100 Level

100 1 GLOBAL HISTORY (Ghamari-Tabrizi, B.)

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.


Course description not available at time of publication.

110AL1 HISTORY OF AFRICA (Brennan, J.)

This course offers a survey of Africa's history from human origins to the present day. We will examine the development of agriculture, cities, religion, technology and trade in pre-colonial Africa. We will then examine the growing Islamic presence in Africa after ca. 700, and the effects that the growing European presence had upon much of the continent after ca. 1500 through the rise of the Atlantic slave trade, agricultural exchange, and growth of Christianity, with an emphasis on African appropriation and agency. We then turn to the commercial and religious revolutions of the 19th century that upset social orders across the continent. The course explores the origins and effects of European expansion into Africa during this period, culminating in the 'Scramble for Africa' during the late 19th century. We next examine the decades of colonial rule during the 20th century and the wide-ranging economic and social transformations that it brought. We conclude with a survey of post-colonial Africa. Through lectures, readings, discussions, and films, we will examine the continuities and changes in African culture, economy, and society.


Same as EALC 120

This course introduces some of the common ideas and institutions that link China, Korea, and Japan in a broadly shared, regional civilization, as well as the distinct culture and institutions each has developed for itself. We will focus on two historical processes: First, the making of a “civiliza­tion,” a broad cultural system spanning East Asia, in which classical Chinese civilization, language, and culture were key common elements within each of the cultures of the region, and the interplay of indigenous values, social practices. And second, unique historical developments in each of these countries that have produced their distinct cultures within the broader civilization. We will examine major themes in the civilization of East Asia, that is, and in the principal cultures of which it is comprised—China, Korea and Japan —from earliest times to the modern age. 

While we will cover the broad range of political, socio-ecomomic, and cultural developments, our main focus will be on the common values, practices, and ideas that make for a civilization, working from both mod­ern texts, and materials that contemporaries wrote (or painted) them­selves, including contemporary philosophical and historical materials, diaries and belles-lettres, religious or political tracts. Our hope is to understand not just “what happened,” but how people of various stations in life—from aristocrats and emperors, to peasants and pirates—experienced the world around them. To that end, our principal supplementary readings are literary works. The Analects of Confucius has been a central, canonical text across East Asia; The Gossamer Years is the memoir of a 10th-century aristo­cratic woman; the late 18th/early 19th-c. Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng, whose husband had gone mad; The Death of Woman Wang focuses on the lives of ordinary Chinese women of the Qing dynasty (1644- 1911); and Musui’s Story is the autobiography of a 19th-c. samurai whose life story may upset all your preconceptions about what it meant to be a ‘samurai.’

Our goals for History/EALC 120 include developing both a knowledge and understanding of the major trends, processes, and value systems characterizing the cultures comprising East Asia, on the one hand, and an appreciation for the methods and practices of history as a discipline and approach to human experience, on the other.


Same as ANTH 130

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.

140AL1 WESTERN CIV TO 1660-ACP (Symes, C.)

Please see course description for 141AL1.

141AL1 WESTERN CIV TO 1660 (Symes, C.)

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.

141JR WESTERN CIV TO 1660 (Ramsbottom, J.)

“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.  The course is organized around a series of controversial questions, ranging from the role of women in Christianity to the impact of the West on other cultures.

Readings generally 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 participate in class discussion.  Multiple online quizzes, two hour tests, a short paper, and a comprehensive final exam.

142AL1 WESTERN CIV SINCE 1660 (Chaplin, T.)

This course is intended as an introduction to the major questions and concepts in modern European history from the late seventeenth century to the present. Over the course of the past three and a half centuries, European development (cultural, economic, political, and intellectual), has had an enormous impact on shaping the world we live in today. European history has also been vital to the creation of what we think of as identity: how we define and describe ourselves, and how we define and describe others. This semester, while learning how events, ideologies, and isms (nationalism, imperialism, fascism, feminism, etc.) have contributed to the evolution of European history, we will be paying particular attention to the exploration of one central concern: the construction of our own uniquely modern identities. What motivates us to act in the ways that we do? What kinds of experiences have led us to adopt particular political and religious beliefs? What types of knowledge guide our perceptions concerning others and ourselves? Our goal will be to learn what it means to think historically about the connections between the development of modern Europe and the development of the modern individual. The historical analysis of music, art and film as well as textual sources will be integral to our work.

142BL1 WESTERN CIV SINCE 1660 (Esbenshade, R.)

