US History

HIST 13500  America in World Civilization I  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. America in World Civilization I examines foundational texts and moments in American culture, society, and politics, from early European incursions into the New World through the early republic of the United States, roughly 1500-1800. We will examine encounters between Native Americans and representatives of imperial powers (Spain, France, and England) as well as the rise of African slavery in North America before 1700. We will consider the development of Anglo-American society and government in the eighteenth century, focusing especially on the causes and consequences of the American Revolution.

HIST 18600  US Labor History  (A. Stanley)  This course explores the history of labor and laboring people in the United States. It will consider the significance of work from the vantage points of law, culture, and political economy. Key topics will include working-class life, industrialization and corporate capitalism, slavery and emancipation, the role of the state and trade unions, race and sex difference in the workplace.  The course is intended for freshmen through seniors, as well as majors in history and in other disciplines.

HIST 18806  Introduction to Black Chicago, 1893–2010  (A. Green)  This course surveys the history of African Americans in Chicago, from before the twentieth century to the near present. In referring to that history, we treat a variety of themes, including migration and its impact, the origins and effects of class stratification, the relation of culture and cultural endeavor to collective consciousness, the rise of institutionalized religions, facts and fictions of political empowerment, and the correspondence of Black lives and living to indices of city wellness (services, schools, safety, general civic feeling). This is a history class that situates itself within a robust interdisciplinary conversation. Students can expect to engage works of autobiography and poetry, sociology, documentary photography, and political science as well as more straightforward historical analysis. By the end of the class, students should have grounding in Black Chicago's history and an appreciation of how this history outlines and anticipates Black life and racial politics in the modern United States.

HIST 27006  Not Just the Facts: Telling About the American South  (J. Dailey)  This course engages the various ways people have tried to make sense of the American South, past and present. Main themes of the course include the difference between historical scholarship and writing history in fictional form; the role of the author in each, and consideration of the interstitial space of autobiography; the question of authorial authenticity; and the tension between contemporary demands for truthfulness and the rejection of "facts" and "truth." We will read across several genres, including historical scholarship, biography, and fiction.

HIST 28000  US Latinos: Origins and Histories  (R. Gutiérrez)  An examination of the diverse social, economic, political, and cultural histories of those who are now commonly identified as Latinos in the United States. Particular emphasis will be placed on the formative historical experiences of Mexican Americans and mainland Puerto Ricans, although some consideration will also be given to the histories of other Latino groups, i.e., Cubans, Central Americans, and Dominicans. Topics include cultural and geographic origins and ties; imperialism and colonization; the economics of migration and employment; legal status; work, women, and the family; racism and other forms of discrimination; the politics of national identity; language and popular culture; and the place of Latinos in US society.

HIST 28004  The Carceral State in Modern America  (N. Maor, Teaching Fellow)  In this course, we will examine the origins of mass incarceration in the United States: a country that only accounts for five percent of the world's population but nearly a quarter of its prison population. We will trace the ideologies and state apparatuses that have shaped the American carceral state from the post–Civil War era to the twenty-first century. Central themes will include the criminalization of racialized and marginalized communities; the rise of new policing regimes, along with new methods of surveillance and confinement; and the connection between welfare programs and penal policies. Over the course of this quarter, we will also discuss the emergence of social movements that have advocated for the rights of incarcerated people, as well as the eradication of prison labor and the abolition of prisons altogether.

HIST 29007  Capitalism and Revolution in the Atlantic World  (O. Cussen, Teaching Fellow)  What was the relationship between the "Age of Revolutions" and the rise of capitalism? This course places the social and political upheavals in France, Haiti, and the Americas between 1776 and 1821 in the context of broader developments in the long eighteenth century, including innovations in finance (debt, credit, banks, corporations), the expansion of overseas commerce and colonial slavery, and the emergence of Enlightenment political economy. Above all, we will consider the extent to which the institutional and intellectual structures of the world economy determined both the causes and the outcomes of the revolutions. Readings will cover long-standing debates in the scholarship concerning social class and revolution; the imperial origins of national consciousness; humanitarian reform and the abolition of slavery; colonialism and industry; and the legacy of eighteenth-century revolutions in the twenty-first century.

HIST 29681  Radical America  (J. Dailey)  This undergraduate research colloquium explores various sorts of radicalisms (religious, political, sexual, environmental) from the eighteenth century to the present. Students will write a fifteen-page work of original historical research.

HIST 47201  Colloquium: US Legal History  (A. Stanley)  This course focuses on the connections between law and society in modern America. It explores how legal doctrines and constitutional rules have defined individual rights and social relations in both the public and private spheres. It also examines political struggles that have transformed American law. Topics to be addressed include the meaning of rights; the regulation of property, work, race, and sexual relations; civil disobedience; and legal theory as cultural history. Readings include legal cases, judicial rulings, short stories, and legal and historical scholarship.