30000- and 40000-Level Courses
NEHC 30203/HIST 35623 Islamicate Civilization III, 1750–Present 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 30840/HIST 35901 Radical Islamic Pieties, 1200–1600 (C. Fleischer) This course examines responses to the Mongol destruction of the Abbasid caliphate in 1258 and the background to formation of regional Muslim empires. Topics include the opening of confessional boundaries; Ibn Arabi, Ibn Taymiyya, and Ibn Khaldun; the development of alternative spiritualities, mysticism, and messianism in the fifteenth century; and transconfessionalism, antinomianism, and the articulation of sacral sovereignties in the sixteenth century. All work in English; some knowledge of primary languages (i.e., Arabic, French, German, Greek, Latin, Persian, Spanish, Turkish) helpful.
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.
CLAS 31222/HIST 30602 Democratic Failure in Greece and Rome (C. Ando) The course will study processes of democratic erosion and collapse in classical Athens and republican Rome.
HIST 33006 Looting, Plunder, and the Making of Modern Europe (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.
HIST 33502 Germany and the Habsburg Empire, 1870–1914/1918 (J. Boyer) The purpose of this course is to provide an introduction to major themes in the political, social, and international history of Germany and of the Hapsburg Empire from 1870 until 1914/1918. The course considers both the history of Prussia and of kleindeutsch Germany and 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 Habsburg experience and, at the same time, to understand the ways in which late Imperial German and Austrian history manifest distinctive patterns, based on different state and social traditions. The course involves a very significant program of reading, including many primary sources. Hence, students who opt to take the course should be prepared to devote a substantial amount of time to careful and thoughtful reading of the materials assigned. We will be considering many newer historiographical interventions and trends, but also many venerable older views and positions as well. Reading knowledge of German strongly recommended.
HIST 34513 Documentary Chinese (G. Alitto) This course guides students through critical readings of primary historical documents from approximately 1800 through 1950. These documents are translated sentence by sentence, and then historiographically analyzed. Most of these documents are from the nineteenth century. Genres include public imperial edicts, secret imperial edicts, secret memorials to the throne from officials, official reports to superiors and from superiors, funereal essays, depositions ("confessions"), local gazetteers (fangzhi), newspapers, and periodicals. To provide an introduction to these genres, the first six weeks of the course will use the Fairbank and Kuhn textbook, The Rebellion of Chung Jen-chieh (Harvard-Yanjing Institute). The textbook provides ten different genres of document with vocabulary glosses and grammatical explanations; all documents relate to an 1841–42 rebellion in Hubei province. Each week prior to class students electronically submit a written translation of the document or documents to be read; a day after the class they electronically submit a corrected translation of the document or documents read. A fifteen-page term paper based on original sources in documentary Chinese is also required. A reading knowledge of modern (Baihua) Chinese and some familiarity with classical Chinese (Wenyan) or Japanese Kanbun. Other students may take the course with permission from the instructor.
LACS 34800/HIST 36103 Introduction to Latin American Civilization 3 (D. Borges) 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 34908 Being Human: Histories of Paleoanthropology, Origins, and Deep Time (E. Kern) What does it mean to be "human," and how have different sciences been used at different points in time to answer that question? While the scientific discipline of paleoanthropology—the study of human evolution and the deep human past—only emerged at the start of the twentieth century, it grew out of both nineteeth-century investigations into mysterious stone tools and the fossils of strange prehistoric creatures and much older traditions about origins, creation, and the nature of human difference drawn from history, religious faith, and the mythological tradition. This seminar will explore the connected histories of paleoanthropology, prehistory, and the geosciences from the late eighteenth to the early twenty-first century, and consider how these sciences have been shaped by ideas about history, human nature, gender and race, and the earth itself.
HIST 35308 Lab, Field, and Clinic: The History and Anthropology of Medicine and the Life Sciences (M. Rossi) In this course we will examine the ways in which different groups of people—in different times and places—have understood the nature of life and living things, bodies and bodily processes, and health and disease, among other notions. We will address these issues principally, though not exclusively, through the lens of the changing sets of methods and practices commonly recognizable as science and medicine. We will also pay close attention to the methods through which scholars in history and anthropology have written about these topics, and how current scientific and medical practice affect historical and anthropological studies of science and medicine.