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 short essays.  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.

143AL1 WESTERN CIV SINCE 1660-ACP (Chaplin, T.)

Please see course description for 142AL1.

170AL1 US HIST TO 1877 - ACP (Hoganson, K.)

Please see course description for 171AL1

171AL1/DIS US HIST TO 1877 (Hoganson, K.)

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 introduce you to recent scholarship in social and cultural history. The lectures and textbook will provide context for the main readings:  primary documents.  These include short texts published in a documents reader and a collection of longer classics in U.S. history, including Cabeza de Vaca's 16th-century exploration account, Mary Rowlandson's 17th-century captivity tale, Benjamin Franklin's 18th-century autobiography, and Frederick Douglass's 19th-century narrative.  In pursuit of some thematic unity, we will keep revisiting the concept of liberty: how has it been understood? How have various individuals and groups struggled to obtain it? This course will meet for two lectures and one mandatory discussion section each week.

But what will we uncover?   That, too is a matter of contention.  To help provide some context for my lectures, I have selected a text book with a political and social history bent that emphasizes the theme of liberty.  But political and social history are not the whole story.  To give you a better sense of the breadth of historical research, my lectures go beyond political and social history to introduce you to environmental, economic, and cultural approaches.   The third significant component of the class (besides the text book and lectures) consists of primary source readings.  Many of these documents are short ones, found in the Voices of Freedom collection, but I have decided to take a great books approach this year and assign some longer classics in U.S. history.  We will mine these texts for insights into the authors and their times.

172AL1 US HIST SINCE 1877 (Oberdeck, K.)

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 lectures and discussion 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.


Topic: Gender, Autobiography and Contemporary Southern Africa. 

Meets with GWS 295TB.

This course will introduce students to contemporary history and politics in two southern African countries - South Africa and Zimbabwe - through the writings of some of its famous and not-so-famous sons and daughters.  We will read and analyze autobiographies from across political and racial boundaries. With the help of some literary theoreticians of the autobiographical genre, we will ask questions about life-writing, and the development of national and personal identities in times of turmoil and transition.


Topic: Senior Honors Thesis

A required seminar for all seniors writing honor theses in history, this course will meet bi-weekly throughout the year and will supplement individual students' meetings with their primary advisors. Its purpose is to provide an intellectually supportive environment in which students work together on common methodological problems, share the results of their research, and critique developing projects.  Hours TBA.

200 Level


Topic: Family, Gender and Law: Transitions, East and West

The past two centuries have witnessed multiple changes in the way families are formed and dissolved, the way families are idealized, and the way law regulates family life - around the world. This course takes a comparative approach to some of these changes in Europe, America, the Middle East and Asia.


Topic: U.S. Covert Operations in Latin America

The United States has long-held interest in Latin America and has taken deliberate steps to direct politics and political outcomes in a number of Latin American states.  This course examines the history of U.S.-Latin American relations, with a particular focus on the use of covert operations by the United States during the 20th century.  The bulk of the course will focus on three key cases:  Guatemala (1944-1954); Cuba (1959-1961); and Chile (1963-1973).  Readings and lectures will guide students through specific scholarly questions and debates regarding revolutions and coups in Latin America, private economic interest and U.S. foreign policy, the place/role of Latin America in the Cold War, and empire.  This course is designed so that students undertake the processes involved in researching and writing history.  In so doing, students will gain expertise in assessing evidence, including conflicting evidence, and in developing strong arguments in written work.


Topic:  Children

This seminar-size class will explore how historians have described and studied the lives of children in the past.  This is a challenge, because children, by nature and circumstances, leave little direct evidence of their thoughts and actions.  The course will approach this topic through the history of the family and work, the requirements of religion, law, and government, and, wherever possible, records constructed from the perspective of children themselves.  Examples will range from ancient Western societies to the twentieth-century United States.

Students should be prepared to read carefully, to discuss critically, to participate in class presentations, and to undertake their own investigation of a subject related to the course.  The main written assignment is a research project (two drafts, about 15 pages).  There will also be a midterm exam and occasional online activities.


