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 17203 Twentieth-Century Jewish History (K. Moss) Jewish history, politics, and culture across a century of enormous transformations and transformative enormities in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. Topics include the impacts on Jewish life of World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the postimperial reordering of Eastern Europe and the Middle East; Zionism and other modes of Jewish contestatory politics; secular-religious Kulturkampf and the interactions and tensions of Jewish cultural renascence, acculturation, and assimilation; the consolidation of American Jewry; Nazism and the Holocaust in Europe; formation and development of the State of Israel; the global reordering of Jewish life amid crosscurrents of the Cold War, conflict in the Middle East, and success in the United States; trajectories of Jewish culture, thought, religion, and relations to modernity in a century of tremendous creativity but also centrifugality, fracture, and bitter cultural conflict. The course will pay substantial attention to recent and contemporary history including the dramatic changes in Israeli (Jewish) society, polity, and culture over the past forty years, the ongoing conflict in Israel and Palestine, and the entangled lives of Jews and Palestinians. Twice-weekly lectures followed by substantial time for text-related and thematic discussion. Prior study of Jewish history not required. Students at all levels and in all fields welcome.
History majors take at least one history colloquium, though you are welcome to take more than one. Students interested in pursuing the research or BA-thesis track should take a colloquium prior to Spring Quarter of their third year; those pursuing other tracks can take a colloquium at any point prior to graduation.
HIST 29685 Asian/Pacific Islander American History, 1850–2021 (M. Briones) Looking through a broad interdisciplinary lens, this course will examine the trajectory of Asians and Pacific Islanders in America. How did nineteenth- and early twentieth-century "sojourners" become "citizens"? What constituted the public's shift in perception of Asians from unassimilable alien to ostensible "model minority"? We will interrogate not only what it means to have been and to be an Asian in America but also what role APIAs have played in striving for a multiracial democracy. The history of anti-Asian violence will be traced from the mid-nineteenth century to the most recent hate crimes in the age of COVID. Conscious of the tendency to homogenize all Asians in the historical imagination, the course will be explicitly comparative, incorporating the diverse and disparate experiences of East, Southeast, and South Asians, as well as Pacific Islanders in America over time. We will, also, at times, investigate the histories of other ethnic/racial groups and compare their experiences to the Asian American experience.
HIST 29802 BA Thesis Seminar II (A. Hofmann, E. McCullugh, and C. Rydell) 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 capstone projects, research colloquia, or BA theses. Assignments: weekly response papers, short presentation and paper, take-home final exam. Historiography is required for all majors beginning with the class of 2021, but open to all students.
HIST 29805 Capstone Seminar (P. O'Donnell) Capstone Seminar is a forum to create, discuss, and develop History capstone projects. Early weeks of the seminar will be devoted to exploring various forms historical work can take, from museum installations to podcasts and documentaries. In-process work will beshared and critiqued in workshops. The course meets every other week in autumn and winter, allowing students ample time to develop their projects on their own. The final deadline for submission of the Capstone Project is the second week of Spring Quarter.
HIST 10102 Introduction to African Civilization II (K. Hickerson) African Civilization introduces students to African history in a three-quarter sequence. Part two examines the transformations of African societies in the long nineteenth century. At the beginning of the era, European economic and political presence was mainly coastal, but by the end, nearly the entire continent was colonized. This course examines how and why this occurred, highlighting the struggles of African societies to manage internal reforms and external political, military, and economic pressures. Topics include the Egyptian conquest of Sudan, Omani colonialism on the Swahili coast, Islamic reform movements across the Sahara, and connections between the end of the transatlantic slave trade and the formal colonization of the African continent. Students will examine memoirs of African soldiers, religious texts, colonial handbooks, and visual and material sources, including ethnographic artifacts, photographs, and textiles. Assignments: team projects, document and material analyses, response papers, essays, and written exams. The course will equip students with a working knowledge of the struggles that created many of the political and social boundaries of modern Africa.
MUSI 12200/HIST 12800 Music in Western Civilization II, 1800–Present This course, part of the Social Sciences core, looks at music in different moments of Euro-American history and the social contexts in which they originated, with some comparative views on other traditions. It aims to give students a better understanding of the social contexts of European music over this period, aids for the basic sound structures of pieces from these different moments, and convincing writing in response to prompts based on source readings or music pieces.
