Go to Class Search To Register
History Gateways are introductory courses meant to appeal to first- through third-year students who may not have done previous course work on the topic of the course; topics cover the globe and span the ages.
HIST 18202 Histories of Racial Capitalism (D. Jenkins) What is the relationship between race and capitalism? This course introduces students to 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. Spanning the colonization of North America to the era of mass incarceration, topics include the slave trade, indigenous dispossession, antebellum slavery, the Mexican-American War, "new imperialism," the welfare state, and civil rights. This class neither presumes a background in economics, nor previous coursework in history.
History in the World Courses
History in the World courses use history as a valuable tool to help students critically exam our society, culture, and politics. Preference given to first- and second-year students.
HIST 18101 Democracy in America? (J. Sparrow) This course will explore the unlikely career of democracy in US history. Throughout its past, the United States has been defined by endless and unpredictable struggles to establish and extend self-government of one kind or another—even as those struggles have encountered great resistance and relied on the exclusion or subordination of some portion of society to underwrite expanding freedom and equality for those enjoying the fullest benefits of citizenship. American democracy has also relied on a conceptual separation between state and society that has necessarily broken down in practice, as political institutions produced and sustained economic forms like slavery or the corporation, social arrangements like the family, and cultural values such as freedom—even as private interests worked their reciprocal influence over public institutions. Over the course of the quarter we will explore this contested history of democracy in America through a close reading of classic texts, including Tocqueville's famous study, contextualized by the most current historical scholarship. Small, incremental writing assignments and individual presentations will culminate in a final essay that can emphasize philosophical/theoretical or historical/empirical questions according to students’ interests. Students will also have the option of conducting their own original research to satisfy some portion of the coursework, which may lead to subsequent internship opportunities with relevant faculty.
Making History courses forgo traditional paper assignments for innovative projects that develop new skills with professional applications in the working world. Open to students at all levels, but especially recommended for third- and fourth-year students.
HIST 29422 Ancient Stones in Modern Hands (A. Goff and S. Estrin) Objects from classical antiquity that have survived into the modern era have enticed, inspired, and haunted those who encountered or possessed them. Collectors, in turn, have charged ancient objects with emotional, spiritual, and temporal power, enrolling them in all aspects of their lives, from questions of politics and religion to those of race and sexuality. This course explores intimate histories of private ownership of antiquities as they appear within literature, visual art, theater, aesthetics, and collecting practices. Focusing on the sensorial, material, and affective dimensions of collecting, we will survey histories of modern classicism that span from the eighteenth century to the present, from the Mediterranean to the Pacific. Historical sources will include the writings of Johann Gottfried Herder, Johann Joachim Winckelmann, Emma Hamilton, Vernon Lee, and Sigmund Freud, among others; secondary source scholarship will draw from the fields of gender studies, the history of race, art history, and the history of emotions. We will supplement our readings with occasional museum visits and film screenings. Assignments: Active participation in class, one secondary text analysis, one analysis of a controversy, and one proposal for a monument, museum, or school curriculum. Special Prerequisite: instructor consent required. Email both instructors describing your interest in the course, how it fits into your broader studies, and any relevant background (firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com). This is a traveling seminar that includes a 4-day trip to visit California museum collections.
HIST 29531 Introduction to Digital History II (F. Hillis) This course focuses on advanced research design and methods in digital history for students who have completed "Introduction to Digital History I." The course will culminate in a public exhibition of student projects.
History majors take at least one history colloquium, though you are welcome to take more than one. If you are pursuing the Research Track, you may take a colloquium prior to Spring Quarter of your third year. If you are in the Regular Track, you may take a colloquium at any point prior to graduation.
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.
HIST 29679 Writing Family History—Migration Stories (T. Zahra) Almost every family has a migration story, whether it involves a move across international borders or within a single nation (south to north, east to west). Sometimes these movements entailed deportation or flight from war or persecution, other times a search for better opportunities or to join (or escape) family members. These stories often become a part of family lore and identity, even if we don't know much about how or why they took place, or even if they are true. This course will combine genealogical and historical research. Students will research the history of a family member's migration, using primary sources and genealogical tools, and will contextualize that individual story in the broader history of migration (and migration in our own times).
