HIST 30110 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.
NEHC 30203/HIST 35623 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.
NEHC 30240/HIST 35712 Women's Movements in the Modern Middle East (K. Peruccio) This course will expose you to the rich and diverse history of women's movements in the modern Middle East. We will begin with popular and legal changes in late nineteenth-century concepts of love and marriage; explore twentieth-century Middle Eastern women's involvement at major international women's congresses and the assimilation of feminism groups by the state in numerous nations; and conclude with twenty-first-century LGBTQ activism. We will assess the different varieties of feminism and women's movements, as these concepts are intersectional and not monolithic. You will study the role of religion and education, colonialism and anticolonialism, the press and popular culture. Alongside secondary sources, you will examine primary sources produced by these movements, such as pamphlets, posters, memoirs, and even YouTube videos. You will develop close reading skills, and over the quarter, you will research, write, and produce a podcast episode for a class series. Some prior knowledge of Middle Eastern history is helpful, but certainly not required. If you have reading skills in Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, Persian, or French, terrific! If not, have no fear, all materials will be available in translation. All are welcome.
HMRT 31003/HIST 39322 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 33414 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 33510 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 33518 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.
HIST 34602 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 34700 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.
LACS 34800/HIST 36103 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 35025 Environmental Histories of the Global South (E. Chatterjee) Drawing on cases from Africa, Latin America, and especially Asia, this course explores key themes in the modern environmental history of the world beyond the rich industrialized North. Our investigations will focus on the ecological impacts of colonialism, war, and development, and how environmental management has helped to construct modern states and capitalist practices in turn. Ranging from the malarial plantations of the Caribbean to the forests of southeast Asia, we will analyze not-so-natural disasters like floods and chemical spills as well as the slow violence of deforestation and droughts. Combining primary sources with classic scholarship, we will encounter pioneering green activists like the original "tree huggers" of the Himalayas and environmental advocates for brutal population control. The course will conclude by examining the emergence of a newly assertive Global South in international climate negotiations, and its implications for the environmental history of our planet at large. The course is open to all, but may be of particular interest to students who have taken "Introduction to Environmental History."
HIST 36130 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 36614 Making the Monsoon: The Ancient Indian Ocean (R. Payne) The course will explore the human adaptation to a climatic phenomenon and its transformative impacts on the littoral societies of the Indian Ocean, circa 1000 BCE–1000 CE. Monsoon means season, a time and space in which favorable winds made possible the efficient, rapid crossing of thousands of miles of ocean. Its discovery—at different times in different places—resulted in communication and commerce across vast distances at speeds more commonly associated with the industrial than the preindustrial era, as merchants, sailors, religious specialists, and scholars made monsoon crossings. The course will consider the participation of Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and East African actors in the making of monsoon worlds and their relations to the Indian Ocean societies they encountered; the course is based on literary and archaeological sources, with attention to recent comparative historiography on oceanic, climatic, and global histories.
HIST 37900 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.
REES 39023/HIST 33609 Returning the Gaze: The West and the Rest (A. Ilieva) This course provides insight into identity dynamics between the "West," as the center of economic power and self-proclaimed normative humanity, and the "Rest," as the poor, backward, volatile periphery. We investigate the relationship between South East European self-representations and the imagined Western gaze. Inherent in the act of looking at oneself through the eyes of another is assuming the other's standard. We will contemplate the responses to this existential position—self-consciousness, defiance, arrogance, self-exoticization—and consider how these responses have been incorporated in the texture of the national, gender, and social identities in the region. We will read works by Orhan Pamuk, Ivo Andrić, Nikos Kazantzakis, Aleko Konstantinov, Emir Kusturica, and Milcho Manchevski.
HIJD 40204/HIST 42204 A Protohistory of Race? Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in Spain and North Africa, 1200–1600 (D. Nirenberg) This course focuses on phenomena of mass conversion and the emergence of ideologies of lineage and purity of blood in the western Mediterranean, more specifically, the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghreb. The rivalry between Islam and Christianity (with Judaism a frequent go-between) in this region produced many distinctive cultural formations, among which were ideas about the limits of conversion that may be compared to modern concepts of race. The word "race" was itself first applied to humans in Iberia during this period to designate Christians descended from Muslims or Jews, and similar concepts emerged in Islamic North Africa. We will explore these ideas in the Christian Iberian kingdoms, with frequent excursions into Almoravid, Almohad, Marinid, and Nasrid Islamic polities. Our goal will be to produce a Mediterranean archaeology of some of the concepts with which Christian and Muslim colonizers encountered the New World and sub-Saharan Africa in the sixteenth century.
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 43400 France and Its Empire, 1830–2020 (L. Auslander) Opening with the French invasion of Algeria and closing with the contemporary debates around race, gender, secularism, and Islam, this course will provide both an overview of France's engagement in the world and its consequences and an in-depth knowledge of some key moments or events. Special attention will be given to the engagement of French feminists in the imperial project and the development of feminist movements in West and North Africa; the role of indigenous intermediaries; and the mobilization of culture in the interests of both imperial rule and anti-colonial nationalism. Materials will include primary printed and visual and material sources, such as films, as well as a textbook for background.
HCHR 43959/HIST 60612 Varieties of Dominican Mysticism: Albert the Great, Meister Eckhart, and Catherine of Siena (W. Otten) This colloquium will focus on three major Dominican mystical theologians—Albert the Great, Meister Eckhart, and Catherine of Siena—and, through a study of their thought, map out developments in late medieval mysticism and intellectual history. The focus will be on the mystical path towards union with God, with a sub-focus on the mediating role of nature and natural philosophy on the one hand and of the church and sacraments on the other.
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 59900 Colloquium: Histories of Inequality in Latin America (B. Fischer) This course is devoted to the issue of inequality in Latin America's history and historiography. We will consider the role that inequality has played in shaping Latin American societies; we will also explore the ways in which political and intellectual constructions of inequality have impacted the development of Latin American historiography. Throughout the course, we will pay particular attention to historical methodology: the ways in which historians formulate their questions, the interaction of theory and research, and the nature of historical research. Issues covered will include colonialism, slavery, citizenship, social movements, and the Latin American manifestations of global inequalities.
HIST 61901 Colloquium: Historical Texts of Hindu Nationalism (D. Chakrabarty & J. Pitts) This course will discuss and analyze some classic texts of Hindu nationalism, including those by Vivekananda, Savarkar, Golwalkar, and others.
HIST 62606 Colloquium: Debates and Problems in Labor and Social History (G. Winant) In this course, we trace the tortured path of historical scholarship on labor and social class over the last sixty years. We will both historicize our own discipline and also refine our own approaches to the questions raised in years of debate over theoretical issues such as working-class agency, class formation, and the nature of experience, language, and subjectivity. What is the relationship between the history of capitalism and the history of work and class? How should we understand the fraught intersections of work and class with each other, and with race, gender, colonization and decolonization, and state formation? This colloquium aims to prepare students who are interested for an exams field in the subject, although may it be taken by others as well.
HIST 65601 Extra-Ordinary Ordinary: Reading and Writing Grassroots and Microhistory (J. Ransmeier) This graduate colloquium confronts the challenges of writing history from the bottom up. Although the syllabus engages with debates launched by the Subaltern Studies Collective, our investigation will not adopt a specific regional or temporal focus. Students can experiment beyond their usual writing style or topic. We will engage with the theoretical legacies and challenges of postcolonial history writing, the linguistic turn, and microhistory. The course pays special attention to different ways to grapple with sources and the construction of diverse archives.
HIST 67604 Public History Practicum II (L. Auslander) Open to students who enroll in HIST 67603 in Winter 21.