100 Level

100 LEC GLOBAL HISTORY (Ghamari-Tabrizi)

The main purpose of this course is to explain how the worlds we live in came about. Special attention will be given to the plurality of the “worlds” we live in by emphasizing that the present time was not the inevitable outcome of the unfolding of a presumed progressive internal logic of history. Although we will examine earlier points in the emergence of an interconnected and interdependent world during the long 12th century, the main focus of the class will be on post-17th century and the emergence of a new global world. This course will also highlight struggles and contestations of emerging world-orders in each period, giving voice to historical actors whose presence in history are often neglected.


This course treats the Spanish and Portuguese conquest and settlement of the Americas from 1492 to 1825.  It begins with an assessment of pre-Conquest American civilizations, Iberian background to expansion and the conquests of the Aztecs and Incas. In the main part of the course we will focus on several key issues for Latin America's fascinating and conflictive colonial world: indigenous resistance and adaptation to European domination; the role of race and ethnicity in the construction of colonial power; women in a multiethnic patriarchal colonial society; colonial land and labor systems, including the hacienda, plantation and slavery; colonial government; the role of religion and the Church:  colonial economies and their relation to the Spanish and Portuguese states; international rivalry, buccaneering, warfare and contraband.  The course concludes with the Eighteenth-Century reform efforts, anti-colonial rebellions and the revolutions for independence from 1810 to 1825.


Survey of the early history of the continent, nineteenth century developments, and the period of colonial occupation and independence, with particular focus on case studies from East Africa, South Africa and West Africa at the conclusion of the term.


Same As EALC 120

This course will introduce the students to East Asian civilization, as well as to ways through which one can examine and understand the historical roots of current affairs in and related to East Asia. The course will help students to explore not only the dramatic changes in politics, culture, and society during the past centuries, but also their impact on people’s lives in contemporary East Asia. We will learn how to use various sources, such as official documents, biographical literature, films, newspapers and magazines, to study two major themes: 1) Changes and continuity in Modern East Asia (with a focus on historical, social and cultural aspects); 2) East Asia in the world (with a focus on the encounters between East Asia and the West).

Students will be trained in not only accumulating and analyzing information from various sources about East Asia, but also research skills and methods, such as critical reading, independent thinking, academic discussion and writing, as well as group cooperation.


Same as ANTH 130

Meets with GWS 199

How did gender become the central means by which to organize other social inequities in India and South Asia?  What are the multiple possibilities that 'gender' as a unit of analysis brings to historical investigation, especially for the 'non-west'? Using a variety of sources, from memoirs, novels and films created by women, 'lower caste' people, gender/ sexual and religious minorities, this survey course focuses on the period of pre-colonial empires to the European conquest of the subcontinent, the rise of nationalism and the construction of modern nation states. Critiquing the growing violences of majoritarian religious and caste politics, the course teaches students to historicize the relationship between colonialism, internal and neo-imperialisms, and the very current role of 'tradition' in configuring the social, sexual and material history of South Asia.

140 WESTERN CIV TO 1660-ACP (Symes)

Please see course description for 141AL1

141AL1/LC WESTERN CIV TO 1660 (Symes)

Spanning over three thousand years of human endeavor, this course investigates some of the major events, ideas, developments, and crises which shaped societies from ancient Mesopotamia to early modern England.  It has two main goals:  to teach the basic elements of the historian's craft and to further students' understanding of the modern world's debt to the distant past. Interactive lectures will be supplemented by discussion sections focusing on the analysis of primary sources, encouraging a hands-on approach to working with historical artifacts. Evaluation will be based on attendance and active participation in class, two short papers, and the midterm and final examinations.

141AL1 WESTERN CIV TO 1660 (Koslofsky)

The emphasis in this Discovery Course is on discussion of primary sources with the professor in a small class of about 25 students. In History 141 we examine the political, social and cultural history of western civilization from antiquity to 1660. We will be reading primary sources from the ancient, medieval, and early modern periods, including the medieval heroic epic Beowulf (written c. 750), The Treasure of the City of Ladies by Christine de Pizan (1365-c.1429), and The Prince of Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527).

A course in the history of western civilization is an excellent opportunity for students to develop and master skills of reading, analysis, discussion, and writing which will be useful for a lifetime. The aim of this course is not to fill the student's mind with a mass of useless, quickly forgotten facts. Instead, in this course we will emphasize three skills: 1) careful and critical reading; 2) effective discussion, analysis and reasoning; and 3) clear and accurate written presentation. To build these skills, in each class meeting we will discuss primary sources - direct evidence from the past.

This course meets twice a week with the faculty instructor. Attendance is mandatory, and participation is a big part of your course grade. Requirements also include exams, essays, and weekly writing assignments.

141JR WESTERN CIV TO 1660 (Ramsbottom)

“Western Civilization” refers to the history and culture of Mediterranean peoples that later influenced the development of Europe up to the 17th century.  This course takes us from the very beginnings of large-scale society, through the rise and fall of classical empires, to the emergence of a militant Christianity in medieval Europe and its interaction with other cultures.  Especially in the contemporary world, “Western Civilization” has also come to mean a set of beliefs and practices that contrast with those of other global civilizations.  We will try to locate the origins of principles that are sometimes identified as distinctively “Western”: an emphasis on rational inquiry, a social hierarchy based on personal rights, and representative government.

Readings include a textbook, an anthology of primary sources, a collection of historical debates, and a short biography.  Students should be prepared to do a little writing every week and to work effectively in small groups.  Two hour tests, a short paper, and a comprehensive final exam

142H1,H2, H3 WESTERN CIV to 1660 (Esbenshade)

The West presents itself as the source of all progress and culture, a model for the rest of  the world to follow.  At the same time, in the last century it has produced two world wars and the Holocaust, while its wealth coexists with the poverty and misery of the Third World. What is the nature of this Western civilization, and how has it become what it is?   As the West came to dominate the globe, how did the experience of colonialism and imperialism fundamentally shape the West itself, and what was the effect of 20th century colonial independence movements? How did the rise of excluded groups- workers, women, Jews, peasants-and the ambivalent relationship with Eastern Europe figure in? We will end with the collapse of communism and the position of the New Europe in a globalized world: unified and progressive leader, `fortress' against immigrants,  or sidekick to a lone    superpower? There will be a focus on historical analysis of literature and other primary sources, on engaging with standard concepts critically, and on students expressing their views in section discussion and in clear, well-argued writing.  Students will emerge from the course with an understanding of key concepts of Western civilization-the Enlightenment, French and Industrial Revolutions, liberalism, Romanticism,  nationalism, socialism, modernism, fascism, Communism-but also with a sense of the West as a global creation.

142AL1 WESTERN CIV SINCE 1660 (Liebersohn)

We will be examining the development of recent Western civilization in this course -- the extraordinary transition from a world of peasants, artisans, and aristocrats to the democratic, industrial world that we inhabit today. What have been the driving forces behind the birth of the modern world?  How did liberty, equality, and fraternity become its watchwords, and what has been their fate?  These are among the central questions that the course will address. 

Although the focus is on Western Europe, we will also examine the impact of Europe on the rest of the world.  This is a course about politics: about the conflict-ridden emergence of modern democracies, their struggle against traditional authority and modern dictatorship, and their inner dilemmas as they have chosen among competing principles of liberty, equality, and community.  It is a course about people: some of them highborn and famous, like haughty Frederick the Great and passionate Mary Godwin Shelley, but also ordinary men and women -- peasants, slaves, artisans, factory workers, soldiers, and housewives.  We will consider how all of them shaped the world we live in today.   