HIST 19701 Oral History: Theory and Methods (N. Kryczka, Teaching Fellow) This course explores oral history's theoretical issues and engages students directly in the collection of oral histories in an original project of their own design. It involves both technical training (in interviewing techniques, recording technology, and archiving methods) and is an encounter with a set of epistemological challenges: How is an archive produced? Who decides what gets in and what is left out? What is the relationship between individual recollection and collective historical memory? Between historic preservation and academic history? What special opportunities and limits do oral histories have as historical evidence? By doing the work of collecting, preserving, and interpreting oral histories, students will develop a sophisticated self-awareness and a disciplined methodology to wrestle with these questions. The course begins with an exploration of conceptual foundations, with classic essays and recent interventions from practitioners and theoreticians of oral history. With principles and best practices of the Oral History Association as a guideline, the course then proceeds to a practicum, with the class grouped into smaller project groups. Informed by student interest, instructor guidance, and local feasibility, each group will research a historical event or community that can sustain a sample of two informants per student. Assignments: Students will conduct background research, draft legal releases, conduct and record oral history interviews, develop an archiving plan, and submit a final presentation that reflects their engagement with the methodological, interpretive, and ethical questions raised by course readings and discussion.
HIST 29802 BA Thesis Seminar II The seminar is a forum to discuss and critique BA theses. Ideally, students will have completed most of their research for the thesis and will use this quarter to produce a complete draft. Early weeks of the seminar will be devoted to writing strategies and discussion of the introduction. Sections of the theses will be critiqued in the middle weeks of term, while in the final weeks of the quarter full rough drafts will be read. The final deadline for submission of the BA thesis is second week of Spring Quarter.
HIST 29803 Historiography (P. O'Donnell) The course provides a systematic introduction to historical methodology and approaches (e.g., political, intellectual, social, cultural, economic, gender, environmental history), as well as research techniques. Students will gain analytical, research, and writing tools that will assist them in their research colloquia and their BA theses. Historiography is required for all majors beginning with the class of 2021, but open to all students.
HIST 10102 Introduction to African Civilization II (K. Hickerson) African Civilization introduces students to African history in a three quarter sequence. Part II focuses on Eastern and Southern Africa, including Madagascar. We explore various aspects of how the colonial encounter transformed local societies, even as indigenous African social structures profoundly molded and shaped these diverse processes. Topics include the institution of colonial rule, independence movements, ethnicity and interethnic violence, ritual and the body, and love, marriage, money, and popular culture.
MUSI 12200/HIST 12800 Music in Western Civilization II: To 1750 This two-quarter sequence explores musical works of broad cultural significance in Western civilization. We study pieces not only from the standpoint of musical style but also through the lenses of politics, intellectual history, economics, gender, cultural studies, and so on. Readings are taken both from our music textbook and from the writings of a number of figures such as St. Benedict of Nursia and Martin Luther. In addition to lectures, students discuss important issues in the readings and participate in music listening exercises in smaller sections.
HIST 13001 History of European Civilization I European Civilization is a two-quarter sequence designed to use close readings of primary sources to enrich our understanding of Europeans of the past. As we examine the variety of their experiences, we will often call into question what we mean in the first place by “Europe” and “civilization.” Rather than providing a narrative of high politics, the sequence will emphasize the contested geographic, religious, social, and racial boundaries that have defined and redefined Europe and its people over the centuries. We will read and discuss sources covering the period from the early Middle Ages to the present, from a variety of genres: saga, biography, personal letters, property records, political treatises, memoirs, and government documents, to name only a few. Individual instructors may choose different sources and highlight different aspects of European civilization, but some of the most important readings will be the same in all sections. The two-quarter sequence may also be supplemented by a third quarter, in which students will have the opportunity to explore in greater depth a particular topic in the history of European civilization.
