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 12203 Italian Renaissance: Petrach, Machiavelli, and the Wars of Popes and Kings (A. Palmer) Florence, Rome, and the Italian city-states in the age of plagues and cathedrals, Petrarch and Machiavelli, Medici and Borgia (1250–1600), with a focus on literature, philosophy, primary sources, the revival of antiquity, and the papacy's entanglement with pan-European politics. We will examine humanism, patronage, politics, corruption, assassination, feuds, art, music, magic, censorship, education, science, heresy, and the roots of the Reformation. Writing assignments focus on higher level writing skills, with a creative writing component linked to our in-class role-played reenactment of a Renaissance papal election (LARP).
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 23706 The Soviet Union (E. Gilburd) This lecture course surveys the making and unmaking of the Soviet Union as a society, culture, economy, superpower, and empire from 1917 to 1991. The Soviet Union began as an unprecedented radical experiment in remaking society and economy, ethnic and gender relations, personal identities, even human nature, but in the course of its history, it came to resemble other (capitalist) societies, sharing, in turn, their violence, welfare provisions, and consumerism. The story of this transformation—from being unique and exhilarating to being much like everyone else, only poorer and more drab—will be at the center of our exploration. The main themes of the course include social and cultural revolutions; ideology and the role of Marxism; political violence from the birth of the socialist state to the end of the Stalin terror; origins, practices, aesthetics, legacies, and critiques of Stalinism; law, dissent, and human rights; nationality policies and the role of ethnic minorities; the economy of shortages and the material culture it created; institutions of daily life (communal apartments, courtyards, peasant markets, dachas, and boiler rooms); socialist realism and the Soviet dreamworld. Assignments: weekly readings, document-based papers, and a final exam.
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 18101 Democracy in America? (J. Sparrow) This course will explore the unlikely career of democracy in US history. Throughout its past, the United States has been defined by endless and unpredictable struggles to establish and extend self-government of one kind or another—even as those struggles have encountered great resistance and relied on the exclusion or subordination of some portion of society to underwrite expanding freedom and equality for those enjoying the fullest benefits of citizenship. American democracy has also relied on a conceptual separation between state and society that has necessarily broken down in practice, as political institutions produced and sustained economic forms like slavery or the corporation, social arrangements like the family, and cultural values such as freedom—even as private interests worked their reciprocal influence over public institutions. Over the course of the quarter we will explore this contested history of democracy in America through a close reading of classic texts, including Tocqueville's famous study, contextualized by the most current historical scholarship. Small, incremental writing assignments and individual presentations will culminate in a final essay that can emphasize philosophical/theoretical or historical/empirical questions according to students’ interests. Students will also have the option of conducting their own original research to satisfy some portion of the coursework, which may lead to subsequent internship opportunities with relevant faculty.
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.
HIST 18901 Inequality, Politics, and Government in US History (G. Winant) This class explores the relationship between social inequality and political democracy in US history. How have American political institutions dealt with and reflected the contradictions of "all men are created equal"? What is the meaning of political citizenship in a socially stratified society? How have social movements and conflicts shaped the institutions of state and the meaning of citizenship? The class touches on slavery and freedom; land and colonialism; racial discrimination; labor relations; gender and sexuality; social welfare policy; taxation and regulation; urban development; immigration; policing and incarceration. Assignments: one primary document analysis (2–3 pages), one secondary reading paper (3–5 pages), and a final paper analyzing a particular political movement, conflict, or policy (10–12 pages).
History majors take at least one history colloquium, though you are welcome to take more than one. Students interested in pursuing the research or BA-thesis track should take a colloquium prior to Spring Quarter of their third year; those pursuing other tracks can 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 29680 The American Apocalypse (K Belew) This research colloquium explores the way people have imagined the end of the world in recent US history. Exploring specific apocalyptic visions such as evangelical ideas about the end of days, fears of a Y2K computer glitch, survivalist prediction of mass infrastructure breakdown, and predictions about climate change, we will consider what such imaginaries mean for American life, history, identity, and politics. We will focus on fictional texts, including The Handmaid's Tale, The Turner Diaries, Left Behind, Parable of the Sower, On Such a Full Sea. Students will complete a 12–15-page original research paper, engaging an apocalypse of their choice.
