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 16603 Rome: The Eternal City (M. Andrews) The city of Rome was central to European culture in terms both of its material reality and the models of political and sacred authority that it provided. Students in this course will receive an introduction to the archaeology and history of the city from the Iron Age to the early medieval period (ca. 850 BCE–850 CE) and an overview of the range of different intellectual and scientific approaches by which scholars have engaged with the city and its legacy. Students will encounter a broad range of sources, both textual and material, from each period that show how the city physically developed and transformed within shifting historical and cultural contexts. We will consider how various social and power dynamics contributed to the formation and use of Rome's urban space, including how neighborhoods and residential space developed beyond the city's more famous monumental areas. Our main theme will be how Rome in any period was, and still is, a product of both its present and past and how its human and material legacies were constantly shaping and reshaping the city's use and space in later periods.
HIST 17805 America in the Twentieth Century (J. Dailey) This is a thematic lecture course on the past 115 years of US history. The main focus of the lectures will be politics, broadly defined. The readings consist of novels and nonfiction writing, with a scattering of primary sources. Assignments: Three 1,500-word papers.
HIST 19201 Japan in the Age of the Samurai, 1500–1868 (S. Burns) The sword-wielding samurai is perhaps the best-known image of early modern Japan in popular culture, but while they were the political elite, they were the minority within a complex and rapidly evolving society, one in which commoners were the drivers of economic and social change. Through lectures and discussions, this course explores the society and culture of Japan's early modern period with a focus on the political structure, economic change, gender and the family, and popular and elite culture. No previous knowledge of Japanese history is required.
History in the World
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 18702 Race, Politics, and Sports in the United States (M. Briones) Kneeling or standing for the national anthem? Breaking the glass ceiling, coming out of the closet, or crossing the color line in sports? This course will take up the question of why sports are so central to American identity and what historic role sports and athletes have played in American political life. Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Jackie Robinson, and Bill Russell are only a few of the athletes who fought for freedom, inclusion, and equality in sports and American life. Through close critical readings of popular and scholarly writing, memoirs, and visual culture (film and television), we will examine the seminal overlapping events in sports history and American history to understand the collision and convergence of our politics and sports culture.
History majors take at least one history colloquium, though you are welcome to take more than one. If you are pursuing the Research Track, you may take a colloquium prior to Spring Quarter of your third year. If you are in the Regular Track, you may take a colloquium at any point prior to graduation.
HIST 29632 The CIA and American Democracy (B. Cumings) This colloquium will examine all aspects of American intelligence and its influence on history, politics, society, and academe since the inception of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Particular attention will be paid to how intelligence is gathered and interpreted, intelligence failures and why they happened, the close association between top Ivy League universities and origins of US intelligence, the penetration of the early Central Intelligence Agency by British individuals spying for the Soviets, the wide influence of the CIA in the 1950s and 1960s on major aspects of American life, the crisis of US intelligence in the late 1960s and through the 1970s, the revival of intelligence vigor in the 1980s, and the uses and misuses of intelligence in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assignments: Six or seven books during the course of the colloquium, a few films outside of class time, a paper of roughly fifteen pages in the seventh week of the term, and a final exam, which mixes essay questions with questions on the reading. Outstanding participation in colloquium will merit an increment in the final grade, which otherwise will be determined equally by the outside paper and final exam.
HIST 29656 Urban Histories: Experiencing, Using, and Representing the City (L. Auslander) This course will provide an analysis of the changing forms, meanings, and representations of urban life in Europe from the medieval period to the present. To that end, each session will pair secondary readings with a wide range of primary sources, including maps, municipal and legal records, newspapers, novels, prints, songs, paintings, films, planning treatises, tourist guides, memoirs, architectural drawings, photographs, and advertisements. We will address the histories of building, zoning, transportation, planning, ghettoization, segregation, and gentrification. We will consider cities as destinations for migrants, refugees, pilgrims, and tourists, as well as sites of political, social and cultural experimentation, unrest and upheaval. At the end of the term, you will have learned how cities have been shaped by their role as centers of economic, political, and cultural life, as well as how those who inhabit them have sometimes been able to use urban space to their own ends. This will be a small discussion-based course in which each student will write a fifteen-page research paper. Our work with primary sources will provide the tools you need to pursue your research project, while our close readings of both classic and experimental historiography will assure that your final paper contributes to an ongoing scholarly conversation. The material will be drawn from (imperial) Europe, but students interested in urbanism in all parts of the world are very welcome.