HIST 13002 History of European Civilization II European Civilization is a two-quarter sequence designed to use close readings of primary sources to enrich our understanding of Europeans of the past. As we examine the variety of their experiences, we will often call into question what we mean in the first place by “Europe” and “civilization.” Rather than providing a narrative of high politics, the sequence will emphasize the contested geographic, religious, social, and racial boundaries that have defined and redefined Europe and its people over the centuries. We will read and discuss sources covering the period from the early Middle Ages to the present, from a variety of genres: saga, biography, personal letters, property records, political treatises, memoirs, and government documents, to name only a few. Individual instructors may choose different sources and highlight different aspects of European civilization, but some of the most important readings will be the same in all sections. The two-quarter sequence may also be supplemented by a third quarter, in which students will have the opportunity to explore in greater depth a particular topic in the history of European civilization.
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.
RLST 13302/HIST 27117 Becoming Modern: Religion in America in the 1920s (C. Evans) Terms such as "acids of modernity" and the "modern temper" were commonly used in the 1920s to describe a new phenomenon in American history. Historians still regard the 1920s as a significant moment in US religious history, even while revising older narratives that viewed such changes as leading to a decline in church attendance and religious practice. In the 1920s, the nation struggled with the effects of massive immigration, decades of urbanization, and significant cultural and social changes that had profound implications for religious practice and belief. This course takes an extended look at the 1925 Scopes Trial, the fundamentalist modernist controversy, and the intellectual and cultural challenges to traditional religious beliefs and practices. Some attention is devoted to increasing religious and cultural diversity as a challenge to Protestant dominance.
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 14000 Introduction to Russian Civilization II This two-quarter sequence, which meets the general education requirement in civilization studies, provides an interdisciplinary introduction to Russian civilization. The first quarter covers the ninth century to the 1870s; the second quarter continues on through the post-Soviet period. Working closely with a variety of primary sources—from oral legends to film and music, from political treatises to literary masterpieces—we will track the evolution of Russian civilization over the centuries and through radically different political regimes. Topics to be discussed include the influence of Byzantine, Mongol-Tataric, and Western culture in Russian civilization; forces of change and continuity in political, intellectual and cultural life; the relationship between center and periphery; systems of social and political legitimization; and symbols and practices of collective identity.
HIST 15200 Introduction to East Asian Civilization II (M. Fisch) This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This is a three-quarter sequence on the civilizations of China, Japan, and Korea, with emphasis on major transformation in these cultures and societies from the Middle Ages to the present. Taking these courses in sequence is not required.
LACS 16200/HIST 16102 Introduction to Latin American Civilization II (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 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.
HIST 16800 Ancient Mediterranean World II: Rome 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. This sequence surveys the social, economic, and political history of Greece to the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC), the Roman Republic (509 to 27 BC), and late antiquity (27 BC to the fifth century AD). This quarter surveys the social, economic, and political history of Rome, from its prehistoric beginnings in the twelfth century BCE to the end of the Severan dynasty in 235 CE. Throughout, the focus is upon the dynamism and adaptability of Roman society, as it moved from a monarchy to a republic to an empire, and the implications of these political changes for structures of competition and cooperation within the community.
HIPS 18500/HIST 17510 Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: Modern Period (J. Evans) This undergraduate core course represents the first quarter of the Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization sequence. Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. This course is organized around a series of broad questions about science. These questions are addressed by means of examples drawn from both the past and the present. The historical cases arise in chronological sequence, ranging from the development of experimental methods in the late seventeenth century to the advent of biotechnology in the modern era. They furnish a selective set of materials for a history of scientific practice. Their other purpose here, however, is to highlight the depth and importance of many problems still confronting the world of science today—problems that are cultural as well as scientific and that demand of us an understanding of what science is and how it works.