HIST 29682 History of the Museum (A. Goff) What do people do in museums and why does it matter? This junior colloquium addresses this question and the istory of history museums from the emergence of the public museum in eighteenth-century Europe through its many iterations around the world to the present day. Throughout our attention will be on the historical relationship between museums and their publics. What role have public museums played in shaping communities of nation, gender, race, faith, and class? We will also take up how different communities have themselves shaped the role of museums in public life, defining their missions, determining their contents, and calling their purpose into question. Common readings, visits to local institutions, and close observation of objects and images will prepare students to write a final paper drawing on original primary source research on a museum-related topic of their choosing.
HIST 19701 Oral History: Theory and Methods (N. Kryczka, Teaching Fellow) This course explores oral history's theoretical issues and engages students directly in the collection of oral histories in an original project of their own design. Students in disciplines that rely on oral interviews, such as anthropology, gender studies, history, public policy, and sociology, will find the course useful. It involves both technical training (in interviewing techniques, recording technology, and archiving methods) and is an encounter with a set of epistemological challenges: How is an archive produced? Who decides what gets in and what is left out? What is the relationship between individual recollection and collective historical memory? Between historic preservation and academic history? What special opportunities and limits do oral histories have as historical evidence? By doing the work of collecting, preserving, and interpreting oral histories, students will develop a sophisticated self-awareness and a disciplined methodology to wrestle with these questions. The course begins with an exploration of conceptual foundations, with classic essays and recent interventions from practitioners and theoreticians of oral history. With principles and best practices of the Oral History Association as a guideline, the course then proceeds to a practicum, with the class grouped into smaller project groups. Informed by student interest, instructor guidance, and local feasibility, each group will research a historical event or community that can sustain a sample of two informants per student. See class notes for practicum details. Students will conduct background research, draft legal releases, conduct and record oral history interviews, develop an archiving plan, and submit a final presentation that reflects their engagement with the methodological, interpretive, and ethical questions raised by course readings and discussion.
HIST 29801 BA Thesis Seminar I (C. Kindell & C. Rydell) 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.
HIST 10103 Introduction to African Civilization III (K. Takabvirwa) This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. Part three 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 centuries. It begins with an examination of colonialism, the institutionalization of racism, and dispossession, before examining anti-colonialism and the postcolonial period. The class draws on scholarship on and by African writers: from poets to novelists, ethnographers, playwrights, historians, politicians, political theorists, and social critics. Over the course of the quarter, students will learn about forms of person-hood, subjectivity, gender, sexuality, kinship practices, governance, migration, and the politics of difference.
NEHC 10750/HIST 15900 History of the Jews in the Middle East, 1908–2008 (O. Bashkin) The class explores the history of Middle Eastern Jews during the years 1908–2008. We will investigate the ways in which modern education, infrastructure, and forms of political governance birthed new kinds of Middle Eastern Jews, with the opening of new Western schools, the establishment of democratic institutions like provincial representative assemblies, parliaments, and municipal councils (in which Jews took part), and the constructions of roads which enhanced new Jewish networks. We begin by investigating Jews as Ottoman subjects whose universe was shaped by a series of Ottoman state reforms aimed at modernization and centralization and who attempted to achieve equality before the law. We will discuss the history of Jews in modern Arab states, Turkey, Mandatory Palestine, and Iran, as well as their perceptions of Arab, Turkish, and Iranian nationalism and patriotism. Finally, we will examine Jewish displacement and the painful immigration and integration of Middle Eastern Jews into Israel society. The class will focus on identity formation, examining modern Sephardi, Mizrahi, Arab-Jewish, Zionist, and anti-Zionist formations and will likewise examine issues of intersectionality between modern Jewish Middle Eastern identities and the categories of gender and class.
HIST 13002 History of European Civilization II 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. 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 1) History of European Civilization III: Women, Piety, and Heresy in Premodern Europe (A. Locking) 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. Secular and religious women were major players in the history of European Christianity. They have been seen as saints, patrons, mystics, heretics, witches, and harlots. In this course, we will explore women's interactions with religious leaders and institutions from the days of the early Christian church through the reformations of the early modern period. We will focus on how women influenced the development of Christian institutions and practices, and how male church leaders shaped contemporary attitudes of women and the place of women in society. Our primary sources will be writings by or about women and will focus on topics including medieval and early modern gender, the medieval body, magic and heresy, lordship, and mysticism.
