History Gateways are introductory courses meant to appeal to first- through third-year students who may not have done previous course work on the topic of the course; topics cover the globe and span the ages.
HIST 11301 Global British Empire to 1784: War, Commerce, and Revolution (S. Pincus) This course traces the origins, development, and revolutionary transformation of the British Empire. Students will explore the English Civil War, King Philip's War, Bacon's Rebellion, the development of slavery, the Revolution of 1688, the making of British India, the rise of Irish discontent, the Scottish Jacobite Rebellions, the causes of the American Revolution, and the transformation of the British Empire into an authoritarian state. Students will read selections from Locke, Defoe, Swift, Franklin, Burke, and many others.
HIST 14601 Twentieth-Century China through Great Trials (J. Ransmeier) This course surveys China's turbulent twentieth century through the lens of great trials. From communist show trials to international courts, from struggle sessions to investigative journalism, and from trial by mob to trial by media, students will witness public and private "justice" in action both in and beyond the courtroom and across the long century's radically different governmental regimes. Our view of China will explore both the sweeping events of revolution and individual experiences. There is no prerequisite for this course.
History majors take at least one history colloquium, though you are welcome to take more than one. Students interested in pursuing the research or BA-thesis track should take a colloquium prior to Spring Quarter of their third year; those pursuing other tracks can take a colloquium at any point prior to graduation.
HIST 29604 What Is Intellectual History? (M. Tenorio) The course seeks to familiarizes students with the history and practices of "intellectual history." As a subfield of history, intellectual history seems to be either a new or an old version of cultural history, history of ideas, the history and sociology of intellectuals, or the history of concepts. The course does not seek to establish, as it were, what should be properly named "intellectual history." It seeks to expose students to different historical ways, methods, and schools to deal with ideas, intellectuals, and cultural phenomena so that students interested in such topics may find their own way. The course has neither geographical nor chronological foci, it uses examples from the history of different countries and periods, as well as various theoretical approaches. Course requirements: participation, reading, and two short essays, one dealing with primary sources and another interpretative essay.
HIST 29683 Race, Slavery, and Nation (R. Johnson) This undergraduate research colloquium examines the relationship between slavery and republicanism in the early United States. With an interdisciplinary approach and transnational perspective, it considers the contested role of chattel slavery in the creation of US political systems, market relations, social hierarchies, and cultural productions. We will use primary sources and secondary literature to consider the possibilities and limits of archival research; contingent histories of race-making; the relationship between slavery and capitalism; the workings of domination, agency, and resistance; and black "freedom dreams" in the antebellum United States. Assignment: an original research paper (15–20 pages) using primary and secondary sources.
HIST 24513 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.
HIST 29800 BA Thesis Seminar II: Autumn (A. Hofmann, E. McCullugh, and C. Rydell) BA Seminar II is a forum to successfully complete the BA thesis, the topic of which was developed in BA Seminar I, in a structured forum that allows for ongoing discussion and peer review. Autumn Quarter is devoted to completing the research and beginning the writing of the thesis. By the end of the quarter students will have drafted 10–15 pages. Over the course of the Winter Quarter students will complete a draft of the thesis, which will be workshopped in the biweekly sessions. The final deadline for submission of the thesis is the second week of the Spring Quarter. Students register for the seminar in both autumn and winter quarters; the seminar meets every other week in autumn and winter for 10-weeks total.
HIST 29803 Historiography (P. O'Donnell) The course provides a systematic introduction to historical methodology and approaches (e.g., political, intellectual, social, cultural, economic, gender, environmental history), as well as research techniques. Students will gain analytical, research, and writing tools that will assist them in their capstone projects, research colloquia, or BA theses. Assignments: weekly response papers, short presentation and paper, take-home final exam. Historiography is required for all majors beginning with the class of 2021, but open to all students.
HIST 29804 Capstone Seminar: Autumn (P. O'Donnell) Capstone Seminar is a forum to create, discuss, and develop History capstone projects. Early weeks of the seminar will be devoted to exploring various forms historical work can take, from museum installations to podcasts and documentaries. In-process work will beshared and critiqued in workshops. The course meets every other week in autumn and winter, allowing students ample time to develop their projects on their own. The final deadline for submission of the Capstone Project is the second week of Spring Quarter.