143AL1 WESTERN CIV SINCE 1660 - ACP (Libersohn)

Please see course description for 142AL1

170 AL1 US HIST TO 1877 - ACP (Hoganson)

Please see course description for 171 AL1

171AL1 US HIST to 1877 (Hoganson)

This course serves as an introduction to U.S. history through Reconstruction. In a one-semester course covering such a broad time period, it is not possible to investigate every conceivable topic in great depth. Not only is the past an enormous topic, but it is a complicated one. Historians have to confront conflicting evidence, interpretations, and claims as to what was important. Hence, instead of aiming for “coverage” this course will aim for “uncoverage” -- that is, it will explore how historians pick their topics, find their sources, and transform their data into knowledge. But what will we uncover? Rather than focusing exclusively on U.S. political history, this course will strive to introduce you to recent historical approaches with a greater social and cultural history bent. And in pursuit of some thematic unity, we will keep revisiting the concept of freedom: how has it been understood over time? How have various individuals and groups struggled to obtain and redefine it? This course will meet for two lectures and one mandatory discussion section each week.

172AL1/LC US HIST SINCE 1877 (Oberdeck)

This is a survey of American history from the end of the Civil War to the Present. We will study the making of the modern U.S. as a diverse society and complex culture by examining social change, cultural experience, political and civic activity, as well as economic and environmental transformation. This complex history cannot be fit into a single, seamless narrative; instead, the story of modern America must be gathered from many, often inharmonious voices. In addition to offering a survey of the experiences these voices convey, the course will offer some introduction to the different ways that historians listen to and interpret them. In sections, students will have opportunities to discuss various historical interpretations and work directly with the “artifacts” of history--the primary sources that historians use to tell their stories of the past.

174A BLACK AMERICA, 1619-PRESENT (Millward)

Same as AFRO 101; See AFRO 101

History 174 traces the African American experience from 17th century west Africa to contemporary times. This course uses readings, class lectures, popular media and classroom discussion to offer a broad, yet critical, introduction to major currents in African American history.  Topics to be addressed include the following: (1) life in pre-colonial Africa; (2) African chattel slavery; (3) the Civil War, Emancipation, and Reconstruction; (4) Jim Crow segregation; (5) black community building and uplift; (6) the Civil Rights and Black Power movements; (7) the legacies of the post-Civil Rights era; and (8) contemporary themes in Black America.  Significant attention is given to Black women and gender dynamics, activism/resistance, community, and culture.


Topic: Global Encounters at the Movies

Global encounters. Global history. Movies. Films. This course pairs movies with readings on global encounters in different world areas at different points in time; often violent, sometimes not; people and cultures getting along sometimes, mostly not.


For history senior honors thesis writers only

200 Level


Topic: Crime in the Early Modern World

   What can the study of crime and punishment tell us about the past and about our present? This course will explore the range of behavior considered criminal in the early modern world (1450-1815) and how those definitions of crime changed over time and place. We will consider how different legal systems prosecuted crime and how those modes of prosecution varied. The class will also examine systems of punishment and how theories about punishment varied depending on religious belief and cultural values. Using a comparative approach we will study crime and punishment in early modern Europe, the near east, Asia, and colonial North America. The readings will include primary sources and published research on various aspects of crime and punishment. Assignments include response papers, a mid-term examination, and a research paper based on primary sources.


Topic: Engineering Change and Designing the Future

Technology is an intriguing object of inquiry for history. Producers of technology like engineers and industrial designers are defined by their material production rather than their written output. Therefore, technology’s history is signified more by reading artifacts than written documents. This course will focus on the various idea and debates within the history of technology concerning the roles that engineers and designers have played in shaping the modern world. The central questions this course will address are: Does technology drive history, or has history shaped technology? We will explore the ways that society, culture, and identity have informed technology’s complex history and examine the ways that engineers and designers produce material objects that influence social and cultural interactions. Course requirements include participation, leadership in class discussions, as well as a research project.


Topic: The History of Night, Medieval to Modern

The night has been associated with the extremes of human experience, ranging from fear to pleasure and from the carnal to the spiritual. Exploring the history of the night can open up a fascinating range of social and cultural topics, and place nocturnal events such as the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre (1572), the Boston Tea Party (1773), or Hitler's "Night of the Long Knives" (1934) in a new light.

This course will not attempt to chronicle all things done at night - it will instead examine changing attitudes toward the night and changing uses of the night from the Middle Ages to the present. We will consider representations of the night in words and images as well as nocturnal activities in daily life and in extraordinary situations. Topics will include sleep and dreaming, ghosts and witchcraft, violence, mysticism, street lighting, gender, night work, and nightlife.

We will read primary sources and published research on various aspects of the night. Assignments include short essays, a midterm, and a research paper.


Topic:  Likely Laborers: American Indians, Indentured Servants, African Slaves

When Europeans “discovered” and later settled in North America, they were faced with similar questions.  Who should populate the territory, and, even more importantly, who should do the work in the new land?  Should it be the indigenous inhabitants?  Should it be their own subjects who agreed to serve as indentured servants for a period of years in return for safe passage from Europe? Or, should it be African chattel slaves? Why was one group more likely laborers than the others?    What particular advantages and disadvantages did each population present in solving demands for labor? What were their experiences? With these questions in mind, this course is designed to assist students in learning how historians do what they do: that is research, interpret and analyze historical evidence.  We will read primary and secondary sources that interrogate exactly how and why indentured servitude and slavery developed in America.  We will also address how the experiences of indentured servants as well as Indian and African slaves shaped what becomes the United States.


Topic: Visuality

A picture may or map be “worth a thousand words,” but it’s never self-evident which thousand words they are. Pictures and their cousins, maps, that is, are representations that must be “read” with the same critical care given to written, verbal texts: Who is the “author” (“artist”; “cartographer”; “producer”)?What was the context of production and reception? What conventions of representation are built into the work? What are the limits of empirical and interpretive reading of visual texts? Initial examples will be taken from the rich archive of visual production in early-modern Japan, but students are encouraged to pursue the historical reading of the visual in their own areas of interest.

“Visuality” is a seminar focused on the theory, problematics, and practice of interrogating visual artifacts (paintings, prints, photographs) as historical document or source. We begin with some theoretical and methodological readings from history, art history, and criticism, etc., and from the history of cartography, before proceeding to implement those insights in individual research projects employing visual or pictorial “evidence” in historical interpretation. The instructor has focused in his own research on the “reading” or “textualizing” of Japanese paintings, prints, maps, and book illustrations, some of which will be presented in class; materials will be drawn from many other cultures as well.

Students will research and write original papers exploring the possibilities of reading the visual as historical text. They will keep course journals, and make class presentations of their research-in-progress.


Topic:  History and Film

This course uses film to introduce students to the stakes involved in historical interpretation. Using cinema allows visual sources to be combined in the mix with written materials that students will use to hone their interpretive skills. We will utilize films as primary sources, secondary sources, and to supplement written historical sources. The course is organized primarily as a series of case studies in film and history each with the aim of students developing their own structured historical interpretations in a series of written work. In addition, we will meet with library staff for a library tour and introduction to using library resources, including on-line resources. We will also read and discuss a select number of studies situated at the intersection of film and history.


Topic: Poverty

This course will introduce students to the discipline of history by studying a phenomenon that remains elusive even when we recognize it on sight: poverty.  We will begin with modern global examples that will help refine our definitions, and then we will examine the problem in various societies of the past, ranging from medieval Europe to 20th-century America.  We will explore the differing experiences of poor women, minority groups, and children.  In addition to history, readings will include the perspectives of journalism, economics, and anthropology as models for research that incorporates insights from multiple disciplines.

Requirements include a library visit, one short paper, a graded first draft of a research paper, and a final draft (20 pages).  Students should expect to participate actively in class discussion and to prepare for individual conferences with the instructor. 