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: Race and the City

In the 1880s, the demographic profile of the U.S. population shifted from a predominantly rural to urban. This shift would continue apace over the next several decades as cities became increasingly the place where the majority of Americans lived as well as the location where immigrants received their introduction to U.S. society. Cities thus developed their own series of problems as both a physical place and as an imagined space where immigrant and native-born residents, in some cases also recently arrived, sought to make community, pursue work in the industrial sector, and strove to make the city “home.” Indeed, from the late 19th century through the mid-twentieth century, the city gained the attention of Progressive reformers who sought to address problems caused by urban life, urban planners sought to revive the feeling of community through design, and various ethnic and racial communities who attempted to maintain the integrity of their cultures in the midst of Americanization efforts.

Focusing mainly on Chicago, this course examines this history by examining the formation and development of urban communities by various racial and ethnic groups in Chicago during this span. Assigned materials will also explore theories and paradigms, past and present, about the various social, economic, and political forces that shaped the formation of these communities and what that says about these groups specifically and about the “city” as a particular space within American life and cultural imagination. We will also engage questions of historical interpretations: How do historians use evidence to build an argument? How do we place historical scholarship in conversation with one another? Finally, this class is intended for majors who are ready to think critically about history. It will be taught in a discussion-based format, with a heavy emphasis on student participation. Assignments will include journal writing, a series of response papers (3-4 pages), and a final paper assignment (10-12 pages).


This course examines the history of Eastern and Southern Africa from the 19th century up to the present day. We will examine the social, economic, and cultural dynamics of African and settler societies over this period by focusing on themes such as slavery, commercialization, colonialism, urbanization, Christianity and Islam, anti-colonial rebellion, African nationalism, and the nature of post-colonial politics. We will read primary sources in the form of extracted documents and novels, as well as secondary sources in the form of books and journal articles. The course devotes equal time to lecture and discussion.


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.


The course will examine the political, social, economic, religious, and cultural development of Rome and the Romans from the founding of Rome, ca.753 BC, until the fall of the western Roman Empire, ca.AD 480.

255A BRITISH ISLES TO 1688 (Hibbard, C.)

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 a text book and a source book. This course will have one hour exam, a final exam, and short writing assignments, totalling 10-15 pp.

258A  20THC WORLD TO MIDCENTURY (Prochaska, D.)

In this course we shall examine the major historical forces--political, intellectual, economic, social and cultural--which have shaped the world in approximately the first half of the 20th century. 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. Moreover, considerable use will be made of films to convey a sense of the present and recent past.

258B 20THC WORLD TO MIDCENTURY (Prochaska, D.)

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. We will watch movies on war, colonialism, and other kinds of global encounters. Restricted to students in University residence halls.

269A JEWISH HISTORY SINCE 1700 (Avrutin, E.)

Same as RLST 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?


Twentieth Century U.S. History will examine the past century chronologically and thematically from 1900 to the Clinton presidency. Themes that will guide lectures and discussions will focus on the rise of the United States from a largely regional to a global power, and on the continual internal diversity of the nation. The class will emphasize topics in social, economic, political and cultural history. Readings will include textbook chapters, original documents, web-based materials and memoirs. A mid-term and a final as well as a number of quizzes are required.


This is an overview of Illinois and Chicago history with the time about equally divided between the city and the state. It emphasizes social history over narrative political history. In practice, this means a broad view of the processes that formed the population, economy, culture, and social relations of Illinois and Chicago over the past two hundred years or so. The approach focuses in particular on the experiences and contributions of common people over political and economic elites. The course begins with a consideration of the state's Native American roots and goes on to analyze the creation of a multi-ethnic and multi-racial society through the processes of immigration and internal migration. The resulting class, ethnic, and racial conflict helps to explain the character of the state as we find it today. The course ends with some consideration of Illinois as an important site of big science and high technology. Illinois is a particularly vibrant case study of the sorts of historical processes that have transformed life in the US and this broader context is stressed throughout; the peculiar history of the state is less important than what it seems to represent in the broader development of the US as a society. Readings will likely consist of a course reader, a couple of texts, and at least one novel. Assessment will be based on mid-term and final exams and a short paper, though smaller exercises are also possible.


Same as AIS 278

Overview of the Native American experience in the United States from 1850 to the present. Using lectures, classroom discussions, visual presentations and group projects, the course will explore the major events that altered the environment Native Americans inhabited following the establishment of the United States as a continental power. Course will also examine the ways in which native peoples survived amidst the economic, political, and social forces that were unleashed by the country's evolution into a modern nation state. Readings will include primary documents, Native American commentaries, historical fiction, and secondary works.


