History of Race

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 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 24514  Colonial Power in East Asia  (J. Dahl, Von Holst Prize Lecturer)  This course takes a transnational and comparative approach to the study of colonialism in East Asia from the Opium Wars through the end of World War I. Using foundational theories of postcolonial scholarship as a starting template, we will explore the interrelationship of colonial power and ideologies of race and gender across China, Japan, and Korea during the nineteenth century. Critically evaluating both primary and secondary sources will help us contextualize the development of the Japanese empire within a larger narrative of the expansion of Euro-American colonial power into East Asia. In doing so, we will discover that sites of empire in East Asia often destabilize the most common binaries of postcolonial study: Occident/Orient, colonizer/colonized, white/other, and premodern/modern.

HIST 25709  Race and Ethnicity in the Modern Middle East  (K. Hickerson)  This seminar examines the ways that race and ethnicity are identified and discussed in Middle Eastern societies from the late-eighteenth century to the contemporary period. This class will analyze debates surrounding Middle Eastern racial and ethnic constructions in order to consider the extent to which these are the products of European colonialism—as some claim—or other legacies including Ottoman slave trade networks. This course addresses the ways these categories have shaped nationalist discourses, anticolonial struggles, US involvement in the Middle East, and contemporary questions of citizenship. Students will examine the role of diaspora encounters in Europe and the Americas in crafting these categories and ask whether new flows of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Philippines to the Middle East are reconfiguring old constructions or creating new ones. Sources will include literature, music, and film and methodologies are cultural, social, and political history. The class comprises case studies from Morocco, the Nile Valley, Turkey, Israel, and the Gulf States.

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 27705  Introduction to Black Chicago, 1893–2010  (A. Green)  This course surveys the history of African Americans in Chicago, from before the twentieth century to the near present. In referring to that history, we treat a variety of themes, including migration and its impact, the origins and effects of class stratification, the relation of culture and cultural endeavor to collective consciousness, the rise of institutionalized religions, facts and fictions of political empowerment, and the correspondence of Black lives and living to indices of city wellness (services, schools, safety, general civic feeling). This is a history class that situates itself within a robust interdisciplinary conversation. Students can expect to engage works of autobiography and poetry, sociology, documentary photography, and political science as well as more straightforward historical analysis. By the end of the class, students should have grounding in Black Chicago's history and an appreciation of how this history outlines and anticipates Black life and racial politics in the modern United States.

HIST 28703  Baseball and American Culture, 1840–Present  (M. Briones)  This course examines the rise and fall of baseball as America's national pastime. We will trace the relationship between baseball and American society from the development of the game in the mid-nineteenth century to its enormous popularity in the first half of the twentieth century to its more recent problems and declining status in our culture. The focus will be on baseball as a professional sport, with more attention devoted to the early history of the game rather than to the recent era. Emphasis will be on using baseball as a historical lens through which we will analyze the development of American society and culture rather than on the celebration of individuals or teams. Crucial elements of racialization, ethnicity, class, gender, nationalism, and masculinity will be in play as we consider the Negro Leagues, women's leagues, the Latinization and globalization of the game, and more.

HIST 29422  Ancient Stones in Modern Hands  (A. Goff and S. Estrin)  Objects from classical antiquity that have survived into the modern era have enticed, inspired, and haunted those who encountered or possessed them. Collectors, in turn, have charged ancient objects with emotional, spiritual, and temporal power, enrolling them in all aspects of their lives, from questions of politics and religion to those of race and sexuality. This course explores intimate histories of private ownership of antiquities as they appear within literature, visual art, theater, aesthetics, and collecting practices. Focusing on the sensorial, material, and affective dimensions of collecting, we will survey histories of modern classicism that span from the eighteenth century to the present, from the Mediterranean to the Pacific. Historical sources will include the writings of Johann Gottfried Herder, Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Emma Hamilton, Vernon Lee, and Sigmund Freud, among others; secondary source scholarship will draw from the fields of gender studies, the history of race, art history, and the history of emotions. We will supplement our readings with occasional museum visits and film screenings. Assignments: Active participation in class, one secondary text analysis, one analysis of a controversy, and one proposal for a monument, museum, or school curriculum. Special Prerequisite: instructor consent required. Email both instructors describing your interest in the course, how it fits into your broader studies, and any relevant background (agoff@uchicago.edu & sestrin@uchicago.edu). This is a traveling seminar that includes a 4-day trip to visit California museum collections.