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.
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 14000 Introduction to Russian Civilization II (F. Hillis & A. Moss) 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 (J. Ketelaar) 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 (M. Hicks) 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 (T. Clark) 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.
HIST 17522 Energy and Society II (E. Chatterjee) This two-quarter course explores the historical roots of climate change and other global environmental problems with a special attention to how energy use shapes human societies over time. Part II covers energy systems across the world from the early twentieth century to the present, examining themes such as the uneven globalization of energy-intensive lifestyles, the changing geopolitics of energy, and possible futures beyond fossil-fuel dependence. Parts I and II should be taken in sequence.
HIST 17906 Haunted Histories: Slavery and Memory (R. Johnson) This course draws on an eclectic range of primary sources, historical monographs, and interdisciplinary texts to examine the creative and deeply contested modes of remembering (and forgetting) chattel slavery in the United States. It begins with a brief introduction to the history of slavery before pivoting to particularly telling episodes of representation, reinterpretation, and erasure. Specific topics to be addressed include public history, dark tourism, cultural performances, early reparations movements, and popular culture. In placing these episodes into their historical contexts, we better appreciate the ways in which debates over depictions of slavery themselves illuminate the contested history of race and resistance.
HIPS 18400/HIST 17410 Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization II: Renaissance to Enlightenment (R. Richards) Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. This lecture-discussion course will focus on the development of early modern science. Among figures considered are Vessalius, Harvey, Copernicus, Descartes, Galileo, Newton, and Darwin. We will specially examine the role of religion as providing a context for science, both as a complement and as a barrier.
HIPS 18503/HIST 17513 Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: History of the Social Sciences (P. Mostajir) Social science is generally used to refer to the various disciplines devoted to the study of humanity in its social manifestations: sociology, social and cultural anthropology, economics, political science, geography, and history. But these disciplines employ radically different methodologies, rooted in distinct histories. While positive social science and the application of statistics to society began in the context of French revolutionary nation building, ethnographic methods emerged in the very different context of British imperial encounters with "exotic" cultures. In the midst of a growing interest in "society" and "culture," distinct methodological schools with competing social and cultural ontologies and methodologies emerged across Europe. This course studies these traditions and their development in the social and cultural contexts of revolution, empire, racial justice, and disciplinary institutionalization.
NEHC 20011/ HIST 15602 Ancient Empires I This course introduces students to the Hittite Empire of ancient Anatolia. In existence from roughly 1750–1200 BCE and spanning across modern Turkey and beyond, the Hittite Empire is one of the oldest and largest empires of the ancient world. We will be examining Hittite history and political and cultural accomplishments through analysis of archaeological remains and written records composed in Hittite, the world’s first recorded Indo-European language. In the process, we will also examine the concept of empire itself: What is an empire, and how do anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians study this kind of political formation?
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.
NEHC 20202/HIST 15612 Islamicate Civilization II, 950–1750 This course surveys intellectual, cultural, religious, and political developments in the Islamic world from Andalusia to the South Asian subcontinent, 950–1750. We trace the arrival and incorporation of the Steppe Peoples (Turks and Mongols) into the central Islamic lands; the splintering of the Abbasid Caliphate and the impact on political theory; the flowering of literature of Arabic, Turkic, and Persian expression; the evolution of religious and legal scholarship and devotional life; transformations in the intellectual and philosophical traditions; the emergence of Shi`i states (Buyids and Fatimids); the Crusades and Mongol conquests; the Mamluks and Timurids, and the "gunpowder empires" of the Ottomans, Safavids, and Moghuls; the dynamics of gender and class relations; etc. This class partially fulfills the requirement for MA students in CMES, as well as for NELC majors and PhD students.
HIST 20205 Race in African History (K. Hickerson) This course examines how the category of race has been identified and discussed in African history from the nineteenth century to the contemporary era. The course combines cultural and social history with recent research from the history of science, gender and sexuality studies, and the history of slavery in Islamic Africa to illuminate the debates, actors, and encounters that animate this dynamic field. Students will analyze case studies from across the continent—from Ghana to Sudan to South Africa—while also keeping an eye to transnational debates about difference, diaspora, imperialism, and nationalism. With readings ranging from classics in Pan-African thought to comparative studies of white settler colonialism, this course will highlight the ways in which race has shaped and continues to shape African states and societies. Students will also consider film, literature, music, fashion, and studies of the built environment. Students who have not take African Civiliizations I, II, and III are asked to read African History: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, 2007) in preparation for this course.
