30000- and 40000-Level Courses

NEHC 30202/HIST 35622  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 30302  This is Sparta (or Is It?)  (J. Hall)  From Herodotos to Hitler, ancient Sparta has continued to fascinate for its supposedly balanced constitution, its military superiority, its totalitarian ideology, and its brutality. Yet the image we possess of the most important state of the Peloponnese is largely the projection of outside observers for whom the objectification of Sparta could serve either as a model for emulation or as a paradigm of "otherness." This course will examine the extant evidence for Sparta from its origins through to its repackaging in Roman times and beyond and will serve as a case study in discussing the writing of history and in attempting to gauge the viability of a non-Athenocentric Greek history.

NEHC 30602/HIST 35615  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).

GEOG 32101/HIST 37506  Changing America in the Last One Hundred Years  (M. Conzen)  This course examines the economic and social forces that have transformed the critical character and performance of the major regions of the United States since the 1920s, and how the interactions between regions has profoundly shifted. Emphasized are the ways in which socio-cultural, technological, and economic changes have played out differently across continental space and produced variable environmental consequences. An all-day field trip in the Chicago region visits sites that reflect some of the larger forces at work at the intra-regional scale.

HIST 32407  Medieval England  (R. Fulton Brown)  How merry was "Olde England"? This course is intended as an introduction to the history of England from the withdrawal of the Roman legions in the early fifth century to the defeat of Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in AD 1485. Sources will include chronicles, biographies, laws, charters, spiritual and political treatises, romances and parodies. Themes will include the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, the Viking and Norman invasions, the development of the monarchy and parliament, monastic, peasant, and town life, the role of literacy and education in the development of a peculiarly "English" society, and the place of devotion, art, and architecture in medieval English culture.

HIST 34000  God, Self, Nation, and Revolution in East European Jewish Life and Thought, 1850–1939  (K. Moss)  The course covers the history of the Jewish encounter with modernity on the fractured political, cultural, and social terrain of Eastern Europe. Both as members of a distinct ethnic, religious, and cultural group and as ever more differentiated and divided individuals, the Jews of modern Eastern Europe collectively generated many of the modern forms of Jewish identity, politics, culture, and religion—Hasidism and ultra-Orthodoxy, Zionism and Jewish nationalism, and Jewish socialism—while individually forging a bewildering array of syntheses, hybrids, and even negations of Jewishness in relation to the unprecedented political, cultural, and social dilemmas of Eastern European life. Key foci include religious and cultural transformations within Jewish life from the late eighteenth century, which gave birth to Hasidism, Orthodoxy, and a Jewish Enlightenment movement; the nineteenth-century encounter with the invasive reformism of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires and later with twentieth-century ethnonationalisms; the recasting of everyday life and identity in relation to imperial interventions, changing cultural norms vis-à-vis authority, tradition, and gender, and dramatic social and economic transformations in late nineteenth-century Eastern Europe; the formation of modern Jewish nationalism; encounters between Jews and East European socialism and social radicalism; the development of a secular Jewish cultural sphere and an opposing Orthodox counterculture locked in conflict with each other, with rampant assimilation, and with new kinds of popular culture; relations between Jews and the other peoples and cultures of Eastern Europe; Jewish prospects and predicaments in the postimperial nation-state.

HIST 34215  The History of the Book in East Asia: From Bamboo to Webtoon  (G. ReynoldsThis seminar offers an overview of the development and history of the “book” and its physical forms, broadly conceived, in East Asia from ancient times to the present. Drawing on recent scholarship, selected primary sources, and rare books housed within the library system, this course familiarizes students with the evolution of the book and methods of book production in China, Korea, and Japan, the principles and practices of material bibliography and the application of such to physical and digital objects, and selected topics salient to the social and cultural meanings of books: authorship, the book trade, reading, censorship, and more. Assignments include a short paper, a short presentation, and a longer final paper. All readings in English, but knowledge of East Asian history or languages helpful.

