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.
HIST 30902 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.
SCTH 30929/HIST 45003 The Values of Attention (L. Daston) Attention confers value—aesthetic, moral, epistemic, and now monetary value—upon whatever it singles out from the stream of experience. This seminar explores the long history of the theories and practices of attention in philosophy, religion, science, psychology, and the arts. Guiding questions include what objects are deemed worthy of attention and why, extreme states of attention such as religious contemplation or scientific observation, the schooling of attention through practices such as reading and web-surfing, theories of how attention works, and pathologies of attention.
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 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 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.
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.
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 67603 Public History Practicum (L. Auslander) This practicum provides graduate students with an introduction to the field of public history as well as the opportunity to work with institutional clients to produce an exhibit, a podcast, or a website to their specifications. It is designed to be be valuable to graduate students planning to pursue academic careers, as well as those hoping to find a position in public history, journalism, or student services, among other fields. It will enhance your communication skills (writing, speaking, web design, and label and catalogue production) and give you first-hand experience with the challenges of working against hard deadlines with real clients. It will, therefore, give you the opportunity to develop expertise in forms of dissemination of historical knowledge beyond the journal article and the monograph. Key readings in public history will be interleafed with work on one of three (TBD) exhibition projects. I will ask you to list your site preference on the first day of class and to explain your choices, including the skills or knowledge that you would bring to the project. In groups of three to four, you will work closely with each institution at the same time as you brainstorm, report on, and present your work in progress to the class as a whole. The last two weeks of the course will be devoted to presentations of the exhibitions. The course is open to PhD students in the Social Sciences and Humanities Divisions and the Divinity School at any point in their residency as well as to MAPSS and MAPH students. Email Prof. Auslander by seventh week of winter quarter (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you are interested in taking the course.