US History

HIST 13600  America in World Civilization II  The American Civ sequence examines 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 17606  American Revolutions  (M. Kruer)  In 1750, "British America" was a diverse and fractious collection of colonies huddled along the eastern seaboard, on the margins of the churning waters of the Atlantic world. Forty years later, thirteen of those remote American settlements had become, through rebellion and war, into a revolutionary nation. The traumatic passage of this transformation established the world's first modern republic and set in motion an age of democratic revolutions that reverberated in Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, and western North America. This course explores this remarkable epoch in early American history. Topics include the first global military struggle (the Seven Years War); the transformation from scattered urban riots against taxes into a rebellion against the world's strongest imperial power; the everyday experience of occupation, insurgency, and civil war; Black and Native American struggles for independence; experiments in women's rights, radical democracy, and religious freedom; the fragility of the new union and the ragged road toward a federal nation-state; and the revolutionary idealism that inspired revolutions in France, Haiti, and the Americas, with consequences that shaped the early United States and all its diverse peoples. Grades will be based on three short papers and one final paper. This lecture course is open to non-History majors and does not presume any previous history coursework.

HIST 18804  America in the Nineteenth Century  (N. Maor, Teaching Fellow)  This lecture course will examine major conflicts that shaped American life during the nineteenth century. Focusing on contemporaries' attempts to seize upon or challenge the nation's commitment to the ideals of liberty and equality, we will examine pivotal moments of contestation, compromise, and community building. Central questions that will frame the course include how were notions of freedom negotiated and reshaped? What were the political and socioeconomic conditions that prompted the emergence of reform movements, including antislavery, women's rights, temperance, and labor? How did individuals mobilize and stake claims on the state? How were the boundaries of American citizenship debated and transformed over the course of the century?

HIST 25218  American Epidemics, Past and Present  (C. Kindell, Teaching Fellow)  This course explores how disease epidemics have shaped watershed periods in US history from the late eighteenth century to the present. Through readings, lectures, and in-class discussions, we will employ different categories of analysis (e.g., race, gender, class, and citizenship) to answer a range of historical questions focused on disease, health, and medicine. For instance, to what extent did smallpox alter the trajectory of the American Revolution? How did cholera and typhoid affect the lived experiences of slaves and soldiers during the Civil War? In what ways did the US government capitalize on fears over yellow fever and bubonic plague to justify continued interventions across the Caribbean and the Pacific? What do these episodes from the American past reveal about contemporary encounters with modern diseases like HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and COVID-19? Course readings will be drawn from book chapters and scholarly articles, as well as primary sources ranging from public-health reports, medical correspondence, and scientific journals to newspapers, political cartoons, maps, and personal diaries. Grades will be based on participation, weekly Canvas posts, peer review, and a series of written assignments (a proposal and an annotated bibliography, primary source analysis, book review, and rough draft) all of which will culminate in a ten-page final research paper.

HIST 27001  Law and Society in Early America, 1600–1800  (E. Cook)  This colloquium considers law, legal institutions, and legal culture within the lived experience of colonial and revolutionary America. It will emphasize the interaction of social development and legal development and will explore the breadth of everyday experience with legal institutions like the jury, with courts as institutions for resolving disputes, and with the prosecution of crime.

HIST 27307  Schools and Space: A Chicago History  (N. Kryczka, Teaching Fellow)  This course fuses urban and educational history into a two-century case study of Chicago. When the Chicago Public Schools closed fifty schoolhouses in 2013, many stressed the links between public education, uneven neighborhood investment, and racial segregation. But this episode was part of a longer regional history of how metropolitan development, labor markets, and anxieties over migration affected educational policy. The course stresses the relationship between educational policy and the politics of urban development, gender, and race. Schools were sites of gendered work, for the women who operated them and for the children who navigated the moral and vocational paths laid for their futures; meanwhile, the rise of racial ghettoes had an enduring impacts on educational inequity and the shape of African American political life. Over the time span covered by the course, the United States became an indisputably "schooled" society, and Chicago was a leading indicator of national trends. Key historic episodes in American education—the rise of the modern high school, the birth of progressive education, the origins of teachers' unions, the Catholic encounter with race, the fragmentation of suburban school districts, the civil-rights critique of de facto school segregation, the pronounced "failure" of urban education, and the triumph of choice-and-accountability reforms, and the teacher-led resistance that followed—are especially well-illustrated by this course's focus on Chicago. This course combines lecture with discussions of primary sources and secondary literature each week, beginning with the one-room, log-stable schoolhouses of the antebellum Illinois prairie and ending with the nation's first charter-school teacher strikes in 2018. In addition to composing a research paper on a chosen school or school policy, students will take a field trip to local schoolhouses, reading the city's urban history through its educational architecture.

