NEHC 30201/HIST 35621 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 30601/HIST 35610 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.
NEHC 30852/HIST 58302 The Ottoman World in the Age of Süleyman the Magnificent (C. Fleischer) This quarter-long colloquium comprises a chronological overview of major themes in Ottoman history, 1300–1600. It focuses on the transformation of the Muslim Ottoman principality into an imperial entity—after the conquest of Constantinople in 1453—that laid claim to inheritance of Alexandrine, Roman/Byzantine, Mongol/Chinggisid, and Islamic models of Old World Empire at the dawn of the early modern era. Special attention is paid to the transformation of Ottoman imperialism in the reign of Sultan Süleyman the Lawgiver (1520–1566), who appeared to give the empire its "classical" form. Topics include the Mongol legacy; the reformulation of the relationship between political and religious institutions; mysticism and the creation of divine kingship; Muslim-Christian competition (with special reference to Spain and Italy) and the formation of early modernity; the articulation of bureaucratized hierarchy; and comparison of Muslim Ottoman, Iranian Safavid, and Christian European imperialisms. In addition to papers, Students will give an oral presentation on a designated primary or secondary source during the course and write a fifteen- to twenty-page paper at the end.
RAME 31410/HIST 37717 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.
CHSS 32000/HIST 56800 Colloquium: Introduction to Science Studies (J. Evans & A. Johns) 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.
HIST 32122 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?
HIST 33814 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.
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 35104 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.
HCHR 35301/HIST 32116 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 36509 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. Note: History graduate students may take Law and Citizenship in Latin America to fulfill a History colloquium requirement; undergraduates and other graduate students will have different requirements.
HIST 36805 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 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.
SCTH 40129/HIST 66801 The Socialist Calculation Debate (J. Isaac) This course examines the so-called socialist calculation debate and its legacy in economic thought. The debate began as a series of responses to the claim of Otto Neurath that socialist societies could abandon the price mechanism and embrace the economic principle of "calculation in kind." Critics such as Max Weber and Ludwig von Mises countered that calculation in kind was impossible and that rational allocation of resources required the use of market prices. A second round of the debate took place during the 1930s, this time involving Oskar Lange, Abba Lerner, and Friedrich Hayek. We will study the key contributions to the debate, while paying special attention to Neurath's now largely neglected theory of socialist planning. The course concludes with an examination of the climate crisis and the revival of the planning theories.
SCTH 40130/HIST 66901 John Rawls in Context (J. Isaac) This course examines the early thought of the moral and political philosopher John Rawls. We will trace the development of Rawls's thought from his senior honors thesis at Princeton to the publication of his seminal treatise A Theory of Justice in 1971. Course readings will combine primary sources with the now burgeoning historical literature on Rawls's life and thought.
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.
CLAS 40921/HIST 50401 The Ancient Mediterranean Beyond the Polis I (C. Ando & C. Kearns) This two-quarter seminar introduces students to key debates and challenges in the study of ancient Mediterranean societies outside or elliptical to the boundaries of the city-state. In the first half, readings and discussions will interrogate Greek and Roman concepts of territoriality and border-making, frontiers and hinterlands, and political community, as well as assess limitations in method and evidence for studying the material histories of nonurban social formations. The course takes a broad approach by exploring diverse regional and chronological case studies. In the second quarter, students will write a major research paper. Non-Classics students may enroll for just the first quarter by arrangement with the instructors.
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.
HIST 51401 Colloquium: Early Modern Britain I (S. Pincus) This colloquium is designed to introduce graduate students to major historiographical issues involving Britain and its empire circa 1500 to circa 1850. The course is ideal for PhD students preparing a general examination field and/or designing a research paper, but is open to MA students as well. The first term will focus on classic works in early modern British historiography; the second on recent scholarship. Normally students will be expected to take parts I and II.
HIST 56304 Colloquium: Modern East Asian History I (B. Cumings) This is a reading and discussion colloquium on modern East Asia, meaning China, Korea, and Japan. We will read one book per week and discuss it in class. Students will be expected to prepare an opening five-minute critique of the week's reading to get our discussions going. PhD students will write a research paper. MA students will do either a paper that compares and contrasts four or five (good) books on East Asia, or they will write a paper that deals with some particular problem or conundrum that derives from the readings or our class discussions; the second option is not a research paper, but one in which a premium is placed on your ability to think through a problem that appears in the reading or comes out of our discussions. The paper is due on the last day of exam week for those MA students and History PhD students taking the colloquium for just the autumn term. In the winter quarter, continuing students will present their papers for discussion with the class. History graduate students have the option to enroll in autumn quarter only, with a research paper due in December.
HIST 60000 Colloquium: Latin American Historiography, Nineteenth–Twenty-first Century (M. Tenorio) Review of recent trends in the history of the regions. Weekly reviews.
HIST 62601 Colloquium: American History I, to 1865 (R. Johnson) 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 69100 Colloquium: The Antillean Plantation Complex (P. Cheney) This colloquium will examine the plantation complex as it developed in the Caribbean basin over the long eighteenth century (circa 1650–1825), with an emphasis on the French and British islands. We will pay particular attention to the long-debated role of plantation slavery and the production of tropical commodities in laying the basis for modern forms of capitalist accumulation. We will also consider demographic developments, the ecological impact of the plantation system, creole culture, metropole-colony relations, the role of Enlightenment thought, and gender. Capacity to read French desired but not required.
HIST 70001 The Departmental Seminar I (B. Fischer & K. Pomeranz) The two-quarter History graduate seminar leads to the completion of the first-year research paper. The autumn quarter focuses on the craft of historical research and the art of critical discussion as students begin work on their individual projects. Students will consider what constitutes a good historical question, examine a wide range of research methods and analytical strategies, and explore how historians articulate the significance of their work. Brief weekly readings and guest sessions with faculty members will encourage students to think and learn beyond their geographical, chronological, and methodological specializations. Assignments will be geared toward laying the groundwork for a successful research paper and will also ask students to experiment with novel questions, sources, and methods. Upon completing the quarter, students should be prepared to begin writing.