Early Modern History

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 13002  History of European Civilization II  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 13200  History of Western Civilization II  (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 15200  Introduction to East Asian Civilization II  (M. Fisch)  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.

HIST 18202  Histories of Racial Capitalism  (D. Jenkins)  This seminar takes as its starting point the insistence that the movement, settlement, and hierarchical arrangements of indigenous communities and people of African descent is inseparable from regimes of capital accumulation. It builds on the concept of "racial capitalism," which rejects treatments of race as external to a purely economic project and counters the idea that racism is an externality, cultural overflow, or aberration from the so-called real workings of capitalism. This course will cover topics such as racial slavery, banking in the Caribbean, black capitalism in Miami, the underdevelopment of Africa, and the profitability of mass incarceration.

HIST 25014  Introduction to Environmental History  (F. Albritton Jonsson)  How have humans interacted with the environment over time? This course introduces students to the methods and topics of environmental history by way of classic and recent works in the field: Crosby, Cronon, Worster, Russell, and McNeill, etc. Major topics of investigation include preservationism, ecological imperialism, evolutionary history, forest conservation, organic and industrial agriculture, labor history, the commons and land reform, energy consumption, and climate change. Our scope covers the whole period from 1492 with case studies from European, American, and British imperial history.

HIST 25110  Philosophy of History: Narrative and Explanation  (R. Richards)  This lecture-discussion course will focus on the nature of historical explanation and the role of narrative in providing an understanding of historical events.  Among the authors discussed are Edward Gibbon, Immanuel Kant, R. G. Collingwood, Leopold von Ranke, Lord Acton, Fernand Braudel, Carl Gustav Hempel, Arthur Danto, and Hayden White.

HIST 25216  The History of Alchemy (J. Niermeier-Dohoney, Teaching Fellow)  This course will examine the history of alchemy in the Greco-Egyptian Mediterranean, the Arab Middle East, the Latin Middle Ages, and the early modern era. Topics will include alchemy's development as a chemical science for understanding physical change in nature, its major goals (e.g., gold making and the discovery of the Philosopher’s Stone), the application of its theories in medicine and pharmacology, religious admonitions and defenses of its practices, its relationship with other contemporary esoteric fields such as natural magic and secrecy, its potential effects on political economy, its intellectual place in the history of the scientific revolution, reasons for its “decline” in the early eighteenth century, and its revival in the spiritualism of Victorian Britain and twentieth-century Jungian psychology. Readings will include major primary source writings in translation by Zosimus, Abū Mūsā Jābir ibn Ḥayyān, George Ripley, Paracelsus, George Starkey, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton, as well as modern histories on the topic. This course may include the examination of manuscripts at Regenstein Special Collections and in-class chemical demonstrations of some simple alchemical experiments.

HIST 25300  American Revolution, 1763–1789  (E. Cook Jr.)  This lecture and discussion course explores the background of the American Revolution and the problem of organizing a new nation. The first half of the course uses the theory of revolutionary stages to organize a framework for the events of the 1760s and 1770s, and the second half of the course examines the period of constitution making (1776–1789) for evidence on the ways in which the Revolution was truly revolutionary.

HIST 26511  Cities from Scratch: The History of Urban Latin America  (B. Fischer)  Latin America is one of the world's most urbanized regions, and its urban heritage long predates European conquest. And yet the region's cities are most often understood through the lens of North Atlantic visions of urbanity, many of which fit poorly with Latin America's historical trajectory, and most of which have significantly distorted both Latin American urbanism and our understandings of it. This course takes this paradox as the starting point for an interdisciplinary exploration of the history of Latin American cities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing especially on issues of social inequality, informality, urban governance, race, violence, rights to the city, and urban cultural expression. Readings will be interdisciplinary, including anthropology, sociology, history, fiction, film, photography, and primary historical texts.

HIST 27200  African American History to 1883  (T. Holt)  A lecture course discussing selected topics in the African American experience (economic, political, social) from African origins through the Supreme Court decision invalidating Reconstruction Era protections of African American civil rights. Course evaluations via online quizzes and take-home essays.

HIST 29528  Property and the Public Interest  (J. Levy)  In this colloquium, drawing from law, history, philosophy, and social science, we examine the conflicted relationship between property and the public interest.  Topics include the basis and evolution of private property rights, reasons for the state, and the relationship between property rights and the public interest. Assignments: Two short essays and a final paper.

HIST 29679  Writing Family History—Migration Stories  (T. Zahra)  Almost every family has a migration story, whether it involves a move across international borders or within a single nation (south to north, east to west). Sometimes these movements entailed deportation or flight from war or persecution, other times a search for better opportunities or to join (or escape) family members. These stories often become a part of family lore and identity, even if we don't know much about how or why they took place, or even if they are true. This course will combine genealogical and historical research. Students will research the history of a family member's migration, using primary sources and genealogical tools, and will contextualize that individual story in the broader history of migration (and migration in our own times).