NEHC 20602/HIST 25615 Islamic Thought and Literature II This course covers the period from ca. 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).
RLST 21430/HIST 27716 Religion and American Capitalism (W. Schultz) This course will introduce students to the intersection of religion and capitalism in the United States. Through a variety of primary and secondary readings, we will explore how religious people and institutions have interacted with, affirmed, and challenged American capitalism. We will pay particularly close attention to the alternative moral economics envisioned by religious communities in the United States. The first part of the course will provide a historical introduction to the interplay of religion and American capitalism; the latter part will deal with the role of religion in contemporary debates over work, sustenance, and inequality.
HIST 21404 Britain in the Age of Steam, 1783–1914 (F. Albritton Jonsson) In the Victorian era, Britain rose to global dominance by pioneering a new fossil-fuel economy. This course explores the profound impact of coal and steam on every aspect of Victorian society, from politics and religion to industrial capitalism and the pursuit of empire. Such historical investigation also serves a second purpose by helping us see our own fossil-fuel economy with fresh eyes through direct comparison with Victorian energy use. Assignments include short essays based on energy "field work" and explorations in past and present material culture.
ENGL 22250/HIST 22205 The Printed Book in the West: Evidence and Inference from Bibliography and Book History (M. Suarez, Chicago Visiting Scholar in Paleography and the Book) This hands-on seminar, conducted in the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, will teach graduate students and advanced undergraduates how to read the whole book (viz. paper, type, illustrations, bindings, mise-en-page) in order to understand the relationships between materiality and the making of culturally instantiated meanings. Understanding the book as a coalescence of human intentions, we will learn about the processes of making books from incunabula through the early twentieth century, with particular emphasis on the hand-press period (c.1450–1830). Students will learn the elements of bibliography (the formal analysis of printed artifacts) and be equipped to undertake bibliographical and book-historical research projects of their own. We will consider the central importance of such investigations for literary and historical scholarship, for the critical editing of texts, and for thinking about how we interrogate the past in a digital age.
HIST 22610 Paris and the French Revolution (C. Jones, Visiting Professor) The French Revolution is one of the defining moments of modern world history. This course will explore the mix of social, political, and cultural factors which caused its outbreak in 1789 and go on to consider the overthrow of the Bourbon monarchy in 1792, the drift towards state-driven Terror in 1793–94, and the ensuing failure to achieve political stability down to the advent of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. We will view these epochal changes through the prism of France's capital city. Paris shaped the revolution in many ways, but the revolution also reshaped Paris. The urbane city of European enlightenment acquired new identities as democratic hub from 1789 and as site of popular democracy after 1793–94. In addition, the revolution generated new ways of thinking about urban living and remodelling the city for the modern age. A wide range of primary sources will be used, including visual sources (notably paintings, political cartoons and caricatures, and maps).
HIST 23406 Gender and Sexuality in Modern Europe (M. Appeltová, Teaching Fellow) This course will introduce students to the key developments in the history of gender and sexuality in Europe from the French Revolution to the present. Topics will include, but are not limited to, the struggle for suffrage and other women's rights; gender and empire; the impact of WWI and WWII on gender and sexuality; the sexual revolution of the sixties; and gender in communist Eastern Europe. By examining a variety of visual and textual material—political pamphlets, medical literature, personal testimonies, posters, and films—students will explore the constructions of masculinity and femininity and sexual desire in a variety of domains, from political ideologies to everyday life. The course will show how categories of gender and sexuality change over time and not always in a linear fashion.