HIST 29801 BA Thesis Seminar I History students in the research track are required to take HIST 29801–29802. BA Thesis Seminar I provides a systematic introduction to historical methodology and approaches (e.g., political, intellectual, social, cultural, economic, gender, environmental history), as well as research techniques. It culminates in students' submission of a robust BA thesis proposal that will be critiqued in class. Guidance will also be provided for applications for research funding.
HIST 29803 Historiography (P. O’Donnell) The course provides a systematic introduction to historical methodology and approaches (e.g., political, intellectual, social, cultural, economic, gender, environmental history), as well as research techniques. Students will gain analytical, research, and writing tools that will assist them in their research colloquia and their BA theses.
JWSC 12002/HIST 17205 Jews and the City: Migration and Urbanization in the Modern Jewish Diaspora (A. Band) Why are Jews often referred to as "the people of the city," and how did this ethnic group become one of the most urbanized in the world? This course explores the multifaceted relationship between Jews and cities over the course of the long nineteenth century. Through critical reading of primary sources (in translation) and discussion of modern research, we will investigate the experiences of and connections between two formative processes—migration and urbanization—in the modern Jewish world. The course is transnational in focus, structured thematically around major global urban centers which absorbed Jewish migrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Particular focus will be paid to Jewish encounters with and experience in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Warsaw, Odessa, Kiev, London, New York, and Chicago. We will investigate how modern Jewish identities are produced both in and through urban space, and we will analyze how Jewish migration has in turn shaped urban and city life.
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 13003 (Section 5) History of European Civilization 3—The Enlightenment: Foundations and Interpretations (D. Lyons) The two-quarter sequence may 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. Descriptions of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment have ranged from a radical vanguard advancing the modern world’s "egalitarian and democratic core values and ideals" and "installing [human beings] as their own masters" to "a triumphant calamity" and an enterprise ending in nihilism. We will attempt to understand whether it makes sense to speak of the Enlightenment as a coherent program and, if so, how the ends of that program are best understood. We will first engage with works on politics, society, and religion by representative Enlightenment figures (Voltaire, Montesquieu, Hume, Diderot, Smith, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, and Kant) and then turn to seminal interpretations of the Enlightenment from the mid-twentieth century to the near present, using the earlier readings to test the conclusions of the latter.
HIST 13300 History of Western Civilization 3 (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 13700 America in World Civilization 3 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. What conditions have shaped inclusion and exclusion from the category "American" in the twentieth century? Who has claimed rights, citizenship, and protection, and under what conditions? The third quarter America in World Civilization focuses on multiple definitions of Americanism in a period characterized by empire, transnational formations, and America's role in the world. We explore the construction of social order in a multicultural society; culture in the shadow of war; the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender; the rise and fall of new social movements on the left and the right; the emergence of the carceral state and militarization of civil space; and the role of climate change and the apocalyptic in shaping imagined futures.
HIST 15300 Introduction to East Asian Civilization 3 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 16300/HIST 16103 Introduction to Latin American Civilization 3 (B. Fischer) 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 third quarter focuses on the twentieth century, with special emphasis on economic development and its political, social, and cultural consequences.
HIST 16900 Ancient Mediterranean World-3: Late Antique 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 final course of the sequence examines late antiquity, a period of paradox. The later Roman emperors established the most intensive, pervasive state structures of the ancient Mediterranean, yet yielded their northern and western territories to Goths, Huns, and Vandals—and ultimately their Middle Eastern core to the Arab Muslims. Imperial Christianity united the populations of the Roman Mediterranean in the service of the same god, but simultaneously divided them into competing sectarian factions. A novel culture of Christian asceticism coexisted with the consolidation of an aristocratic ruling class notable for its insatiable appetite for gold. The course will address these apparent contradictions while charting the profound transformations of the cultures, societies, economies, and political orders of the Mediterranean from the conversion of Constantine to the rise of Islam.
HIPS 18500/HIST 17510 Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: Modern Period (A. Johns) Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This course is organized around a series of broad questions about science. These questions are addressed by means of examples drawn from both the past and the present. The historical cases arise in chronological sequence, ranging from the development of experimental methods in the late seventeenth century to the advent of biotechnology in the modern era. They furnish a selective set of materials for a history of scientific practice. Their other purpose here, however, is to highlight the depth and importance of many problems still confronting the world of science today—problems that are cultural as well as scientific and that demand of us an understanding of what science is and how it works.
