Fall 2012 Course Guide


100 Level

100AL1 GLOBAL HISTORY (McLaughlin, M.)

The Medieval World.  This course examines the “deep history” of the complex world we live in today.  While it is easy to assume that our lives are entirely modern, in fact our languages, beliefs, laws, family structures, ethnic identities, religions, economies, politics—even our technologies--are still being shaped in significant ways by developments that began hundreds of years ago.  This course looks at human societies across the world, during the period from 500 to 1500 C.E.; important course themes will be wealth and poverty, exchanges (of people, goods, and ideas) between different parts of the world, and political systems (including systems of gender hierarchy).


Beginning with a brief overview of pre-contact Iberia, America and Africa, this course explores how the encounter and clashes between these societies created the complex world of colonial Latin America. This course will examine the social, economic, political and religious development of Latin America from contact to 1824.  This course emphasizes the transatlantic connections between Iberia, Africa and the Americas to show the importance of examining the movement of people and ideas within and across the broader Iberian world.  The themes covered in this course include colonial encounters and issues of translation, religious change and local religiosity, colonial hierarchies and inequalities, resistance, rebellion, and accommodation.

110AL1 HISTORY OF AFRICA (Brennan, J.)

110AL1 HISTORY OF AFRICA (Brennan, J.)

This course offers a survey of Africa's history from human origins to the present day, with a strong focus on the 19th and 20th centuries. We will examine the development of agriculture, cities, religion, technology and trade in pre-colonial Africa, as well as the growing Islamic presence in Africa after ca. 700. We next examine 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 focus more tightly on 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 then 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 video, 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. One goal of this course to examine what is distinctive about “East Asian civilization.” A second goal is the study of the relationship between the evolution of China, Korea, and Japan as distinct cultures themselves. Although China exerted a profound influence on the development of pre-modern East Asia, Korea and Japan, despite considerable linguistic, intellectual, and political borrowing from China, diverged from the Chinese pattern of development to form cultures with their own very distinctive artistic and literary traditions, political organizations, and social and economic structures. Though largely concerned with pre-twentieth-century East Asia, this course will provide a background for the understanding of many debates in East Asia today.


Same as ANTH 130

This course will look at the history of modern South Asia from 1700 to the present day.  Students will be introduced to the histories of the varied cultural, linguistic, social, economic and political formations that constitute modern South Asia.  Commencing with the Mughal Empire, the course will consider early modern state formations, the rise of British colonial power, anti-colonial nationalisms, the partition of British India, and the creation of the post-colonial nation-states of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.  We will conclude by examining democracy, development, and religion-based politics in contemporary South Asia. 

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

Please see course description for 141AL1.

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

This course will survey essential developments in Western Civilization from Antiquity through the seventeenth century. It will focus on the evolution of political institutions from the city-states of Ancient Greece, through the Roman Empire, the feudal system of Medieval Europe and, finally, the emergence of nation-states in the seventeenth century. We will also study the philosophies or religious beliefs that helped men and women understand their society and the world, as well as the social structures and conflicts that characterized different periods of history. In particular, we will examine how relations with supposed "outsiders" - such as Jews, Muslims, indigenous peoples of the New World, enslaved Africans, and women – brought essential contributions to Western Europeans and helped them define their own identity. In the process, we will gain a new understanding of the cultural fusions and conflicts that continue to define, and challenge, our world. Another key element of the course will be to understand the role that history itself – stories about the past – has played in the creation of what we think of as Western Civilization. As much as a "real" historical entity, Western Civilization consists of the traditions and identities communities have taken on and the continuities they have claimed with earlier cultures and societies.

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.

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

Please see course description for 142AL1.

168A A History of Judaism (Weiss)

Same as RLST 120

See RLST 120

170AL1 US HIST TO 1877-ACP (Hoxie, F.)

Please see course description for 171AL1.

171AL1 US HIST TO 1877 (Hoxie, F.)

A survey of American history from the first encounter between Native Americans and Europeans until 1877 when the American Civil War was finally resolved at the end of the reconstruction era. During this three-hundred year time period European travelers transformed themselves from naïve adventurers into Americans who called the continent their homeland. At the same time all of the peoples of North America--those who came freely as settlers, those who were already resident there and those who came as slaves or indentured servants--gradually came to see their settlements as part of something called The United States of America. How did this happen?

This course will explore two major questions. First, how was it that the unstable settlements Europeans founded along the Atlantic became a nation?  Through lectures, readings and discussions students will explore how his transformation and re-definition took place.  Second we will ask, why did the nation that emerged in North America develop a distinctive culture? Why is it not like countries with similar histories; countries like Canada, Australia, Argentina or South Africa? 

To answer this second question, students will pay special attention to four paradoxes that mark the American past. First, early settlers in North America favored democracy, but defended both slavery and the dispossession of Native Americans. Second, they created a system of self-government for men but not for women or American Indians, African Americans or other people of color. Third, they promoted economic opportunity for all while protecting the economic privileges of the few. Inequality flourished in a nation founded on a faith in equality. And fourth, they celebrated the beauty of their new homeland while desecrating its resources and hunting many of its creatures into extinction.

This course will examine these puzzling aspects of American culture and seek to understand the struggles they inspired. We will search not only for the sources of these paradoxes, but for evidence of their impact on the creation of a distinctive national culture. Students will embark on this search with the assistance of a textbook, a collection of primary documents, and a few additional readings. Students will take a midterm and a final examination and write one interpretive essay.