Same as LLS 280

Evidence of the Latino presence in U.S. popular culture is everywhere. Audiences have continued to be mesmerized by the artistic work of Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, and others. On the baseball diamond, Alex Rodriguez, Albert Pujols and other Caribbean Latino players have been at the center of game’s resurgence. The growing Latino population has sparked new marketing strategies by major corporations like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and countless others. Interest in capturing the Latino market or fascination with Latino/a contributions to American culture has been accompanied with popular images that present Latino/as primarily as recent arrivals, crossovers, or exotic foreigners, regardless of national origins or citizenship status.

This course is geared toward developing a more historical understanding about the place of Caribbean Latinos in U.S. society. Through course materials, class discussions, and lectures we will explore the political and cultural relationships established between the U.S. and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, the process of community building for these groups, and the struggles that Caribbean Latinos have had in seeking to establish their place in the United States and reconciling their own historical pasts. A variety of individual and group exercises in addition to written assignments will be used to accomplish the major goals of this course­: further developing our ability to think critically, write analytically, and to understand the past in a historically nuanced manner. Graded assignments will consist of response papers, a 5-7 page critical essay, and two exams.

285A US GENDER HISTORY TO 1877 (Pleck, E.)

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: History of Global Warming

The so-called “greenhouse effect,” which enabled the evolution of life on earth by allowing sufficient warmth to develop, has in recent decades caused widespread alarm because temperatures are now increasing rapidly enough to cause change (e.g., rising sea levels and polar ice cap contraction) that threatens the continuation of life as we know it. This new course, offered as an interdisciplinary seminar, examines the gradual construction and acceptance of the notion of global warming over the last half century.  The course asks, among other questions, why it has taken so long to recognize the contributing role of human activities such as burning fossil fuel. We will consider what the best steps are to minimize the dire consequences of global warming. The most important task for students will be a research project focusing on a chosen scientific, social, historic, or political aspect of global warming.  There are no prerequisites for this new course.  There will be a number of expert visitors to the course, both historians and scientists.

300 Level


Same as RLST 347

An introductory study of the Reformation era, focusing on the history of Germany (Holy Roman Empire), France, England, and the Papacy in the sixteenth century.  We will study political, intellectual, and cultural aspects of the explosive fragmentation of European Christianity. Our central goal will be to ask questions about how to interpret this complex phenomenon, which has important ramifications in the modern world.  Students will be expected to develop their own ways of understanding the political and cultural diversity of Reformation movements. Readings are a balance of original documents, historical overviews, and specialized studies.   Students should be prepared to participate in classroom and online discussion.  In addition to a final exam, there will be at least one medium-length paper (8-10 pages) and a midterm exam.

353A EUROPEAN HISTORY 1918 TO 1939 (Micale, M.)

This course examines a series of major artistic and intellectual works that emerged from and commented upon the world-historicalcatastrophes of the period 1914-1945 in Europe. We will study texts and topics from Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Russia,with lateral consideration of the United States.

The course divides into three thematic sections: The Cultural Impact of the First World War; The Rise of IntellectualFascism; and The Great Critiques of Totalitarianism. Authors and artists include: Paul Valéry, Sigmund Freud,the British war poets,E. M. Remarque,Otto Dix, George Grosz, Käthe Kollwitz, German Expressionist filmmakers, Ernst Junger, Leni Riefenstahl, Albert Speer, Pablo Picasso, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Charlie Chaplin, George Orwell, Albert Einstein, Isaiah Berlin, Albert Camus, and Hannah Arendt.

354A EUROPEAN HISTORY SINCE 1939 (Chaplin, T.)

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.


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.  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 these changes.  This is an intensive course, and course requirements (including substantial weekly reading assignments) reflect that fact.  The course also assumes a basic familiarity with the history of the U.S. in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  Students without such a familiarity may wish to take the first half of the US history survey before taking this course.

375A SOC HISTORY INDUS AM TO 1918 (Schneider, D.)

American Social History focuses both on the history of everyday life and on the larger social changes that affected American society in lasting and profound ways between the 1840s and 1920. This class will pay special attention to the interaction of people from different social classes with each other and to the effects of political and economic developments on the daily lives of ordinary people. Important themes will include: immigration, the growth of cities, the organization of labor, African Americans and industrialization, women workers and mass culture. Prerequisite for this class is a basic knowledge of U.S. history since the mid 19th century. Consistent class participation, two in-class examinations and a paper will be the most important parts of the class assessment.

396A SPECIAL TOPICS (Fouché, R.)