HIST 10101 Introduction to African Civilization I (K. Hickerson) African Civilization introduces students to African history in a three-quarter sequence. Part One considers literary, oral, and archeological sources to investigate African societies and states from the early Iron Age through the emergence of the Atlantic World. We will study the empires of Ghana and Mali, the Swahili Coast, Great Zimbabwe, and medieval Ethiopia. We will also explore the expansion of Islam, the origins and effects of European contact, and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.
MUSI 12100/HIST 12700 Music in Western Civilization 1: To 1750 This course, part of the Social Sciences Civilization Core, looks at musics in different moments of Euro-American history and the social contexts in which they originated, with some comparative views on other world traditions. It aims to give students a better understanding of the social contexts of European music over this period, aids for the basic sound structures of pieces from these different moments, and convincing writing in response to prompts based on source readings or music pieces. The first quarter (MUS 12100 etc.) spans roughly the period between Charlemagne's coronation as Holy Roman Emperor (800 CE) and the dissolution of the Empire (1806) with the triumph of Napoleon across Western Europe.
HIST 12600 What Is Socialism? Experiences from Eastern Europe (M. Appeltová, Teaching Fellow) A specter is haunting US politics—the specter of socialism. On both sides of the aisle, politicians invoke "socialism" as shorthand for Cold War rivalries and contemporary international conflicts, as well as to condemn or praise domestic agendas. But what is socialism? What defines it ideologically? What do political and economic systems based on socialist ideology look like? Are they (just) totalitarian dictatorships or one-party states? Drawing upon examples from twentieth-century Central and Eastern Europe, this course explores the history of the region's socialist regimes. The course will do so from a variety of perspectives: ideological and philosophical writings (Marx, Fourier, Lenin, Lukacs, Havel), political and economic forms (from Stalinist dictatorships to "Goulash Communism"), gender arrangements, cultural production, and everyday life. Throughout the course, students will reflect on the differences between socialism and communism, between ideology and politics, and consider questions of individual agency, and individual and collective rights.
HIST 13001 History of European Civilization I European Civilization is a two-quarter sequence designed to use close readings of primary sources to enrich our understanding of Europeans of the past. As we examine the variety of their experiences, we will often call into question what we mean in the first place by “Europe” and “civilization.” Rather than providing a narrative of high politics, the sequence will emphasize the contested geographic, religious, social, and racial boundaries that have defined and redefined Europe and its people over the centuries. We will read and discuss sources covering the period from the early Middle Ages to the present, from a variety of genres: saga, biography, personal letters, property records, political treatises, memoirs, and government documents, to name only a few. Individual instructors may choose different sources and highlight different aspects of European civilization, but some of the most important readings will be the same in all sections. The two-quarter sequence may also be supplemented by a third quarter, in which students will have the opportunity to explore in greater depth a particular topic in the history of European civilization.
HIST 13100 Western Civilization I (K. Weintraub) Available as a three-quarter sequence (Autumn-Winter-Spring) or as a two-quarter sequence (Autumn-Winter or Winter-Spring). This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. The purpose of this sequence is threefold: (1) to introduce students to the principles of historical thought, (2) to acquaint them with some of the more important epochs in the development of Western civilization since the sixth century BC, and (3) to assist them in discovering connections between the various epochs. The purpose of the course is not to present a general survey of Western history. Instruction consists of intensive investigation of a selection of original documents bearing on a number of separate topics, usually two or three a quarter, occasionally supplemented by the work of a modern historian. The treatment of the selected topics varies from section to section. This sequence is currently offered twice a year. The amount of material covered is the same whether the student enrolls in the Autumn-Winter-Spring sequence or the Summer sequence.
HIST 13500 America in World Civilization I The American Civ sequence examines America as a contested idea and a contested place by reading and writing about a wide array of primary sources. In the process, students gain a new sense of historical awareness and of the making of America. The course is designed both for history majors and non-majors who want to deepen their understanding of the nation's history, encounter some enlightening and provocative voices from the past, and develop the qualitative methodology of historical thinking. America in World Civilization I examines foundational texts and moments in American culture, society, and politics, from early European incursions into the New World through the early republic of the United States, roughly 1500-1800. We will examine encounters between Native Americans and representatives of imperial powers (Spain, France, and England) as well as the rise of African slavery in North America before 1700. We will consider the development of Anglo-American society and government in the eighteenth century, focusing especially on the causes and consequences of the American Revolution.