Same as EALC 220

It is common knowledge that China has a history of several thousand years. This historical longevity of China, however, is often invoked to perpetuate images of the purported stagnation of Chinese society or to present as evidence for the traditionalist attitude of the Chinese in rejecting change and contact with foreign cultures. This course challenges you to find out for yourself what historical forces have allowed, as it were, this “living dinosaur” that is China, to defy the law of survival. Or is it in fact that the image of an unchanging China itself is an imaginary dinosaur, an obsession of ours that has continued to bring us back to the land of fantasy? This is a historical survey of Chinese civilization from earliest times to the mid‑seventeenth century. We will focus on those aspects of history and culture that illustrate the diversity and powerful intellectual, social, and institutional forces that had shaped Chinese civilization. You will learn about Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism and other important intellectual and religious systems. While you will be introduced to major enduring institutions such as the imperial bureaucracy, the family system, and the civil service examination system, special attention will be given to recovering the disruptive forces and contesting voices that were suppressed in the memory of traditional historiography.We will also examine major change in demographic, social, economic, and political patterns leading up to the early modern period. These changes will be examined in the context of global connections, highlighting the prominence of Chinese export trade in Eurasia and China's long history of intercultural exchange with foreign peoples. We will take on stereotypes about a stagnant, traditionalist, and monovocal China.Finally, we will stop at the historical juncture where the Chinese had to confront the growing presence and power of European civilizations in East Asia. No prior knowledge of Chinese history is required. There will be a mid-term, a term paper and a final.


Same as EALC 221

This course will lead us to an exploration of a culture and society very important in our global age. In this exploration we try to understand the life, history and values of the Chinese and, by way of this, also of ourselves, while appreciating the complex contexts of its enormous changes to become one of the most important economies of today. This course is a general introduction to the major themes of the Chinese Revolution from the 1840 to the present, emphasizing the interplays between politics, idea and culture in shaping the tumultuous history.  The themes will include the rise of an autonomous intelligentsia, the tension between cultural integrity and Western ideologies, the conflict between democratic participation and the tradition of centralized control, and the representation of national identity in high and mass culture.


Same as EALC 286

Introduction to the history of the Japanese people, their social and cultural systems, politics, and economy, from the mid-sixteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Same as EALC 227.


Same as MDVL 247

An introduction to medieval European history. We will be talking about invasions and conversions, kings and popes, plows and cannons, troubadour poetry and mystical visions, and many other aspects of life in Europe between the fifth and the fifteenth century. Requirements include class participation, a group debate project, ten brief "microthemes," a mid-term and a final exam.

250A WAR, MILIT INSTS & SOC TO 1815 (Lynn)

While the human race desires peace today, an iron chain of causation has bound it to the weapons of war for thousands of years.  History 250 asks important questions about the armed past:  how basic is war to culture, how have humans fought wars since the first tribes began to raid one another, and how have military institutions shaped the societies which they defend?  The attempt to answer these questions will benefit students specializing in history or preparing for a military career.  But the course is specifically designed to interest a wide range of students who simply want to know more about humankind.  This semester we will discuss land and naval warfare during the period from ancient Egypt to 1815, while the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are dealt with in History 251, offered during the spring semester

255A British Isles to 1688  (Hibbard)

Same as MDVL 255

THE BRITISH ISLES FROM STONEHENGE TO THE GLORIOUS REVOLUTION. An introduction to the study of history through the study of the British Isles in the Medieval and Early Modern period. Students are encouraged not just to "learn the facts," but also to consider the types of information available to students of history--archeology, art, literature, as well as more traditional documents. We examine questions of historical bias and interpretation. The reading includes short general texts, and a source book. This course will have one hour exam, a final exam, and short writing assignments, totalling 10-15 pp.


In this course we shall examine the major historical forces--political, intellectual, economic, social and cultural--which have shaped the world in the second half of the twentieth and first years of the twenty-first centuries. In other words, the aim of the course is to move behind today’s headlines and to offer a series of longer-range, in-depth perspectives on the world we live in. As such, we shall range rather widely over the intellectual landscape drawing on the insights and contributions of other disciplines wherever helpful in addition to history. We will also use films to convey a sense of the present and last half century.

In the first part of the course, we shall survey the background leading up to the Second World War, including Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany, and the rise of Japan. We shall then turn to the Second World War considering the impact of total war, the Nazi extermination of the Jews, and the beginnings of the Cold War. Next we shall examine rather extensively the demise of European colonialism and national independence in the Third World, focusing on the Algerian Revolution, followed by the Chinese Revolution and the war in Vietnam. Next we will turn to the discussion of the 1960s in Czechoslovakia, France and the United States. We will spend the final part of the course discussing the revolution of 1989 in eastern Europe, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the world after 9/11.


A broad exploration of the emergence and development of modern science and the modern scientific world view in the period from Copernicus to Lavoisier. Course treats the role of intellectual, cultural, and social factors in the rise of modern science, as well as of extra-scientific trends, including magic, religion, and technological change. Topics include ancient and medieval precedents; the work of major figures such as Galileo, Kepler, Harvey, Newton, and Lavoisier; the philosophies of Bacon and Descartes; the magic of Paracelsus; as well as patterns of professionalization and institutionalization from the 17th century.  Requirements include two hour-exams, short paper, and final exam. Regular attendance is required.

269A JEWISH HISTORY SINCE 1700 (Avrutin)

Same as RELST 269

The nineteenth and twentieth centuries witnessed a profound transformation of Jewish life, culture, and religion.  Jews emerged out of their “ghettos” and enjoyed unprecedented economic and professional success throughout the “long” nineteenth century.  These transformations included changes in every facet of life – from occupations and residence, family life and marriage, as well as religious behavior and social integration.  Yet Jewish modernization differed from region to region and was imbued with profound contradictions and tensions.  What did it mean to be a Jew in the modern world?  How were Jewish identities redefined in response to the social and political opportunities, as well as the hostilities and hatreds, of the modern age?  How did the Holocaust realign the political and cultural geographies of Jewish life?


History of Chicago and Illinois from prehistoric times to the present, illustrating the jarring conflicts and great achievements of peoples from all over the world. Politics, economics, popular and high culture, education, mass media, racial problems, and ethnic diversity are especially featured. There is an emphasis on the relation of city, state, and region to one another.


Same as LA 242, RST 242, NRES 242; See RST 242

The course develops an appreciation and critique of cultural meanings related to American natural landscapes.  Traditional perspectives including colonial American, romantic, and science-based conservation are characterized, as well as revisionist themes that criticize wilderness, align with gender and ethnic perspectives, and point towards a land ethic for everyday living.  The implications of diversity in cultural meanings toward nature support concepts related to community-based conservation that fit a multicultural society.

285A US GENDER HISTORY TO 1877 (Pleck)

Same as GWS 285

This course aims to introduce students to changing ideals and life experiences of American women from the period just prior to the arrival of European explorers to the Civil War.  The readings draw on primary sources and historian's interpretations to emphasize the work, family, and political activities of American women, within the context of larger changes in colonial America and the United States.  These larger changes include colonialism and European settlement, the role of Enlightenment ideas, the growth of an industrial economy, the expansion of slavery, and the rise of nineteenth century reform movements.  Students will learn to think critically about historical arguments and the use of evidence.


Topic: Memory & the Construction of Identity & Culture

Memory is fundamental to the construction of identity, indeed of culture itself. Without memory, knowledge cannot extend over generations, even minutes. In a time when scholars are pursuing links between collective and individual trauma, or the relationship between post-traumatic stress and the so-called recovered memories in studying events such as the holocaust or September 11th, memory issues often take center stage. The subject has long been an active concern in different disciplines, including history, cognitive and neuro-psychology, medicine, computer science, literature, and a number of the arts. Only recently have a handful of scholars begun to offer interdisciplinary consideration to such topics as external memory (e.g., archives, museums, and monuments), computer memory, collective memory, nostalgia, the role of narrative in memory, memory distortions, extraordinary memory, forgetting, trauma, repressed memory, autobiographical memory, memory and the self, motor and performance memory, and the biology of human memory.

