WIN 19: Modern History Courses

HIST 10102  Introduction to African Civilization 2  (K. Takabvirwa)  African Civilization introduces students to African history in a three quarter sequence. Part Two uses anthropological perspectives to investigate colonial and postcolonial encounters in sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular focus on southern Africa. The course is centered on the twentieth and twenty-first century. The course begins with an examination of colonialism, the institutionalization of racism, and dispossession, before examining anti-colonialism and the postcolonial period. Over the course of the quarter, students will learn about forms of personhood, subjectivity, kinship practices, governance, migration, and the politics of difference.

HIST 13002  History of European Civilization 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 14701  Human Rights in Chinese History  (J. Ransmeier)  This Gateway course will introduce students to China's contentious rights environment and both domestic and international ideas of human rights. The course will consider social movements, dissent, the role of the press, environmentalism, and debates over "Asian values." While the course surveys the modern period we will also discuss legacies of China's philosophical traditions. 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 17204  Thou Shalt Not Kill: Human Rights and War from Napoleon to the War on Terror  (P. O'Donnell)  This course will consider the intersection between human rights and humans in wars from Napoleon's first forays into a nationalized army, citizen soldiers, and battlefield medicine in the early nineteenth century to the contradictions of the global "war on terror": Abu Ghraib, drone strikes, and Support Our Troops bumper stickers. Along the way, it will consider the evolution of rights alongside the evolution of war, using historical examples as stepping stones, from the horrors produced by European colonial firepower and the global cataclysms of the twentieth century's world wars, to the Cold War's proxy wars and nuclear threats, to failed attempts at peacekeeping in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. History in the World courses use history as a valuable tool to help students critically exam our society, culture, and politics. Preference given to first- and second-year students.

HIST 17704  The Old History of Capitalism  (D. Jenkins)  What is the relationship between race and capitalism? This course introduces students to 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, acultural overflow, or an aberration from the so-called real workings of capitalism. Spanning the colonization of North America to the era of mass incarceration, topics include the slave trade, indigenous dispossession, antebellum slavery, the Mexican-American War, "new imperialism," the welfare state, and civil rights. This course neither presumes a background in economics nor previous coursework in history. 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 20110  Trans-Saharan Africa  (R. Austen)  This course will deal with various developments (trade, politics, religion, slavery, voluntary migration) linking the Maghrib/North Africa with the great African desert and the "Sudanic" lands to its south. Along with lectures and discussions of readings we will visit an exhibit, Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Medieval Trans-Saharan Exchange, at the Block Museum of Art in Evanston.

HIST 20210  History Lab: Migration and Mobility in Human History  (E. Osborn)  This Making History course will explore different episodes of human mobility. We will study forced and voluntary migrations by considering the earliest movements of people out of Africa, the transatlantic slave trade, the displacements in Europe produced by World War II, and the current flows of people from Africa and the Middle East across the Mediterranean. These wide-ranging topics necessarily demand that students use a variety of primary sources and methodologies; assigned readings will thus be supplemented by documentaries, audio recordings, artistic renditions, and material culture. For their final project students will be required to work individually or in teams to investigate an example of human migration. Student may present the results of this research as a formal academic essay, may create a website or video, or use some other medium. Making History courses forgo traditional paper assignments for innovative projects that develop new skills with professional applications in the working world. Open to students at all levels, but especially recommended for third- and fourth-year students.

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 25308  Lab, Field, and Clinic: The History and Anthropology of Medicine and the Life Sciences  (M. Rossi)  In this course we will examine the ways in which different groups of people—in different times and places—have understood the nature of life and living things, bodies and bodily processes, and health and disease, among other notions. We will address these issues principally, though not exclusively, through the lens of the changing sets of methods and practices commonly recognizable as science and medicine. We will also pay close attention to the methods through which scholars in history and anthropology have written about these topics, and how current scientific and medical practice affect historical and anthropological studies of science and medicine.

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 28204  The Civil War and the Transformation of American Democracy  (A. Rowe, Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences)  The Civil War announced the dramatic failure of American constitutional democracy to resolve or avoid a fundamental conflict over slavery. The costly achievements of the war, however, only replaced one inescapable problem with another: namely, how to incorporate the results of an abrupt, catastrophically violent assertion of military force into an enduring political regime that remained true to the ideal of free government. A national commitment to equal rights was established, but did not resolve, the problem of how to transform a society of slaves and conquered belligerents into equal citizens in a constitutional democracy. It is misleading to separate the abstract and practical dimensions of this essential problem. The moral principles at stake in the conflict ultimately depended on salvaging a bitterly divided nation from the abyss into which it had plunged. In this course, we will examine the history of the Civil War era through the dynamic controversies of high politics, as an entirely new conception of the American republic emerged from the failure of the old.

HIST 28607  War, Diplomacy, and Empire in US History  (J. Sparrow)  World politics have profoundly shaped the United States from its colonial origins to the war on terror. Yet only recently have US historians made a sustained effort to relate the foreign relations of the country to its domestic history. For a century and a half prior to independence, empire, trade, great-power politics, and violent conflict with Native Americans formed the large structures of power and meaning within which colonists pursued their everyday lives. In violently repudiating the claims of the British Empire, the revolutionaries commenced a political tradition that sought to avoid the perils of great-power statecraft for roughly the next century and a half. Yet even as it lent a distinctive cast to US politics and society, this pursuit of exceptionalism had to reckon with the requirements of state power and geopolitics from the Civil War onward. With its sudden embrace of great-power politics and the "rise to globalism" from WWII onward the United States became increasingly like the European societies it had repudiated at the founding, even as its exceptional military and economic power set it apart as a "unipolar power" by the turn of the millennium. To understand these developments in depth students will write two modest-length "deep-dive" analytical essays and three brief reports on targeted expeditions into primary materials, while reading broadly across the historiography of the new diplomatic and international history.

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 29663  History Colloquium: The American Vigilante  (K. Belew)  From the Regulators to Rambo, the vigilante has played a leading role in the history and culture of the United States. This colloquium traces a long history of the American vigilante as a character, as well as episodes of vigilante violence from early America to the present. We will focus on the questions central to this history: What is the relationship between the vigilante and the state? Where can we draw distinctions between vigilantism, terrorism, and rebellion? How has the vigilante contributed to nation building? We will also explore the predominance of the vigilante in popular culture, focusing on figures such as Jesse James, Dirty Harry, Machete, the Punisher, superheroes, the movies of John Wayne, and the lyrics of Toby Keith. Students will write substantial final papers based on primary sources that explore one element of this discussion.

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.

HIST 43002  State Formations and Types of States: Global Perspectives (S. Pincus & J. Robinson, director, Pearson Institute)  Why, historically, did states emerge, and what did they do? The course begins by investigating standard narratives of European state formation, then proceeds to ask whether non-European and premodern state formations conform to the scholarly theories. Finally, we wonder whether theories of state formation fit empires or federal states. This course asks students simultaneously to take seriously social science explanations for state formation and the historical record. Upper-level undergraduates with consent of instructors.