict Anderson's question on the basis of material from the Balkans. We will examine the transformation of the scenario of paradise, loss, and redemption into a template for a national identity narrative through which South East European nations retell their Ottoman past. With the help of Žižek's theory of the subject as constituted by trauma and Kant's notion of the sublime, we will contemplate the national fixation on the trauma of loss and the dynamic between victimhood and sublimity.
HIST 39522 Europe's Intellectual Transformations, Renaissance through Enlightenment (A. Palmer) This course will consider the foundational transformations of Western thought from the end of the Middle Ages to the threshold of modernity. It will provide an overview of the three self-conscious and interlinked intellectual revolutions which reshaped early modern Europe: the Renaissance revival of antiquity, the "new philosophy" of the seventeenth century, and the light and dark faces of the Enlightenment. It will treat scholasticism, humanism, the scientific revolution, Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Voltaire, Diderot, and Sade.
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.
CLAS 40820/HIST 50300 Hymns and Sanctuaries in the Ancient Greek World I (C. Faraone & J. Hall) This two-quarter seminar, which fulfills the seminar requirement for graduates in the Classics Department, seeks to explore how we might reconstruct the religious experience of the ancient Greeks through texts in translation (especially hymns), inscriptions, and material culture, paying particular attention to issues of methodology. The first quarter will be devoted to guided reading and discussion, focused on individual sanctuary sites, while the second quarter will be reserved for writing a major research paper. Non-Classics students may enroll for just the first quarter by arrangement with the instructors.
EALC 41102/HIST 41102 Reading Archival Documents from the People's Republic of China (J. Eyferth) This hands-on reading and research course aims to give graduate students the linguistic skills needed to locate, read, and analyze archival documents from the People's Republic of China. We will begin by discussing the functions and structure of Chinese archives at the central, provincial, and county level. Next we will read and translate sample documents drawn from different archives. These may include police reports, personnel files, internal memos, minutes of meetings, etc. Our aim here is to understand the conventions of a highly standardized communication system—for example, how does a report or petition from an inferior to a superior office differ from a top-down directive or circular, or from a lateral communication between adminstrations of equal rank? We will also read "sub-archival" documents, i.e., texts that are of interest to the historian but did not make it into state archives, such as letters, diaries, contracts, and private notebooks. The texts we will read are selected to cast light on the everyday life of "ordinary" people in the Maoist period. This course will be team-taught with historians of the PRC from other institutions and will be open to selected students from outside the University of Chicago. Non-Chicago students and teachers will participate via video conference. The course is meant for graduate students who are preparing for archival research in China or already working with archival documents.
CDIN 42101/HIST 43802 Collapse: Reassessing the End of the Soviet Empire (L. Feldman & F. Hillis) This team-taught course invites students to reassess critically the meaning of the Soviet collapse on the occasion of its thirtieth anniversary. Topics to be examined include the neoliberal "shock therapy" economic reforms that ushered in a state of wild capitalism, the dissolution of the Soviet empire and rise of rise of new right nationalisms, and the formation of alternative artistic movements that resisted the economic and political devastation that accompanied the transition. The course pedagogy employs economic, political, historical, and aesthetic analysis to develop a robust understanding across a variety of disciplines and methodological approaches. Email Professors Feldman (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Hillis (email@example.com) a paragraph-long description about what you bring and what you hope to get out of this seminar.
HIST 44001 Colloquium: Ending Communism (E. Gilburd) This course focuses on the demise of one of the most enduring, ambitious, appealing, transformative, and destructive political ideologies. We will consider the collapse of communism as a religion, an aesthetic, and a way of life, an economic system and a material culture, a political structure and an international order. We will also discuss communism's afterlives in biographies and memoirs (including those of scholars). Topics include reforms and revolutions, political and cultural dissent, generations and languages, secrecy and publicity, travel and immobility, competing religions and rival ideologies, the Cold War and détentes, privileges and shortages, apartment blocks and palaces of culture, the Gorky Park, the Memento Park, and other Luna Parks. Our readings will range across Europe, focusing primarily on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the last forty years of the twentieth century.
HIST 46401 History and Fiction (D. Borges & M. Tenorio) We will explore the relations among historical analysis, historical narrative, and fiction, with an emphasis on the Americas.
HIST 47201 Colloquium: US Legal History (A. Stanley) This course focuses on the connections between law and society in modern America. It explores how legal doctrines and constitutional rules have defined individual rights and social relations in both the public and private spheres. It also examines political struggles that have transformed American law. Topics to be addressed include the meaning of rights; the regulation of property, work, race, and sexual relations; civil disobedience; and legal theory as cultural history. Readings include legal cases, judicial rulings, short stories, and legal and historical scholarship.