This course is designed as a participation-intensive seminar that offers undergraduates the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary study and research involving memory. Most of the early classes will be devoted to discussing a particular memory theme based on assigned readings. Later classes will focus on student research, presented initially to classmates and later to the attendees of an informal student memory conference open to the public. Class visits are planned from other faculty who work on memory in different disciplines.

Students will write a short essay on one of the readings and a longer paper on their research project. Their research project, on some question of memory that interests them (e.g., the formation of a “flashbulb memory” by an event such as September 11, or “repressed” memories of early trauma, perhaps created artificially through interview questions) will be the most time-consuming part of the student's course work. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their research project, presented in written and oral form, their shorter essay, and their engagement in class discussions.


Topic: Civil Liberties and Fear of Subversion Since World War I

This Campus Honors Program seminar investigates the character of American political tolerance and freedom in times of crisis, through an intensive analysis of a series of case studies that contextualize today’s civil liberties atmosphere: images of the American enemy in wartime; the Red Scare (1919-1920) after WWI; the incarceration of Japanese-Americans and other actions at odds with World War II’s reputation as “The Freedom War”; McCarthyism; and resentments generated by protest movements in the late 1960s.  The post-9/11 so-called “war on terror” demands that we confront the issues of citizenship, subversion, civil liberties, and the imperatives of imposed political orthodoxy.  Are “witch hunts” manipulated for political or economic gain, are they rational responses to real danger, or are they fundamentally “irrational”?  Who are the victims and victimizers in assaults on subversive conspiracies, and how and why did the composition of these groups change during the 20th century?  Who really has hated us for our freedoms?   Attacks upon “outsiders” and unorthodox ideas raise these interpretive questions in a country that celebrates the principle of free debate.

This seminar offers a chance to “do” history, to develop a sense of historical context that gets beneath the surface of customary understandings. Contemporary events will be used to help frame historians' opposing interpretations of past "witch hunts" and a range of related primary sources, including a photocopied documents collection of public opinion polls, internal government memoranda, propaganda posters, Congressional hearings and speeches, and magazine articles.  In addition to exploring these sources, members of the seminar will complete a number of short and medium-length reviews and essays staking out their positions on major issues of the course.

300 Level


Same as MDVL 346 and RLST 346

This is an introduction to the cultural history of Europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. We will begin with some background study of the political and cultural meanings of the term “Renaissance.” This will involve an assessment of how learning, science, technology, and new cultural ideals changed art.

From there, we will proceed to an in-depth study of the social and political contexts for Renaissance culture. We will consider the nature and the purposes of the arts in three different types of settings: at monarchical courts (Charles V), at papal courts (emphasis on Julius II, Leo X, and Clement VII), and in independent cities (Florence and Nuremberg). Our goal here is to learn about the major sources of patronage as well as the social and political functions of art; the focus on specific settings will also help us appreciate cultural diversity and distinctiveness.

We will conclude with a consideration of some cultural tensions in the Renaissance, including a few issues that were profoundly problematic (Christianity and humanism; Renaissance learning and Judaism; and the status of women in the context of the elevation of “man”).


Material on electronic reserve.

-Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince. Second edition. Translated and edited by Robert M. Adams. New York: Norton.

-More, St. Thomas. Utopia. Second edition. Translated and edited by Robert M. Adams. New York: Norton.

-Paoletti, John T., and Gary M. Radke. Art in Renaissance Italy. Second edition. Upper Saddle River, N. J.: Prentice Hall, 2002.

-Rice, Eugene F., Jr., and Anthony Grafton. The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460-1559.  Second Edition. New York: Norton, 1994.

-Shakespeare, William. Shakespeare's Sonnets. Edited by Stanley Wells. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1990. 


-Burke, Peter. The Italian Renaissance: Culture and Society in Italy. Second Edition. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1999.


This course will examine the processes of centralization, state-building and colonial expansion in Europe from 1648 to 1789.  It will consider the rise of "absolutism" in light of current historical debates, as well as the alternate political systems that developed during the period.  Throughout the course, we will view politics in the context of overall changes in the economy, society, culture and colonization. One of our main goals will be to assess the evolving relationship between politics and ideas, starting with religious justifications of power and ending with the Enlightenment attack on "depotism."  We will also examine aspects of ordinary people's daily lives, including popular culture, family, gender, sexuality and work.

353A EUROPEAN HISTORY 1918-1939 (Fritzsche)

This course will explore the birth of the twentieth century in the crucible of war and revolution.  We will look at the new regimes of fascist Italy, Soviet Russia, and Nazi Germany, the idea of the modern in the arts and technology, and the impact of war and depression on ordinary lives.  Sexual mores, week-end entertainments, and popular culture will concern us as well.  Attention to the political paralysis and civil wars in the years before World War II will conclude the course.

354 EUROPEAN HISTORY SINCE 1939 (chaplin)

Topic: Contemporary France

For centuries, France has symbolized the height of European culture. Stereotypes about France and the French abound; it is the country of rude waiters, of beautiful women, of magnificent châteaux. France is renowned for its wine, cheese and haute couture, for its intellectuals and films, and for its crowning glory, Paris— the "City of Lights." With its revolutionary, intellectual and cultural traditions, France has long influenced and fascinated both America and the world. However, over the course of the twentieth century, French dominance waned. How do we explain the changing status of this once invincible nation? From World War II and the Vichy regime, through occupation, collaboration and resistance, from marxism and intellectual "mandarins" through the politically fragile Fourth Republic, from decolonization and Gaullism through student revolutions and sexual revolutions, and from the theoretical battles over feminism, structuralism and poststructuralism, to the geographic battles over immigration and race, from modernization and technological change to globalization, we will study the history of modern France with an aim towards understanding France’s shifting identity in the postwar world. Does France continue to influence the course of world events? If so, how? To what extent are the stereotypes that we hold about France and the French grounded in reality?  What makes the French "French"? By examining the events, ideas, people and institutions that have shaped the French nation over the course of the last sixty years, we will formulate responses to these and other questions. The historical analysis of film, music and television as well text-based sources shall constitute an integral aspect of our work.


Same as PHIL 317; See PHIL 317

This course is a survey of science and philosophy of science from the 6th century BC to the 17th century AD. We will begin with philosopher/scientists of ancient Greece whose writings have survived only in fragments (Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Pythagoras, Philolaus, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, and Democritus), then proceed to more extended discussions of selections from Euclid, Plato, Aristotle, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Bacon, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. One focus of the course is to compare philosophers' theories of scientific reasoning with the arguments used by scientists. All readings are from primary sources. Grades will be determined by three 50-minute short-answer exams.


This course explores technology as a transforming force in modern society. We will examine a number of technologies -- including the stirrup, heavy plow, iron stove, telephone, bomber plane, telephone, radio, television, transistor, computer, and atomic bomb -- that opened new realms of human possibility, while closing others. We will analyze how such innovations, as part of technological systems, affected society and culture, restructuring economic and political life and realigning values. The later part of the course will focus on America’s transformation from wilderness to metropolis and take a critical look at the popular myth of “technological progress” in the age of nuclear power and electronic information.

Besides mid-term and final exams, students will write a short paper and a somewhat longer paper on particular technologies of interest to them.

372A AMERICA'S REPUBLIC, 1789-1861 (sampson)

This course focuses on the search for answers to some of the important questions about the history of the American republic from its founding through its early developmental period. Among the questions posed are how, having rejected the authority of government, could governmental authority be re-asserted after the Revolution? Could people accept a nationalist concept of America when for so long they defined themselves by their locality? Why did the American republic become a democracy and how did democracy change the republic? Could republican principles survive in a market-driven society? How did Americans live with the paradox of believing their society was the best ever devised and, at the same time, worried that it would destroy itself?