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

This course surveys US history from the end of the Civil  War to the current election.  We will study the making of the modern U.S. as a diverse society and complex culture by examining how ordinary people in their work, homes, communities, entertainment, worship, politics, social movements, and civic activity have helped to shape changing public debates about central “American” ideals like liberty, freedom and citizenship.  Lectures will incorporate audio-visual, interpretive, and illustrative case studies of these themes to illustrate issues raised in the textbook and supplementary primary documents.  Discussion sections will focus on discussing the reading material in light of these interpretations.  The course will offer some introduction to the different ways that historians listen to and interpret the diverse voices of the past.  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.  Attendance at lecture and discussion section is required, as the examinations will reflect


Same as AFRO 101

See AFRO 101


200 Level


 Topic: Natives and Newcomers in Early America

 Description not available at time of publication


Topic: Family and Law

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:  Cultural History of Emotions in the U.S.

How do we tell the history of emotions?  In what ways can primary sources be read as evidence for building an archive of emotions?  How do our perspectives on political, intellectual, social, and economic developments shift when examined through the historical lens of emotions?  This course will examine how emotions have undergone historical transformations. We will consider the changing experiences of a range of emotions such as love, jealousy, fear, anger, sadness, pride, and shame.  Through a focus on American culture from the 1880s until the 1960s, we will examine the place and development of emotions in relationship to socialist and feminist movements, consumer culture, medicine, the rise of psychology, the changing definitions of marriage and family, imperialism, scientific research, and environmental ethics.  One of the central themes of this course is to consider the politics of emotions along the lines of race, class, gender, and sexuality.  We will analyze a range of primary sources such as diaries, speeches, films, photographs, novels, political treatises, marriage and parenting manuals, advertisements, and periodicals. Our examination of secondary sources will focus on how historians have defined emotions as a category of historical analysis.    



 Topic:  European Culture between the Wars

"Few periods in European history have been more eventful than the first half of the twentieth century.  The years between 1914 and the early 1950s in particular brought one world-historical calamity after another, including the First World War, the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression, the rise of fascism, the communist Soviet dictatorship of Stalin, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the coming of the Cold War.

This course studies the interaction of these catastrophic historical events with the cultural arts.  We will focus on how the work of the greatest European artists and thinkers during this forty-year period was influenced by the monumental and traumatic events of their day. We will pay close attention to the relations between art and politics in the totalitarian regimes of Germany under Hitler, the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, Italy under Mussolini, and Spain during the Civil War that preceded Franco’s dictatorship. We will consider the art that supported these states and that was sponsored by governments as well as the art that was produced in opposition or exile to these regimes.  In the process, we will examine a wide range of cultural and intellectual endeavors—including poetry, novels, painting, sculpture, architecture, film, music, philosophy, science, and psychology—and we will explore the different artistic styles that were used to express the tragedies and conflicts of the time.


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, coffee, 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: Western Image of Africa

Travel writing about Africa has played a major role in how Westerners have understood the continent and its inhabitants. This course explores how writers from Europe and North America have understood Africa by examining travel accounts from the eighteenth century to the present. As we read these accounts, we will be asking the following questions: why did these authors come to Africa, and with what expectations? How did these expectations shape their writing, or did these expectations change? How do these accounts fit with Africa’s historical development over this period? In what ways has the genre of travel writing changed over this period, and how has it remained the same? We will answer these questions by reading travel accounts, novels, and secondary materials, as well as watching a few videos in class.


A "Great Books Course" has been a core demand of those postulating the necessity of immersing American college students in the wonderful works of the European civilization since Homer and Plato.  This course applauds the idea of offering direct exposure of students to the great works produced in the course of world civilizations.  But it shifts gears by focusing on works -- now arguably part of a common world heritage -- that have been written outside of Europe, in another emerging civilization: that of Latin America during the past 500 years, combining heavy doses of European influences (e.g. the language of the works) with indigenous, African and other cultural influences in the setting of colonial and post-colonial polities.  The purpose of the course is to offer students direct engagement with some of the finest and most profound works written by Latin Americans, from poetry and novels to social and political treatises or essays to works of history, philosophy and theology.  Since this is a history class we will be less concerned with the formal qualities of these works and more with what they reveal about fundamental issues debated and struggled over during the era when they were written.  Introduction to Latin American civilization from the 16th to 20th centuries through fiction, history, and political essays.


Same as EALC 220
Course description was not available at time of publication.

Hist 221A MODERN CHINA (Fu, P.)

Same as EALC 221

This course will lead us to an exploration of a culture and society very important in our global age. Through films and readings, this exploration will help us understand the everyday life, rich history and cultural values of the Chinese in their struggle to be modern and global. 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 GWS 245 and MDVL 245

An introduction to some major issues in the history of women and gender from the fifth to the seventeenth century. Among the subjects to be discussed are the impact of class on gender roles, women‘s work and access to property, the relationship between the public and private spheres of life, women‘s roles in the conversion of Europe to Christianity and in The Reformation, and the connection between the misogynist tradition and premodern women's sense of self.


Same as GLBL 251

History 251 addresses the history of war and military institutions during the last two hundred years.  Subjects covered include the impact of the Industrial Revolution on military technology and practice, the influence of Clausewitzian theory, the development of staffs and doctrine, the phenomenon of total war, the character of insurgency, and the rise of global terrorism.  Conflicts studied in some detail include the U.S. Civil War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Arab-Israeli Wars.  The approach followed in 251 will stress society and culture as factors that shaping warfare and the military.  The material presented is specifically designed to interest a wide range of students who simply want to know more about humankind.  Learn more about this inescapable, though regrettable, side of human experience.