HIPS 18502/HIST 17512 Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: The Environment (F. Albritton Jonsson) Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This course charts the development of modern science and technology with special reference to the environment. Major themes include natural history and empire, political economy in the Enlightenment, the discovery of deep time and evolutionary theory, the dawn of the fossil fuel economy, Malthusian anxieties about overpopulation, the birth of ecology, the Cold War development of climate science, the postwar debates about the limits to growth, and the emergence of modern environmentalism. We will end with the new science of the Anthropocene.
NEHC 20020/HIST 29532 Encounters: Travelling and Meeting People before Modernity (H. Karateke) This course will explore the intersections of worldviews to understand how people of bygone societies imagined others, and how their perceptions may have been transformed as they encountered and developed a closer contact with people from other places. We will study primary sources on the contacts and interactions between individuals from different cultures, explore the meaning of culture, identity, and tradition, and consider how borders between people were formed and crossed. What does it mean to belong to a culture and what results from an encounter with a foreign culture? Why were some encounters peaceful and others violent? What are the present-day analogues in the age of mass migration to such historical encounters? By exploring these questions, the course aims to provide historical perspectives on cross-cultural human encounters, as well probe into deep questions of identity and belonging.
SALC 20200/HIST 10900 Introduction to the Civilizations of South Asia II (D. Chakrabarty) This sequence introduces core themes in the formation of culture and society in South Asia from the early modern period until the present. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. These courses must be taken in sequence. The second quarter analyzes the colonial period (i.e., reform movements, the rise of nationalism, communalism, caste, and other identity movements) up to the independence and partition of India.
HIST 20404 Troy and Its Legacy (M. Andrews) This course will explore the Trojan War through the archaeology, art, and mythology of the Greeks and Romans, as well as through the popular imaginings of it in later cultures. The first half will focus on the actual events of the "Trojan War" at the end of the second millennium BCE. We will study the site of Troy, the cities of the opposing Greeks, and the evidence for contact, cooperation, and conflict between the Greeks and Trojans. Students will be introduced to the history of archaeology and the development of archaeological fieldwork. The second half will trace how the narrative and mythology of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War were adapted and used by later civilizations, from classical Greece to twenty-first-century America, to justify their rises to political and cultural hegemony in the Mediterranean and the West, respectively.
HIST 22611 Paris from Les Misérables to the Liberation, c. 1830–1950 (Colin Jones, Professor of History, Queen Mary University of London) Starting with the grim and dysfunctional city described in Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, the course will examine the history of Paris over the period in which it became viewed as the city par excellence of urban modernity through to the testing times of Nazi occupation and then liberation (c. 1830–1950). As well as focussing on architecture and the built environment, we will examine the political, social, and especially cultural history of the city. A particular feature of the course will be representations of the city—literary (Victor Hugo, Baudelaire, Zola, etc.) and artistic (impressionism and postimpressionism, cubism, surrealism). We will also examine the city's own view of itself through the prism of successive world fairs (expositions universelles).
HIST 23006 Looting in Modern European History (A. Goff) At the end of the eighteenth century Europeans recognized the seizure of enemy property to be a time-honored practice of warfare and subjugation. At the same time, however, new ideas about human rights, cultural heritage, and international law began to reshape the place of looting in the exercise of power. This course will take up the history of looting in European cultural and political life from the late eighteenth through the twentieth centuries as a tool of nationalism, imperialism, totalitarianism, and scholarship. How was looting defined, who defined it, and what kinds of ethical and legal codes governed its use? How was the seizure of personal property, cultural artifacts, and sacred objects legitimized by its practitioners and experienced by its victims? In what ways did looting change the meaning of objects and why? How do we understand looting in relationship to other forms of violence and destruction in the modern period? While the focus of the course will be on Europe, we will necessarily be concerned with a global frame as we follow cases of looting in colonial contexts, through migration, exploration, and during war. Course materials will including primary texts, images, objects, and historical accounts. Students will be required to write a final historiographical essay.