Topic: Origins of the Civil War

This course examines changes in economic, social, cultural, and political life in the United States that ultimately plunged the nation into the bloodiest and most important war in its history, a war that finally abolished slavery in the United States. Particular attention is paid to the way in which diverse segments of the country's population – North and South, urban and rural, rich and poor, slave and free, black and white, male and female – affected and were affected by the processes that led up to this war


This course follows American responses to domestic and foreign challenges, from capitalism's seeming economic collapse in the 1930s to post-WWII visions of an American Century to post-9/11 efforts to shape a new world order through a war on terrorism. A course covering the past three-quarters of a century amply illustrates James Baldwin's claim that "the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do." This course therefore confronts such subjects as the social movements (with special emphasis on Black Freedom struggles) that sought to bring change; the presidential leadership strategies (from Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt through George W. Bush) that sought to direct and/or control it; the evolving manifestations and distributions of power in American society; the effects of anti-communist crusades at home (McCarthyism) and abroad (origins, evolution, and transformation of the Cold War); the long-term impact of the New Deal welfare state and cultures of consumption; and engagements with American dilemmas of race, ethnicity, feminism, and the culture war legacies of the 1960s. Assessment will be based primarily on a midterm, a final, participation in class discussion and a website discussion board, and a 10-page argumentative research paper, each asking students to stake out their own positions on the historical issues threaded through the course.

400 Level


Same as EALC 421

Although the title is social-economic history of modern China, this course is on the interplay between politics and culture in shaping the development of China from 1800 to 1980.  During this tumultuous period, one revolution followed another, and the socio-cultural life was torn by constant conflicts between old and new.  In this course, we will explore both the different modes of historical narrative of modern China and the different ways Chinese people responded to and grappled with their history.  The course will be divided into two parts:  lectures and class presentations.  In lectures, we will focus on such themes as imperialism and semi-colonialism, modernization and nationalism, culture and control, the conflict between democratic participation and political centralization in the Nationalists’ and Communists' nation-building projects.  And for class discussion, all students are required to read novels, memoirs, and movies.


Same As CWL 478, EALC 476; See EALC 476

If the intellectual cultures of the Greeks, the Romans, and the Christian religion have given shape to what is known as the European civilization, the various classical traditions of ancient China played a similar role in laying the cultural foundations of China. This course will examine in depth the major intellectual and religious traditions of ancient China from the twelfth century B.C. (the Shang dynasty) through the third century when the Han dynasty collapsed. We will study the major thinkers of Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism, etc. In addition to the study of the peculiar and common issues, and the shared concerns of the major thinkers, we will examine issues that concern us today. For example, we will analyze texts for issues that bear upon gender relations, cultural identities, and the relationships between self, family, and society. We will also address specific questions regarding difference factor in Chinese culture. For example, did ancient Chinese develop logical methods of thinking? What is the impact of the characteristics of the peculiar writing system on Chinese thinking? This is a lecture course. Students are required to read translations of the original texts. Participation in discussion sections is essential. Students who have taken a 100 or 200 level course in Chinese culture or history are eligible to enroll. There will be a mid-term, one 5-6 page paper, one 15 page term-paper, and a final.


Same as RLST 442; See RLST 442

This course will investigate the history of Judaism from Ezra to the rise of Islam.  It will focus on the following topics:  Hellenism and Judaism, varieties of early Judaism, Palestine Judaism and its documents, Babylonian Judaism, the Rabbis, and popular Jewish culture.


Same as ANTH 403, GLBL 403, GWS 403,

 and RLST 403; See RLST 403

This course examines the gender ideologies and social realities affecting the lives of women in various Muslim countries. We will begin with the ideological foundations, paradigmatic female figures, and historical precedents of early Islam, as well as the status of women in Islamic law and the potential for reinterpretation of Islamic law. From there we move to ethnographic studies and first-person accounts of contemporary women in several countries, the processes of social change and emergence of feminist movements, the rise of political Islam, and the challenges posed to women’s human rights in the Muslim world.


Same as AFST 437

What images do you associate with the name “Egypt”? Maybe pyramids, mummies, sand, and camels? If so, consider yourself normal. And, consider this course an opportunity to discover and to understand the modern society in this ancient land. Egyptians have experienced a vast number of social, economic, political, cultural and ideological shifts during the past century. The political system has gone from colonial rule to constitutional monarchy, to a single party state under Nasser, and then back to a multi-party system in the past 25 years. There were parallel changes in the economic system, from a market economy to “Arab Socialism” and then Sadat’s “Open Door,” structural adjustment and privatization. Throughout this era Egyptians have debated what kind of society they wish to live in as well as what their identity as a nation is, and the options raised have run from religious reform and revivalism to secular Egyptian and pan-Arab nationalism. We will also approach social life through literature representing successive generations of writers.


This course introduces the history of one of the great imperial formations of the early modern and modern period, which had long-standing repercussions on the development of Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.  It covers the whole span of Ottoman history, and will pay special attention to some of the following problems: the political rise of the Ottoman state since the thirteenth century and how it became an empire, its social and   administrative structure, the classical Ottoman economic system, Ottoman impact on the societies, politics, economies and cultures of Byzantium and the medieval Balkan states, the spread of Islam in Europe, the transformations of the Ottoman polity and society and aspects of what has been conventionally named as Ottoman decline, the Eastern question in international relations, the modernizing reforms of the nineteenth century, and the spread of nationalism as a prelude to the final demise of the supranational empire in the twentieth century

440 ROMAN REPUBLIC TO 44 BC (Mathisen)

The course will examine the rise of Rome from a village to a small city-state on the banks of the Tiber River to the greatest power of the Mediterranean world, and the effects that this transformation had upon Roman society and institutions between the years 753 B.C. and A.D. 14.


Same as MDVL 444

England was the first European country to be united in pretty much its modern outline; but despite this precocity, its relations with neighboring Wales, Scotland and Ireland were often troubled, and it was not able to dominate all these areas. Why this was the case is one of the questions we will consider in this course, which covers the social and cultural as well as the political history of England from the fifth through the fifteenth century. We will also look at England's relations with the rest of Europe, and with the Mediterranean in the age of Crusades. Students will learn how historians use various sources to create a picture of English medieval life: art, architecture, literary and documentary evidence. In addition to the textbook, we will read and discuss some primary sources, including a medieval life of Alfred the Great, and several historians' works on both the nobility and the common people. Student participation in discussion is welcomed, and indeed expected. Grading is based on participation in class including in a debate, a comparative book review, a midterm exam and a final exam; all exams are primarily in essay format.

452 WAR & SOC IN EUR 1540-1815 (Lynn)

This course explores in detail the development of military institutions, practices, and writings from the Renaissance through the French Revolution.  The nature and process of military change – the Military Revolution – will be a particular focus.  We will approach subjects in more depth and detail than in History 250.  Students will be expected to master one topic and present that to the class late in the semester.  Classes will concentrate on discussing assigned readings, so enrollment is limited to 35 in order to facilitate that discussion.  There are no special prerequisites, but History 250 is very useful background.

455  FRANCE, 1815-1920 (Micale)

Topic: Fin-de-Siecle France

This is an upper-level undergraduate course about the political, social, and cultural history of France during the exceptionally rich years of 1870-1914. Topics include: the growth of French parliamentary democracy; the Franco-German rivalry; workers and strikes; the Dreyfus Affair; socialism, anarchism, and feminism; the world of the cafes; crime and disease; and the advent of World War One, as well as such purely cultural topics as the building of modern Paris; Impressionism in music and painting; the decadent movement in literature; the struggles of the artistic avant garde; and the beginnings of French cinema.