252AL1 THE HOLOCAUST (Fritzsche, P.)

The purpose of this course is to provide students from all backgrounds with an introduction to the complex events in twentieth-century Europe now known as the Holocaust, to the various interpretations that scholars have offered to attempt to explain the Holocaust, and to the global legacy of the Holocaust.   We will examine perpetrators, bystanders, and victims, the role of anti-Semitism, the interaction of war and genocide, the relationships between German and other European actors, the responses of Jewish communities, and the memory of the Holocaust.  There will be a midterm and a final, but the primary focus of the course will be on student engagement with the texts in three short papers spread out across the semester.

255A BRITISH ISLES TO 1688 (Beer, M.)

Same as MDVL 255

In this course we will explore how the British Isles were subjected to invasions, conquest, civil war, religious reformation and political revolution in the Medieval and Early Modern period.  Topics include the Romanization of Britain, the Norman Conquest, the signing of the Magna Carta and the beginning of Parliament, the Wars of the Roses, Henry VIII and the English Reformation, the Golden Age of Elizabeth I, and the English Civil War.  Our study of the emergence and unification of the kingdoms of England, Wales, and Scotland will serve as an introduction to the tools and sources of history for students as we examine not only the events themselves, but the way those events have come down to us throughout the centuries.  Class meetings will have lecture and discussion, which will be based on students’ primary source readings.  

255B  BRITISH ISLES TO 1688 (Ramsbottom, J.)

258A  20TH C WORLD FROM 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. Topics include among others industrialization, political liberalism, Marxism, gender, world war, Russian Revolution, Mussolini and fascism, Hitler and Nazism, Stalin and communism, and Spanish Civil War. We will pay particular attention to imperialism and nationalism in the Third World, including the Arab-Israeli conflict.

260A HISTORY OF RUSSIA (Koenker, D.)

This course will examine the fundamental periods, questions, and debates in the history of Russia and its empire, 800-2000. Its big picture will be the development of the vast multi-national Russian empire and Soviet Union, exploring the changing relationship between the central state and a fractious multiethnic society spread across eleven time zones. Together we will consider interesting texts: historical epics, novels by Tolstoy and Gladkov, memoirs, art works, music, and films. Students will write a series of short essays relating some of these works to the larger themes of Russian history. There are no exams.



Same as GWS 263

This course examines the history of medicine and public health in nineteenth and twentieth-century America. Topics include the history of the medical profession, nursing, and midwifery; the rise of the hospital; disease definition and control; and the patient experience. We will discuss public policy issues concerning health care that have generated conflict in the past (and present), such as quarantine, vaccination, social vs. individual responsibilitiy for health and disease, the control of venereal disease, racial segregation in medical education and health care, birth control. Throughout the course, we will analyze the relationships among medicine, politics, and economics as well as the ways that race, sex, and class have shaped the history of medicine in America.

The class will include both lectures and in-class discussion of assigned texts and original documents--such as diary excerpts, cartoons, and medical journal literature.

265A SCIENCE IN WESTERN CIV (Ehrenberger, K.)

Hist. 265 serves an introduction to the history of medicine in the West for students who have no previous knowledge in this field. The first two-thirds of the course is devoted to a chronological narrative of the “rise” of scientific medicine from 1700 to the present. Students will learn how early-modern patient-physician relations and body concepts differed from those of the modern period; how exposure to non-Western peoples, plants, and diseases changed European ideas about biology; and how some of these adaptations affected and enabled European domination of non-Western peoples. Other topics include social versus medical models of disability, the patient-rights movement of the 1970s, and the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s. The readings consist of both primary and secondary sources.

The last third of the course looks in-depth at one disease, tuberculosis, in a global context, in order to critique the triumphalist narrative. Despite extensive knowledge of the pathology and genetics of TB, scientific medicine finds itself on the defensive against multi drug-resistant (MDR) tuberculosis. In Haiti this is a legacy of exploitative Western financial policies and current pricing practices of US-based Big Pharma. In Russia, a struggling democracy and newly capitalist economy have made crowded and under-resourced prisons a site of rampant transmission. And in sub-Saharan Africa, TB prophylaxis and treatment is intimately connected with the other two major global health concerns, malaria and HIV/AIDS. Students will complete a group project focused on public health campaigns for tuberculosis as a contemporary social, medical, and scientific problem. This course partially satisfies the requirements for the Interdisciplinary Minor in Science and Technology in Society.


This class will cover the entire nineteenth century, from the election of Thomas Jefferson to the early Progressive Era. The lectures and readings will outline U.S. history from its national origins as a sparsely settled agrarian country to an industrial powerhouse with aspiration to world power. The class will emphasize various topics in political and social history of the nineteenth century, including the development of the U.S. West, African American lives in slavery and freedom, industrialization, the struggle for women‘s rights and immigration from Europe and Asia.

274B US & WORLD SINCE 1917 (Smith, M.)

Over the twentieth century, the United States rose to superpower status and in the process profoundly influenced world affairs. History 274 aims to advance understanding of the relationship between the United States and global history in this pivotal period. Beyond exploring the tremendous impact of great power rivalry on nations from roughly 1917 to the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, the course will pay considerable attention to the perspectives of people affected by U.S. policies and inter-imperial conflict. It will also study the development of and solidarity between national liberation struggles and domestic social movements, and consider their roles in the making of the United States and the World.