HIST 23614 Rethinking Europe through Romani Studies (R. Kimmey) This upper-level undergraduate seminar introduces students to historical and contemporary approaches to minority studies in Central and Eastern Europe. Our focus is the historical and everyday experience of Roma, whose status as a minority people, whether ethnic or national, will be the subject of careful consideration. Our scope is wide, both geographically (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union) and temporally (the late nineteenth century to the present). We will ask how did the making and remaking of European statehood and national identity transform Romani communities, their social life, and their political trajectories? How does this history continue to shape minority groups today, and what role have minority studies themselves played therein? How have Romani historians, politicians, and activists—members of the largest non-state ethnic minority in Europe—written the history of a European project that questioned and continues to question their legitimacy? Throughout, we will use archival, historical, and ethnographic methodologies to understand and question official and institutional accounts and uses of Romani identity. In doing so, we will center Romani accounts of European nationalism, the Holocaust, and the struggle for restitution in the postwar period and current debates over the crisis of European sovereignty.
CRES 24001/HIST 18301 Colonizations II This sequence meets the general education requirement in civilization studies. The theme of the second quarter is modern European and Japanese colonialism in Asia and the Pacific.
HMRT 24007/HIST 24516 Human Rights in China (J. Ransmeier & Teng B.) This seminar explores the diverse range of human rights crises confronting China and Chinese people today. Co-taught by Teng Biao, an internationally recognized lawyer and advocate for human rights, and University of Chicago China historian Johanna Ransmeier, this course focuses upon demands for civil and political rights within China. Discussions will cover the Chinese Communist Party's monopoly on power, the mechanisms of the Chinese criminal justice system, and the exertion of state power and influence in places like Tibet, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan, as well as the impact of the People's Republic of China on international frameworks. We will discuss the changing role of activism and the expansion of state surveillance capacity. Students are encouraged to bring their own areas of interest to our conversations. Throughout the quarter we will periodically be joined by practitioners from across the broader human rights community.
HIST 24107 Law and Society, China and Beyond: Using Legal Sources (J. Ransmeier) This course uses the robust field of Chinese legal history as a starting point for an examination of how historians have used legal records and documents to write different kinds of historical narratives. We will explore the intersection of law and society in modern China through both primary and secondary texts. While historiographic questions from the China field will arise, the class will also consider legal history ideas more generally. We will engage with debates about the role of civil law: How might more contemporary legal practices be a legacy of law or custom? How do societies' definitions of crime change over time. What role does the law play in shaping social attitudes toward different behavior?
HIST 24115 Japan's Empire (S. Burns) The Japanese empire has long been considered "anomalous" among other modern empires: it was the first modern imperial project undertaken by a non-Western nation, one that was (purportedly) based not on racial difference but rather on cultural affinity; one that positioned itself as anti-imperialist even as it was involved in colonization. Although the empire was short-lived, it continues to shape the geopolitics of East Asia today. With an aim to reassessing the "uniqueness" of the Japanese imperial era, this seminar focuses on key issues in the historiography of the Japanese empire through the critical reading and discussion of recent Anglophone works. Assignments: Weekly Canvas posts and final research paper.
HIST 24118 Aynu Civilizations (J. Ketelaar) This class examines the history of the Aynu peoples, the indigenous peoples of Japan. Particular focus will be given to their oral histories. Ability to read Japanese a plus but not required.
RLST 24402/HIST 22314 Religion, Writing, Revolution (M. Kelly) This course will attend to the role of religion in founding texts of self-government in early modern and Enlightenment philosophy. Starting with Hobbes and Locke, we will examine the relationship between the picture of religion and the grounding of government from philosophical, historical, and literary perspectives, following the logic of their relation, the historical context in which it takes shape, and the formal and rhetorical strategies of each text. We will next pursue these questions as we read Rousseau and his exchange with Christophe de Beaumont, the Archbishop of Paris. We will consider the mode of exchange that takes shape and its relation to the negotiations of religion and government, with attention to themes of the public, authority, and genre. Finally, we will read Hume, Jefferson, and Kant to examine the legacies of these texts for notions of revolution, the new ways we can trace the role of religion in public discourse, and the political stakes of these questions today.
HIST 24706 Edo/Tokyo: Society and the City in Japan (S. Burns) This course explores the history of one of the world's largest cities from its origins as the castle town of the Tokugawa shoguns in the early seventeenth century, to its transformation into a national capital and imperial center, and concludes in the postwar era as Tokyo emerged from the ashes of World War II to become a center of global capital and culture. Our focus will be on the complex and evolving interactions between the natural and built environments of the city and politics, culture, and social relations.
