HIST 30110 Trans-Saharan Africa (R. Austen) This course will deal with various developments (trade, politics, religion, slavery, voluntary migration) linking the Maghrib/North Africa with the great African desert and the "Sudanic" lands to its south. Along with lectures and discussions of readings we will visit an exhibit, Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Medieval Trans-Saharan Exchange, at the Block Museum of Art in Evanston.
NEHC 30466/HIST 30310 Coping with Changing Climates in Early Antiquity I (H. Reculeau) This two-quarter colloquium is offered as part of an ongoing collaborative research project called Coping with Changing Climates in Early Antiquity: Comparative Approaches Between Empiricism and Theory, developed jointly at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, and Purdue University. Using a shared syllabus at the three institutions, and some joint sessions in the form of webinars, the seminar will cover the theoretical framework that allows for an in-depth understanding of the relations between human societies and their environments and on social response to change in their social, political, and environmental climates. Winter quarter will present a series of case studies in three key geographic areas: Egypt and Nubia; the eastern Mediterranean and Anatolia; and Mesopotamia.
NEHC 30502/HIST 35804 Islamic History and Society 2: The Middle Period (J. Woods) This sequence surveys the main trends in the political history of the Islamic world, with some attention to economic, social, and intellectual history. This course covers the period from ca. 1000 to 1750, including the arrival of the steppe peoples (Turks and Mongols), the Mongol successor states, and the Mamluks of Egypt and Syria. We also study the foundation of the great Islamic regional empires of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Moghuls.
NEHC 30602/HIST 35615 Islamic Thought and Literature II (A. El Shamsy) This sequence explores the thought and literature of the Islamic world from the coming of Islam in the seventh century CE through the development and spread of its civilization in the medieval period and into the modern world. Including historical framework to establish chronology and geography, the course focuses on key aspects of Islamic intellectual history: scripture, law, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, political thought, historical writing, and archaeology. In addition to lectures and secondary background readings, students read and discuss samples of key primary texts, with a view to exploring Islamic civilization in the direct voices of the people who participated in creating it. This course covers the period from circa 950 to 1700, surveying works of literature, theology, philosophy, sufism, politics, history, etc., written in Arabic, Persian and Turkish, as well as the art, architecture, and music of the Islamicate traditions. Through primary texts, secondary sources, and lectures, we will trace the cultural, social, religious, political, and institutional evolution through the period of the Fatimids, the Crusades, the Mongol invasions, and the "gunpowder empires" (Ottomans, Safavids, Mughals). All readings are in English translation. No prior background in the subject is required.
NEHC 30840/HIST 35901 Radical Islamic Pieties, 1200–1600 (C. Fleischer) 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; transconfessionalism, antinomianism, and the articulation of sacral sovereignties in the sixteenth century. Readings will be in English, though some acquaintance with primary languages (Arabic, French, German, Greek, Latin, Spanish, or Turkish) is desirable.
NEHC 30853/HIST 58303 The Ottoman World in the Age of Suleyman the Magnificent (C. Fleischer) In the second quarter we focus on research topics for students writing research paper.
HIST 31006 The Present Past in Greece since 1769 (J. Hall) This discussion-based course will explore how conceptions of the ancient past have been mobilized and imagined in the political, social, and cultural discourses of modern Greece from the lead up to the War of Independence through to the present day. Among the themes that will be addressed are ethnicity and nationalism, theories of history, the production of archæological knowledge, and the politics of display.
HIST 31903 Medieval Christian Mythology (R. Fulton Brown) Heaven and hell, angels and demons, the Virgin Mary and the devil battling over the state of human souls, the world on the edge of apocalypse awaiting the coming of the Judge and the resurrection of the dead, the transubstantiation of bread and wine into body and blood, the great adventures of the saints. As Rudolf Bultmann put it in his summary of the "world picture" of the New Testament, "all of this is mythological talk," arguably unnecessary for Christian theology. And yet, without its mythology, much of Christianity become incomprehensible as a religious or symbolic system. This course is intended as an introduction to the stories that medieval Christians told about God, his Mother, the angels, and the saints, along with the place of the sacraments and miracles in the world picture of the medieval church. Sources will range from Hugh of St. Victor's summa on the sacraments to Hildegard of Bingen's visionary Scivias, the Pseudo-Bonaventuran Meditations on the Life of Christ, and Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend, along with handbooks on summoning angels and cycles of mystery plays.