Topic: Science, Technology, and Culture

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.

400 Level


This course examines the history of the African continent from the Second World War to the present. We will begin by exploring the deep impact that the war itself brought to Africa, and how raised expectations following the war led directly to effective nationalist agitation. The course will investigate the changes and continuities that independence brought African countries in the 1960s, and how these countries navigated the sharp economic decline of the 1970s and 1980s. The 1990s brought about a wave of liberalization of African countries’ economic and political systems, a process which remains at the center of debate today. Throughout this course, we will focus not only on political and economic developments, but also social, environmental, and cultural topics such as urbanization, the spread of Islam and evangelical Christianity, and the tragic HIV/AIDS epidemic.


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.

440G4/U3 ROMAN REPUBLIC TO 44 BC (Mathisen, R.)

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.

446G4/U3 ENGLAND UNDER TUDORS 1485-1603 (Hibbard, C.)

We remember sixteenth century England as an age of glory--Elizabeth I, the defeat of the Armada, the early years of Shakespeare--but to contemporaries it seemed a riven and troubled time. Shaken by the Reformation crisis and by rapid economic change, on the brink of civil war in the reigns of a child and two women, threatened by the superpower of the era in the form of Spain under Philip II, England struggled to maintain its independence and internal coherence. What were the real causes of the Reformation in England? How did ordinary people feel about the religious changes? How was politics organized, and what role did parliament have in the realm? How did Elizabeth I succeed as a ruler in that traditional "men's club," the English royal court? Who were the Puritans, and how did their religious ideas have political repercussions? What was the nature of England's connections with other parts of the British Isles, and with Europe?

These and other questions are explored through lectures, discussion, readings (primary sources, text, biography), slide presentations and debates. Course requirements consist of an hour exam, the final exam, a book review and participation in a debate. There is ample opportunity for student discussion.


This discussion class provides a chance to confront the "fear factor" in the post-9/11 world and to contextualize understandings of "American identity," of how Americans define "us" versus "them," and of the dilemmas posed by conflicting fears, aspirations, loyalties, and visions of "liberty," "security," "subversion," and citizenship.  This investigation of past campaigns against "un-Americans" includes:  World War I and images of the "enemy"; the 1919-1920 Red Scare and immigration restriction; the incarceration of Japanese-Americans and other actions at odds with World War II’s reputation as “The Freedom War”; McCarthyism (the anchor of the seminar); and resentments generated by the African-American Freedom Struggle and other protest movements in the late 1960s. 

The class's primary text is a photocopied course packet that combines opposing historians' interpretations with public opinion polls, propaganda posters, Congressional debates, and contemporary news coverage. These sources will allow discussion to penetrate beneath standard debates over historical and recent events, and will allow students to construct and test their own hypotheses on the factors underlying, fueling, and countering crises of political tolerance.  Are these crises 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 has the composition of these groups changed?  Who really has hated us for our freedoms?  To consider such questions, students will complete an in-class exam, two 7-10 page analytic essays, and additional assignments.

481G2/G4/U3 US INTEL CULTR HIST FROM 1859 (Oberdeck, K.)

Same as RLST 479

This lecture/discussion course surveys the development of modern American culture since the mid-nineteenth century. It focuses on the relation between national cultural trends and cultural diversity across lines of class, ethnic, gender and region; the impact of Darwinian ideas on Protestant religious traditions and concepts of racial and ethnic difference; the changing role of intellectual "experts"; the significance of popular and mass culture; the influence of social and political reform movements; the meanings of "modernism" and "postmodernism". Course materials include primary written documents from American intellectual and cultural life as well as videos from American film and TV history and images from the popular and fine arts. There will be two papers, one in-class midterm and an in-class final exam. Class attendance and participation are required and encouraged.

495A HONORS SEMINAR (Barrett, J.)

Topic: Chicago-A Social History

The University of Chicago's pioneering sociologists had the idea first in the early years of this century: The city might become a laboratory in which to observe and study the process of urbanization and related problems. Nowhere else did urbanization and the other broad processes of change which have transformed life in the United States -- industrialization, social class formation, mass migration -- occur more swiftly than in Chicago and nowhere did they unfold with more dramatic results. This course employs the history of Chicago as a particularly appropriate case study of these and other key problems in the field of social history.