HIST 24908 Being Human: Paleoanthropology, Origins, and Deep Time (E. Kern) What does it mean to be "human," and how have different sciences been used at different points in time to answer that question? While the scientific discipline of paleoanthropology—the study of human evolution and the deep human past—only emerged at the start of the twentieth century, it grew out of both nineteeth-century investigations into mysterious stone tools and the fossils of strange prehistoric creatures and much older traditions about origins, creation, and the nature of human difference drawn from history, religious faith, and the mythological tradition. This seminar will explore the connected histories of paleoanthropology, prehistory, and the geosciences from the late eighteenth to the early twenty-first century, and consider how these sciences have been shaped by ideas about history, human nature, gender and race, and the earth itself.
RLST 25005/HIST 22109 Elective Affinities: Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure on the Return to God (W. Otten) The return to God (or reditus) is one of the central themes in medieval mysticism and in mysticism more generally. But return signals much more than a state of mystical contemplation. It involves finding a path back to God, not as an escape for human beings who find themselves in turmoil in the world but as a way for them to articulate where they find their true, spiritual home. Return is in many ways more about carving out one's intellectual trajectory than about the ecstasy of achieving actual union with God. Deferral and suspense are as important as consummation. Finally, return is the mirror image of procession, the path that creation follows once it is set in the world. To understand return then, one has to begin at creation. This course will interrogate Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure, contemporary scholastic thinkers with respectively a more Aristotelian and a more Platonic profile, on the theme of return, seeing it both as a theoretical construct or object and as the lens through which they approach theology.
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 figures considered are Gibbon, Kant, Humboldt, Ranke, Collingwood, Acton, Fraudel, Furet, Hempel, Danto.
HIPS 25212/HIST 25108 Scientism (P. Mostajir) Scientism is the controversial view that scientific methods are the best or only valid means for acquiring knowledge. The implications of this position are vast. If only science can provide knowledge, what are the arts and humanities contributing? If only scientific structures and categories adequately reflect reality, how should we understand human morality and culture? What does all this suggest about how we should determine public policy? While scientism is a topic of intense contemporary debate, it has a deep history in which its theoretical and practical components have evolved according to shifting intellectual, social, and political demands. We will explore debates on scientism and its cousin, positivism, throughout Europe and the United States in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries to better understand the many facets and consequences of this controversial viewpoint. A major question in this course is whether our historical analysis can provide insights (and perhaps solutions) for twenty-first century debates on scientism.
HIPS 25214/HIST 25105 Histories of Scientific Communication, 1650–1914 (Z. Barr, Social Sciences Teaching Fellow) In a 2004 address to the History of Science Society, historian James Secord exhorted his audience to play closer attention to what he called "knowledge in transit," meaning the practices and mechanisms that have historically served to circulate knowledge claims, arguing that "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 science. Each week we will examine a different form of scientific communication, ranging from the public demonstration to the scientific image, and analyze its role within a broader regime of knowledge production. In week three, for example, we will look at how the seventeenth-century experimentalist Robert Boyle was able to use a novel literary technology, the experimental report, to vouchsafe his controversial claims about the air pump; while in week seven we will look at the rise of the scientific paper in the nineteenth-century and analyze its role as both cause and effect of the increasing specialization and quantification of research.
HIPS 25215/HIST 25200 A Laboratory for the End of the World: Philosophy and Science in Fin de Siècle Central Europe (Z. Barr, Social Sciences Teaching Fellow) Throughout the fin de siècle period (1880–1914), academics, artists, and intellectuals across Austrian and Germany were convinced that they were in the midst of a radical—and not necessarily positive—cultural transformation. Perhaps most famously, the Viennese journalist Karl Kraus declared that prewar Central Europe had become "a laboratory for the end of the world." Although Kraus primarily had various aesthetic and sociopolitical experiments in mind when he expressed this apocalyptic sentiment, his remark was no less applicable to Germanophone science and philosophy, which were then experiencing a period of dramatic intellectual uncertainty and crisis stemming from the decline of traditional perspectives and the rise of new successors. The aim of this course is to explore these revolutionary changes in more detail.
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.