Meets with RLST 458; See RLST 458

This course examines the complex relations between Christians and Jews in Europe from the high Middle Ages through the Enlightenment. Among our topics are the religious and social roots of medieval persecutions of Jews; the history of Jewish banishments; construction of myths to foment hostilities; Renaissance humanism (especially the Christian absorption of Jewish scholarship); the impact of the Christian reform movements—both Protestant and Catholic—on the status of Jews; mercantilism and re-admissions of Jews; and the emergence of a discourse of religious tolerance in the Enlightenment.


A study of political and economic development and of changes in social structure and intellectual and cultural life as the region moved from medieval to modern forms and made the transition from Ottoman Turkish domination to independent statehood. Among the subjects to be investigated are Ottoman institutions and the effects of Ottoman political and economic predominance south of the Danube (the Serbs, Bulgarians, Greeks, and Albanians) and to the north (the Romanian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia; Transylvania) in the eighteenth century; the rise of national consciousness, the emergence of modern elites, and the struggles for independence and the processes of nation-building in the nineteenth century; the role of the great powers (the Habsburg Monarchy, Russia, France, Great Britain, and Germany) in the region; and ideologies of development (liberalism, conservatism, agrarianism, and socialism) and the acceptance and rejection of Europe as a model. All of this leads to a consideration of fundamental questions: Why did Southeastern Europe follow a course of development different from that of Western Europe? Are we justified in treating the region as distinct from the rest of Europe; and, if it is distinct, what were the qualities that defined it? There will be ample readings, including literary works, and a research paper.


Same As AFRO 460; See AFRO 460

This writing intensive course’s goals include fostering the ability to think and write and reason historically. In particular it encourages students to think carefully about primary documents (sources from the period) and to consider what they tell us about slavery. Some reading of historians will also be undertaken, but the emphasis will be on your ability to create, reason and communicate, orally and in writing. Intellectually we will be exploring the possibilities of doing what an older generation of scholars called history-from-the-bottom-up (and what more recently has been called subaltern history). That is, we will attempt to learn the history of slavery from the slave’s point of view, while recognizing that the sources for doing so are often few and problematic. Attendance is absolutely required in this seminar. A series of short papers (total: 20 to 25 pages) requiring no research beyond course readings is required.

483 RACE & SCIENCE (Fouche)

Same As AFRO 466; See AFRO 466

This course will be to address the myriad ways race interacts with scientific and technological artifacts, practices, and knowledge within American society and culture.  Some of the issues this course will address are: how science and technology are deployed and used for racial ends; how racial beliefs and ideologies are “built” into science and technology; how the interaction of race, science, and technology shapes the built environment; how science and technology privilege certain racial communities in America. Course requirements include participation, leadership in class discussions, as well as a research project.  

495 HONORS SEMINAR (Avrutin)

Topic: Antisemitism

This course analyzes the history and politics of “Jewish” hatred from medieval to modern times.  Although throughout European history Jews tended to live in stable and relatively peaceful environments, short periods of crisis tended destabilize stability and create a context that fostered various forms of hatred directed towards the Jews.  Why did hatred of the Jews emerge?  How did antisemitism changed according to specific historical contexts?  The first part of the course analyzes the transformation the shift that took placed from anti-Judaism (a hatred that was fundamentally religious in meaning) to antisemitism (a hatred that was imbued with biological and scientific meaning).  The second part of this course analyzes antisemitism in a comparative context (comparing antisemitism with other forms of hatred through time and space).


Topic: Orientalism and Its Critics

This course explores different ways through which western observers have depicted non-western societies since the advent of the Enlightenment. The class will examine these depictions, generally known as Orientalism, in different genres of scholarly investigations, artistic/cultural productions, and political relations. Students are required to conduct original research to develop a critique of an orientalist literally, artistic, or scholarly work.


Topic: Women Write India

All too often History is understood as ‘Knowledge of the Past’, contained in text books, and controlled by a male scholarly class. But the questions relevant to history have been explored by others, and not necessarily through the protocols of footnotes, citations and archives. In this course we look at a wide range of texts produced by women in India and its diaspora, texts ranging from novels, films, and poetry to history, ethnography and autobiography which grapple with the fundamental themes in the history and culture of the modern world. Indian women have produced startling critiques of the nexus between culture, knowledge and labour. Whether it is through discussions of war, sexuality, caste, art, gender, imperialism, maternity, travel, employment or the law (to name a few) Indian women writers have presented richly coded analyses of the past and its relationship to social transformation. We will spend the first 2 weeks of the semester building background knowledge on Indian and women’s history, so it is not expected that students have prior course work in either field.


Topic: The French Avant Garde

This undergraduate seminar studies a sequence of historical episodes in modern French cultural history that characterized the emergence of a formal artistic and intellectual avant garde. The course will examine the publication of Gustave Flaubert's novel Madame Bovary, the publication of Charles Baudelaire's poetry collection Les fleurs du mal, the staging of the first exhibition of Impressionist paintings, the construction of the Eiffel Tower, the appearance of Henri Bergson's first work of philosophy, the controversy surrounding the sculptures of Auguste Rodin, and the performance of Igor Stravinsky's ballet Rite of Spring in 1913.


Topic: Women Candidates for US President

In 1872 Victoria Woodhull ran for U.S. president. This and subsequent campaigns of women for president and vice president of the U.S. have offered a glimpse into U.S. attitudes toward race and gender. So, too, have the multiple films with women cast as the president or vice president of the U.S. There will be a few shared readings and short papers on films and readings. Then students will begin primary research projects, generally based on analysis of online newspapers. The point of readings and class discussion is not to impart a point of view. The main focus of the class in on producing a scholarly paper based on original research in primary sources.


Topic: Americanism + Anti-Americanism, 1890-1990

This class examines Americanism and anti-Americanism as ideas and practice from the late nieteenth century until the final decade of the twentieth. We will examine the contested formulations of being an American as well as the opposition that those concepts have evoked. Part of this exploration will take place through shared readings and short papers. The main goal of the class will be the construction a scholarly paper of 20-25 pages related to the course topic and based upon primary source research.


Topic: Nation and the Geographical Imagination

This course will examine and develop a new field at the intersection of Nationalism Studies, World History, Intellectual and Cultural History. Descriptions of our geopolitical reality—from ‘the West’ and ‘the East’ down to continental signifiers (‘Europe’, ‘Asia’, ‘Africa’), along with newer terms such as ‘the global South’—are purportedly based on geography but evoke so much more than mere location: civilization, backwardness, poverty and hopelessness, solidarity and shared oppression, etc. At the same time, nationalism has always had an ‘imagined’ component, that situates the Nation in terms of the kind of ‘symbolic geographies’ that have so often characterize our thinking about the world. We will ask questions such as: what makes a nation ‘Western’ or ‘Eastern’, or ‘European’ or ‘Asian’; when are such geographical tropes invoked; by who and to what ends? After spending the first part of the semester in shared study of this evolving field, students will pick a national context they are familiar with or interested in and produce an original research paper. Some possible areas of exploration are the idea of ‘Manifest Destiny’ in the US; Argentina as the ‘most European’ nation in Latin America; the French as a ‘Gaulic’ vs. a ‘Frankish’ people; the idea of Israel as a ‘European nation’ located in the Middle East; the valence of any of the ‘East European’ nations between ‘European’ and ‘Asiatic’; China as the ‘Middle Kingdom’; or the Japanese conception of an ‘Oriental Empire’, to give only a few.


Topic: The Body in Western Christianity    

Does the body have a history?  And what, if anything, does that history have to do with religion?  This course will explore changing ideas about physical pain and pleasure, eating and fasting, bodily emissions of various kinds, sexualities, reproduction, death and resurrection within Christian communities in Western Europe and America, from the beginning of the Common Era through the Middle Ages and into Modern Times.