EALC 34501/HIST 34518  Women and Work in Modern East Asia  (J. Eyferth)  Worldwide, women do about 75 percent of the world's unpaid care and domestic work. They spend up to three hours more per day cooking and cleaning than men do and anywhere from two to ten hours more per day looking after children and the elderly. Women's underpaid work at home and in industry subsidized the early stages of industrialization in nineteenth-century Britain, early twentieth-century Japan, and contemporary China, and women's unpaid contributions to their households enable employers worldwide to keep wages low. We know, at least in outline, how women came to carry double burdens in Europe and North America, but little research has been done so far about this process in East Asia. In this course, we will discuss when and how China, Japan, and Korea developed a division of labor in which most wage work was marked male and reproductive work was marked female. Are current divisions of labor between men and women rooted in local cultures, or are they the result of industrial capitalist development? How do divisions of labor differ between the three East Asian countries, and how did developments in one East Asian country affect others?

HIST 34517  Taiwan in Asia and the World  (J. Ransmeier)  This course examines the distinctive history of the island of Taiwan, from seventeenth-century Spanish colony to outpost of the Dutch empire, from multiethnic pirate cove to Qing coastal fortress, from an essential point of origin for Austronesian languages and cultures to Japan's first model colony, and from decades living under martial law to today's vibrant democratically elected government. There may never have been a time when Taiwan's future was so heatedly debated, or viewed as so central to global politics, as it is at this moment. Readings spanning three centuries and an array of governing regimes. We will explore the historical arguments and narratives that constitute the cultural identity of this diverse and contested place. In addition to reading primary sources and historiography over the quarter, students will develop and share their own research. This will culminate with either a paper or public history project.

LACS 34700/HIST 36102  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 35025  Environmental Histories of the Global South  (E. Chatterjee)  Drawing on cases from Africa, Latin America, and especially Asia, this course explores key themes in the modern environmental history of the world beyond the rich industrialized North. Our investigations will focus on the ecological impacts of colonialism, war, and development, and how environmental management has helped to construct modern states and capitalist practices in turn. Ranging from the malarial plantations of the Caribbean to the forests of southeast Asia, we will analyze not-so-natural disasters like floods and chemical spills as well as the slow violence of deforestation and droughts. Combining primary sources with classic scholarship, we will encounter pioneering green activists like the original "tree huggers" of the Himalayas and environmental advocates for brutal population control. The course will conclude by examining the emergence of a newly assertive Global South in international climate negotiations, and its implications for the environmental history of our planet at large. The course is open to all, but may be of particular interest to students who have taken "Introduction to Environmental History."

HIST 35304  Goethe: Literature, Science, Philosophy  (R. Richards)  This lecture-discussion course will examine Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's intellectual development, from the time he wrote Sorrows of a Young Werther through the final stages of Faust. Along the way, we will read a selection of Goethe's plays, poetry, and travel literature. We will also examine his scientific work, especially his theory of color and his morphological theories. On the philosophical side, we will discuss Goethe's coming to terms with Kant (especially the third Critique), and his adoption of Schelling's transcendental idealism. The theme uniting the exploration of the various works of Goethe will be the unity of the artistic and scientific understanding of nature, especially as he exemplified that unity in "the eternal feminine."

HIST 36411  Literature and History in the Ibero and Ibero-American World  (M. Tenorio)  The course will explores the relations between literature writing (novels, short stories, poetry, essays) and history writing in the Ibero and Ibero-American world, from the 1800s to the 1970s. The focus will be on Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, Rio de la Plata, and Cuba. The course will deal with historical prose in its own language broth and with literature both as form of and evidence for history.

