Intellectual 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 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 13900  Introduction to Russian Civilization I  (E. Gilburd & 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 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 12001  Medieval History: Theories & Methods  (J. Lyon)  This course will introduce students to research methods and historical theories that are central to the field of medieval European history (500–1500 AD). The first section of the course is designed to give students a grounding in some of the most important historical narratives (political, social, economic, religious, intellectual, cultural) about the medieval period. Students will then spend the middle weeks of the quarter exploring the different types of original sources (written and non-written) that historians use to conduct research on the Middle Ages. This section of the course will include class time at the Regenstein Library's Special Collections. In the final weeks, we will concentrate on some of the scholarly debates that have shaped the modern field of medieval history. Grades will be determined on the basis of a midterm exam, a final exam, two short papers, and classroom discussion.

HIST 25304  Goethe: Literature, Science, Philosophy  (R. Richards)  This lecture-discussion course will examine Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's intellectual development, from the time he wrote Sorrows of a Young Werther through the final stages of Faust. Along the way, we will read a selection of Goethe's plays, poetry, and travel literature. We will also examine his scientific work, especially his theory of color and his morphological theories. On the philosophical side, we will discuss Goethe's coming to terms with Kant (especially the third Critique), and his adoption of Schelling's transcendental idealism. The theme uniting the exploration of the various works of Goethe will be the unity of the artistic and scientific understanding of nature, especially as he exemplified that unity in "the eternal feminine."

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. First-year students and non-History majors welcome.

HIST 46401 History and Fiction (D. Borges & M. Tenorio) We will explore the relations among historical analysis, historical narrative, and fiction, with an emphasis on the Americas.

HIST 58601  Colloquium: Iran and Central Asia I—Safvid Iran  (J. Woods)  The first quarter will take the form of a colloquium on the sources for and the literature on the political, social, economic, technological, and cultural history of Western and Central Asia from approximately 1500 to 1750. Classroom presentations and a short paper are required.

HIST 59000  Colloquium: Persian Historical Texts  (J. Woods)  This course will focus on the study and utilization of narrative, normative, and archival sources in Persian. Texts of the major Iranian historians and biographers will be subjected to close reading and analysis. The scripts, protocols, and formula used by Irano-Islamic chancelleries will also be introduced and the form and content of published and unpublished archival documents will be transcribed and examined in their institutional context.