HCHR 50000/HIST 66004 Theological Criticism: Creation and Gender (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 starts with 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 to the table sources of their choice. This year's theological critical focus will be on gender and creation and is loosely structured around Otten's Thinking Nature and the Nature of Thinking.
HIST 56705 Colloquium: Modern Korean History I (B. Cumings) By modern Korean history we mean Korea since its "opening" in 1876. This term we will be reading a number of books written by University of Chicago PhDs, in other words, by people who went through the same regimen some of you are beginning. This is a two-quarter course, although it may also be taken just for the autumn quarter. Students only taking the course for the autumn quarter must submit a 25-page paper during exam week; otherwise all requirements are the same. In the first quarter we will read about one book per week, and the colloquium will be devoted to an assessment of the reading. Before each session one student will write a 3–4 page paper on the reading, which will begin our discussion. All students should complete the reading before each seminar, and may be called upon at any time to discuss the reading. History graduate students have the option to enroll in this colloquium in autumn quarter only, with a research paper due in exam week.
HIST 58601 Colloquium: Iran and Central Asia I—Safvid Iran (J. Woods) The first quarter will take the form of a colloquium on the sources for and the literature on the political, social, economic, technological, and cultural history of Western and Central Asia from approximately 1500 to 1750. Classroom presentations and a short paper are required. The 20–21 focus will be the Mongol world empire; History graduate students have the option to enroll in this colloquium in autumn quarter only, with a research paper due in December.
HIST 59000 Colloquium: Persian Historical Texts (J. Woods) This course will focus on the study and utilization of narrative, normative, and archival sources in Persian. Texts of the major Iranian historians and biographers will be subjected to close reading and analysis. The scripts, protocols, and formula used by Irano-Islamic chancelleries will also be introduced and the form and content of published and unpublished archival documents will be transcribed and examined in their institutional context.
HIST 60800 Colloquium: History of the Medieval Papacy (J. Lyon) This course will examine the history of the popes and papal authority from the eighth to the fifteenth century, with an emphasis on the papacy's political significance for European history. Topics will include the competing papal and imperial claims to universal authority, the role of the papacy in the politics of the city of Rome, papal relations with the kingdoms of Europe, and the development of the institutions through which the popes exerted their authority across Latin Christendom. We will read classic scholarship and recent works in the field as well as a variety of primary sources in translation. All required readings will be in English.
HIST 62601 Colloquium: Readings in American History I, to 1865 (M. Kruer) This course explores major topics and historiographical debates in American history, spanning from first contact of Native Americans and Europeans to the US Civil War. Topics will include indigenous encounters with European empires; the Atlantic slave trade and racial slavery; the crisis of the British empire and American Revolution; the US Constitution; religious revivalism and political radicalism; western expansion and settler colonialism; and the causes of disunion. Students will gain an expansive overview of the field in preparation for oral examinations in US history.
HIST 62706 Colloquium: Readings in Post-Emancipation African American History (A. Green) This course will introduce student to key topics in African American history, concentrated in the United States after slavery. Key themes will include the material and social legacies of Reconstruction, intersectional approaches to resistance, identity, and struggle, the changing relationship of blackness to citizenship, racial capitalism in an increasingly urban America, and culture as both self-definition and means to assimilation.
HIST 66504 Colloquium: History and Anthropology of the Present (S. Gal & T. Zahra) This graduate colloquium will focus on readings in history and anthropology, addressing three major contemporary political and social issues from a historical or an anthropological perspective: migration, environmental crisis, and the rise of far-right authoritarian and populist regimes. The colloquium will consider the provocatively different perspectives on these issues in historical and anthropological scholarship.
HIST 70001 The Departmental Seminar I (K. Belew & S. Pincus) The two-quarter History graduate seminar leads to the completion of the first-year research paper. In the autumn quarter, students will investigate what makes for a good historical question and how to articulate its implications. They will then discuss methods of learning from and interrogating historical work beyond their areas of geographical, chronological, and methodological specializations. They will experiment with novel questions, sources, and methods. Through work in peer review groups, the seminar will build structures of camaraderie and common purpose to sustain the intellectual process. In a set of weekly readings, normally one or two articles, students will learn and discuss the landscapes of history and its subfields. Each week, different department faculty will join us to discuss research design, approaches to framing questions, methods of discovering sources, and techniques for writing historiographical essays. Students will complete a variety of short and often interactive assignments, including forming and workshopping research questions, source lists, and a historiographical essay.