HIST 13900 Introduction to Russian Civilization I (A. Holekamp & W. Nickells) This two-quarter sequence, which meets the general education requirement in civilization studies, provides an interdisciplinary introduction to Russian civilization. The first quarter covers the ninth century to the 1870s; the second quarter continues on through the post-Soviet period. Working closely with a variety of primary sources—from oral legends to film and music, from political treatises to literary masterpieces—we will track the evolution of Russian civilization over the centuries and through radically different political regimes. Topics to be discussed include the influence of Byzantine, Mongol-Tataric, and Western culture in Russian civilization; forces of change and continuity in political, intellectual and cultural life; the relationship between center and periphery; systems of social and political legitimization; and symbols and practices of collective identity.
HIST 15100 Introduction to East Asian Civilization I (G. Alitto) This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This is a three-quarter sequence on the civilizations of China, Japan, and Korea, with emphasis on major transformation in these cultures and societies from the Middle Ages to the present. Taking these courses in sequence is not required.
LACS 16100/HIST 16101 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 16700 Ancient Mediterranean World I: Greece (C. Kearns) Available as a three-quarter sequence (Autumn-Winter-Spring) or as a two-quarter sequence (Autumn-Winter or Winter-Spring). This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This sequence surveys the social, economic, and political history of Greece to the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC), the Roman Republic (509 to 27 BC), and late antiquity (27 BC to the fifth century AD). This quarter surveys the social, economic, and political history of Greece from prehistory to the Hellenistic period. The main topics considered include the development of the institutions of the Greek city-state, the Persian Wars and the rivalry of Athens and Sparta, the social and economic consequences of the Peloponnesian War, and the eclipse and defeat of the city-states by the Macedonians. The sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies.
HIST 17521 Energy and Society I (F. Albritton Jonsson) This two-quarter course explores the historical roots of climate change and other global environmental problems with a special attention to how energy use shapes human societies over time. Part I covers energy systems across the world from prehistory to the end of the nineteenth century. Parts I and II should be taken in sequence.
HIPS 18300/HIST 17310 Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization I: Greek and Roman Science (J. Wee) This undergraduate core course represents the first quarter of the Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization sequence. Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. This quarter will focus on aspects of ancient Greek and Roman intellectual history, their perceived continuities or discontinuities with modern definitions and practices of science, and how they were shaped by the cultures, politics, and aesthetics of their day. Topics surveyed include history writing and ancient science, the cosmos, medicine and biology, meteorology, ethnography and physiognomics, arithmetic and geometry, mechanics, taxonomy, optics, astronomy, and mechanical computing.
HIPS 18503/HIST 17513 Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: History of the Social Sciences (P. Mostajir) Social science is generally used to refer to the various disciplines devoted to the study of humanity in its social manifestations: sociology, social and cultural anthropology, economics, political science, geography, and history. But these disciplines employ radically different methodologies, rooted in distinct histories. While positive social science and the application of statistics to society began in the context of French revolutionary nation building, ethnographic methods emerged in the very different context of British imperial encounters with "exotic" cultures. In the midst of a growing interest in "society" and "culture," distinct methodological schools with competing social and cultural ontologies and methodologies emerged across Europe. This course studies these traditions and their development in the social and cultural contexts of revolution, empire, racial justice, and disciplinary institutionalization.
CRES 20004/HIST 28001 Introduction to Asian American Studies (Y. Nasser & N. Teo) The term Asian American was coined by civil rights activists in the 1960s who hoped to bridge ethnic divisions between different people of Asian heritage by pointing to their shared struggles within the United States. The cultural and socioeconomic associations of this category transformed dramatically in the following decades, and it continues to be an unstable term whose scope, meaning, and politics remain amorphous. Behind the nationally bound identity of being "Asian American" is a global history. What does it mean to be an Asian American in American society? This course will use the diverse experiences and histories of Asian American communities to help deepen and nuance our understandings of both "Asia" and "America." Asia has served as a symbol of American anxieties and desires, as a site of imperial conquest and military interventions, and as a source of diverse forms of labor, capital, and culture. By examining empire-building, global markets, and race, culture, and cuisine, students will investigate the diversity of Asian American experiences, deepen their understanding of the multiracial history of the United States, and draw out the intimate connections between Asia and America.