HIST 13003 (Section 2) History of European Civilization III: Crossing the Channel, England and France (A. Locking) 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. There are few countries that have such a long and complex relationship as England and France. Both connected and separated by the English Channel, England and France have directly aided, invaded, and invariably shaped each other for well over a millennium. In this course, we will examine some of the most crucial moments of political alliance and division and cultural diffusion and differentiation which have helped create the popular image of the love-hate relationship between the English and French peoples. We will focus on major historical moments ranging from medieval conflicts such as the Hundred Years' War to the modern religious and political upheavals of the French Revolution and the world wars. We will discuss a variety of sources from French and English authors and filmmakers, focusing especially on how to use fictional works and different forms of media to study history. Throughout the course we will explore how the constant rivalry and alliance between the English and French peoples helped shape the political and cultural developments of Europe as a whole.
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 14100 Introduction to Russian Civilization III (S. Gehlbach) The third quarter of Russian Civilization is a new (2020) addition to the curriculum. When taken following Introduction to Russian Civilization I and II, Introduction to Russian Civilization III meets the general education requirement in Humanities, Civilization Studies, and the Arts. The course is thematic and will vary from year to year. In spring 2021 this course will explore the nature of state socialism, or "communism"—the political and economic system that governed much of the world's population during the twentieth century—and the transition from that system to alternative modes of governance. Course material will emphasize the experience of the (former) Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, where communism as a system has disappeared most completely, but many of the lessons of transition apply also to China, Vietnam, North Korea, and Cuba. A nontrivial portion of the course covers the nature of communism, as both the tasks and obstacles of transition are determined in part by the character of the previous system. However, the bulk of the material addresses postcommunist policies, institutions, and outcomes.
HIST 15300 Introduction to East Asian Civilization 3 (J. Jeon, Teaching Fellow) 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 (R. Payne) 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. Part III 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, Vandals, and, ultimately, their Middle Eastern core to the Arab Muslims. Imperial Christianity united the populations of the Roman Mediterranean in the service of one 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 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.
HIST 20110 Trans-Saharan Africa (R. Austen) Should Mediterranean and sub-Saharan Africa be treated as one or two historical units? What was the global and regional significance of medieval and early modern trans-Saharan caravan trade? How are we to understand the vast empires that sprang up in the West and Central Sudan during this era? How and in what form did Islam and the broader culture that accompanied it spread across this entire region? What was the role of slavery in the economic and cultural development of both North and West–West Central Africa? To what extent did European colonial rule and its aftermath alter or encourage the social and cultural processes initiated by trans-Saharan contacts? We will consider these questions in this course, which will mix lectures on Tuesdays with discussion of readings on Thursday. Assignments: Two short 3–5-page critical papers on specialized readings and one longer final essay of 10–12 pages.
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.
NEHC 20203/HIST 15613 Islamicate Civilization III, 1750–Present (A. Shissler) This course focuses on Western military, economic, and ideological encroachment; the impact of such ideas as nationalism and liberalism; efforts at reform in the Islamic states; the emergence of the "modern" Middle East after World War I; the struggle for liberation from Western colonial and imperial control; the Middle Eastern states in the Cold War era; and local and regional conflicts.
SCTH 20672/HIST 25024 Back to the Land: Agrarian Communalism in Western Europe and the United States, 1880–1990 (D. Gutherz) As the nineteenth century drew to a close, many Europeans and Americans alarmed by the march of "industrial civilization" began to form clubs, communes, corporations, and political parties grounded in the belief that humanity could only be saved by a collective return to Nature. From the 1880s to the 1980s, this paradisiacal vision of the simple life attracted rebels from across the political spectrum. Despite the common association of "back-to-the-landers" with long-haired, sandal-wearing, vegetarian pot smokers, variants of agrarian communalism have been embraced by fascists, libertarians, socialist Zionists, and radical feminists. In this course, we will analyze the appeal and impact of the back-to-the-land ideology. The class will be structured around four linked studies, dealing with pastoralists in late Victorian England, Fascist ruralism, the hippy movement, and the white separatists of Ruby Ridge and the Aryan Cowboys.