GEOG 32101/HIST 37506 Changing America in the Last One Hundred Years (M. Conzen) This course explores the regional organization of US society and its economy during the pivotal twentieth century, emphasizing the shifting dynamics that explain the spatial distribution of people, resources, economic activity, human settlement patterns, and mobility. We put special focus on the regional restructuring of industry and services, transportation, city growth, and cultural consumption.
HIST 32203 The Holy Roman Empire, 800–1500 (J. Lyon) During the first seven centuries of its existence the Holy Roman Empire emerged as one of the most politically and culturally heterogeneous states in all of Europe. A vast expanse of central Europe that is today divided among more than a dozen nations was ruled, at least in theory, by the emperors during the central and late Middle Ages. The purpose of this course is to trace some of the major developments in imperial history between 800 (Charlemagne's coronation as emperor) and the early sixteenth century. Topics will include the changing nature of imperial authority from the Carolingians to the Habsburgs, the Church's and the nobility's establishment of quasi-independent lordships inside imperial territory, papal-imperial relations, and the eastward expansion of the empire.
HIST 33306 Europe, 1914–Present (T. Zahra) This lecture course will provide an introductory survey to European history in the twentieth century. It aims to provide a critical overview of political, economic, social, and cultural developments. Topics covered will include the rise of mass politics and the conflict between Bolshevism and fascism; the causes, experiences, and effects of the First and Second World Wars in Western and Eastern Europe; the transformation of Eastern Europe's multinational empires into nationalizing states; interwar democratization and economic crisis; ethnic cleansing and population displacement; decolonization and the Cold War; the challenges of postcolonial migration; transformations in society and economy, including changes in class and gender relations; new social and protest movements in the 1960s and 1970s; mass culture and consumption; the collapse of Communism; and European integration at the end of the twentieth century.
HIST 34500 Reading Qing Documents (G. Alitto) This course introduces documentary Chinese of the Qing (1644–1912) and the Republican ((1912–1949) periods, with an emphasis upon critical use of these documents and the related historiography. Students read a wide variety of genres, including imperial edicts, secret memorials, local gazetteers, newspapers, funeral essays, as well as selections from the Qing "Veritable Records" (Qing Shilu) and the Draft History of the Qing Dynasty (Qing Shigao). We first translate the documents into English and then analyze them.
EALC 34512/HIST 34511 Social and Economic Institutions of Chinese Socialism (J. Eyferth) The socialist period (for our purposes here, circa 1949–1990) fundamentally transformed the institutions of Chinese social and economic life. Marriage and family were redefined; rural communities were reorganized on a collective basis; private property in land and other means of production were abolished. Industrialization created a new urban working class, whose access to welfare, consumer goods, and political rights depended to a large extent on their membership in work units (danwei). Migration between city and countryside came to a halt, and rural and urban society developed in different directions. This course will focus on the concrete details of how this society functioned. How did state planning work? What was it like to work in a socialist factory? What role did money and consumption play in a planned economy? Our readings are in English, but speakers of Chinese are encouraged to use Chinese materials (first-hand sources, if they can be found) for their final papers.
LACS 34700/HIST 36102 Introduction to Latin American Civilization 2 (M. Tenorio) 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 second quarter addresses the evolution of colonial societies, the wars of independence, and the emergence of Latin American nation-states in the changing international context of the nineteenth century.
LACS 35120/HIST 36221 Territorial Identities, State Formation, and the Experience of Modernity in the Modern World (J. Portillo Valdés, 2018–19 Tinker Fellow) During the last twenty years scholars interested in the history of the crisis of the Spanish monarchy focused on the development of the idea of nation and nationhood in the Spanish and Portuguese Atlantic. Criticizing the idea of the birth of postcolonial Latin American republics as the triumph of a national sentiment, historians reconceptualized the nation as a result of the imperial crisis. However, considerably less attention has been paid to the parallel process of state building in the Iberian world. This course will offer an introductory overview of the process that led from imperial monarchy to national republics from the point of view of statehood formation. It will focus on the complexity of the process of emancipation as a transition from monarchical tutorship to the birth of modern "Administración," while also addressing territorial identities as forms of nonnational self-recognition that transited from colonial monarchy to postcolonial state.
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 36515 Political and Cultural History of Modern Mexico (M. Tenorio) This course is not a survey of Mexican history but a discussion of the recent contributions to the cultural and political historiography of modern Mexico. It will blend lectures and discussion of such topics as the new meanings of citizenship, peace, war, national culture, violence, avant-garde art, and cinema.