HIPS 18501/HIST 17511 Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: Medicine, 1900–Present (M. Rossi) This undergraduate core course represents the first quarter of the Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization sequence. Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. It will examine various themes in the history of medicine in Western Europe and America from 1900 to present. Topics include key developments of medical theory (e.g., the circulation of the blood and germ theory), relations between doctors and patients, rivalries between different kinds of healers and therapists, and the development of the hospital and laboratory medicine.
NEHC 20011/HIST 15602 Ancient Empires I (J. Osborne) This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies; it introduces three great empires of the ancient world. Each course in the sequence focuses on one empire, with attention to the similarities and differences among the empires being considered. By exploring the rich legacy of documents and monuments that these empires produced, students are introduced to ways of understanding imperialism and its cultural and societal effects—both on the imperial elites and on those they conquered.
SALC 20100/HIST 10800 Introduction to the Civilizations of South Asia I (M. Alam) This sequence introduces core themes in the formation of culture and society in South Asia from the early modern period until the present. This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. These courses must be taken in sequence. The first quarter focuses on Islam in South Asia, Hindu-Muslim interaction, Mughal political and literary traditions, and South Asia's early encounters with Europe.
MENG 20300/HIST 25426 The Science, History, Policy, and Future of Water (S. Darling, Fellow, Argonne National Laboratory) Water is shockingly bizarre in its properties and of unsurpassed importance throughout human history, yet so mundane as to often be invisible in our daily lives. We will traverse diverse perspectives on water in this course. The journey begins with an exploration of the mysteries of water's properties on the molecular level, zooming out through its central role at biological and geological scales. Next, we travel through the history of human civilization, highlighting the fundamental part water has played throughout, including the complexities of water policy, privatization, and pricing in today's world. Attention then turns to technology and innovation, emphasizing the daunting challenges dictated by increasing water stress and a changing climate as well as the enticing opportunities to achieve a secure global water future.
NEHC 20502/HIST 25804 Islamic History and Society II: The Middle Period (J. Wood) 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 20602/HIST 25615 Islamic Thought and Literature II (F. Lewis) 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.
HIST 20803 Aristophanes's Athens (J. Hall) The comedies of Aristophanes are as uproarious, biting, and ribald today as they were more than 2,400 years ago. But they also offer a unique window onto the societal norms, expectations, and concerns as well as the more mundane experiences of Athenians in the fifth century BCE. This course will examine closely all eleven of Aristophanes's extant plays (in translation) in order to address topics such as the performative, ritual, and political contexts of Attic comedy, the constituency of audiences, the relationship of comedy to satire, the use of dramatic stereotypes, freedom of speech, and the limits of dissent. Please note that this course is rated Mature for adult themes and language.
NEHC 20837/25702 Early Turkish Republic (A. Shissler) This course examines the development of the Turkish state following WWI and considers questions of economy, institutions, and identity formation.
NEHC 20840/HIST 25901 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.
HIST 21403 The British Empire on Trial: Corruption, Scandal, Dissent (Z. Leonard, Teaching Fellow) Throughout the long nineteenth century, British empire building remained a contentious pursuit. It threatened to shatter Britons' moral compasses, destabilize social hierarchies, squander tax revenue, and inflict untold miseries upon foreign populations. To legitimize their expansionism, colonial policy makers claimed that they were introducing benighted regions to the benefits of a universal rule of law. This course will examine how this legalistic form of governing actually functioned by probing the trials of three classes of offenders: "insurgent" and nationalist agitators, reformist critics of colonial misrule, and despotic officials themselves. Focusing on cases in England, the Caribbean, India, and Egypt, readings will reveal the shortcomings of the British judicial apparatus and identify the loopholes that enabled a proudly "free" nation to subjugate and silence dissidents with near impunity. By participating in mock trials, students will gain familiarity with historical legal processes and the rhetorical tactics that actors employed both in the courtroom and in the public sphere.