Topic: Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution

It is universally acknowledged today that the ideas of Charles Darwin initiated one of the most profound and provocative transformations in all of human thought, science, and culture.  This is a seminar about the intellectual origins, scientific content, and social, cultural, and religious impact of Darwinian evolutionary theory in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our core subject will be Darwin’s life, work, and world.  The course also provides a historical case study in the development and diffusion of radical scientific ideas and explores the origins of the most successful and comprehensive theory in the contemporary life sciences.  We will also explore the historical influence of Darwin’s theories on diverse cultural fields, including religion, politics, philosophy, social theory, literature, gender relations, and international affairs. 

295B HONORS COLLOQUIUM (Schneider, D.)

Topic:  Immigrants, Emigrants and New Americans

This course will examine migration into the United States from a variety of historical and contemporary perspectives.  The class will adopt a chronological and thematic focus examining different ways of understanding immigration and immigrants from the mid-nineteenth century to the present.  The writings of academic scholars, fiction writers and journalists will be used to illuminate different parts of the immigration experience.  

The class will be taught in a mixed format: discussion of assigned texts will be interspersed with lectures which will cover additional (legal and political) material. Students will be required to read a variety of texts from classic historical accounts, to novels, autobiographies and community studies and class discussion will focus on these texts as well as on the information provided through the lecture part of each class.   At the end of the semester the students’ own projects will be the focus of the last two or three sessions. 

The core requirement for the class will be a research paper.  Each student will write the biography of an individual or a small group (or community) of immigrants whose history has never been recorded publicly.  The research will focus on acquaintances or family members (past or present) whose history will be assembled and interpreted as part of the project.  Students will learn how to be historians by conducting historical research, interviews collect pictures and do background readings.  The class materials and readings will provide a background framework to understand the assembled research materials in each case.

300 Level


Same as MACS 300

Topic: History and Visual Culture

This course is situated at the interface between history and visual culture. How does visual history differ from written history? How do visual media – films, photos – as well as the Internet and new social media inform and contribute to history? How do we historians become visually  literate? We shall tackle these and other questions not so much by reading abstract theory and boring academic studies; instead, we will actually practice history and visual culture by working on a series of projects that  illuminate bigger issues and boost visual literacy. For each three to  four week unit, students will have an opportunity to work both independently, in small groups, and as a class engaging in a set of structured exercises, written and visual research, and presentations with the aim of producing a class project in history and visual culture. We will focus on projects such as the visual antics of the hacktivist group Anonymous; protest images of and from the Arab Spring; visual representations of 20th century American so-called “insane asylums”; and local colonial visual culture sites from Egypt to Algeria to  Senegal. 

No course prerequisites, no background in media or visual culture are necessary; only a willingness to participate actively and have fun.


The singular ecological environment of Andean South America has given rise to distinct civilizations and national societies.  The course will interweave common and diverse Andean patterns of culture, society, economy and politics from prehispanic times until today in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru.  Themes will include adaptation to the environment by the prehispanic cultures and colonial and national societies, the oppression, resistance and creative adaptations by the Andeans and other ethnic groups since the European invasion of the Inca Empire, colonial and post-colonial "racial orders," nation-state formation and issues of political inclusion or exclusion, the shifting orientations of the region's economy and the rise of mass politics in the twentieth century.

335A MIDDLE EAST 1566-1914 (Cuno, K.)

Did the Middle East really decline, and how did it become modern?  During the four centuries before the First World War the Middle East witnessed the transformation of the classical Ottoman order, the re-ordering of government and society, and, after 1800, the steady growth of European influence in the economic, political, and cultural spheres, culminating in the establishment of colonial rule over much of the area.  Toward the end of this era, a debate arose among Middle Eastern intellectuals over the causes of their backwardness and its possible remedies, contributing to the rise of new religious, social, and political movements which have continued to the present.  We will be examining these developments in the context of ongoing social and economic changes, in the region consisting of Egypt, Arabia, the Fertile Crescent, Iran, and Turkey.  Grades are assessed mainly on the basis of written work, plus attendance and participation in discussion. Readings include textbooks, scholarly articles, and translations of original works.


Same as RLST 347

An introductory study of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations with sustained focus on the history of Germany (Holy Roman Empire), Switzerland, 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 assess important historiographic questions (and disagreements) for the interpretation of this complex phenomenon. 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 (which will be the basis for most discussions) and historical overviews and specialized studies.


In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries Europeans transformed political relations within Europe and their economic relations with the wider world. They did this through a series of struggles over new sources of authority (Parliament vs. King; Protestant vs. Catholic; science vs. tradition) and new sources of power and wealth (colonization in the Americans; increased trade with Asia; and the Atlantic slave trade). These transformations culminated in the outbreak of the French and Haitian Revolutions and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, fundamental turning points in the creation of the modern world. Yet at the same time, many aspects of traditional European life remained the same, particularly in the countryside where the vast majority of people still lived.

This course will examine continuities and change from 1600 to 1789, with attention to Europe’s growing interaction with the wider world. Following the themes of authority and power, we will consider the rise of "absolute monarchy" and the alternatives to absolutism that arose in countries like England and the Netherlands. We will connect these themes to many aspects of ordinary people’s everyday lives, including popular culture, family, gender, sexuality and work.

370A COLONIAL AMERICA (Morrissey, R.)