NEHC 20012/HIST 15603 Ancient Empires II This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. The Ottomans ruled in Anatolia, the Middle East, South East Europe, and North Africa for over six hundred years. The objective of this course is to understand the society and culture of this bygone empire whose legacy continues, in one way or another, in some twenty-five contemporary successor states from the Balkans to the Arabian Peninsula. The course is designed as an introduction to the Ottoman world with a focus on the cultural history of the Ottoman society. It explores identities and mentalities, customs and rituals, status of minorities, mystical orders and religious establishments, literacy and the use of the public sphere.
HIST 20111 History of Death (K. Hickerson) This course introduces students to the historical study of death and the methods and approaches scholars have developed to understand the roles death has played in shaping societies across time and space. Drawing from the rich scholarship on the history of death, it will demonstrate the methodical diversity (textual, visual, and material culture studies) and analytical approaches (history of the body, religious studies, and the study of slavery and colonialism) used to examine the multivalent ways the dead have been sources of meaning-making for individuals, institutions, religious communities, and nations from early Islam to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. It examines how ruptures in ways of death through military encounters, epidemics, and colonialism have shaped and transformed societies. While the history of death is strongly situated in narratives of the rise of the West, students will consider case studies from across regional scholarly specializations, including Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.
NEHC 20201/HIST 15611 Islamicate Civilization I, 600–950 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 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.
RLST 21410/HIST 27717 American Religion Since 1865 (W. Schultz) Why is religion more vital in the United States than in almost any other industrialized nation? This course will address that question by tracing the religious history of America from Reconstruction to the present. We will examine how religion has influenced every aspect of American society, from everyday life to presidential politics. We will look at religion's role in major events like World War I, the Great Depression, and the Civil Rights Movement. And we will explore how in recent decades the United States has become a nation of incredible religious diversity. This course is grounded in secondary literature; its goal is to introduce students to both the history and historiography of religion in the modern United States.
HIST 22122 Writing Christian Poetry (R. Fulton Brown) Christianity begins with God's creative Word: "In the beginning was the Word." This course approaches the study of Christian poetry as an exercise in creativity, encouraging students to explore the history of Christianity as an expression of the poetic imagination. Readings will be taken from across the ancient, medieval, and modern Christian tradition, focusing particularly on works originally written in Old, Middle or modern English as models for writing our own poems, but drawing on a wide range of exegetical, liturgical, and visionary works to support appreciation of the symbolism and narrative embedded in these models. Is there such a thing as a distinctively Christian perspective on history, morality, beauty, and art? What role does irony play? Is Christian poetry fundamentally tragic or comic? What is the relationship between Christianity and culture?
GNSE 23131/HIST 29535 Witches, Shrews, and Whores: Transgressive Women in the Early Modern Period (S. Painter) What did it mean to be a "bad" woman in the early modern world? In this course, we will explore the lives of transgressive women from around the world whose behavior did not conform to traditional expectations of femininity. Some of the women we encounter will include murderers, prostitutes, pirates, cross-dressers, rebellious slaves, and feminists. We will study the representation and lived experience of nonconforming women throughout the early modern period, from China to England. We will read scholarly texts and primary sources, learning how to view history from a feminist lens as we analyze the concept of woman as witch, shrew, and whore in patriarchal societies. We will use gender theory to investigate and analyze the different ways women challenged and subverted gender norms. By exploring the interactions of gendered relationships with the power structures of the law, religion, class, race, and sexuality, we will learn how women navigated traditional gender systems in defiance of the social norms in which they lived.
HIST 23814 The Lands Between: Europe between the Black and Baltic Seas (F. Hillis) For centuries, the territory between the Baltic and Black Seas served as a crossroads of civilizations. Speakers of Yiddish, Polish, Ukrainian, Belarusian, German, Lithuanian, and Russian have claimed the region as their homeland; it has hosted large and influential Catholic, Orthodox, and Jewish confessional communities. These "lands between" have produced rich and meaningful cultural exchange, but they have also generated destructive conflicts and horrific violence. How do we make sense of the cultures, ideas, and communities that emerged from this region? And how has this space mediated broader understandings of what is "Eastern," "Western," or "European?" This course employs a pedagogy of reconciliation, examining the history of the "lands between" from a variety of perspectives and working to reconcile contradictory understandings of the past.
CRES 24001/HIST 18301 Colonizations I This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. The themes of the first quarter are slavery, colonization, and the making of the Atlantic world.