HIST 20902 Empires and Peoples: Ethnicity in Late Antiquity (R. Payne) Late antiquity witnessed an unprecedented proliferation of peoples in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Vandals, Arabs, Goths, Huns, Franks, and Iranians, among numerous others, took shape as political communities within the Roman and Iranian empires or along their peripheries. Recent scholarship has undone the traditional image of these groups as previously undocumented communities of "barbarians" entering history. Ethnic communities emerge from the literature as political constructions dependent on the very malleability of identities, on specific acts of textual and artistic production, on particular religious traditions, and, not least, on the imperial or postimperial regimes sustaining their claims to sovereignty. The colloquium will debate the origin, nature, and roles of ethno-political identities and communities comparatively across West Asia, from the Western Mediterranean to the Eurasian steppes, on the basis of recent contributions. As a historiographical colloquium, the course will address the contemporary cultural and political concerns—especially nationalism—that have often shaped historical accounts of ethnogenesis in the period as well as bio-historical approaches—such as genetic history—that sometimes sit uneasily with the recent advances of historians.
HMRT 21003/HIST 29322 Human Rights: Between Philosophy and History (B. Laurence) We will explore the connections between the history and philosophy of human rights in this course. We will ask questions like, what is it to think about human rights as a historically constituted phenomenon? What if anything is new about human rights? When did human rights "begin"? How have human rights changed, and how can we periodize these changes? What would be it be for our philosophy of human rights to be historically sensitive? How can the philosopher locate her philosophy of human rights in the present moment? Should she? What is about political philosophy that tends to pull it away from history towards abstraction? How can we critique this tendency? We will read authors drawn from both history and philosophy, including but not limited to Sam Moyn, Mark Bradley, Lynne Hunt, James Griffin, Charles Beitz, Andrea Sangiovanni, and John Tasioulas.
HIST 21405 Inventing Race in the British Empire (Z. Leonard, Teaching Fellow) This course reveals how the British encounter with racial difference in the Caribbean, Australasia, and India could both validate and subvert the project of empire- building. We will begin by examining the ways in which ethnographical and anthropological societies in the metropole clashed over the question of racial differentiation in the nineteenth century. We will then determine how these "scientific" theories of race were deployed in colonial settings; did they inform relations between colonized and settler populations, or did the local states innovate novel race-based policies to undergird their rule? By investigating how an array of actors instrumentally invoked race to accomplish specific objectives, we will further deconstruct the narrative of a unitary, overarching "civilizing mission." A host of primary sources, including anthropological treatises, missionary accounts, public speeches, and fictional works, will aid us in this pursuit.
GNSE 23128/HIST 29506 Home and Empire: From Little House on the Prairie to Refugee Camps (G. Valdespino) What can living rooms tell us about empires? What did it mean to be a housewife in an imperial society? This course answers these and other questions by exploring the relationship between domesticity and imperialism over the past three hundred years. We will explore how Catholic Potawatomi women decorated their homes in the early eighteenth century, how black South African maids interacted with white employers during apartheid, and how young male refugees in contemporary France try to make homes in the land of their former colonial ruler. Through this work students will examine the racial, gendered, spatial, and political logic of imperial rule. This course is organized around three thematic phases: conquest and expansion, rule and resistance, and decolonization. After introducing theoretical approaches to the study of domesticity and imperialism, we will use case studies from across the globe to work through these thematic groups. We will discuss cases from North America, the Caribbean, Asia, Africa, Oceania, and Europe. By combining secondary literature with films, memoirs, domestic objects, and visual sources we will evaluate the intersections of imperialism and homelife. Students will ultimately conduct a final research project on a topic of their choosing to explore the course themes in depth. Students will work to challenge notions of home as an idyllic or ahistorical space and see the power and struggles that took place within walls.
HIST 23414 Central Europe, 1740 to 1918 (J. Boyer) The purpose of this course is to provide a general introduction to major themes in the political, social, and international history of Germany and of the Hapsburg Empire from 1740 until 1914. The course will be evenly balanced between consideration of the history of Prussia and later of kleindeutsch Germany, and of the history of the Austrian lands. A primary concern of the course will be to identify and to elaborate key comparative developmental features common both to the German and the Austrian experience, and, at the same time, to understand the ways in which German and Austrian history manifest distinctive patterns, based on different state and social traditions. This course is open to third- and fourth-year undergraduates and to first-year graduate students who have not yet had a general introduction to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Central European history. There is no language requirement, although students with a command of German will be encouraged to use it.