HIST 38607 War, Diplomacy, and Empire in US History (J. Sparrow) World politics have profoundly shaped the United States from its colonial origins to the war on terror. Yet only recently have US historians made a sustained effort to relate the foreign relations of the country to its domestic history. For a century and a half prior to independence, empire, trade, great-power politics, and violent conflict with Native Americans formed the large structures of power and meaning within which colonists pursued their everyday lives. In violently repudiating the claims of the British Empire, the revolutionaries commenced a political tradition that sought to avoid the perils of great-power statecraft for roughly the next century and a half. Yet even as it lent a distinctive cast to US politics and society, this pursuit of exceptionalism had to reckon with the requirements of state power and geopolitics from the Civil War onward. With its sudden embrace of great-power politics and the "rise to globalism" from WWII onward the United States became increasingly like the European societies it had repudiated at the founding, even as its exceptional military and economic power set it apart as a "unipolar power" by the turn of the millennium. To understand these developments in depth students will write two modest-length "deep-dive" analytical essays and three brief reports on targeted expeditions into primary materials, while reading broadly across the historiography of the new diplomatic and international history.
HIST 39522 Europe's Intellectual Transformations, Renaissance through Enlightenment (A. Palmer) This course will consider the foundational transformations of Western thought from the end of the Middle Ages to the threshold of modernity. It will provide an overview of the three self-conscious and interlinked intellectual revolutions which reshaped early modern Europe: the Renaissance revival of antiquity, the "new philosophy" of the seventeenth century, and the light and dark faces of the Enlightenment. It will treat scholasticism, humanism, the scientific revolution, Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Voltaire, Diderot, and Sade.
SALC 40100/HIST 61802 Research Themes I (R. Majumdar) This course will focus on the intellectual traffic over the last several decades between postcolonial theory/criticism and the field of South Asian history. Scholarship bearing on questions of modernity, transition to capitalism, critiques of nationalism and the nation, caste and inequality, globalization, and other related issues will be discussed in class.
SCTH 40122/HIST 49405 Self-Interest After Adam Smith (J. Isaac) This course examines the afterlife of Adam Smith's notorious defense of self-interest. Famously, Smith argued that under what he called the system of natural liberty the general welfare could best be served by letting individuals pursue their private interests. The precise meaning of Smith's account of the efficacy of commercial society was fiercely contested in the time he published The Wealth of Nations. During the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, the Smithian concept of self-interest was first conscripted into harsh Malthusian views of market discipline and then into neoclassical economics as an axiom of the theory of economic equilibrium. More recently, historians and political theorists have recovered a much richer picture of the place of self-interest in Smith's thought. Can the historical Smith erase the caricature to which we have become accustomed? Is the concept of self-interest now as central to political thought as it once was. These are the kinds of questions we will pose as we work our way through texts by Smith, Paine, Burke, Stigler, Hirschman, and others.
HIST 43002 State Formations and Types of States: Global Perspectives (S. Pincus & J. Robinson, director, Pearson Institute) Why, historically, did states emerge, and what did they do? The course begins by investigating standard narratives of European state formation, then proceeds to ask whether non-European and premodern state formations conform to the scholarly theories. Finally, we wonder whether theories of state formation fit empires or federal states. This course asks students simultaneously to take seriously social science explanations for state formation and the historical record.
HIST 58602 Colloquium: Iran and Central Asia 2 (J. Woods) The second quarter will be devoted to the preparation of a major research paper.
HIST 63906 Colloquium: Topics in Cultural History (K. Belew) This course examines the development of the field of cultural history, and the opportunities and pitfalls it presents as an historical methodology. Our discussions will begin with the United States, but will encompass the transnational turn. Themes may include production and reception, gender, race, performance, material culture, and visual and literary analysis.
HIST 70804 Seminar: Text and Material Culture in the Greek and Roman World 2 (J. Hall & C. Kearns) The second quarter is reserved for writing a major research paper.
HIST 75802 Seminar: Law and Society in China 2 (J. Ransmeier) In the winter quarter students will complete an original research paper, engaging with sources and themes initiated during the autumn. The ability to pursue research in Chinese will be a substantial asset in this course—significantly expanding the kinds of source material and range of topics available for research—but it is not required. Although the focus of this seminar sequence is "China," students with an interest in comparative studies are welcome to bring those interests to light in their research papers provided they demonstrate sophisticated use of their sources.
HIST 76604 Seminar 2: Japan's Empire, 1868–1945 (S. Burns) Part two of the two-quarter seminar focuses on the reading and writing of the seminar paper.
HIST 85601 Seminar: Globalization and Its Discontents, Europe and United States 2 (J. Levy & T. Zahra) The winter quarter is devoted to researching and writing a research paper.