An interpretive survey of American Colonial history in the context of a broad Atlantic system from 1492 to 1763. The colonial period was the first era of globalization, when peoples of Europe, Africa, and the Americas came together in new economic, social, and cultural configurations. In this class we will explore this period not only as the beginning of American history, but more broadly as a hugely transformative era in World history. A main component of this course is attention to ordinary people in early America through research in primary sources.


Topic: Civil War and Reconstruction

Examines the United States’ civil war (1861-1865) and the era of postwar “reconstruction” (conventionally dated as 1865-1877). In these years the nation underwent its second revolution -- and a revolution more radical than the one that freed it from the British Empire.  Much of U.S. history for the next century and more was decided during these decisive years.

376A SOC HISTORY INDUS AM FROM 1918 (Schneider, D.)


American society has often been described as open and flexible by outside observers. On the other hand, Americans themselves have often experienced U.S. society as rigidly divided by class and race. How can the two views be reconciled? How cohesive can a society be if its people are a diverse lot, driven by highly individualist motives? This class will try to provide some historians' answers to these questions. We will examine how various social divisions and cohesions developed during the twentieth century by studying some of the most important developments of the last century in the United States: the 1920s, the Great Depression, World War Two, the Civil Rights Movement, the 1960s and the transition to a post-industrial consumer society. The class will use extensive readings from scholarly texts in history, economics and sociology to popular non-fiction, internet resources, music and visual materials. Active participation, a mid-term and two take home essays are required. Alternatively students can write a research paper (instead of essays) on a related topic of their choice.

380A US IN AN AGE OF EMPIRE (Espiritu, A.)

Topic: U.S. Empire, Hispanism, and Mestizaje

This course explores in greater depth the discourses of “Anglo-Saxonism,” “manhood,” “reform,” and “Americanization” with which the United States sought to ground its imperial expansion into Asia and Latin America in the early twentieth century.  It will also explore various discourses among the colonized, especially those of “Hispanism” (the re-articulation of Spain and Spanish colonialism) and “mestizaje” (the valorization of mixed race) as modes of questioning or contesting the claims of U.S. empire and constructing gendered national identities and cultures.  

The class will examine the histories of John Lynch, Gail Bederman, Kristin Hoganson, Matthew Frye Jacobson, among others, as well as the original writings of Latin American and Filipino intellectuals, including Simón Bolívar, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, José Martí, José Enrique Rodó, Nick Joaquin, Antonio Pedreira, Margot Arce, Claro M. Recto, Carmen Guerrero Nakpil, and José Vasconcelos.

Students will be introduced to historiography, work with primary sources, and have the opportunity to write original research papers.

396A SPECIAL TOPICS (Hitchins, K.)

Topic: Inner Asia 

The history, economy, culture, and religion of the peoples of Central Asia, East Turkestan (Xinjiang), and Mongolia. We shall also study their relations with countries beyond the boundaries of Inner Asia, in particular China and Russia, and their contacts with Western Europeans, and we shall assess the place and importance of Inner Asia in international affairs in the 20th century. Readings will include primary historical and literary sources in translation.


Topic: Oral History: Theory, Methods, Practice

This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of oral history. Students will learn about oral history as a research methodology, while also receiving training in conducting oral histories. Themes include important debates in oral history; designing an oral history projects and interviewing; methodological and ethical challenges; interpreting oral source material; oral history and trauma; historical memory; and the politics of archiving.

396F Special Topics ( Rota, E.)

 Topic: Primo Levi

 Meets with ITAL 390, Sec F and JS 399


400 Level


History 401 seeks to understand the uses of terrorist tactics and strategies as historical phenomena from medieval times to the present.  What unites the examples we will study is not so much their causes or goals but their practices and the reactions to them.  While we deal with radical Islamist terrorism; this is not our sole focus.  In addition, we consider the use of terror tactics during wartime, racist terrorism in the United States, radical leftist terrorism in Europe, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and the rise and fall of the Tamil Tigers.  We also relate the past to current events in historical context, and to that purpose, we will discuss war, civil disturbances, and terrorism as covered in the New York Times.  Terrorism provides a low entry cost for violent extremists that it is fated to confront us for a long time, and in dealing with its future, there is much to be learned from its past.


Same as EALC 421

This course, China Since 1945: Society and Culture, will be taught by Poshek Fu in partnership with several visiting scholars from China. It aims to use films to explore major social, cultural, and historical issues of China from the end of World War II in 1945 through the Cold War to the Economic Reform of today. It is an interdisciplinary and lecture-and-discussion course trying to question many conventional answers to the complex questions concerning China today, focusing on the subjects of migration, education, media politics, popular culture, urban youth, and cultural identity in the rapidly changing contexts of China’s engagements with modernity and globalization. The course requires several reviews, class presentations, and a research paper.


439 G2/G4/U3 THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE (Todorova, M.)

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.

441 G4/U3 THE ROMAN EMPIRE (Mathisen, R.)

The course will examine the political, social, economic, institutional, religious, and cultural development of the Roman Empire from the reign of Augustus until the fall of the Empire in the West, ca. AD 480. Particular emphasis will be given to how the empire responded to stress.


Same as LER 450 and SOC 422

This class will focus on work and working people in Western Europe from 1650 to 1820. We will examine the organization of work, the nature of the guild system, and the emergence of mechanization in the late eighteenth century. We will also focus on the daily life of the workshop, covering issues such as training practices, the sexual division of labor, rituals of work, and conflicts among workers, masters and guild officers. The class will also investigate the relationship between production and consumption, situating the shifting organization and pace of labor in relation to the the so-called Consumer Revolution of the mid-eighteenth century. The course will culminate with a multi-class re-enactment of the violent conflict that occurred in Manchester, England in the early years of the Industrial Revolution between hand-loom weavers and those advocating the adoption of mechanization.