HIST 23510 The Arts of Language in the Middle Ages: The Trivium (R. Fulton Brown) Throughout the Middle Ages, formal education began with the study of language under three disciplines: (1) grammar, including the study of literature as well as the practical mastery of the mechanics of language (here, Latin); (2) logic or dialectic, whether narrowly defined as the art of constructing arguments or, more generally, as metaphysics, including the philosophy of mind; and (3) rhetoric, or the art of speaking well, whether to praise or to persuade. In this course, we will be following this medieval curriculum insofar as we are able through some of its primary texts, so as to come to a better appreciation of the way in which the study of these arts affected the development of medieval European intellectual and artistic culture.
HIST 23518 Colloquium: How to Be Good (R. Fulton Brown) Medieval Christians understood virtue as both a habit and a gift of grace. In this course, we will test this understanding by comparison with the definitions of virtue found in three complementary traditions: Greek, Jewish, and Confucian. Readings will be taken from the New Testament, Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, Plato, the Torah, the Talmud, and the Analects. Our purpose will be to discover how each of these systems of training the soul works, along with their similarities and differences.
CRES 24002/HIST 18302 Colonizations II This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This three-quarter sequence apprdoaches the concept of civilization from an emphasis on cross-cultural/societal connection and exchange. We explore the dynamics of conquest, slavery, colonialism, and their reciprocal relationships with concepts such as resistance, freedom, and independence, with an eye toward understanding their interlocking role in the making of the modern world.
CRES 24003/HIST 18303 Colonizations III This three-quarter sequence approaches the concept of civilization from an emphasis on cross-cultural and societal connection and exchange. We explore the dynamics of conquest, slavery, colonialism, and their reciprocal relationships with concepts such as resistance, freedom, and independence, with an eye toward understanding their interlocking role in the making of the modern world. The third quarter considers the processes and consequences of decolonization both in the newly independent nations and the former colonial powers.
HIST 24212 Family, State, and Community in China, 1750–Present (K. Pomeranz) Upper–level undergraduate course, combining lectures, discussions, and other formats (e.g., group projects) as appropriate. No previous background in Chinese history is required, but students who are complete novices in this area may find some additional reading helpful. Major themes include the breakdown of the Qing empire and the formation of a modern national state which had different expectations of its citizens than the Qing had had of their subjects; changes in kinship and family life; gender roles; notions of the individual; and changing bases of authority in local society.
HIST 24214 Cities in Modern China: History and Historiography (D. Knorr, Teaching Fellow) China's shift from a predominantly rural country to an urban majority is one of the greatest social and demographic transformations in world history. This course begins with the roots of this story in the early modern history of China's cities and traces it through a series of momentous upheavals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We will learn about how global ideas and practices contributed to efforts to make Chinese cities "modern," but also how urban experiences have been integral to the meaning of modernity itself. We will discuss urban space, administration, public health, commerce and industry, transportation, foreign relations, and material culture. In addition to tackling these important topics in urban history and tracing the general development of Chinese cities over time, another primary concern of our course will be the place of urban history in English-language scholarship on Chinese history more broadly. We will track this development from Max Weber's observations on Chinese cities through the rise of "China-centered" scholarship in the 1970s to the "global turn" of the 2000s. Students will develop the skills necessary for writing an effective historiography paper, i.e., doing background research, writing annotated bibliographies, and using citation-management software. Students will put these skills to work by writing a critical historiographical review of scholarship on a topic of their choice. (Note: Students taking this course as ARCH 24214 should explain the relationship between their final projects and architectural studies.)
HIST 24602 Objects of Japanese History (C. Foxwell & 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. 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 24700 Histories of Japanese Religion (J. Ketelaar) An examination of select texts, moments, and problems to explore aspects of religion, religiosity, and religious institutions of Japan's history.