HIST 36507 Brazil (D. Borges) This course will survey the history of Brazil, 1500–2023, with emphasis on the twentieth century. It will raise questions concerning slavery and forms of freedom, the consequences of rapid industrialization and urbanization, meanings of popular culture, and the implications of religious diversity and change.
HREL 38404/HIST 34108 Zen and Translation (J. Ketelaar, Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies, Divinity School) This course will be an examination of how Zen was initially interpreted, translated, and transmitted from the Sino-centric to the Anglophone world in the mid-twentieth century. In terms of their teachings and practices the Ch'an/Son/Zen (禅), Buddhist traditions in China, Korea, and Japan differed significantly in their respective cultural parameters even as they shared a Sino-centric body of textual materials. The translation of these shared materials into English occurred sporadically from as early as the late nineteenth century but was first systematically addressed in Kyoto from the 1960s. Ruth Fuller Sasaki created a Zen practice center and a translation atelier at the Ryosen-an (龍泉庵), a cloister within the Daitokuji (大徳寺) Zen Buddhist temple complex, and staffed it with both leading scholars of Buddhism in Japan and a new generation of Zen practitioners and writers from the West. The course focus will be the actual notes and draft translations of key Zen texts as worked on at the Ryosen-an and its team of Japan-based scholars and practitioners. Supplemental readings will contextualize these efforts more generally with the history of Zen in the West. Many of the original materials from these efforts are now held in the Special Collections of the Regenstein Library here at the University of Chicago.
HREL 39100/HIST 34113 "History of Religions" (J. Ketelaar, Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies, Divinity School) Edmund Buckley was one of the first recipients of the PhD from Chicago, with a dissertation titled Phallicism in Japan (University of Chicago Press, 1895). As a practitioner of the new "science of religions," Buckley carried out field work in Japan and collected hundreds of objects to supplement his historical and comparative research with copious examples of contemporary material culture. These talismans, ritual objects, amulets, maps and guides to Buddhist and Shinto pilgrimage sites, portable statues, shrines for traveling and the home, as well as numerous folk curios (such as phalli and kteis related to his research), were kept by the University of Chicago and, over the decades, were moved many times. They now, or much of them at any rate, reside within the Smart Museum of Art. They are uncatalogued, merely stored there, and are largely unknown. This course will be an examination of the discipline of religionswissenschaft as it was applied to Japan and the religious worlds therein. Buckley's work, and the remnants of his collection, will serve as a major resource. Moreover, close readings of the works of Anesaki Masaharu, Hori Ichiro, Joseph Kitagawa, Helen Hardacre, and others, will enhance our understanding of the history of this discipline as applied to the religious world of Japan.
HIST 39538 Global Jewish History since the 1960s (K. Moss) Jewish history around the globe since the mid-century watershed of the Holocaust of European Jewries; the establishment of a Jewish nation-state and a majority-Jewish Israeli society marked by radically new forms of Jewish culture and profound divisions of identity, ideology, and inequity; the unmaking of Jewish life in the Middle East and North Africa; the unprecedentedly full integration of American Jews into the political, economic, and cultural life of a global power; the total assimilation but stigmatization of Soviet Jews, and the further entanglement of Jewish and Palestinian life after 1967. Examines Jewish political, cultural, religious, and intellectual life with a particular focus on the creation and then ongoing crisis of secular Jewishness in Israel, the complexities of full integration in a dynamic but deeply fissured United States, the evolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and the deepening of Israeli domination over Palestinian life, feminism and the transformation of Jewish communal life, resurgent traditionalist religiosity, and rising disagreements over Zionism, identity, politics, and the Jewish future roiling Jewish communities.
HIST 44802 Development of Modern Chinese History Field in the West, 1950–2010 (G. Alitto) Reading and discussion of classics of historical literature in modern Chinese history from 1950 through the present. Emphasis on how historiographical changes during this period are manifest in each work. Each week students read and discuss the assigned monograph and write a review essay emphasizing its relationship to its historical context. The final requirement is a term paper in which the student constructs an analytical history of the historical literature of the period.
HIST 56600 Colloquium: Modern Japan (S. Burns) This colloquium is intended for graduate students preparing for a field exam in Japanese history and others interested in reading recent scholarship on the social, political, and cultural history of modern Japan.
HIST 59201 Colloquium: Modern Jewish History—Essential Topics, Questions, and Texts (K. Moss) Intensive survey of recent (and some select classic) scholarship on modern Jewish political, cultural, intellectual, social, and economic history on a global scale, coupled with some essential primary sources.