HIST 36500  History of Mexico, 1876–Present  (M. Tenorio)  From the Porfiriato and the Revolution to the present, this course is a survey of Mexican society and politics, with emphasis on the connections between economic developments, social justice, and political organization. Topics include fin de siècle modernization and the agrarian problem; causes and consequences of the Revolution of 1910; the making of the modern Mexican state; relations with the United States; industrialism and land reform; urbanization and migration; ethnicity, culture, and nationalism; economic crises, neoliberalism, and social inequality; political reforms and electoral democracy; violence and narco-trafficking; the end of PRI rule; and AMLO's new government.

HIST 37103  American Revolution in Global Context  (S. Pincus)  What happens if one thinks about the American Revolution as an event in global rather than national history? This course will introduce students both to the literature on global history and the historiography of the American Revolution. The bulk of the class will focus on primary materials and introduces various contexts for understanding the American Revolution, such as the Corsican Revolt, the Irish Revolution, the first Falklands Crisis, and the Túpac Amaru Rebellion, and the creation of British India. The course will also think about the global consequences of the revolution. Did the American Revolution change the course of global history? What were its social, political, and intellectual consequences?

HIST 37310  African American History, 1865–2016  (A. Green)  This class will introduce students to the key themes, events, problems and advances within African American history, after the end of slavery. Readings will include Reconstruction-era documents, Ida B. Wells, Ned Cobb, W. E. B. Du Bois, Howard Thurman, Septima Clark, Philippe Wamba, and Audre Lorde among others.

HIST 38301  Early American Political Culture, 1600–1820  (E. Cook Jr.)  This colloquium examines the culture and practice of political participation in early America, with a comparative look at early modern England. It traces the formation of a deferential, nonpartisan politics in the colonies, and its replacement in the Revolutionary era with politics that increasingly used political party as a means of democratic participation.

HIST 38802  United States Labor History  (A. Stanley)  This course will explore the history of labor and laboring people in the United States. The significance of work will be considered from the vantage points of political economy, culture, and law. Key topics will include working-class life, industrialization and corporate capitalism, slavery and emancipation, the role of the state and trade unions, and race and sex difference in the workplace.

HIST 39002  The Age of Emancipation  (M. Hicks)  Did the emancipation of millions of African-descended people from the bonds of chattel slavery—beginning with the 1791 slave rebellion in Haiti and ending with Brazilian abolition in 1888—mark the beginning of an irrevocable march towards Black freedom? Or was it merely an evolution in the continuing exploitation of Black people throughout the Americas? This course scrutinizes the complex economic, political, ideological, social, and cultural contexts that caused and were remade by emancipation. Students are asked to consider emancipation as a global historical process unconstrained by the boundaries of the modern nation-state, while exploring the reasons for and consequences of emancipation from a transnational perspective that incorporates the histories of the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa. By focusing on the ideological ambiguities and lived experiences of enslaved people, political actors, abolitionists, religious leaders, employers, and many others, this seminar will question what constitutes equality, citizenship, and freedom. Finally the course will explore what role emancipated slaves played in shaping the historical meanings and practices of modern democracy.

HIST 39522  Europe's Intellectual Transformations, Renaissance through Enlightenment  (A. Palmer)  This course will consider the foundational transformations of Western thought from the end of the Middle Ages to the threshold of modernity. It will provide an overview of the three self-conscious and interlinked intellectual revolutions which reshaped early modern Europe: the Renaissance revival of antiquity, the "new philosophy" of the seventeenth century, and the light and dark faces of the Enlightenment. It will treat scholasticism, humanism, the scientific revolution, Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Voltaire, Diderot, and Sade.

SCTH 40131/HIST 44900  The Unknown Future: Uncertainty and Prediction in Modern Social Thought  (J. Isaac)  This course examines the long struggle in modern social thought to cope with uncertainty. The very idea that the future is unknown or uncertain is a relatively modern one. We will consider the origins of the concept of the unknown future, and then consider a range of attempts to reduce the vagaries of chance and gain knowledge of that which has yet to be. Topics covered include the emergence of probability and statistics, changing conceptions of time duirng the Age of Revolutions, theories of historical progress, and radical uncertainty. Theoretical readings will include the writings of Reinhart Koselleck, Michel Foucault, and John Maynard Keynes.