HIST 24515 Society and Social Outcasts in Late Imperial and Modern China (C. Wang, Von Holst Prize Lecturer) This course considers the often neglected presence of "social outcasts" in Chinese history as a gateway to understanding ideas and practices of discrimination from the late Qing to modern-day China. It traces changes in the intersection of law, custom, and daily social practices, focusing on attempts aimed at legitimizing discrimination across class, territory, ethnicity, religion, gender and disability. Thus a theoretical objective of the course is to analyze legal and social dimensions of exclusion along the axis of empire and state building. Chronologically, this course begins with the collapse of status order in the late Qing and explores how the Republic and the PRC managed transgressive elements of society, from beggars, prostitutes, and the insane to ethnic and religious minorities. We will use legal documents, police records, and visual materials to explore how sociocultural processes shape the experience of discrimination and its resistance. Another focus of this course will be asking how disenfranchised groups might enhance our understanding of mainstream values. Through discussions, in-class presentations, and written assignments, students will develop skills to analyze historical evidence and critically reflect on its implication for cross-cultural issues.
GNSE 23124/HIST 29424 Prostitution in Global Perspective (Z. Sameen) Prostitution has been a site of multiple regulations—whether institutional, social, or spatial. This course aims to examine various regimes and expressions of prostitution, and their transformations, from the eighteenth to the twentieth century in global perspective. We will consider the categories of gender, sex, and race, together with the processes of colonization, nation building, and migration in order to uncover the norms and regulatory regimes that undergirded the historical life of prostitution. Readings will include area case studies alongside comparative and transnational histories ranging from East Asia to Latin America. We will discuss what kinds of evidence can be marshaled in service of writing these histories, and how historians of prostitution have approached archives limited by state-centric and official perspectives. Students in this course will develop the critical tools to interrogate the evolving practices of an everyday activity and assess the possibilities and limitations of producing a global history of prostitution.
HIST 25217 Decolonizing Science (J. Niermeier-Dohoney, Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences) What does science look like from the perspective of colonized, indigenous, or otherwise marginalized people? How has science been used to justify domination during the age of imperialism? Can science and technology ever be morally neutral? How universal is science? What ways of knowing have existed in the past that provided systematic explanations for natural phenomena? This course will ask these and other questions about the global practice of the sciences from prehistory to the present and, when possible, view the sciences from the perspective of non-Western people. We will examine both the contributions of non-Western cultures to modern science as well the use of the sciences by Western powers as tools of colonization. We will also examine the methodological, epistemological, and ontological assumptions made by modern science and attempt to tease out some of their more problematic aspects. Topics may include the development of Islamic, Chinese, and Indian sciences; pre-Columbian mathematics and botany; indigenous cosmologies and astronomy; practical knowledge (e.g., Papuan taxonomic systems, Polynesian navigational astronomy, and West African botanical medicine); the use of science as a tool of subjugation or resistance; the racialization of medicine; phrenology, eugenics, and social Darwinism; indigenous resistance to nuclear weapons, fossil fuel companies, agribusiness, and climate change.
SCTH 30926/HIST 25318 Wonder, Wonders, and Knowing (L. Daston, visiting professor of social thought; director, Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte) "In wonder is the beginning of philosophy," wrote Aristotle; Descartes also thought that those deficient in wonder were also deficient in knowledge. But the relationship between wonder and inquiry has always been an ambivalent one: too much wonder stupefies rather than stimulates investigation, according to Descartes; Aristotle explicitly excluded wonders as objects of inquiry from natural philosophy. Since the sixteenth century scientists and scholars have both cultivated and repudiated the passion of wonder. On the one hand, marvels (or even just anomalies) threaten to subvert the human and natural orders; on the other hand, the wonder they ignite fuels inquiry into their causes. Wonder is also a passion tinged with the numinous, and miracles have long stood for the inexplicable in religious contexts. This seminar will explore the long, vexed relationship between wonder, knowledge, and belief in the history of philosophy, science, and religion.
HIST 25613 Saints and Sinners in Late Antiquity (R. Payne) Between the third and seventh centuries, Christian communities came to flourish throughout the Middle East and neighboring regions in the Roman and Iranian empires as well as the kingdoms of the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Ethiopia. This course will examine the development of Christian institutions and ideologies in relation to the distinctive social structures, political cultures, economies, and environments of the Middle East, with a focus on the Fertile Crescent. The makers of Middle Eastern Christianities were both saints and sinners. Holy men and women, monks, and sometimes bishops withdrew from what they often called "the world" with the intention of reshaping society through prayer, asceticism, and writing; some also intervened directly in social, political, and economic relations. The work of these saints depended on the cooperation of aristocrats, merchants, and rulers who established enduring worldly institutions. To explore the dialectical relationship between saints and sinners, we will read lives of saints in various Middle Eastern languages in translation.