HIST 24200 The Making of Modern Asia: Nationalism and Imperialism in China, India, and Japan (Y. Nasser, Von Holst Prize Lecturer) The late-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw the intensification of nationalist and anti-colonial movements in Asia. What understandings of imperialism did these different movements develop? How and why did those movements take such divergent paths in their anti-colonial struggles? And despite these divergences, what similar political, social, and economic trends animated them? This class will explore the connections and disparities between emergent nationalisms in India, China, and Japan. Instead of accepting distinctions between East and South Asia or between colonialism and semi-colonialism as proof of incomparability, this class will use the differences between these three countries to develop a comprehensive understanding of the various ways that societies responded to the threat of foreign rule and encroachment. By reading a combination of primary and secondary sources, students will discover the indelible influence that resistance to imperialism had on the development of nationalist thought in these three societies, even as that resistance took on increasingly different forms as time passed. Beginning with efforts in the late-nineteenth century to categorize their position in a global hierarchy vis-à-vis the Western powers, this course then tracks the ways that Japanese, Indian, and Chinese nationalisms took on similar shapes in different contexts before rapidly diverging in the early twentieth century.
RLST 24802/HIST 21011 Foucault and the Christians: On Ethics, Desire, and The History of Sexuality (M. Kelly) We will examine the importance of early Christianity in Foucault's The History of Sexuality, with attention to the grounds on which he contrasts sexual ethics in Greco-Roman antiquity and early Christianity. The course will combine close readings of Foucault's late work, his interlocutors, and key texts by Plato, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Tertullian, Cassian, and Augustine. The readings will help us understand the question Foucault poses on sexual ethics in antiquity, the nature of the shift in early Christianity, and the stakes of these distinctions for the genealogy of the modern subject. Our philosophical and historical investigations will address themes of body, sexuality, and desire; history, tradition, and religion; and the relationship between politics, ethics, and truth.
HIST 25104 History and Philosophy of Biology (R. Richards) This lecture-discussion course will consider the main figures in the history of biology, from the Hippocratics and Aristotle to Darwin and Mendel. The philosophic issues will be the kinds of explanations appropriate to biology versus the other physical sciences, the status of teleological considerations, and the moral consequences for human beings.
RLST 25301/HIST 22116 History, Religion, and Politics in Augustine's City of God (M. Allen & W. Otten) Augustine's City of God is a major work of history, politics, and religion. Written after Rome was sacked by the Visigoths in 410, the work begins as an apologia (justification) of the empire's turn to Christianity and expands to offer a sweeping and deeply theological account of human history and society in terms of earth-bound versus heaven-centered community. Augustine's citizenship and politics entails living out membership in either fellowship while commingled on earth with the other. Augustine analyzes Roman history and politics as well as the new religion first encouraged and eventually imposed in the wake of Constantine's conversion. We shall read the entire work in translation, attending to historical observations, political stances, and religious views. Augustine made arguments of his own but saved huge swaths of Varro and other otherwise lost sources to fashion his historical critique of Rome, social analysis, and many ultimately fresh views on matters like human sexuality in paradise and in heaven.
HIST 25402 Disastrous Histories: Scientific and Social Understandings of Modern Disasters (A. Jania, Von Holst Prize Lecturer) How could this happen? This question reverberates following a disaster. You yourself may have asked it about COVID-19, the 2020 California wildfires, or the 2021 Texas power-grid failure, to name a few. While scientific disciplines can help us understand the hazards and risks that lead to disaster, they cannot equip us with all the tools to prevent or mitigate disaster. This course argues that disasters arise when environmental hazards interact with societal structures (infrastructure, racial disparities, religious belief, historical inequalities, etc.) to produce human loss and suffering. This means that there are no "man-made" or "natural" disasters, each being a combination of human and environmental factors. In order to understand and communicate about disaster events, one must understand the history of these societal structures. This class aims to provide students with the tools to understand and talk about disaster. Following the long arch of global disaster history in the modern age, the class starts with the emergence of the categories of man-made and natural disaster in the early modern era and ends with a consideration of how climate change has once again collapsed these categorizations. In order to recognize the relevance of disaster histories to the present day, the class culminates in a final project on conveying information about a historical disaster to a public audience.
HIST 26509 Law and Citizenship in Latin America (B. Fischer) This course will examine law and citizenship in Latin America from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. We will explore the development of Latin American legal systems in both theory and practice, examine the ways in which the operation of these systems has shaped the nature of citizenship in the region, discuss the relationship between legal and other inequalities, and analyze some of the ways in which legal documents and practices have been studied by scholars in order to gain insight into questions of culture, nationalism, family, violence, gender, and race.