HIST 49304  The Global History of Money  (J. Levy)  This course explores the last five hundred years of global economic history from the perspective of the evolving institution of money. After considering theories of money, we address the histories of three global currencies: silver, gold, and the US dollar. The course studies the role that silver played in the emergence of global capitalism during the European conquest of the Americas, given Asian demand for silver; the rise of the international gold standard in the nineteenth-century era of the Industrial Revolution, as well as the role gold played in the Great Depression; the role of the US dollar in the post–World War II international monetary system, as well as in the more recent era of globalization, including challenges today to the dollar's hegemony by other state currencies, as well as cryptocurrencies.


HIST 54700  Colloquium: European Cultural History, Nineteenth–Twentieth Centuries  (E. Gilburd)   This colloquium surveys key approaches to and topics in European cultural history. We will read "old" and "new" cultural histories; reflect upon cultural history's distinction from, and relationship to, other genres of historical writing; and consider a range of sources historians have used to write about culture. Our topics include power and ritual, everyday life, subjectivity, memory, popular culture and the media, generations and subcultures, cross-cultural interactions, cultural revolutions and culture in revolutionary times.

HIST 62602  Colloquium: American History II, from 1865  (J. Sparrow)  This course is a companion to American History I. It explores major problems and methods in the historiography of the United States since the Civil War. The central goals of the course are to provide a thorough immersion in the major historiographical developments in the field of modern US history; to cultivate students' ability to analyze important works of history and to synthesize patterns of scholarly intervention; and to help students develop their own analytical agenda and successfully articulate it in oral and written form. It combines the "classics," including period-based debates, along with more recent topical concerns. Major interpretive themes knit together scholarly concerns under rubrics such as national and global capitalism; the environment; migration and urbanization; citizenship, the state, democratic politics, and its many discontents; and the ways in which all of these intersected with contested grassroots struggles over class, gender and sex, race and ethnicity, religion and ideology. Readings will also grapple with major events, periods, and patterns, including Reconstruction and its collapse, the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, WWI, the volatile interwar period, WWII, the Cold War, the Vietnam era, the age of Reagan, and the post–Cold War world.

HIST 67603  Public History Practicum I  (A. Goff)  In this two-quarter course students will engage in the theory and practice of public history in partnership with organizations doing community-oriented work in a variety of areas. In the winter colloquium, we will read and discuss the theory and practice of public history as well as materials relevant to the projects you will pursue in the spring. In the spring practicum, you will work in groups of 3–5 directly with one of the partner organizations. All of the project-based work will be done collaboratively; working with partners means that there will be hard deadlines. Projects and coursework will be designed to be adaptable to current public health conditions. A showcase presentation of the projects is scheduled for the end of the spring quarter, by which time you will have become acquainted with current scholarship on public history and with experience in its actual practice. The final projects will be part of your portfolio and may be listed on your c.v. Consent only; email Prof. Rossi by 7th wk of Aut qtr (michaelrossi@uchicago.edu) if interested in taking the course. Partner organizations/projects will be advertised in advance of that deadline; an info session will explain the sequence's details. The Win qtr counts as a History grad colloquia. Every effort will be made to place students in their first choice of project; contact Prof. Rossi for further information. The course is open to PhD students in the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Divinity School at any point in their residency as well as to MA students.

Departmental Seminar

HIST 70002  The Departmental Seminar II  (G. Winant & T. Zahra)  The two-quarter History graduate seminar leads to the completion of the first-year research paper. In the winter quarter students will write and workshop their first-year research paper in concert with their peers and with an outside faculty adviser, aiming to create work that is important both to their chosen subfield and to at least some scholars beyond it. The seminar discussions will emphasize methods of historical inquiry and argumentation, as well as aspects of writing such as style, revision, and the use of evidence.  Students will be especially encouraged to develop their skills as generous and constructive readers of one another's work.