466 G4/U3 THE BALKANS (Hitchins, K.)

Topic: The Hapsburg Monarchy and the Balkans

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? Readings, discussions, and a research paper.

480 G2/G4/U3 US WORK CLASS HIST SINCE 1780 (Barrett, J.)

Same as LER 480

The course analyzes the social history of working-class men and women and their families. Main themes will include: working-class culture, industrial organization, and politics; work and community life; labor-management relations; changing patterns of working-class protest and accommodation; and a special emphasis on race, ethnicity, and gender in the process of working-class formation and fragmentation. Readings will consist of 4 or 5 books, including a novel or personal narrative, and a selection of articles and essays. Assessment will be made on the basis of a midterm exam, a final, and a short reading paper or other project. Lectures and discussions integrate texts, visual images, music, and other sources to represent the character of workers thought and culture. Graduate students will meet a few times separately to discuss additional readings and will write a more ambitious historiographical paper. Students from various majors are welcome, but the course may be of special interest to those in history, economics, sociology, industrial relations, and political science. The course assumes some background in American history.


Topic: Empires, Nations, and Indigenous Peoples       

This course will explore the relationship modern democratic nation states founded on the lands of indigenous peoples.  Focusing primarily on the Americas and the Pacific, students will learn how, beginning in the sixteenth century, encounters with indigenous peoples triggered debates among Native and newcomers about citizenship, human rights, contributing to the birth of international law.  The course will also trace the evolution of legal regimes in the United States, Latin America, Australia and elsewhere that made possible the dispossession of indigenous peoples but which also enabled those groups ultimately to emerge as a politically powerful actors on the world scene.  Finally, students will investigate the history of the International Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and through that, learn more about the contemporary predicament of Native peoples who find themselves within the borders of states, yet assert their sovereignty both within the nation and in the international arena. The course will feature the examination of major legal cases and opportunities for individual student research. 


Topic: TBA

Meets with 498A.

See Course Description for Hist 498A.


 Topic: History of Chicago

 Meets with Hist 498B

 See Course Description for Hist 498B


  Topic: History of Travel

   Meets with Hist 498C

   See Course Description for Hist 498C.


  Topic: World War I

   Meets with Hist 498D

   See Course Description for Hist 498D.


Topic: Integration Stories: Baseball, Biography and Integration

Meets with Hist 498E

 See Course Description for Hist 498E.

495HH  Research and Writing Sem (Drake, J.)

Topic: Sex, Wars and Tea Parties: Religion and American Politics, 1750-present

Meets with 498H.

See Course Description of Hist 498H


Topic: TBA
Meets with Hist 495AH

Description not available at time of publication.


Topic: History of Chicago

Meets with Hist 495BH

The University of Chicago's pioneering sociologists had the idea first in the early years of the twentieth century: the city might become a laboratory in which to observe and study the process of urbanization and related social problems.  Nowhere did  urbanization and the other broad forces of change that have  transformed life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries --  industrialization, social class formation, migration and  immigration -- occur more rapidly 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 key problems in the field of U.S. Social history:  the theory and process of urbanization; formation of classes and the evolution of class conflict; immigration, mass migration and ethnic diversity; racial formation and conflict.  Readings will include four or five books, plus a course reader with about a dozen articles and documents.  Student performance in the course is judged on three criteria:  in-class discussion; an oral presentation; and a major research paper on a topic chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor.  We will visit the library and the research paper will be developed in a series of stages -- topic, proposal, bibliography, rough draft, final draft. Please note that classes will involve extensive discussion and participation will constitute an important element in the grading for the course.  Lack of participation will result in a lower grade.


Topic: History of Travel

 Meets with Hist 495CH

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.


Topic: World War I

Meets with Hist 495DH

The ‘War to End All Wars:’ World War I, 1914-2014, a Century Later Peter Fritzsche, Department of History

On the occasion of the one-hundredth anniversary of World War I, this course will be examine the origins, brutality, and legacy of the war and its political, cultural, and scientific consequences in an interdisciplinary fashion.  World War I changed the face of modern civilization by uprooting its certainties and augmenting its horrors.  The course will explore this break in fundamental expectation in three ways, (1) by exploring the cultural and political impact of World War I on the twentieth century; (2) by investigating the experience of the war in the years 1914-1918, from its origins to its unforeseen but deadly escalation into the most catastrophic event known until then in modern history; and (3) by analyzing the cultural artifacts by which contemporaries made sense of the cataclysm.  

The basic requirements of the course include class participation prompted by the readings, one paper (about 5-6pp) on the supplementary readings assigned in the beginning of the semester, a report on a recovered “war document,” and a “capstone” research paper on a topic relating to World War I.  Readings will include texts by historians and contemporary novelists and observers from Ernst Jünger to Ernst Hemingway to Paul Fussell to Sigmund Freud and Pat Barker.