RLST 26302/HIST 24923 Religion, Medicine, and the Experience of Illness (M. Lambert) This course introduces the dynamic relationship between religion and medicine and the role of religion as it relates to the experience of illness. Students will evaluate how religion offers a pliable explanatory system (through myths, symbols, rituals, etc.) to address questions of causation, coping, and curing of illness. We will encounter examples where religion and medicine work in tandem as complementary explanatory systems, e.g., with devotion to holy figures such as Saint Jude. We will also discuss what happens when religion usurps the explanatory role of medicine, e.g., when the activity of spirits becomes the diagnostic explanation for a medical condition such as epilepsy. Drawing upon art history, medical anthropology, sociology, history, and theology, this course surveys the variety of responses to illness across religious traditions and within those traditions. Prior knowledge of religious studies or medical history is not required.
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. Yet the region's urban experience has generally been understood through North Atlantic models, which often treat Latin American cities as disjunctive, distorted knockoffs of idealized US or European cities. This class interrogates and expands those North Atlantic visions by emphasizing the history of vital urban issues such as informality, inequality, intimacy, race, gender, violence, plural regulatory regimes, the urban environment, and rights to the city. Interdisciplinary course materials include anthropology, sociology, history, fiction, film, photography, and journalism produced from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries.
HIST 27119 Radical America (J. Dailey) This course explores various sorts of radicalisms in America (religious, political, sexual, environmental) from the eighteenth century to the present.
HIST 27605 United States Legal History (A. Stanley) This course focuses on the connections between law and society in modern America. It explores how legal doctrines and constitutional rules have defined individual rights and social relations in both the public and private spheres. It also examines political struggles that have transformed American law. Topics to be addressed include the meaning of rights; the regulation of property, work, race, and sexual relations; civil disobedience; and legal theory as cultural history. Readings include legal cases, judicial rulings, short stories, and legal and historical scholarship.
HIST 27709 Soul and the Black Seventies (A. Green) This course considers in what ways soul as cultural genre and style shaped, and was shaped by the political, social, structural, cultural, and ethical shifts and conditions associated with the 1970s. It will focus on popular music as both symbolic field and system of production, while also taking up other forms of expression—literary, intellectual, institutional, activist—in order to propose an alternate, and compelling, archive for this era. The course intends to deepen understanding of the feel and meaning of soul by relating it to consequential legacies of the 1970s: urban identity and crisis, emerging limitations of racial reformism, the deepening class stratification of Black life, and the radical disruption of social norms through feminism, in particular Black feminism.
LLSO 28030/HIST 28305 Alcohol and American Society (R. Kaminski) Contests about America's political economy and legal regime had long been tied to alcohol policy and drinking culture when the Sons of Liberty made Boston’s Green Dragon Tavern their unofficial headquarters of the Revolution. Americans' drinking habits have remained a key battleground ever since. This class will explore major themes in the development of America's legal regime and its politics, economy, society, and culture from the colonial era to the present through the nation's relationship with intoxicating beverages. Topics may include rum's role in empire; the role of colonial tavern culture in the Revolution; persistent conflicts over taxation; ethno-religious conflict surrounding the temperance movement; the legacy of the common-law doctrines regulating public houses in civil-rights law; Prohibition and organized crime; the brewing industry's roles in finance, corporate consolidation, and labor struggles; the construction of homogenized consumer culture and the postmodern quest for "authenticity"; and the laws shaping craft brewing. Through discussions drawing on primary sources as well as history, social science, and law scholarship, we will analyze how Americans defined the bounds of the political community, individual rights, and state power. Students will build on these experiences for their final research papers, which will use primary sources to explore a subject of their choice related to these themes.
RLST 28447/HIST 25219 It’s the End of the World as We Know It: Apocalyptic Literature and Millenarian Movements (M. Cunningham) This course takes a cross-cultural approach to the study of texts and movements traditionally deemed apocalyptic or millenarian. We will focus the historical and cultural circumstances in which these texts and movements were produced andl cover a wide range of cultural and political contexts, including Roman-occupied Judea during the first century CE, the Xhosaland of southern Africa in the mid-nineteenth century, and the rise of QAnon in the twenty-first century United States. Our goals will be to think through various theories on why and how these texts and movements arose, to examine their internal logic and organization (especially focusing on their theology), and analyze the aftermath of failed expectations.