HIST 23516 Problems in the Study of Gender and Sexuality: Medieval Masculinity (J. Lyon) This course will introduce students to concepts of masculinity in the Middle Ages, especially in the period between approximately 1000 and 1500 CE. Special attention will be paid to medieval notions of honor and to the roles that knighthood, chivalry, and monasticism played in promoting (often contradictory) masculine ideals. The course has two main goals. First, to assess and discuss recent scholarly debates and arguments about medieval masculinity. Second, to read closely a variety of medieval sources—including Arthurian literature, chronicles of the Crusades, biographical texts, and monastic histories—in order to develop new perspectives on masculinity during the Middle Ages.
HIST 23708 Soviet History through Literature (E. Gilburd) This course considers the main themes of Soviet history through canonical works of fiction, with an occasional addition of excerpts from autobiographies, memories, and police files.
CRES 24001 & 24002/HIST 18301 & 18302 Colonizations I & II This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. This three-quarter sequence approaches the concept of civilization from an emphasis on cross-cultural/societal connection and exchange. We explore the dynamics of conquest, slavery, colonialism, and their reciprocal relationships with concepts such as resistance, freedom, and independence, with an eye toward understanding their interlocking role in the making of the modern world.
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 24514 Colonial Power in East Asia (J. Dahl, Von Holst Prize Lecturer) This course takes a transnational and comparative approach to the study of colonialism in East Asia from the Opium Wars through the end of World War I. Using foundational theories of postcolonial scholarship as a starting template, we will explore the interrelationship of colonial power and ideologies of race and gender across China, Japan, and Korea during the nineteenth century. Critically evaluating both primary and secondary sources will help us contextualize the development of the Japanese empire within a larger narrative of the expansion of Euro-American colonial power into East Asia. In doing so, we will discover that sites of empire in East Asia often destabilize the most common binaries of postcolonial study: Occident/Orient, colonizer/colonized, white/other, and premodern/modern.
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 25110 Philosophy of History: Narrative and Explanation (R. Richards) This lecture-discussion course will focus on the nature of historical explanation and the role of narrative in providing an understanding of historical events. Among the authors discussed are Edward Gibbon, Immanuel Kant, R. G. Collingwood, Leopold von Ranke, Lord Acton, Fernand Braudel, Carl Gustav Hempel, Arthur Danto, and Hayden White.
HIST 25216 The History of Alchemy (J. Niermeier-Dohoney, Teaching Fellow) This course will examine the history of alchemy in the Greco-Egyptian Mediterranean, the Arab Middle East, the Latin Middle Ages, and the early modern era. Topics will include alchemy's development as a chemical science for understanding physical change in nature, its major goals (e.g., gold making and the discovery of the Philosopher’s Stone), the application of its theories in medicine and pharmacology, religious admonitions and defenses of its practices, its relationship with other contemporary esoteric fields such as natural magic and secrecy, its potential effects on political economy, its intellectual place in the history of the scientific revolution, reasons for its “decline” in the early eighteenth century, and its revival in the spiritualism of Victorian Britain and twentieth-century Jungian psychology. Readings will include major primary source writings in translation by Zosimus, Abū Mūsā Jābir ibn Ḥayyān, George Ripley, Paracelsus, George Starkey, Robert Boyle, and Isaac Newton, as well as modern histories on the topic. This course may include the examination of manuscripts at Regenstein Special Collections and in-class chemical demonstrations of some simple alchemical experiments.
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 25427 The Global Atomic Age (T. Kahle, Teaching Fellow) The nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago was the advent of the atomic age. Paradoxically, the same technology that had unleashed infernos on the Japanese population was heralded in other contexts as utopia in waiting. This course examines how the atom transformed global politics and remade social life, culture, and even the way people experienced emotions. We will use a broad range of sources—including but not limited to historical scholarship, film, poetry, and architecture—to examine the global expansion of nuclear energy, weapons proliferation and militarization, gender and the politics of reproduction, decolonization, nuclear fear and disasters, labor at atomic facilities and in uranium mines, environmentalism and the problem of waste, and nuclear mass politics. Assignments: three essays (1,000–1,500 words each) due in weeks three, six, and nine, which use course-related materials to respond to an assigned prompt. In lieu of a final exam, a portfolio of work from the quarter and a short reflective essay (1,000–1,250 words).