HIST 59202 State and Capital in the Modern Middle East (A. Jakes) This course explores histories of capitalism in the Middle East from the eighteenth century to the present. Our survey of both older approaches to political economy in the region and newer works from this vibrant and growing field will focus in particular on an enduring tension between claims to social wealth organized by political institutions and forms of production and distribution mediated by market exchange. Topics will include the transformation of Ottoman imperial revenue regimes, the making of landed property, the rise of cash-crop agriculture, the volatilities of financial capital, the emergence of new social movement, the challenges of development and decolonization, the promise and perils of oil wealth, the varieties of neoliberalism, and the political economies of war and revolution. The course is designed both to introduce a diversity of scholarly approaches to the history of capitalism and to incubate projects for future research.
HIST 62100 Colloquium: Subaltern Studies, Issues and Historiography (D. Chakrabarty) The course will discuss problems of researching and writing histories of "subaltern classes" by focusing on some key ideas and texts produced by scholars related to the South Asian series Subaltern Studies (c. 1980–2000).
HIST 64612 Colloquium: Political Economy and the Enlightenment's Long Twentieth Century (P. Cheney & J. Isaac) Beginning in the 1970s, intellectual historians in the Euro-American world began to rediscover what had been a temporarily lost world of Enlightenment-era political economy. During the interval of comparative oblivion before this rediscovery, nineteenth-century classical political economy appeared to hold the keys to understanding the origins and evolution of advanced industrial societies; but the political and economic turbulence of the 1970s announced the end of that implicit consensus. We shall begin by examining, among others, members of the "Cambridge School" such as John Pocock and Istvan Hont, as well as non-Cantabridgian pioneers like Albert Hirschman, Jean-Claude Perrot, Reinhart Koselleck, and Hugh Trevor-Roper. In the first part of the course, our aim will be to reconstruct the late twentieth-century questions to which the political economy of a resolutely preindustrial eighteenth century seemed to be an answer. At issue will be increasingly contested understandings of sociability; the autonomy and rationality of market processes; the role of the state; globalization; and the anachronism of virtue in individualistic, liberal societies. We will then turn our attention to the debates and analytical refinements among the political economists of the long eighteenth century. These may include Charles Davenant, Bernard Mandeville, Charles de Montesquieu, William Petty, François Quesnay, Adam Smith, and Anne-Robert Jacques Turgot.
HIST 64613 Colloquium: Microhistory and Narrative (C. Jones) Microhistory has been a powerful influence on historical writing for some decades now. This course will explore and analyze what "going micro" can bring to the discipline and will seek to evaluate its weaknesses as well as its strengths. Starting with some of the classic originators of the field (Levi, Ginzburg, Zemon Davis, Darnton), we will trace its development through discussions of issues of scale (Revel), and up to recent efforts to conjoin the micro with the global (Trivellato, Ghobrial, Rothschild, etc.). We will pay close attention to the way that microhistorical writing has challenged traditional approaches to narrative and causality. We will do this partly by exploring its relationships with other, seemingly antithetical movements such as macro-, quantitative, and grand-narrative history and partly by considering intersections with the methodologies of literary studies. The course will cover both the early and late modern periods. Content will be largely but not exclusively European in focus, and students will be strongly encouraged to explore how a microhistorical approach could be used within their developing research projects.
HIST 67604 Public History Practicum II (M. Rossi) Open to students who enroll in HIST 67603 in winter quarter.
HIST 69200 Colloquium: Atlantic Slavery (M. Hicks) This colloquium will introduce graduate students to the major methodological and historiographical debates animating the study of slavery in the Atlantic world. Tracing an expansive period—from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries—we will explore the complex economic, political, ideological, social, and cultural contexts which made and were remade by early modern bondage. In addition, students will be asked to consider slavery as a global historical process, unconstrained by the boundaries of the modern nation-state, and involving most of Europe's major empires. Though assigned readings will principally focus on African slavery, the class will also engage histories of indigenous enslavement and other contemporaneous regimes of forced labor. Key discussions will include the role of African cultures in the Americas, Black-indigenous relations, bondspeople's manipulation of colonial institutions, the centrality of slavery to American economic development, the contentious politics of slavery during the Age of Revolutions, and enslaved people's theorizations of liberty and imperial subjecthood.