HIST 26805 The History of Capitalism in India (E. Chatterjee) This course explores the trajectory of capitalism in India from the colonial period to the present, with a particular focus on the twentieth century. How should we understand colonial India's place in the global history of capitalism? What was the relationship between postcolonial economic planning and changing class politics in the decades after independence in 1947? Finally, has India begun to converge upon a global paradigm of neoliberalism since the 1980s? As part of this course, we will read classic texts of Indian political economy, analyzing how both the theory and practice of capitalism in the region challenge Western-centered histories.
HIST 27006 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.
IRHU 27006/HIST 25513 Research in Archives: Human Bodies in History (J. Bimm & I. Clever) This seminar develops humanities research skills necessary to study the body in history, from early modern cultural practices to modern medicine, science, and technology. The course asks how have we come to know and experience our bodies, explores how ideas and practices concerning the body have changed over time, and considers how culture and society shape the body itself. A major focus will be learning to conduct different forms of historical research to produce new humanities scholarship about the human body. Readings will introduce key themes and recent scholarship, including work on disability, reproduction, race, gender, ethics, extreme environments, and identity. The course will combine perspectives from the history of science, medicine, and technology as well as cultural history, anthropology, and science and technology studies.
CRES 27545/HIST 29537 Miscegenation, Family, and the State: A Global History of Racial Hybridity (C. Kubler) For as long as race has been a concept for categorizing peoples around the world, states have grappled with the problem of racial hybridity. This course examines the history of this "problem" in a global context. Why have interracial relations and identities been such sensitive issues across so many historical time periods and places? Why have states been so invested in policing interracial boundaries? And how have individual people, couples, and families navigated the legal and societal challenges to interracial existence? We will examine these questions with a focus on four thematic topics: sex and intimacy; marriage; children; and citizenship and national belonging. Drawing on historical case studies from the colonial Caribbean, Latin America, India, China, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the United States, students will come to situate the history of racial hybridity in a new critical perspective as they reflect on both parallel and intersecting social constructions of race and ethnicity around the world.
RLST 29000/HIST 27715 The American Culture Wars (W. Schultz) Should we rename institutions named for people who advocated, or accepted, white supremacy? Should the religious views of judges be subject to public scrutiny? Should religious institutions be exempt from certain public health regulations? These questions are only the latest battlefields in the "culture wars," the long-running conversation—or, more often, shouting match—about what the United States ought to stand for and how Americans ought to live. This course will explore how Americans have wrestled with questions of morality and national identity since the country's founding. It will put contemporary struggles in context by examining past cultural conflicts. Potential topics include the establishment and disestablishment of religion in the early United States; debates over how many and what kind of immigrants to allow into the country; and campaigns to control or prohibit dangerous substances, especially alcohol.
HIST 29202 Cuba (D. Borges) A panorama of Cuban reforms and revolutions, centering on evaluation of the Cuban Revolution of 1959.
HIST 29431 How (Not) to Save the World: The History of International Development (E. Chatterjee) The drive to deliver humanitarian aid and improved living standards to the world far beyond one's own borders is a distinctively modern phenomenon. This course introduces students to the theories, actors, and practices that have shaped international development. We will explore the colonial origins of development as an idea, its evolution during the Cold War, and the implications of today's more multipolar world. We will see how different strategies have risen and fallen from favor, from big dams to trade to private philanthropy. Alongside scholarly histories, we will read reflections by development practitioners and critics and examine concrete case studies of development projects in action around the world.
HIST 29432 Cold War Cultures in Divided Korea and Germany, 1945–2000 (E. Pérez & B. Van Zee) This course introduces students to the history of the Cold War through the comparative study of its front lines: divided Korea (north and south) and divided Germany (east and west). Germany and Korea shared little in common—culturally, geopolitically, and historically—before 1945. And yet for both nations, the end of the Second World War and the onset of the Cold War brought with it the near parallel division of their societies into two mutually antagonistic states, each allied with the opposing ideological camp. To what extent did the experience of division and marginality in the bifurcated world order give both Germanys and Koreas simultaneously unique and yet similar experiences of the conflict? To answer this question, we will examine how the Cold War shaped conflicts over culture, consumption, and power in all four states while following how each positioned themselves on the international stage vis-à-vis each other, the superpowers, and the "Third World." This course requires neither background knowledge of Korean or German languages, nor these regions' histories, nor previous coursework in history; should you have some of this knowledge, we welcome you and hope that you will share it with your classmates.