SALC 25322/HIST 26811 Colonial Rule and the Uses of Reason: Enlightenment in India (T. Newbold) Throughout the nineteenth century Indians strove to transform the society they lived in and its norms "in conformity with the dictates of Reason." Yet Indian accounts of enlightenment were faced from inception with a number of original dilemmas not faced in Europe. European intellectuals committed to enlightenment had underscored the autonomous and public use of reason as the necessary ground through which the genuinely moral transformation of an imperfect society would be achieved. In Kant's celebrated words, public reasoning was the condition for "man's exit from self-imposed immaturity." In the colony, however, the critique of existing society as insufficiently reasonable came to be caught up in the justification of Britain's "liberal" colonial project, and the obligation to reason autonomously was embroiled in the case for empire. The Indian pursuit of enlightened reason was deeply aware of its uncomfortable proximity to empire, yet intellectuals of a variety of stripes still advanced the claims of enlightenment. This course seeks to understand what they meant, and what sort of category "enlightenment" came to be in the colony. Would the appeal to reason bring about a new moral world or a derivatively imitative landscape? Could the Enlightenment be so truly universal that the colonized could claim it without disowning their past? What relationship would the moral resources of India's past share with the task of social critique for a new generation of radical intellectuals? In order to address the promise and perils of colonial Enlightenment and to examine its most controversial debates, this course offers readings of a variety of primary and secondary sources. On the first day of the week, we look at arguments penned by a range of Indian and British thinkers. On the second day we examine how the rich historiography on India's nineteenth century may be placed in productive dialogue with the normative theory produced by Europe’s Enlightenment. The course's premise is that the history of nineteenth-century India complicates the history of the Enlightenment as a whole and can help draft a new and broader answer to that most recurring question: what is enlightenment?
SALC 25323/HIST 26812 Tolerance and Intolerance in South Asia (T. Reza) The problem of diversity, in the classic formulation of John Rawls, is "how is society even possible between those of different faiths?" According to Rawls the idea of toleration helps mitigate the conflict between democracy and different religious doctrines. Few places in the world are as embroiled in the problem of diversity as South Asia, where sectarian violence—fought mainly along religious lines, but also along caste, gender, and linguistic lines—is at the center of political maneuvering. South Asia offers important lessons in how people manage to live together despite histories of mutual strife and conflict about communities and castes. Focusing on the period of British colonial rule, this class explores different instances and ideologies of toleration and conflict. How were South Asian discourses of toleration by such leaders as Gandhi and Nehru different from their European counterparts, such as John Locke and John Rawls? How did their ideologies differ from those articulated by their peers such as Ambedkar, Azad, and Madani? In the first half of the course, we will analyze some constitutive precepts, namely secularism, syncretism, and toleration. Our attention here will be on the universal connotations of these ideas and their South Asian expression. Fifth week onward, we will turn our attention to select Indian thinkers (i.e., Gandhi, Ambedkar, Azad, Madani). Our focus here will be on the ways in which each intellectual negotiated the thorny issues of toleration, difference, ethnicity, and belonging. All the thinkers covered in this class had an active presence in nationalist-era politics. Finally, we will read historical accounts of some of the most frequent causes of intolerance, namely cow slaughter, music played before the mosque, and desecration of sacred objects. All reading materials will be available in English. No prior knowledge of South Asian history or South Asian languages is required.
ANTH 25422/HIST 28812 Struggle and Solidarity: The Politics of Chicago Labor in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (K. Bryce Lowry) In this course we will question how and why Chicago was important to the way we think about work. Employment, equity, wages, and security are national debates today, but Chicago has been at the forefront of this contentious conversation for the last two hundred years. In order to better understand the relationships among capitalism, labor politics, the workers' body, exploitation, and resistance we will analyze the Haymarket massacre, the Chicago stockyards, and African American Pullman porters. To be sure, laborers built this city with broad shoulders, but also with a commitment to struggle and solidarity that changed the social, political, and economic landscape of the United States and the world. This course will consider the following questions: What in the confluence of labor and capital sparked these events? How does union organization work on a pragmatic level as well in regards to ideological (re)formation? In what other ways can populations resist oppression? How do class, race, capital, and labor intersect in society over time and why do those relationships shift? What are the differences or similarities regarding labor issues between Chicago and other parts of the world?
HIST 26130 History of Spain, 1876–Present (M. Tenorio) The course is designed as a general introduction to the political, cultural, and social history of Spain from the Restauración to the 2000s. The course's fundamental aim is to sparkle students' curiosity to learn more and to think history—American, "Latin," European, African—with its indispensable ingredient revisited, namely, Spain.