500 Level


Topic: History of Travel

This seminar offers an introduction to the ways scholars are thinking about the phenomenon of travel in a historical perspective. It will survey the ars apodemica, or "art of travel" in antiquity, the medieval and early modern period, and will focus on the rationale and mechanisms of travel from the Enlightenment to the present. Key topics we will consider are the delineation of types of travel in different periods according to a variety of characteristics: motives, provenance, social class, duration, means of transport, etc. Others include aspects of the role of travel as a method of research, i.e. the accumulation and systematization of descriptive and evaluative knowledge through travel for the formation of new disciplines and genres in the humanities: anthropology, sociology, political science, comparative history, literature, etc. We shall explore different regions of "discovery"--Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Southern and Eastern Europe, finally Europe as a whole and North America itself, and will deal with questions of representation. Special attention will be devoted to the problem of women travelers and their work. Throughout, our central objective will be to attempt to evaluate travelogues as historical sources.


Meets with AFRO 597EM

"The Making of the Modern African Diaspora "

This is a readings class on the historiography on the making of the African Diaspora from c. 1500 A.C.E. to the present. The class will examine the dispersal of African-descended people across the globe (the Americas, Europe, and Asia) and their crucial role in the making of the modern world. Topics will include pre-colonial African history, slavery and abolition, "Age of Jihad," colonialism, Black nationalism and Pan Africanism, religion, Harlem Renaissance, Négritude, post-WW II anti-colonial movements, Civil Rights-Black Power, and modern Black Feminism.

Interdisciplinary in breadth, a premium will be placed on understanding methodological and theoretical approaches and problems for critically appreciating the histories and cultures of African-descended people through the lens of diaspora. Special attention will be given to appreciating African-descended women's experiences as well as to the emergence, contours, and changes over time of diasporic feminism(s), Black nationalism, radicalism, and internationalism (Pan Africanism, Communism, etc.) Students will also acquire a familiarity with the history and culture of Africa, particularly of West and Central Africa.

Readings will include classic and recent scholarship related to the field by Boubacar Barry, Kim Butler, W.E.B. Du Bois, Michael Gomez, Brent Edwards, C.L.R. James, Claudia Jones, Robin D.G. Kelley, George Padmore, Ula Taylor, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, amongst others. The course will also use fiction, memoirs, film, and music. Assignments will consist of weekly response papers, two book reviews, and a final interpretative essay. If successful, this class should be very useful for students interested in researching and teaching in the disciplines of Black/African Diaspora Studies, Women's Studies, History, English, Anthropology, Educational Policy Studies, and Cultural Studies.


Topic:  Comparative Nationalism: Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Kurds

A study of the nature of nationalism based on a comparison of nation-building in the Habsburg Monarchy (Romanians, Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, and Ukrainians) and in Southeastern Europe (Bulgarians, Serbs, Croats, and Greeks) with a similar process in Central Asia (Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tajiks), and among the Kurds. Attention will be given to theoretical questions about national consciousness and nationalism, the role of intellectuals and and other classes in the process of nation-building, and the relationship between nationalism and religion (Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Islam).   Readings will be in English, and, if desired, in other languages.


Meets with Hist. 572C; Same as GWS 501

Topic:  History of Reproduction and Sexuality

The history and theory of reproduction has been an important area of feminist scholarship.  Early feminist theorists and women’s movements identified the female capacity for reproduction as a crucial arena for defining power, for struggles over equality, and as sites for state intervention.  Through the topic of reproduction, broadly defined, this course will introduce students to important themes in women’s history, the history of sexuality, and the history of medicine as well as to a range of historical theories, methods and sources.  Topics likely to be covered include feminist theories of reproduction, history of childbirth, midwifery and obstetrics, birth control, eugenics, adoption, maternal and infant health, sterilization, reproductive justice, and reproductive technologies.  Attention will be paid throughout the course of power relations and the ways in which gender, class, and race have shaped the history of reproduction and sexuality in policy and practice.

Likely texts include: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale; Mary E. Fissell, Vernacular Bodies: The Politics of Reproduction in Early Modern England; Leavitt, Brought to Bed; Scheper-Hughes, Death Without Weeping (Brazil); Ellen Ross, In Love and Toil; Gordon, The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction; Gordon, Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right; Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime; Angela Davis; and many more.


Topic:  Recovering the Voices of the Colonized: Trends in Latin American Ethnohistory

Using Latin American ethnohistory as our lens, this course introduces students to the methodologies, theories and problems of researching and writing the history of colonized peoples. Covering topics such as sexuality, gender, religion, law, politics and economics, we will examine how native societies changed from the initial contacts (1492) to Independence (1820s). Geographically, we will range from the Brazil to the Andes to northern frontier, and will investigate the experience of native people in the colonial centers as well as their peripheries. Going beyond dichotomized paradigms of victors/vanquished, we will study native people as they reacted to, interacted with and acted on the imperial system. In essence, this course will provide students with a broad overview of the rich and growing field of colonial Latin American ethnohistory. In addition to being useful to those pursuing research on Latin America, the course will be of value to students interested in the history colonized people, more generally


Meets with HIST 527A/EALC 527A

Topic: Early Modern Japan: Recent Scholarship

Recent scholarship on early-modern Japan--from the mid-sixteenth century to the mid-nineteenth--will be the focus of our reading in HISTORY/EALC 526. Some scholars have challenged the rubric “early modern” as applied to Japan; brought to bear new theoretical models or methodologies; and raised challenging questions about the ethnic, geographic , or political definition of “Japan” in these centuries. We will read and debate a selection of important monographs and articles published in the last five years, crossing a number of sub-specialities--including law, literature, religion, and art history. Each participant will write a historiographical essay on the state of the field in areas of early-modern Japanese history of their interest. No reading knowledge of Japanese is required.


Meets with HIST/EALC 526

See Course Description for HIST 526


Topic: Family, Gender and Law in the Middle East & North Africa

“The family” is widely regarded as a crucial factor in “the structuring of economic, political, and social relations” in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), but this topic has only recently begun to attract the attention of historians of the region. From the beginning, modern social constructions of the family in MENA have been entangled with constructions (or reconstructions) of the nation and gender. Legal systems were reformed to bring them into conformity with European norms, literally resulting in the creation of  “family law,” which has become an arena in which conflicts over the roles of woman and the family are fought. We will begin with big-picture comparative and foundational works, and work our way through a series of topics. Chronologically, we will range from issues in the pre-modern era to looking at the recent trend of reform in the personal status laws of several MENA countries


Topic: Religion in Late Antiquity: Conversion Councils and Canon Law

This seminar will investigate topics in the religions, both Christian and pagan, of Late Antiquity (roughly AD 250-750). Discussion and research projects can include matters relating to pagan-Christian conversion, the survival of traditional religions, late Roman philosophy, the development of Christian thought, Christian heresies, religion and politics, gender in religion religious literature, the role of church councils, the evolution of canon law, and the significance of material culture (art, architecture, manuscripts, etc.)

551B PROB EUROPEAN HIST SINCE 1789 (Liebersohn)

Topic: Core Course in Modern European History

This course is an introduction to some of the major debates in Modern European History.  Its purpose is not to be “comprehensive,” an illusory goal for a one-semester course of this kind.  Rather, the intention is to bring students into some of the major discussions that have structured historical writing since 1945 and continue to serve as reference points and stimulate controversy today.  These debates are the keys that can guide you to an intelligent use of the historiography of modern Europe.

552D EUROPEAN SEMINAR SINCE 1789 (chaplin)

Topic: Explorations in Media History: Intellectuals and the Media in Europe and Beyond

Modern intellectuals are social actors whose ideas and arguments are transmitted to the public through an increasingly wide array of national media, from books, journals and newspapers, to radio, television and film.  Since the Dreyfus Affair when Emile Zola’s editorial in the daily press on behalf of a falsely accused military captain spawned the first usage of the noun “intellectual,” the figure of the politically committed intellectual has been a critical feature of modern society.  Taking intellectual interventions in the media as our sources this course will span from the 1890s to the present and from Europe to the United States and beyond.