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.
CLCV 26017/HIST 20308 Gods and God in Imperial Asia Minor, 1–300 CE (A. Bresson) Roman Asia Minor in the Imperial period provides an extraordinary case of religious plurality and creativity. Pagans, Jews, and Christians, even already Christian heretics, interacted in the same space. The frontiers between Jewish and Christian communities were, at least at the beginning, more fluid than was long thought. But even the frontiers between paganism and Judaism or Christianity were certainly not as rigid as was later imagined. This does not mean, however, that there were no tensions between the various groups. This class will examine the various aspects of this religious diversity as well as the social and political factors that may explain the religious equilibrium prevailing at that time in Asia Minor. Assignments: Two papers, two quizzes.
HIST 26409 Revolution, Dictatorship, and Violence in Modern Latin America (B. Fischer) This course will examine the role played by Marxist revolutions, revolutionary movements, and the right-wing dictatorships that have opposed them in shaping Latin American societies and political cultures since the end of World War II. Themes examined will include the relationship among Marxism, revolution, and nation building; the importance of charismatic leaders and icons; the popular authenticity and social content of Latin American revolutions; the role of foreign influences and interventions; the links between revolution and dictatorship; and the lasting legacies of political violence and military rule. Countries examined will include Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Mexico.
HIST 26511 Cities from Scratch: The History of Urban Latin America (B. Fischer) Latin America is one of the world's most urbanized regions, and its urban heritage long predates European conquest. And yet the region's cities are most often understood through the lens of North Atlantic visions of urbanity, many of which fit poorly with Latin America's historical trajectory, and most of which have significantly distorted both Latin American urbanism and our understandings of it. This course takes this paradox as the starting point for an interdisciplinary exploration of the history of Latin American cities in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing especially on issues of social inequality, informality, urban governance, race, violence, rights to the city, and urban cultural expression. Readings will be interdisciplinary, including anthropology, sociology, history, fiction, film, photography, and primary historical texts.
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.
CRES 27530/HIST 27414 (Re)producing Race and Gender through American Material Culture (A. Robinson) This course introduces students to the production, reproduction, and intersections of ideologies about race and gender in material culture. We begin with the premise that the design, construction, use, and disuse of objects imbues them with meaning. Architecture, art, photography, clothing, quilts, toys, food, and even the body have all been used to define groups of people. Combining secondary literature, theory, documentary evidence, and material culture, this course guides students to ask questions about how ideologies of race and gender are produced, how they are both historically specific and constantly in flux, and how human interaction with the material world creates, challenges, and changes their construction.
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.
REES 29023/HIST 23609 Returning the Gaze: The West and the Rest (A. Ilieva) This course investigates identity dynamics between the "West," as the center of economic power and self-proclaimed normative humanity, and the "Rest," as the poor, backward, volatile periphery. We will focus on self-representational strategies in our case study of Southeastern Europe and Russia. Two discourse on identity will help us understand strategies of self-representation: the Lacanian concepts of symbolic and imaginary identification and various readings of the Hegelian recognition by the other in the East European context. Identifying symbolically with a site of normative humanity outside oneself places the self in a precarious position. The responses are varied but acutely felt: self-consciousness, defiance, and arrogance; self-exoticization and self-mythicization, and self-abjection—all of which can be viewed as forms of a quest for dignity. We will also consider how these responses have been incorporated in the texture of the national, gender, and social identities in European and other peripheries. We will read Fyodor Dostoevsky, Orhan Pamuk, Ivo Andrić, Nikos Kazantzakis, Aleko Konstantinov, Emir Kusturica, Milcho Manchevski.