HIST 26322 A History of Public Spaces in Mexico, 1520–2020 (C. Rocha, Von Holst Prize Lecturer) Streets and plazas have been sites in which much of Mexican history has been fought, forged, and even performed. This course examines the history of public spaces in Mexico since the Spanish Conquest. By gauging the degree to which these sites were truly open to the public, it addresses questions of social exclusion, resistance, and adaptability. The course traces more than the role and evolution of built sites. It also considers the individuals and groups that helped to define these places. This allows us to understand street vendors, prostitutes, students, rioters, and the "prole" as central historical actors. Through case studies and primary sources, we will examine palpable examples of how European colonization, various forms of state building, and more recent neoliberal reforms have transformed ordinary Mexicans and their public spaces.
ITAL 26500/HIST 22110 Renaissance Demonology (A. Maggi) In this course we analyze the complex concept of demonology in early modern European culture from a theological, historical, philosophical, and literary point of view. The term "demon" in the Renaissance encompasses a vast variety of meanings. Demons are hybrids. They are both the Christian devils, but also synonyms for classical deities and Neoplatonic spiritual beings. As far as Christian theology is concerned, we read selections from Augustine's and Thomas Aquinas's treatises, some complex exorcisms written in Italy, and a new recent translation of the infamous Malleus maleficarum, the most important treatise on witch hunting. We pay close attention to the historical evolution of the so-called witch craze in Europe through a selection of the best secondary literature on this subject, with special emphasis on Michel de Certeau's The Possession at Loudun. We also study how major Italian and Spanish women mystics, such as Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi and Teresa of Avila, approach the issue of demonic temptation and possession. As far as Renaissance Neoplatonic philosophy is concerned, we read selections from Marsilio Ficino's Platonic Theology and Girolamo Cardano's mesmerizing autobiography. We also investigate the connection between demonology and melancholy through a close reading of the initial section of Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy and Cervantes's short story, The Glass Graduate (El licenciado Vidriera). The course is taught in English.
CRES 27536/HIST 29009 The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Making of the Black Lusophone Atlantic, 1450–1888 (E. McCullugh) By the abolition of Brazilian slavery in 1888, an estimated 4.3 million men, women, and children had been imported from Africa to Brazil. Yet, the narratives of slavery and freedom in the North Anglophone and Francophone Atlantic often dominate the popular imagination. This course is aimed at increasing knowledge about how slavery and the transatlantic slave trade shaped the Atlantic world through an examination of the deeply intertwined histories of Brazil and West Africa. This course offers a critical "genealogy of the present" by investigating the historical roots of racial, gendered, and social inequality that persist in Brazil and Lusophone West Africa today. It will focus on the diverse social, cultural, and political linkages that were forged as a result of the transatlantic trade with particular attention to the Portuguese in West Africa; the development and growth of the slave trade to Brazil; the relationship between slavery and gender; the continuity and adaptation of African social and cultural practices; and resistance, rebellion, and freedom. We will end the course with a look at how different communities, individuals, and nations continue to grapple with the memory and legacy of slavery today.
RLST 27720/HIST 27311 Race and Religion in Chicago (J. Brown) This course takes Chicago as a case study for testing and refining historical and theoretical claims about race and religion in the United States from 1865 to the present. It will focus on the construction of and contestation over whiteness among Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and new religious movements; will trace the "spiritual afterlife of slavery" in Chicago’s churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship, as well as in the everyday lives of Chicago's religious citizens; and will also consider other religious-racial issues and projects in Chicago's Latinx, Indian American, and Indigenous religious communities. Each week's topic will begin with readings and discussion of the broader theoretical and historiographical issues, followed by closer examination of the same topics in the context of the religious life of Chicago.
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.
LLSO 28030/HIST 28305 Alcohol and American Society (R. Kaminksy) Contests about America's political economy and legal regime have been tied to alcohol policy and drinking culture since the Sons of Liberty made Boston's Green Dragon Tavern their unofficial "headquarters of the Revolution." Americans' drinking habits have remained a key battleground ever since. This class will explore major themes in the development of America's legal regime and its political, economic, social, and cultural life through the nation's relationship with intoxicating drink from the colonial era to the present. Topics will include rum's role in empire; the legacy of the common-law doctrines regulating public houses in civil-rights law; the role of colonial tavern culture in the Revolution; persistent conflicts over taxation; ethno-religious conflict surrounding the temperance movement; Prohibition and organized crime; the brewing industry's roles in finance, corporate consolidation, and labor struggles; the construction of homogenized consumer culture and the postmodern quest for "authenticity"; and laws that shaped the business of craft brewing. Through discussions drawing on primary sources and secondary sources in history, social sciences, and law, we will analyze how Americans defined the bounds of the political community, individual rights, and state power. Students will build on these experiences for their final research papers, which will use primary sources to explore these themes.