HIST 27310  African American History, 1865–2016  (A. Green)  This class will introduce students to the key themes, events, problems and advances within African American history, after the end of slavery. Readings will include Reconstruction era documents, Ida B. Wells, Ned Cobb, W. E. B. Du Bois, Howard Thurman, Septima Clark, Philippe Wamba, and Audre Lorde among others. Assignments will include two papers, and a series of short response pieces.

HIST 27906  Capitalism, Gender, and Intimate Life  (G. Winant)  What is the relationship between the capitalist economy and the gendered organization of society and identity of individuals? Are these two systems, or one? This class pursues these questions, seeking to understand capitalism as an everyday and intimate experience. How have markets and production shaped and been shaped by personal identity, and in particular gendered identity? We examine the historical interrelationships among practices of sexuality, marriage, family, reproduction, labor, and consumption and trace the economic dimensions of masculinity and femininity over time, focusing largely but not exclusively on US history. Assignments: midterm paper (8–10 pages) applying a theoretical reading to a secondary text, and a final paper (15 pages) based on secondary research.

HIST 29201  Puerto Rico  (D. Borges)  An examination of the current situation of Puerto Rico in historical perspective. Assignments: short papers, quizzes, midterm exam, final paper.

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 (15–20 pages) using primary and secondary sources.

HIST 29678  Medicine and Society  (M. Rossi)  How does medical knowledge change? How do medical practices transform over time? What factors influence the ways in which doctors and patients—and scientists, artists, politicians, legislators, activists, and educators, among others—understand matters of health and disease, of proper and improper interventions, of the rights of individuals and the needs of communities? This course treats these questions as a starting point for exploring the interactions of medicine and society from 1800 to the present. Through a combination of primary and secondary sources we will examine changing causes of morbidity and mortality, the development of new medical technologies and infrastructures, shifting patterns of disease and shifting ideas about bodies, and debates about health care policy, among other topics. Assignment: students will be expected to conduct original research and produce an original research paper of fifteen to twenty pages.

HIST 47002  Colloquium: Interracial America  (M. Briones)  This course will examine the interaction between different racialized and ethnic groups in America (and beyond) from the eighteenth-century to our present moment. Conventional studies rely on a simplistic black-white paradigm of US race relations. This seminar aims to move beyond that dichotomy and searches for broader historical models, which include yellow, brown, red, and ethnic white. For example, how do we interpret recently excavated histories of Afro-Cherokee relations in antebellum America? What are hepcats, pachucos, and yogores? What is a "model minority," and why did Asians inherit the mantle from Jews? What is a "protest minority," and why were Blacks and Jews labeled as such during the civil rights movement? How does race operate differently in an ostensible racial paradise like Hawai‘i? How do we understand race, nation, and decolonization in a global context, as evidenced by radical activism in California in the 1960s and '70s? We will critically interrogate the history of contact that exists between and among these diverse "groups." If conflicted, what factors have prevented meaningful alliances? If confluent, what goals have elicited cooperation?

HIST 49200  Colloquium: Approaches to Atlantic Slavery Studies  (R. Johnson)  We are witnessing an outpouring of scholarship on Atlantic slavery even as some historians are increasingly critical of the archival method. This course uses select theoretical readings and recent monographs and articles to examine this conceptual and methodological debate. Topics to be examined include histories of women, gender, and sexuality; dispossession and resistance; urban and migration history; and interdisciplinary and speculative techniques.