HIST 28703 Baseball and American Culture, 1840–1970 (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.
LLSO 29067/HSIT 27118 Christianity Confronts Capitalism: Natural Law, Economics, and Social Reform (R. Kaminski) Christianity's relationship with commerce was fraught long before the industrial era. After all, it upheld property rights alongside the poor's beatitude. Even as Marx declared religion the opium of the masses, Christian thinkers popularized ideas of social justice and the Social Gospel to critique the limits of laissez faire economics. This course will combine intellectual, social, and legal history to examine how various Christian traditions—and its revolutionary critics—have grappled with liberal capitalism. We will explore these traditions' competing visions of a moral political economy, how their adherents attempted to put them into action, and where these attempts placed them vis-à-vis society and civil authorities. After a brief unit on key Judeo-Christian texts bearing on political and economic activity, we will consider various churches' alternatives to liberal capitalism and revolutionary movements' materialism, including Catholic Social Thought from 1891's Rerum novarum to Pope Francis's Laudato si' and Abraham Kuyper's neo-Calvinist tradition. We will put these in dialogue with practical efforts from Social Gospel reformers, Catholic Workers, and Latin American devotees of Liberation Theology to Hobby Lobby or Chick-Fil-A's attempt at Evangelical business. Students will consider questions about the relationships between church and state, doctrine and practice, and natural law and the law of the market.
HIST 29433 Empire and Oceans: Colonialism, Anti-Colonialism, and Decolonization at Sea, 1700–Present (C. Fawell, Social Sciences Teaching Fellow) This course explores the making and breaking of modern imperialism in oceanic spaces. In case studies from across global history, students investigate struggles over maritime mobility and oceanic governance from the eighteenth century to the present, learning in the process how the land/sea divide shaped the course of colonialism, anti-colonialism, and decolonization.The maritime highways that connect the world are often imagined either as lawless spaces or as mere vectors between ports. Oceans, however, have historically been contested places, where culture, society, and politics take on novel forms.
Graduate Courses Open to Undergraduates by Consent
RAME 34900/HIST 47602 The Age of Walter Rauschenbusch: The Social Gospel (C. Evans) This course is a critical evaluation of the theological and social thought and the historical contributions of the Social Gospel, which is regarded as a relatively distinct effort to reform the American social, economic, and political order from the 1880s to the 1920s. We will explore a number of themes that preoccupied leading thinkers, including but not limited to the Kingdom of God, a critique of individualism, social solidarity, revisions of divine immanence or God's relation to the world, the person and ethics of Jesus, and human progress. These themes will not be treated abstractly, but as theological and social ideas regarded as instruments of concrete engagement with and attempts to transform America's increasingly urban, industrial, and pluralistic society. Particular emphasis is placed on the work and writings of Walter Rauschenbusch, a prominent Baptist preacher and church historian who provided a sustained revision of Christian social thought and a radical critique of capitalism and the growing power and influence of corporations in US economic and political life. Although primary focus will be on Protestant Christianity as the exponent of Social Gospel reform, some effort is made to understand how Catholics challenged and reflected some of these critiques of American society.
HIST 44003 Lost Histories of the Left (F. Hillis) When most Americans think about "the left," Marxism, Soviet state socialism, or European social democracy spring to mind. This class will explore alternative—but now largely forgotten—blueprints for revolutionizing the political and social order that emerged in the nineteenth century. We will pay special attention to utopian socialism, early anticolonial movements, the Jewish Labor Bund, and anarchism. Examining the intellectual underpinnings of these movements, their influence on the modern world, and the factors that led to their demise, we will also consider what lessons they can teach to those committed to realizing a better future today.
HIST 45300 Global Science (E. Kern) Is all science global, and if so, how did it get that way? Are some sciences more global than others? What has been at stake historically in describing scientific activity as variously local, transnational, international, or global, and how have these constructions influenced the historiography of the field? In this graduate colloquium, we will explore different approaches to writing and examining scientific knowledge production as a global phenomenon, as well as considering different historiographic attempts at grappling with science's simultaneously local and global qualities, poly-vocal nature, and historical coproduction with global political and economic power.