Meets with Hist 495EH

Topic: Integration Stories: Baseball, Biography and Integration

The racial integration of U.S. professional baseball has been hailed a watershed moment for not just in sports but also in the quest for Civil Rights in U.S. society. Scholars and public intellectuals have long debated the impact that integration had on Black communities, specifically on the toll that integration had on Black institutions formed during era of Jim Crow segregation. Just the same, many have praised Jackie Robinson and Brach Rickey as the (lone) heroes of baseball’s racial saga. This course aims to complicate these matters by examining the biographies of (other) figures involved in the integration of baseball as a means to explore integration at an individual level, at the institutional level (organized baseball), and at the societal level. We will therefore consider integration’s impact beyond black and white along with also studying the story of women in professional baseball. Course readings will include secondary source readings and primary source materials to discuss “Integration Stories.” Requirements include regular attendance and active participation in seminar sessions, writing several response papers (3-5 pages) and completing an original research paper (20-25 pages).



Topic: Sex, Wars and Tea Parties: Religion and American Politics, 1750-present

Meets with Hist 495HH   

     The history of religion in the United States is not only a history of private beliefs but a story of moral, and ultimately political, convictions about how the “people of God” ought to follow their convictions. These convictions have catalyzed social and political movements from long, bloody wars to anti-monogamous utopian communities based in “free love.” Long seen as the background to historical change in our secular history texts, historians are now exploring how communities of faith have blurred the boundary of religious and political expression to the point that it is difficult to distinguish between the two. In this course we will trace that gray area between American religion and politics since 1750 within several theoretical frameworks, especially that of “civil religion.” To what extent has a consensus in American Christianity structured the framework of American culture, foreign policy, and politics? How have political coalitions outside of religious institutions changed American religious belief? By the end of the course, students will craft an original research paper that intervenes in this very exciting new field of scholarship.

499A THESIS SEMINAR (Randolph, J.)

This seminar is required of all seniors in the Honors Program, and is designed to be taken concurrently with History 493 (Honors Senior Thesis). It will meet bi-weekly in the fall semester and will become a weekly writing workshop in the spring. Throughout the year, it 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. Students with questions about this course are encouraged to contact the instructor, John Randolph (Associate Professor, Department of History, jwr@illinois.edu <mailto:jwr@illinois.edu> ).


500 Level

502A Prob in Comparative History (Randolph, J.)

Topic: Eurasia: History of a Space

In the past two decades, the term "Eurasia" has burst into the forefront of scholarly and political discourse. It threads its way through world history books; adorns the mastheads of institutes and prestigious foundations; and is used by a bewildering variety of groups--from liberal ecumenicists to right wing neo-Imperialists--to describe a political, social and cultural space that perhaps once was and could or should be again. This course, focused largely on early modern histories from post-Roman Europe, the Mongol Empire, and the Russian Empire, seeks to discover when, where and how "Eurasia" might ever have existed. It will open with a short theoretical primer on the history of geography, and space; consider the 19th century genesis of “Eurasianism” as a scholarly tradition; and then proceed to interrogate the historical realities--in commercial relations, literature, politics and memory--that might stand behind such a concept.  It will conclude by returning to the question of recent, post-colonial and post-Soviet uses of the term, to consider these contemporary philosophical and ideological currents in historical perspective. Students from a variety of disciplines and specialties are invited to join this course, which can be used to fulfill requirements in pre-modern history, Russian studies, or cultural and intellectual history. Students with questions about this course are encouraged to contact the instructor, John Randolph (Associate Professor, Department of History, jwr@illinois.edu <mailto:jwr@illinois.edu> ).


 Topic: Disease, Epidemics and Society

In 1918 a flu pandemic gripped the globe, killing hundreds of thousands of people, but the public in warring nations did not know the full extent of the epidemic because of wartime censorship.  For Germany, England, or the U.S. to admit the numbers stricken and dead by the epidemic, was to admit weakness–and bring on defeat.  Smallpox epidemics that hit every continent killed and scarred many.  It was also responsible for increased state intervention, categorization, and surveillance of citizens, subjects, and immigrants and for producing resistance by colonial subjects and citizens.  Tuberculosis has to be given some credit for the racial segregation of housing in early twentieth century American cities.  Female sex workers were blamed for syphilis and incarcerated, and then blamed for AIDS.  Frightening diseases have often been blamed on the sick themselves and identified with already suspect and stigmatized populations–sex workers, immigrants, racial groups.  As these examples suggest, diseases and epidemics are more than health problems that have powerful personal effects.  They can be made politically powerful and “cause” major social and cultural changes, they can become identities.  They both linked and divided societies, cultures, and people.  Like floods and even earthquakes, epidemic disease is often implicitly assumed to be a naturally occurring event like the weather, but in each of these cases, societies can produce and inflict these terrors upon themselves. 

Diseases and epidemics turn out to be excellent subjects for studying transnational history, politics, and the state as well as the history of science and medicine.  They may serve as the metaphorical window for understanding a time period, a place, a social institution (such as medicine or law) or they may be studied more as “actors” themselves.  The construction and power of gender, race, class, and sexualities are also illuminated in epidemics and will be central to our inquiry (even if not to all of our authors).  Discussion will include thinking about disease as socially constructed, culturally understood, and historically changing, as a "metaphor" for society.  We will discuss how the understanding of disease causation has changed and the implications for public policy.  Who is responsible for spreading disease and for caring for the sick?  How is disease defined and when and why are some diseases noticed and others ignored?  When do the interests of public health and individual civil liberties conflict?  We will also think about how the body has been seen and understood over time, how anomalous bodies have been regarded, and consider a disabilities studies approach.