Together we will examine how politics drew intellectuals out of the university and into the press; look at the novel as a form of intellectual activism; trace the effects of publishing houses, marketing and advertising on intellectual production; and explore the impact of audiovisual media on intellectual spheres of power.  We will also be asking a series of questions about the changing relationship between intellectuals and their chosen means of expression.  Are intellectuals bound to text and the book, or did the advent of radio, television, and film provide new forums for intellectual discourse?  In what ways do different nations support or inhibit intellectuals’ access to media?  Does media celebrity corrupt intellectual scholarship?  How might the choice of media employed affect intellectuals’ social and political impact?

Readings will be drawn from Umberto Eco, Vaclav Havel, Pierre Bourdieu, Bruce Robbins, Theodore Adorno, Simone de Beauvoir, W. H. Auden, bell hooks, Régis Debray, Antonio Gramsci, Czeslaw Milosz, Jean-Paul Sartre and Hannah Arendt.  Television, film and radio sources may incorporate footage from PBS, interviews with Michel Foucault and Noam Chomsky, Edward Said’s radio series on intellectuals for the BBC and broadcasts on National Public Radio.  Students will be expected to produce a historical research paper working comparatively with at least two media forms.


Topic: Early Russian History in Comparative Perspective

In the sixteenth century, the monarchies of central and west Europe encountered and ‘rediscovered’ the Principality of Moscow, at precisely the time when all these polities were beginning a period of unprecedented imperial expansion and development into modern states.  How alike were these polities at the time of their encounter? What drove their subsequent imperial expansion, and how did it effect their subsequent development?  What sort of society did Russia become under the double pressure of expansion and encounter?  How did its expansion effect European societies, cultures, and states?  This course, as it surveys fundamental problems in early modern Russian history, will attempt to answer these questions.


Topic: Late Imperial Russia

Major themes in the history and historiography of Russia from the early 19th century through the revolution of 1917. The course focuses on the exercise and justifications of authority, intellectual and cultural trends, and social life. Central to the course are questions of historical methodology and theory as well as of the interpretation of the Russian past. The emphasis is on examining new work in the field. Themes to be explored include the imperial autocracy, empire and nation, self and collectivity, political ideology, reform and revolution, rural society, industrialization and urban life, cultural innovation, popular cultures, religion, social conflict and cohesion, and family and gender.

572A PROB IN US HIST SINCE 1815 (Hoganson)

Topic: The United States in the World

This course, inspired by the cultures of U.S. imperialism and internationalizing U.S. history movements, considers the United States in world context.  Readings explore such topics as big history, the Atlantic world, borderlands, comparative history, empire, transnationalism, migration, ethnic studies, cosmopolitanism, Americanization, Orientalism, militarization, and globalization.  We will discuss the imperial turn, recent critiques of the nation-centered historiographical tradition, the relevance of postcolonial theory to the United States, the new diplomatic history, and the relation between U.S. history and world history as we consider multiple ways of framing historical narratives in our self-consciously global age.  The course will be run as a problems class.  

572C PROB IN US HIST SINCE 1815 (Reagan)

Meets with Hist. 503A

Topic:  History of Reproduction and Sexuality

The history and theory of reproduction has been an important area of feminist scholarship.  Early feminist theorists and women’s movements identified the female capacity for reproduction as a crucial arena for defining power, for struggles over equality, and as sites for state intervention.  Through the topic of reproduction, broadly defined, this course will introduce students to important themes in women’s history, the history of sexuality, and the history of medicine as well as to a range of historical theories, methods and sources.  Topics likely to be covered include feminist theories of reproduction, history of childbirth, midwifery and obstetrics, birth control, eugenics, adoption, maternal and infant health, sterilization, reproductive justice, and reproductive technologies.  Attention will be paid throughout the course of power relations and the ways in which gender, class, and race have shaped the history of reproduction and sexuality in policy and practice.

Likely texts include: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale; Mary E. Fissell, Vernacular Bodies: The Politics of Reproduction in Early Modern England; Leavitt, Brought to Bed; Scheper-Hughes, Death Without Weeping (Brazil); Ellen Ross, In Love and Toil; Gordon, The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction; Gordon, Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right; Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime; Angela Davis; and many more.


Topic:  Problems of the Second American Revolution

The Civil War era (defined as stretching from the origins of the sectional conflict through the end of Reconstruction -- approximately 1820-1880) constituted the most important turning point in U.S. history. The output of modern scholarly writing on that era and its multiple aspects and implications has been enormous. New questions constantly arise and controversies steadily proliferate and deepen This seminar will take a critical, in-depth look at key topics in the historical understanding of this pivotal era.


Same as AFRO 501; See AFRO 201

Topic: Class Politics and Black Community

This course explores the evolving and complex history of class relations among African Americans during the "long" twentieth century. It examines the multiple processes through which black working and middle classes were formed and transformed over time. Of particular interest is the development of an impoverished and marginalized black "underclass" at the same historical moment that a post-Civil Rights black professional class has matured. This course revolves around several questions and themes: What is class, and how do we define its relationship to race as a set of conditions and form of identity? How are racial-class politics gendered? What, if anything, distinguishes a black working class from a black middle class? Are the lines of demarcation fixed, or are they subject to recomposition? Are the differences cultural, political and ideological, or merely economic? How have class interests influenced conflicting concepts of black leadership, and shaped competing racial agendas among African Americans? Finally, how are class relations in black communities shaped by external, as well as internal, factors?


Meets with AFRO 597EM

Topic: "The Making of the Modern African Diaspora "

This is a readings class on the historiography on the making of the African Diaspora from c. 1500 A.C.E. to the present. The class will examine the dispersal of African-descended people across the globe (the Americas, Europe, and Asia) and their crucial role in the making of the modern world. Topics will include pre-colonial African history, slavery and abolition, "Age of Jihad," colonialism, Black nationalism and Pan Africanism, religion, Harlem Renaissance, Négritude, post-WW II anti-colonial movements, Civil Rights-Black Power, and modern Black Feminism.

Interdisciplinary in breadth, a premium will be placed on understanding methodological and theoretical approaches and problems for critically appreciating the histories and cultures of African-descended people through the lens of diaspora. Special attention will be given to appreciating African-descended women's experiences as well as to the emergence, contours, and changes over time of diasporic feminism(s), Black nationalism, radicalism, and internationalism (Pan Africanism, Communism, etc.) Students will also acquire a familiarity with the history and culture of Africa, particularly of West and Central Africa.

Readings will include classic and recent scholarship related to the field by Boubacar Barry, Kim Butler, W.E.B. Du Bois, Michael Gomez, Brent Edwards, C.L.R. James, Claudia Jones, Robin D.G. Kelley, George Padmore, Ula Taylor, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, amongst others. The course will also use fiction, memoirs, film, and music. Assignments will consist of weekly response papers, two book reviews, and a final interpretative essay. If successful, this class should be very useful for students interested in researching and teaching in the disciplines of Black/African Diaspora Studies, Women's Studies, History, English, Anthropology, Educational Policy Studies, and Cultural Studies.

597P READING COURSE (Oberdeck)

History 597P is intended for History Graduate students who entered the program with a BA.  It may be taken once during a semester immediately prior to your preliminary examinations.

597S READING COURSE (Crowston)

Topic: Approaches to History

This required course for entering history graduate students offers an initial foray into historiography, methods, and conceptual approaches for students in all fields. Assigned materials, class discussions, and assignments will prepare students for the second-semester required research seminar.