HIST 29423 Just War Theory and Realism (E. Tschinkel, Teaching Fellow) This course will explore the just war versus realist debate during the twentieth century by investigating three key moments, represented by three key texts: Politics Among Nations by Hans Morgenthau, Just and Unjust Wars by Michael Walzer, and "On the Moral Equality of Combatants" by Jeff McMahan. We will begin with the "Walzer Moment" andl discuss the radical (or not) nature of the text, its critical reception and Vietnam War context, as well as the important concepts of jus in bello, jus ad bellum, and other basic just-war concepts. We will then look backwards to Morgenthau and discuss, among other concepts, the circumstantial application of morality. Finally, we will fast forward to McMahan and discuss the debate on the separation, or lack thereof, between jus in bello and jus ad bellum. Throughout the course our readings will be supplemented by historical texts such as The Global Cold War by Odd Arne Westad and Vietnam at War by Mark Bradley.
HIST 29528 Property and the Public Interest (J. Levy) In this colloquium, drawing from law, history, philosophy, and social science, we examine the conflicted relationship between property and the public interest. Topics include the basis and evolution of private property rights, reasons for the state, and the relationship between property rights and the public interest. Assignments: Two short essays and a final paper.
HIPS 29636/HIST 25018 Tutorial: Histories of Scientific Communication, 1650–1914 (Z. Barr) IIn a 2004 address to the History of Science Society historian James Secord exhorted his audience to pay closer attention to what he called "knowledge in transit," meaning the practices and mechanisms that have historically served to circulate knowledge claims. He argued: "questions of 'what' is being said can only be answered through a simultaneous understanding of 'how,' 'where,' 'when,' and 'for whom.'" The aim of this course is to apply Secord's maxim to a series of case studies in the history of scientific communication, i.e., the "how" of knowledge production. Each week we will historicize a different form of scientific communication or inscription, ranging from the book to the scientific image, by situating it within a particular sociopolitical context and examining its relationship to a broader regime of truth. By the end of the course you should have a better historical understanding of the wide variety of ways in which scientists have communicated with one another and with the public and also have a set of theoretical tools and approaches for analyzing the relationship between communicative form and scientific content.
HIPS 29800/HIST 25503 Junior HIPSS Seminar: My Favorite Readings in the History and Philosophy of Science (R. Richards) This course introduces some of the most important and influential accounts of science to have been produced in modern times. It provides an opportunity to discover how philosophers, historians, anthropologists, and sociologists have grappled with the scientific enterprise and to assess critically how successful their efforts have been. Authors likely include Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Robert Merton, Steven Shapin, and Bruno Latour.
Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduates by Consent
SCTH 37106/HIST 42102 Race and Religion: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (D. Nirenberg) What does race have to do with religion? This course will explore how racial concepts—ideas about the transmission of characteristics through blood and lineage—emerged in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, often in response to episodes of large-scale conversion. The word "race" was itself first applied to humans in response to one of these episodes: the mass conversions of Jews and Muslims to Christianity in late medieval Spain. We will study this and other episodes, beginning with early Christianity and early Islam and concluding with conversions to Islam in South Asia and of enslaved Africans and native peoples to Christianity in the New World, in order to ask how these episodes of conversion influenced the mapping of culture (religion) onto reproduction (nature, biology). Did they effect the racialization of religion? And what influence did these mappings have on racial concepts in modernity?
HIST 47200 Early Modern North America (M. Kruer) This course focuses on the complex, contested, and often violent world of North America in the early modern period from the early sixteenth through late eighteenth century. Although in the past "early America" has sometimes been synonymous with the thirteen colonies that eventually formed the United States, this class will stress the multicultural, multi-imperial, and multipolar nature of early North America, and the many connections between the continent and the rest of the early modern world.
HIST 48000 Colloquium: The Age of Keynes (J. Issac & J. Levy) This class uses the writings of John Maynard Keynes as a window into twentieth-century economic thinking and governance. Topics include Keynes's monetary economics in the aftermath of WWI; the General Theory in the context of the Great Depression; the construction of the post-WWII international economic order; the consolidation of Keynesian macroeconomics and the fate of social democracy.
HIST 58602 Colloquium: Iran and Central Asia II—Safvid Iran (J. Woods) The second quarter will be devoted to the preparation of a major research paper.