CLCV 25808/HIST 21004 Roman Law (C. Ando) The course investigates the development of Roman law over time and studies its implication in the politics and demography of the society it sought to regulate. We will pay particular attention to the relationship of Roman law to problems of empire.
HIST 26416 History of Iberian and Ibero-American Ideas (M. Tenorio) The course explores the intellectual history, the big ideas, that have concerned the Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking worlds from the early nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Each week we study an idea (such as nación, pueblo, saudade, mestizaje, chingada) as an axis of analysis of variegated tendencies.
HIST 26509 Law and Citizenship in Latin America (B. Fischer) This course will examine law and citizenship in Latin America from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. We will explore the development of Latin American legal systems in both theory and practice, examine the ways in which the operation of these systems has shaped the nature of citizenship in the region, discuss the relationship between legal and other inequalities, and analyze how legal documents and practices have been studied by scholars in order to gain insight into questions of culture, nationalism, violence, inequality, gender, and race.
HIST 27300 African American History since 1883 (T. Holt) A lecture course discussing selected topics in the African American experience (economic, political, social) from Reconstruction Era protections of African American civil rights through social and political movements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries seeking their restoration. Course evaluations via online quizzes and take-home essays.
HIST 27307 Schools and Space: A Chicago History (N. Kryczka, Teaching Fellow) This course fuses urban and educational history into a two-century case study of Chicago. When the Chicago Public Schools closed fifty schoolhouses in 2013, many stressed the links between public education, uneven neighborhood investment, and racial segregation. But this episode was part of a longer regional history of how metropolitan development, labor markets, and anxieties over migration affected educational policy. The course stresses the relationship between educational policy and the politics of urban development, gender, and race. Schools were sites of gendered work, for the women who operated them and for the children who navigated the moral and vocational paths laid for their futures; meanwhile, the rise of racial ghettoes had an enduring impacts on educational inequity and the shape of African American political life. Over the time span covered by the course, the United States became an indisputably "schooled" society, and Chicago was a leading indicator of national trends. Key historic episodes in American education—the rise of the modern high school, the birth of progressive education, the origins of teachers' unions, the Catholic encounter with race, the fragmentation of suburban school districts, the civil-rights critique of de facto school segregation, the pronounced "failure" of urban education, and the triumph of choice-and-accountability reforms, and the teacher-led resistance that followed—are especially well-illustrated by this course's focus on Chicago. Assignments: This course combines lecture with discussions of primary sources and secondary literature each week, beginning with the one-room, log-stable schoolhouses of the antebellum Illinois prairie and ending with the nation's first charter-school teacher strikes in 2018. In addition to composing a research paper on a chosen school or school policy, students will take a field trip to local schoolhouses, reading the city's urban history through its educational architecture.
HIST 27709 Soul and the Black Seventies (A. Green) This course considers in what ways soul as cultural genre and style shaped, and was shaped by, the political, social, structural, cultural, and ethical shifts and conditions associated with the 1970s. It will focus on popular music as both symbolic field and system of production, while also taking up other forms of expression—literary, intellectual, institutional, activist—in order to propose an alternate, and compelling, archive for this era. The course intends to deepen understanding of the feel and meaning of soul by relating it to consequential legacies of the 1970s: urban identity and crisis, emerging limitations of racial reformism, the deepening class stratification of Black life, and the radical disruption of social norms through feminism, in particular Black feminism.
HIST 27900 Asian Wars of the Twentieth Century (B. Cumings) This course examines the political, economic, social, cultural, racial, and military aspects of the major Asian wars of the twentieth century: the Pacific War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. At the beginning of the course we pay particular attention to just war doctrines and then use two to three books for each war (along with several films) to examine alternative approaches to understanding the origins of these wars, their conduct, and their consequences.