The course has been designed with the aim of integrating a number of media -- maps, slides, videos, and music with lectures and discussion to probe several theories of urban development and change in relation to Chicago's own growth from the mid-nineteenth century to recent years. (Classes will normally be divided between an informal lecture and seminar style discussion.) In each of the units on race, ethnicity, class, and politics, we will look at a particularly important event or institution and at the general context: the formation of an urban African-American community through mass migration and the 1919 race riot; the rise and decline of working-class radicalism and the Haymarket Tragedy of 1886; the creation of ethnic neighborhoods and their relationship with the model social settlement of Hull House; the development of the urban political machine and Chicago's social and political crisis in the summer of 1968.

In addition to two short papers based on readings and discussions, course requirements include a research paper based on original sources and an oral presentation to the class based on this research.

The course will probably include a field trip in the spring to some of Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods, Hull House, Haymarket, and the model industrial town of Pullman.

495U3 HONORS SEMINAR (Levine, B.)

Topic: Serfdom, Slavery and Emancipation

This honors seminar sets the United States’ experience with slavery and its elimination in comparative perspective.  More specifically, it compares the historical trajectory of slavery in the United States with the rise and decline of this and other forms of bound labor elsewhere in the western hemisphere, Europe, and southern Africa.  Class discussion will focus upon readings that address one or another general or locally specific aspect of the international comparison.  Among other subjects, we will investigate the origins of and differences between serfdom and slavery.  We will inquire into the relationship between rights and power in slave societies, on the one hand, and differences in national origin and race, on the other.  We will ask why in some cases emancipation occurred in a violent and revolutionary manner but in others occurred peacefully and gradually.  We will ask how the experience of emancipation in one country influenced developments in others.  Finally, we will look at the long-term impact that different types of emancipation had on upon post-emancipation life in various countries.


Topic: Confronting the Great Depression

As Americans struggle with today’s economic breakdowns, it’s no surprise that the Great Depression is on our minds.  More than the audacity of hope impels us to apply the economic and policy decisions and legacies of the 1930s to making sense of today’s world and the policy alternatives open to us.  But what justifies devoting an entire semester to a mere decade is that calamity can also be an historical pivot point.  It extends well beyond economics, beyond the “big bang” of  New Deal state-building, and beyond the boundaries of the United States itself.  How "radical" was the Depression's impact on American society and culture, and on the contentious “social compact"?  In pursuing such questions, the seminar investigates social and labor movements for change and the institutional and other barriers that limited them, and attends to the ways in which class, gender, the construction of ethnic whiteness, and race reshaped "mainstream" stories.  Seminar discussions will tackle a range of interpretations, readings, and films related to these issues, culminating in each student’s article-length research paper.


Topic:  Jewish Autobiography

Autobiographies claim to tell objective first-person stories about past events and individual and collective experiences.  Life narratives appear to be simple reconstructions and remembrances of past events.  But these apparently transparent first-person narratives are in fact quite complex, and have bewildered historians, literary theorists, and cultural critics.  This course explores a series of fascinating first-person Jewish narratives from 18th- and 20th-century Russia, Germany, America, and Poland.  How does the larger social and political context influence individual Jewish experience and narrative? What roles do gender and class play in the construction of Jewish autobiographies?  Topics include the relationship between Jews and non-Jews, the meanings of Jewishness, the role of memory, the politics of trauma, and the problems of using first-person narratives as a historical source.


Topic:  Historical Interpretation: History and Film

In this course students will utilize films as primary historical sources, secondary sources, and as supplements to written historical sources in order to prepare research papers on topics at the intersection of film and history. In the first part of the course we will develop a framework for evaluating historical films, which students will then apply to a set of historical films. Working with the instructor, students will conduct extensive, in-depth research on the historical contexts relevant to their individual topics. Students will be encouraged to conduct research on world cinemas outside Hollywood, and on films pertaining to global history and the history of colonialism.

Course prerequisites are my History 200, or History 258, or History 259 or History 352.


Topic: Global Warming and Other Disasters: Writing the History of a Contested Catastrophe

This seminar is designed to offer students of history hands-on experience and training in the craft of writing a substantial analytic account of a contested global catastrophe.  During the first part of the seminar, students will read and discuss texts dealing with the evolution over the last half decade of the disturbing recognition that global temperatures are now increasing fast enough to cause change that threatens the continuation of life as we know it.  Among the likely discussion topics are: how and why has the “greenhouse effect,” which enabled the evolution of life on earth in the first place, changed in such a way as to cause widespread alarm?  What led to the construction and gradual acceptance of the notion of global warming over the last half century?  Why has it taken so long to recognize the contributing role of human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuel? Most importantly for this course, how can historians find meaning in the analysis of such a global catastrophe?