HIPS 29800/HIST 25503 Junior HIPSS Seminar: My Favorite Readings in the History and Philosophy of Science (R. Richards) This course introduces some of the most important and influential accounts of science to have been produced in modern times. It provides an opportunity to discover how philosophers, historians, anthropologists, and sociologists have grappled with the scientific enterprise and to assess critically how successful their efforts have been. Authors likely include Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Robert Merton, Steven Shapin, and Bruno Latour.
Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduates by Consent
SOCI 40244/HIST 43204 Climate Change, History, and Social Theory (F. Albritton Jonsson & N. Brenner) This course considers some of the major approaches to climate change, history, and social theory that have been elaborated in contemporary scholarship. The course is framed with reference to the analysis of major socio-environmental transformations at planetary, regional, and local scales during the last four centuries of global capitalist development, using historical case studies from major world regions and imperial configurations and their present-day legacies. Key topics include the environmental subtexts/contexts of classical and contemporary social theory and historiography; the histories and geographies of environmental crises under capitalism; the conceptualization of “nature” and the “non-human” in relation to societal (and industrial) dynamics; the role of capitalism and fossil capital in the production of “metabolic rifts”; the impact of earth-system science on history and social theory, including in relation to questions of periodization and associated debates on the “Anthropocene,” the “Capitalocene,” and the “Plantationocene”; the interplay between urbanization, rural dispossession, and climate emergencies; the uneven sociopolitical geographies of risk, vulnerability, and disaster; the (geo)politics of decarbonization; insurgent struggles for climate justice; and possible post-carbon futures.
RAME 42901/HIST 47102 Christianity and Slavery in America, 1619–1865 (C. Evans) This colloquium will examine the relationship between Christian thought and the practice of slavery as they evolved historically, especially in the context of European enslavement of peoples of African descent in the colonies of British North America and in the antebellum South. Emphasis will be placed on the ways in which Christianity functioned as an ideological justification of the institution of slavery and an amelioration of practices deemed abusive within slave societies. The following questions will be addressed in some form through our readings and class discussions: Why did some Christians oppose slavery at a specific time and in a particular historical context? In other words, why did slavery become a moral problem for an influential though minority segment of the United States by the early nineteenth century? What was the process by which and why did white evangelical Christians, especially in the South, become the most prominent defenders of slavery as it was increasingly confined to the South? What were some of the consequences of debates about slavery in regard to efforts to engage broader social reform? What role did race play in the historical development of slavery? How did people of African descent shape and practice Christianity in British North America and the Southern states of the United States? Although our focus is on what became the United States of America, we also linger on discussions about the broader international dimensions of slavery and slavery's importance in the development of the Americas.
HIST 49800 Between the Jewish Question and the Modern Condition: Jewish Thought, Culture, and Politics, 1830–1940 (K. Moss) In the nineteenth century, the Jewish presence in Europe ceased to be a fact and became a Question: how were Jews to be transformed and integrated—or "emancipated"—into "society." From the 1870s, this Jewish Question was globalized and politicized by nationalism, new forms of antisemitism, European imperialism, capitalism's reordering of global life, mass migration from Eastern Europe to the US, the racialization of global politics, and tensions of nation and empire in Eastern Europe, the Ottoman world, and the Middle East. This class investigates how European, US, and Middle Eastern Jews confronted the Jewish Question (1830s–1930s) communally and individually. It asks how this confrontation shaped key dimensions of modern Jewish thought, culture, and politics: Zionism and other forms of modern Jewish politics, Jewish social thought, religious life, communal policy, and new forms of secular culture. Conversely, we will also consider the limits of approaching modern Jewish culture and consciousness as a response to the Jewish Question: are modern forms of Jewish religiosity and secularity, gender norms, visions of culture, education, and the moral life better understood as emergent responses to more general problems of modernity? Alternatively, should key aspects of contemporary Jewish life—such as religious nationalism and religious revivalism—be understood at least in part as products not so much of modernity's powers as of modernity's limited effects on a Jewish tradition evolving according to its own cultural logic? Readings include classic and new scholarship matched to key works of Jewish thought and culture. All readings in English (translation), but I will happily facilitate reading in the original languages.