HIST 29313 Childhood and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (N. Maor, Teaching Fellow) How and when did we come to embrace the idea that children are innocent and defenseless? What are the implications of framing children's rights as human rights? In this course, we will explore key historical transformations in the legal, social, and cultural construction of childhood in modern Western societies. We will examine children's own experiences and how adults rendered them the subjects of study and state regulation. Topics of discussion will include work, leisure, education, sexuality, criminality, consumerism, and censorship. Throughout, we will discuss how ideas about race, gender, class, and age have shaped the way that the public and the state had defined childhood: who was entitled to a protected period of nurture, care, and play; who was allowed to be disobedient, or even lawless, and still avoid legal consequences. We will explore how and why some children have been and continue to be excluded from this idealized vision.
HIST 29429 Writing History (M. Tenorio) The course is designed to be an invitation to history reading and writing. It aims at introducing students to different history-writing traditions, with special, alas not exclusive, focus on the Iberian world. Do we need history? Why? How have different people written history? How and when did history became a profession and how did this take place in different countries? Why do nations and histories seem to be synonymous? These are the kinds of questions that will be addressed by the course.
HIPS 29637/HIST 25023 Tutorial: Evolution Beyond Darwin (E. Kitchen) One of the most identifiable images associated with evolution is the visage of Charles Darwin. Historical narratives of evolution center on Darwin's work, and scientific publications today still note whether or not Darwin pre-empted their ideas. This course aims to build a narrative of evolution that brings the story up to today, asking why so many see Darwin as a shorthand for evolution and what consequences that might have for the development and communication of the science. In addition, it will interrogate other "iconic" images and narratives in evolution, like the tree of life. We will ask where our ideas about evolution have come from, how they are perpetuated, and what consequence that might have for the discipline of evolutionary biology. The course has three aims: 1) to provide a historical understanding of evolution after Darwin; 2) to reflect on how evolution is communicated between scientists and to the broader public, and to ask how "icons," including Darwin himself, suggest implicit meanings counter to the work of the scientists; and 3) to more broadly examine what is a science—a process or a body of knowledge?
Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduates by Consent
HIST 42304 Patronage and the Production of Culture in Renaissance Italy and Her Neighbors (A. Palmer) The great works of literature, philosophy, art, architecture, music, and science which the word "Renaissance" invokes were products of a complex system of patronage and hierarchy in which local, personal, and international politics were as essential to innovation as ideas and movements. This course examines how historians of early modern Europe can strive to access, understand, and describe the web of hierarchy and inequality that bound the creative minds of Renaissance Europe to wealthy patrons, poor apprentices, distant princes, friends and rivals, women and servants, and the many other agents, almost invisible in written sources, who were vital to the production and transformation of culture.
HIST 45101 Agriculture: Ancient and Modern (F. Albritton Jonsson & P. Cheney) This course surveys the history of agriculture and agrarian societies from the dawn of the Neolithic to the age of genetic modification and anthropogenic warming. Topics to be discussed include the origins of agriculture, domestication, population dynamics, soil husbandry, foodways, land tenure, dietary transitions, industrial agriculture, the Green Revolution, and climate change. We will read texts by James Scott, Emmanuel le Roy Ladurie, Elinor Ostrom, Deborah Fitzgerald, and others.
HIST 47703 Colloquium: US Immigration History to 1965 (K. Conzen) America's current immigration debate lends new urgency to understanding the nation's earlier experiences of immigration—and immigrants’ experiences of the nation—between the colonial period and the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. This graduate-level, US social history colloquium will explore the changing origins, processes, experiences, policies, and politics of American immigration within a globally comparative perspective. Weekly readings and discussion will encourage critical engagement with the historiography and with the sources and methods that have shaped changing interpretations; written assignments will include three brief review essays and a final paper in the form of a "mock proposal" for a well-conceptualized research project on a significant issue within the history of American immigration.