HIST 28103 The American Novel in History and the Historical Novel Republic (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) 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 29421 Politics of Commemoration (L. Auslander) Most of the time we pass in front of the statues, commemorative museums, monuments, and flags that inhabit our cities without noticing them. In recent years, however, they (along with pre-college history curricula) have become controversial across the globe. This course addresses those controversies primarily in Europe and the United States, but also in Latin America, West Africa, and South Africa. Through a series of case studies we will analyze the conditions of the creation of statues, monuments, and museums. Who conceptualized them and lobbied for their creation? Who paid for them? For whom were they originally intended? What message did they convey? What happened over time? How did their message change? Did they provoke controversy at the moment of their planning or inauguration or later and, if so, from whom? Equal attention will be paid to scholars' efforts to address the question of what these commemorative works actually do. If they really become unnoticeable, then why does the threat of their removal so often spark such intense controversy? Assignments: Active participation in class, one secondary text analysis, one analysis of a controversy, and one proposal for a monument, museum, or school curriculum.
HIST 29425 Ships, Trains, and Planes: A Global History of Vessels and Voyagers, 18th Century to the Present (C. Fawell, Von Holst Prize Lecturer) From La Amistad to the airplanes of September 11, vessels make history. And yet, we often take for granted the fact that they also contain history. Investigating the sociocultural pasts of vessels and the politics of mobility, this course poses two overarching questions. How have ships, trains, and airplanes shaped the behavior and outlooks of modern humans, and how has the experience of being in transit evolved over the past three centuries? Beginning with sailing ships of the eighteenth century and winding its way to the airplane via steamships and railways, the course explores how vehicles and transit have inspired and coerced humans into unique forms of subjectivity. Through case studies and primary sources from across world history, vessels in transit will be analyzed as engines of modernity and sites of emancipation, but also as tools of terror and laboratories of power.
HIPS 29634/HIST 25019 Tutorial: Evolving Up the Midway Plaisance: Interrogating "Progress" at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition (A. Clark) The aim of the course is to explore how deep the notion of "progress" burrowed into the foundation of Chicago's 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, which was also known as the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. On the surface, the fair was about progress, made explicit in the planning documents, opening speeches, lecture and exhibit titles, and inscriptions on visitors' postcards—the first postcards sent from the United States. It was, after all, a celebration of the four hundredth anniversary of the "discovery" of the Americas by Christopher Columbus. In this course, we will learn about explicit considerations of "progress," but we will also discuss allegories of it. Together we will practice close readings of primary and secondary texts, close looking of images and objects, and close listening of music and sounds from the fair. The course will encourage students to seek evidence in new places and discover new tools for analysis, including visual and aural analyses. It should also add a new appreciation for the historical significance of the physical space in which students live and study.
HIPS 29635/HIST 25020 Tutorial: Power and Medicine (C. Jordan & E. Webster) Modern medicine has been lauded as a marvel and a great leveler of the human condition. From sanitary regimes to the discovery of antibiotics to anesthesia and the development of successful surgery and lifestyle intervention, medicine has improved the lives of all humankind. However, improvement is not uniform, with some benefiting more from medicine than others. This disparity, which public health scientists and medical researchers have followed for decades, is borne of a complex set of societal factors, including class, race, genetic background, environment, and lifestyle. This class will explore the effects of uneven power systems on health and human medicine in modern history. We will explore how groups of people of different racial, socioeconomic, and historical backgrounds have experienced medical and sanitary regimes and how they have navigated disparities in access. Every week we will examine a particular theme in the history of medicine and explore its effects regionally and nationally in session 1 and globally in session 2.
HIST 29902 Tolkien: Medieval and Modern (R. Fulton Brown) J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular works of imaginative literature of the twentieth century. This course seeks to understand its appeal by situating Tolkien's creation within the context of Tolkien's own work as both artist and scholar and alongside its medieval sources and modern parallels. Themes to be addressed include the problem of genre and the uses of tradition; the nature of history and its relationship to place; the activity of creation and its relationship to language, beauty, evil, and power; the role of monsters in imagination and criticism; the twinned challenges of death and immortality, fate and free will; and the interaction between the world of "faerie" and religious belief.
Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduates by Consent
SCTH 40123/HIST 49406 History and Time (J. Issac) This course explores the relationship between historical writing and conceptions of time. It focusses on the work of three twentieth-century theorists of history: Paul Ricoeur, Reinhart Koselleck, and J. G. A. Pocock. These figures drew on the philosophical traditions of idealism, historicism, and phenomenology, but they also studied the history of historiography and political thought. We will examine their shared intellectual roots and then turn to a close reading of a major text by each writer: Ricoeur's Time and Narrative, Koselleck's Critique and Crisis, and Pocock's The Machiavellian Moment.
