WIN 19: Cultural History Courses
HIST 13001 & HIST 13002 History of European Civilization 1 & 2 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 13600 America in World Civilization 2 The American Civ sequence is nothing like your high-school history class, for here we examine 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. The nineteenth-century segment of America in World Civilizations asks: What happens when democracy confronts inequality? We focus on themes that include indigenous-US relations; religious revivalism and reform; slavery, the Civil War, and emancipation; the intersection between women's rights and antislavery; the development of industrial capitalism; urbanism and social inequality.
HIST 14000 Introduction to Russian Civilization 2 (E. Gilburd & R. Bird) 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 15200 Introduction to East Asian Civilization 2 (J. Ketelaar) 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 16200/HIST 16102 Introduction to Latin American Civilization 2 (M. Tenorio) 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 second quarter addresses the evolution of colonial societies, the wars of independence, and the emergence of Latin American nation-states in the changing international context of the nineteenth century.
HIST 16800 Ancient Mediterranean World 2: Rome 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 Rome, from its prehistoric beginnings in the twelfth century BCE to the end of the Severan dynasty in 235 CE. Throughout, the focus is upon the dynamism and adaptability of Roman society, as it moved from a monarchy to a republic to an empire, and the implications of these political changes for structures of competition and cooperation within the community.
HIST 17001 Introduction to Women and Gender in the Ancient World (M. Andrews) This course provides an introduction to aspects of women's lives in the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean: primarily Greece and Rome, but drawing occasionally on examples also from the Near East and Egypt. We will examine not only what women actually did and did not do in these societies, but also how they were perceived by their male contemporaries and what value to society they were believed to have. The course will focus on how women are reflected in the material and visual cultures, but it will also incorporate historical and literary evidence, as well. Through such a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, we will examine the complexities and ambiguities of women's lives in the ancient Mediterranean and begin to understand the roots of modern conceptions and perceptions of women in the Western world today.
HIST 21006 The Present Past in Greece since 1769 (J. Hall) This discussion-based course will explore how conceptions of the ancient past have been mobilized and imagined in the political, social, and cultural discourses of modern Greece from the lead up to the War of Independence through to the present day. Among the themes that will be addressed are ethnicity and nationalism, theories of history, the production of archæological knowledge, and the politics of display.
HIST 23306 Europe, 1914–Present (T. Zahra) This lecture course will provide an introductory survey to European history in the twentieth century. It aims to provide a critical overview of political, economic, social, and cultural developments. Topics covered will include the rise of mass politics and the conflict between Bolshevism and fascism; the causes, experiences, and effects of the First and Second World Wars in Western and Eastern Europe; the transformation of Eastern Europe's multinational empires into nationalizing states; interwar democratization and economic crisis; ethnic cleansing and population displacement; decolonization and the Cold War; the challenges of postcolonial migration; transformations in society and economy, including changes in class and gender relations; new social and protest movements in the 1960s and 1970s; mass culture and consumption; the collapse of Communism; and European integration at the end of the twentieth century.
HIST 24500 Reading Qing Documents (G. Alitto) This course introduces documentary Chinese of the Qing (1644–1912) and the Republican ((1912–1949) periods, with an emphasis upon critical use of these documents and the related historiography. Students read a wide variety of genres, including imperial edicts, secret memorials, local gazetteers, newspapers, funeral essays, as well as selections from the Qing "Veritable Records" (Qing Shilu) and the Draft History of the Qing Dynasty (Qing Shigao). We first translate the documents into English and then analyze them.
EALC 24512/HIST 24511 Social and Economic Institutions of Chinese Socialism (J. Eyferth) The socialist period (for our purposes here, circa 1949–1990) fundamentally transformed the institutions of Chinese social and economic life. Marriage and family were redefined; rural communities were reorganized on a collective basis; private property in land and other means of production were abolished. Industrialization created a new urban working class, whose access to welfare, consumer goods, and political rights depended to a large extent on their membership in work units (danwei). Migration between city and countryside came to a halt, and rural and urban society developed in different directions. This course will focus on the concrete details of how this society functioned. How did state planning work? What was it like to work in a socialist factory? What role did money and consumption play in a planned economy? Our readings are in English, but speakers of Chinese are encouraged to use Chinese materials (first-hand sources, if they can be found) for their final papers.
HIST 24602 Objects of Japanese History (J. Ketelaar) The collections of Japanese objects held at the University of Chicago's Smart Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Art Institute of Chicago will be examined as case studies in museum studies, collection research, and, more specifically, in the interpretation of things "Japanese." Individual objects will be examined, not only for religious, aesthetic, cultural, and historical issues, but also for what they tell us of the collections themselves and the relation of these collections to museum studies per se. This year, in particular, we will examine the major exhibition of Floating World (Ukiyo) paintings held at the Art Institute. We will make several study trips to the Smart Museum, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Art Institute of Chicago during class time.
HIST 26515 Political and Cultural History of Modern Mexico (M. Tenorio) This course is not a survey of Mexican history but a discussion of the recent contributions to the cultural and political historiography of modern Mexico. It will blend lectures and discussion of such topics as the new meanings of citizenship, peace, war, national culture, violence, avant-garde art, and cinema.
HIST 27006 Not Just the Facts: Telling about the American South (J. Dailey) Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. once observed: "The main part of intellectual education is not the acquisition of facts but learning how to make facts live." 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."
HIST 28103 The American Novel in History and the Historical Novel (A. Rowe, Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences) We will read several American novels—some canonical, others largely forgotten—to explore the relationship between literature and history from the early Republic to the present. A novel like Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables is both a historical artifact, a rich and suggestive reflection of the world in which it was written, and a profound meditation on history itself, on the narratives by which a culture acknowledges and denies its inheritance from the past. Indeed, many novelists have explored dimensions of our collective past that historians, tethered to the surface of recorded fact, cannot reach and should not ignore. From the creation of the American republic to the unraveling of the American working class, from the experience of slavery to the experience of industrialized warfare, we will examine some of the most significant issues in American history through the art of some of the nation's most gifted novelists.
HIST 29418 Writing the Past: History as Creative Nonfiction (P. O'Donnell) Writing is central to the work of a historian. It is both the tangible result of our work and the way in which we communicate the importance of our work to the world. This course is focused on the writing of history. But in it we will be concerned less with historiography—the scholarly debates among historians about historical questions or problems—than with the storytelling choices of those who write history, their ideological stakes, and their rhetorical positions. We will read pathbreaking works of history on a broad range of topics, written in a variety of genres: scholarly monographs, memoir, and historically minded journalism. All are written by historians or scholars who leveraged their traditional historical training but chose to do something brave, and hard: to tell their stories in a new and different way, to write, rather than merely report, history. The goal of this course is to broaden our sense of how historical narratives might be written, and to inspire you to think carefully as you craft prose, and to take risks when you write history.
HIST 29522 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.
HIST 29678 History Colloquium: Medicine and Society (M. Rossi) How does medical knowledge change? How do medical practices transform over time? What factors influence the ways in which doctors and patients—and scientists, artists, politicians, legislators, activists, and educators, among others—understand matters of health and disease, of proper and improper interventions, of the rights of individuals and the needs of communities? This course treats these questions as a starting point for exploring the interactions of medicine and society from 1800 to the present. Through a combination of primary and secondary sources we will examine changing causes of morbidity and mortality, the development of new medical technologies and infrastructures, shifting patterns of disease and shifting ideas about bodies, and debates about health care policy, among other topics. Students will be expected to conduct original research and produce an original research paper of fifteen to twenty pages.