US History

HIST 13200  History of Western Civilization II  (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 13600  America in World Civilization II  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. The nineteenth-century segment of America in World Civilizations asks: What happens when democracy confronts inequality? We focus on themes that include indigenous-US relations; religious revivalism and reform; slavery, the Civil War, and emancipation; the intersection between women's rights and antislavery; the development of industrial capitalism; urbanism and social inequality.

HIST 18202  Histories of Racial Capitalism  (D. Jenkins)  This seminar takes as its starting point the insistence that the movement, settlement, and hierarchical arrangements of indigenous communities and people of African descent is inseparable from regimes of capital accumulation. It builds on the concept of "racial capitalism," which rejects treatments of race as external to a purely economic project and counters the idea that racism is an externality, cultural overflow, or aberration from the so-called real workings of capitalism. This course will cover topics such as racial slavery, banking in the Caribbean, black capitalism in Miami, the underdevelopment of Africa, and the profitability of mass incarceration.

HIST 24007  Chernobyl: Bodies and Nature After Disaster  (P. O'Donnell)  When reactor number 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station exploded, it quickly made headlines around the world. Swedes found radiation in their air, Germans in their milk, Greeks in their grain, and Britons in their sheep. Ukrainians and Belarusians found it in their rain, wind, water sources, homes, and in their children's thyroids. Americans worried about finding it in their bodies, especially in pregnant or fetal bodies. A lot of roads led to the Chernobyl disaster: the Soviet state system, to be sure, but also the Cold War arms race, a faith in scientific progress shared in East and West, and a global disregard for the natural world and the human body. This course will follow those roads to the climax of the explosion and then examine the many paths out of Chernobyl: the disaster's aftereffects on geopolitics, environmentalism, feminism, and body politics. We will draw on a recent outpouring of scholarly and popular works on Chernobyl, including books, podcasts, and television series. We will also read texts on feminism, environmentalism, and other nuclear disasters, Cold War histories, and fiction to provide context and sites for further inquiry.

HIST 25014  Introduction to Environmental History  (F. Albritton Jonsson)  How have humans interacted with the environment over time? This course introduces students to the methods and topics of environmental history by way of classic and recent works in the field: Crosby, Cronon, Worster, Russell, and McNeill, etc. Major topics of investigation include preservationism, ecological imperialism, evolutionary history, forest conservation, organic and industrial agriculture, labor history, the commons and land reform, energy consumption, and climate change. Our scope covers the whole period from 1492 with case studies from European, American, and British imperial history.

HIST 25300  American Revolution, 1763–1789  (E. Cook Jr.)  This lecture and discussion course explores the background of the American Revolution and the problem of organizing a new nation. The first half of the course uses the theory of revolutionary stages to organize a framework for the events of the 1760s and 1770s, and the second half of the course examines the period of constitution making (1776–1789) for evidence on the ways in which the Revolution was truly revolutionary.

HIST 25709  Race and Ethnicity in the Modern Middle East  (K. Hickerson)  This seminar examines the ways that race and ethnicity are identified and discussed in Middle Eastern societies from the late-eighteenth century to the contemporary period. This class will analyze debates surrounding Middle Eastern racial and ethnic constructions in order to consider the extent to which these are the products of European colonialism—as some claim—or other legacies including Ottoman slave trade networks. This course addresses the ways these categories have shaped nationalist discourses, anticolonial struggles, US involvement in the Middle East, and contemporary questions of citizenship. Students will examine the role of diaspora encounters in Europe and the Americas in crafting these categories and ask whether new flows of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Philippines to the Middle East are reconfiguring old constructions or creating new ones. Sources will include literature, music, and film and methodologies are cultural, social, and political history. The class comprises case studies from Morocco, the Nile Valley, Turkey, Israel, and the Gulf States.

HIST 27200  African American History to 1883  (T. Holt)  A lecture course discussing selected topics in the African American experience (economic, political, social) from African origins through the Supreme Court decision invalidating Reconstruction Era protections of African American civil rights. Course evaluations via online quizzes and take-home essays.

HIST 27509  A New Order for the Ages? An Intellectual History of the Early American Republic  (A. Rowe, Teaching Fellow in the Social Sciences)  This course examines the conflicting political ideas that Americans built into the new republic and how the heirs to the revolution transformed the resulting ambiguities and contradictions into a new national creed, at once fragile and extraordinarily powerful. Americans in the early republic were almost pathologically deferential to the founders, and especially to the constitution. Yet, the rigid constitutionalism that held the nation together disguised an explosion of political innovation at the local level. A cultural federalism, more potent than its institutional counterpart, fragmented the legacy of the revolution without diminishing the reverence it inspired. We will explore the different concepts Americans used to define their political system: as the outgrowth of one or another colonial history, as the singular achievement of heroic ancestors, and as an ongoing experiment with universal significance for the cause of human freedom. We will see how these concepts evolved as Americans argued over them. We will conclude by examining how these intellectual currents culminated in the Civil War.

HIST 27705  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 28703  Baseball and American Culture, 1840–Present  (M. Briones)  This course examines the rise and fall of baseball as America's national pastime. We will trace the relationship between baseball and American society from the development of the game in the mid-nineteenth century to its enormous popularity in the first half of the twentieth century to its more recent problems and declining status in our culture. The focus will be on baseball as a professional sport, with more attention devoted to the early history of the game rather than to the recent era. Emphasis will be on using baseball as a historical lens through which we will analyze the development of American society and culture rather than on the celebration of individuals or teams. Crucial elements of racialization, ethnicity, class, gender, nationalism, and masculinity will be in play as we consider the Negro Leagues, women's leagues, the Latinization and globalization of the game, and more.

HIST 29652  Migration and Citizenship  (M. Briones)  Looking through a broad interdisciplinary lens, this colloquium examines the history of migration and citizenship. The focus is largely on the United States, but, given its topic, the course will necessitate transnational and comparative histories. How did nineteenth- and early twentieth-century "sojourners" become "citizens"? What constituted the public's perception of some immigrants as inassimilable aliens and others as an ostensible "model minority"? We will interrogate not only what it means to have been and to be an immigrant in America but also what it means to be a citizen in a multiracial democracy. As a history colloquium, the course's main purpose is to help students learn to write a long research paper based on primary sources. The class is not a survey course. We will be taking on specific episodes and themes in immigration history. Assignments: An original research paper (-20 pages) using primary and secondary sources.