HIST 42302 Colloquium: Medieval Studies (J. Lyon) Since its beginnings as an academic field, medieval studies has been resolutely interdisciplinary. Scholars who conduct research on the Middle Ages routinely combine methods and theories drawn from a variety of disciplines, including history, art history, languages and literatures, music, and theology—to name only a few. This course will introduce graduate students to both classic historiography and important recent work in medieval studies. We will read scholarship that employs foundational methods in the field, including paleography and manuscript studies, as well as work inspired by more recent theoretical approaches.
HIST 47503 Colloquium: Chicago in United States Urban History (K. Conzen) Chicago has long been one of America's most studied cities and has often been regarded as one of its most "representative" ones. This graduate colloquium aims to increase familiarity with Chicago's own history, to use Chicago as a case study in which to explore American urban development from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, as well as the historiography, methods, and sources that shape the field of US urban history. Readings and discussion each week will focus on a selected theme and moment in Chicago's development; written assignments will include three brief critical essays and a final paper in the form of a "mock proposal" for a well-conceptualized research project on a significant issue in Chicago's history.
HIST 48700 Colloquium: Social Movements in Chicago, 1950–2010 (A. Green) This graduate colloquium considers the constellation of social movements that emerged in Chicago in the late 1960s, using old and new approaches to contentious politics. Chicago comprises an urban context that simultaneously encompasses a robust labor tradition, coherent expressions of situated or identity-oriented advocacy, a sustained radical intellectual tradition, localized community-oriented philosophy of organizing, and one of the fullest concentrations of municipal authority, as a party machine regime and also a law enforcement apparatus. Taken together, these conditions and others mark Chicago as among the most revealing crucibles for movement building in the United States over the past half century. The course seeks to survey emerging scholarship on the constitution, contradictions, and impact of movement building in Chicago, seen largely through four case studies—the Puerto Rican movement, radical feminism, LGBTQ liberation/rights, and African American struggles to achieve police accountability. Additionally, the course will survey classic and emerging models of social-movement theory, in order to offer models of analysis for a mode of politics, power, and social formation especially consequential to recent history and poised, it seems, to continue to exert significant influence. Finally, the course will introduce students to new archives, new source bases, and community-based principles and authorities, in order to suggest innovative and relevant research projects.
HIST 49502 Colloquium: Colonialism, Globalization, and Postcolonialism (R. Austen) This course deals with European overseas expansion from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries, the emergence from this process of new colonial territories inhabited by non-Europeans, and the fate of these territories as "postcolonies" in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century global order. The analytic goal is to integrate politics (the formation of colonial regimes and successor nation-states); economics (the dialectics of global capitalism, European overseas expansion, and varieties of development and underdevelopment), and culture (the construction of European and Third World identities via colonialism). The lectures and assigned readings will privilege "northern" Europe (as opposed to Iberia) but will include France. We will focus upon tropical Africa, the British and French Caribbean, and South Asia, but students are welcome to challenge or extend this definition of the topic. I will normally lecture on Wednesdays, and we will normally discuss the readings on Fridays. Assignments: Two short (3–5 pp) critical papers on specialized readings and one longer final essay (10–12 pp) discussing an approved, self-selected topic. The analysis of these readings must take into account the relevant general material in the course. Students may select a take-home final exam based on the required readings as an alternative to the longer paper.
HIST 49700 Colloquium: The Informal—Economics, Politics, and Social Ties in the City (D. Jenkins) This course engages the paradox of the informal, the range of political practices, social ties, and economic modalities seemingly in but not of "formal" institutions, norms, and sectors. It begins with engaging the foundational debates on the informal, debates that challenge the neat separation between the formal and informal and which sharpen the conceptual differences between the informal, the illicit, and the underground. Readings consist of some theory, a handful of primary sources, and mostly secondary readings on cities that cut across different political economic contexts and chronological and geographical boundaries. Themes include urban space, race, gender, borders, policing and regulation. Along the way we will consider the problem of the archive (its silences and elisions) as well as the normative judgments that frame historical interpretations of the informal.