Drawing on the historical tools developed while studying the global warming crisis, the students will then proceed to write two drafts of a research paper on some other global catastrophe, past or present, of their choice, e.g., the bubonic plague, various religious wars, the AIDS epidemic, the Holocaust, the current (or a past) energy crisis, the population explosion, the Great Depression, or the present threat of global financial collapse.   Students will benefit from a series of events designed around the Center for Historical Interpretation’s 2009-2010 focus on the theme of catastrophe.  One such event is the visit to campus in September of the leading history of science Spencer Weart, author of The Discovery of Global Warming, one of the course texts.


Topic: Madness and Society in the Modern World (1790-1914)

"What is insanity?  How do we define the normal and the pathological?  Who in society is best suited to determine psychological health and sickness?  Can there be sciences of the emotions and sexuality?  How do class, race, religion, and gender influence our views of human mental functioning?  Can the human mind know itself?  At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the sciences of the mind—psychiatry, psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, psychopharmacology, the cognitive neurosciences—claim tremendous scientific authority and exert enormous cultural influence.  Yet these are only several of the basic, urgent questions that remain controversial or unanswered today.

This seminar seeks to explore these and many related subjects.  Our approach will be historical.  Specifically, we will study the social, cultural, intellectual, and institutional history of madness and psychiatry in Britain, continental Europe, and North America from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries.  Topics will include:  the origins of psychiatric humanitarianism, medical professionalization, the history of psychiatric diagnostics, the emergence of the modern asylum, patient autobiography, women in the mental health system, the history of the insanity defense in the courts, Victorian nervousness and hysteria, psychiatry and heredity, the beginnings of medical sexology, Freud and the coming of psychoanalysis, and shell shock in the First World War."


Topic: Nation and the Geographical Imagination

This course will examine and engage with 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 characterized 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, based on both secondary and primary sources. 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: Nation and the Geographical Imagination

This course will examine and engage with 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 characterized 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, based on both secondary and primary sources. 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: A Catastrophic Dependence or 'More Oil, ever more Oil'

The pursuit and use of oil have had monumental effects upon the world in which we live today. The use of petroleum as a fuel has enabled a vast range of changes, many of which have greatly increased the standard of living for large segments of the world population. But the history of petroleum use has a profoundly ambiguous and complex record. In this course, we will explore the political, social, and environmental impacts of worldwide petroleum use.  We will begin by studying the growth of international dependence upon oil and spend the majority of the course looking at the deleterious consequences of this dependence. One of the key concepts in this course is to evaluate the extent to which petroleum dependence has left a catastrophic legacy for humans, for particular societies, and for the earth itself.

500 Level


Topic: Comparative Revolutions

This seminar examines the global impact of the nineteenth and twentieth century revolutions.  The revolutions in France, Russia, China, and Iran are the primary focus of this seminar.


Topic:  Imperial Power Plays: Caste, Culture and Catholicism in the Iberian World

Course description not available at time of publication.


Topic: Chinese Cinemas: History, Entrepreneurship, and Cultural Politics

Same as EALC 520

This interdisciplinary course explores the history, industrial practices, and ideological contestation of Chinese cinemas and their complex interconnections with the development of colonial modernity, urban culture, migratory network, globalization and the rise of nationalism in China and Hong Kong from the 1900s to the present. Requirements include a major research paper and in-class presentations.


Same as MDVL 542

Topic: Mind and Body in the Middle Ages

This course examines the interplay of mind and body in medieval Europe.  Topics include:  medical and theological understandings of the relationship between mind and body, and literary and historical representations of the mind-body relationship.  We will focus, in particular, on cases of insanity, love/lust, pain, and possession/ecstasy.  Course requirements include:  participation in class discussion and four historiographical essays.  History students who wish to take the course for seminar credit should see the instructor.

546A PROB ENGLISH HIST SINCE 1688 (Burton, A.)

Topic: Empire Off-center/Empire from Below

If British imperial history were written from below - from the bottom up, via the archives and traces of non-state actors and subalterns, women and other others - would it still be "empire" history? What happens when we move outside the canonical centers of imperial historiography - India, Africa - and focus on intracolonial, intercontinental and transoceanic spaces through which imperial power coursed and was thereby shaped by these often nameless actors? This course engages these questions and the narrative, methodological and conceptual problems they give rise to. By focusing on labor, migration, indigenous practice and anti-imperial agency and resistance across a variety of spatial domains, we will attempt to plot the story of modern British imperial power and its limits on a new grid of intelligibility.


Topic: Problems in Soviet History

This readings seminar will examine key historical and historiographical issues of the 70-year history of the Soviet Union. Weekly discussions will be based on extensive common and supplemental readings, including both new work and "classics". We will consider substantive, methodological, and theoretical aspects of the field. Topics to be addressed may include: the 1917 revolution, Civil War, NEP, Soviet subjectivity, identity-formation, the Communist party, Stalinism, gender, collectivization and peasants, industrialization and labor, the terror, ethnicity and nationalism, war and Cold war, cultural revolution and popular culture, destalinization, and the everyday life of developed socialism.

Four papers will be required, including one on one of the weekly discussion themes, one introduction to a particular primary source for Soviet history (novel, memoirs, reportage), one review essay of 2-3 memoirs or novels on a particular topic, and one brief scholarly book review. Ability to read in Russian is expected for those specializing in Russian history, but not necessary for others.

572A PROB IN US HIST SINCE 1815 (Pleck, E.)

Topic: Women and Gender

The course is a graduate readings course about gender and race in North American history from colonial conquest to about 1820. The period called "early America" was one of cultural contact, captivity and enslavement, and the development of European empires in the Americas. This course emphasizes the way gender and race were represented, experienced, and defined in the context of the contact between native peoples, Africans, and Dutch, French, Spanish, and English colonizers. This course can be considered readings in partial fulfillment of the graduate prelim field in US before 1815 or Comparative Gender History. Very few of the readings are "classics" because these topics are relatively new to this field; most readings consist of recent books and articles. Topics will include Native American women as cultural mediators; interracial sexuality and marriage; the relationship of the body to colonial encounters; the significance of gender and sexuality in definitions of race among Spanish, French, and English colonizers; African and Indian slave trades and forms of resistance; the significance of women's roles in slavery as producer and reproducers of labor; the relationship of rape and sexual coercion to conquest and racial hierarchies; family, marriage and power; and narratives about interracial sexual relationships.

Selected Readings:

Kathleen Brown, Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America

Kathleen Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs

Sharon Block, Rape and Sexual Power

Julianna Barr, Peace Came in the Form of a woman

Jennifer M. Spear, Race, Sex, and Social Order in Early New Orleans

Trevor Burnard, Mastery, Tyranny and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World

Ann M. Little, Abraham in Arms: War and Gender in Colonial New England

Maria Elena Martinez, Genealogical Fictions: Limpeza de Sangre, Religion, and Gender in Colonial Mexico

HIST 572D PROB IN US HIST SINCE 1815 (Reagan, L.)

Topic: Core Readings in U.S. History

This course is designed to introduce students to core questions and debates in United States History.  The goal is to create a critical and stimulating discussion of American historical scholarship.  In this course, we will be engaging with problems that have driven generations of historians of the U.S. as well as more recent topics that have sparked new insights. Readings will range from the colonial period through the twentieth century.  Gaining knowledge of the content of American history is only part of the point of the class.  We will gain a sense of how historians’ interpretations of the past have changed over time by reading and comparing a selection of older texts as well as current historical work.  Throughout the course we will be analyzing how historians have done their work, what questions they have asked–or ignored, the historical methods and sources used, how historians construct historical arguments, and the theoretical underpinnings of historical research.

The course will also include an introduction to the major references for secondary literature and archival materials in American history and probably a library field trip.

Ships, newspapers, desire, paranoia, whiteness, cotton, slavery, germs, the Communist Party, children, laws, guns, gender, welfare, war, the vote, and much more will be part of our conversation.


The first semester of a two-term sequence to introduce key issues concerning the theory and practice of history and history-writing. We will discuss topics such as what is history and the historical mode of thinking, what is “interpretation,” what is the role of “theory” in our work, and what different genres of historical writing exist. You will translate all this into a plan for research and writing an article-length study of your own design for the following semester. Through a series of focused assignments, we will grapple together with some of the specific challenges that face all practitioners of the discipline: identifying the historical problem in what we read and in what we research and write, identifying the methodologies scholars are using and that we wish to use, and understanding the use of primary sources. The range of specific topics, methods, regions, and times is quite wide.