 In this class, we will approach the histories of diseases and epidemics with the assumption that they cannot be understood on their own and separate from the society(ies) that sponsor, suffer, and respond to them.  This is a comparative course, so readings will branch out around the world, though don’t be surprised if the U.S. is over-represented. The course will concentrate on the 19th and 20th centuries.  We may take a disease (such as TB, syphilis, HIV/AIDS.) and look at its history in different places and from different historical methodologies.  Books that may be included:  Brandt, Cigarette Century; Tomes, Gospel of Germs; Treichler, How to Have Theory in an Epidemic; syphilis, sex, and race: multiple authors on USPS Tuskegee syphilis study, Vaughn on Africa, Englestein on Russia; Warwick Anderson, Colonial Pathologies: American Tropical Medicine in the Philippines; Kudlik on cholera in France and disabilities; Arnold, Colonizing the Body; Johnson, Ghost Map: London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic and how it changed....the world and more.  We will be analyzing primary sources as well and students are likely to be writing papers on topics of their own choice (with approval) that are historiographic and include a bit of original research as well.


Topic: History in Sexuality

This course will investigate sexuality as an object of historical inquiry. While sexuality has long been considered integral to modern articulations of the self, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the social regulation of sexual practices became increasingly central to the control and operation of the modern state. Growing interest in and access to new forms of contraception altered heterosexual experience in complex ways.  Secularization challenged religious proscriptions about sexual behavior, and sexual desire became a motive force behind the burgeoning consumer economy.  Conservatives and liberals fiercely debated the merits and parameters of regulation, education, commercialization and normalization in the sexual realm. But what is sexuality?  How is it practiced, produced, policed, constructed, represented, liberated, controlled and gendered? What are the theoretical, epistemological, personal and political stakes of its analysis? How do we grasp such an intimate aspect of human experience within an historical frame?  What drives historical change in the sexual domain? 


 We shall begin by reading foundational and contemporary texts (Foucault, Reich, Freud, Butler, Kinsey, Sedgewick, Halberstam, etc.), in order to establish familiarity with the methodological and theoretical approaches (sociological, psychoanalytic, feminist, post-colonial, queer, etc.) circumscribing work in this field. Subsequent investigations shall be structured thematically around such topics as sexual orientation and queer sexualities, colonial/post-colonial sexual economies, prostitution, sexology and sexual norms, reproductive technologies, pornography and the erotic, sexuality and violence, sexuality and the media, sexual education, and questions of health, disease and desire. The geographic focus in this class is eclectic; Europe will constitute our primary area of study but texts may range globally to North America, Africa, Asia, Latin America, etc. Students will complete a substantive research paper on a topic of their own choosing related to the themes of the class.  Our work will include the analysis of sexuality and the erotic in art, literature, the print and broadcast media, advertising, and film.


Topic: Race and Ethnicity in Latin America

This course engages the scholarship on race relations and ethnicity in Latin America, situating the historical literature in both a hemispheric and an interdisciplinary context.  Readings will focus on Brazil, Cuba, Argentina and Mexico.  The course examines patterns of discrimination, histories of contestation and integration, and the negotiation of national identity by both racial minorities and immigrant ethnic minorities.  We will address the production of historical and social scientific understandings of race relations and ethnicity, with particular attention to the creation of master narratives defining Latin American nations as formed by benign race relations (Rodó, Martí, Freyre, Vasconcelos, Tannenbaum).  We will also examine the pathways through which historians, sociologists and anthropologists have exploded national mythologies of racial harmony through scholarship that interrogates racial inequalities, integrates the experiences of ethnic minorities, and reads the influence of racial thought in the formation of modern nation-states.  The course focuses on the experiences of peoples of African descent, the experiences of Jewish, Middle Eastern, Japanese and Chinese diasporas, as well as those of majority ethnic groups, in Latin America.  Writing will relate course themes to the students’ research interests.

The course welcomes participation by students from a variety of disciplines and from students of history with interests in other regions.  Students with questions about the course are encouraged to contact Professor Jerry Dávila, Department of History (jdavila@illinois.edu).



Same as AFST 510                                                                      

Topic: African History and the World

This course offers a survey of the most important and/or representative works of the major topics and sub-fields within African historiography, with particular attention to how Africa fits within global history. Although this course ranges across Sub-Saharan Africa, certain areas – Rwanda/Congo, South Africa, Tanzania – will be visited multiple times, building up our regional knowledge in order to better appreciate certain key works. Course readings also feature the range of methodological tools employed by historians of Africa, who borrow liberally from social anthropology, historical linguistics, and Marxist and Weberian sociology. Students are expected to have done all of the week’s required reading by the time we meet. Those students who will be presenting on a given week are also expected to delve deeply into the week’s recommended readings, and others are encouraged to do so, as individual interests direct and time permits.


Same as EALC 520

542A PROBLEMS IN Medieval History (Mathisen, R.)

Same as MDVL 542

Topic: The World of Late Antiquity

The purpose of this seminar will be, first of all, to provide a firm grounding in historical and methodological aspects of issues relating to political frontiers, conceptions of ethnicity, and the creation of identity in Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages. Secondly, it will permit each student to pursue a research topic consistent with his/her interests. In particular, the opportunity to use a comparative approach and make use of different (and perhaps unfamiliar, but no less valuable) methodologies will be available for students of modern European and American ethnicity, identity, and frontiers to apply to modern-day topics.

572 Race, Empire and the Formation of American Political Culture (Hoxie, F.)

For at least a century, American historians have argued that the political culture of the United States was shaped largely by forces originating inside the boundaries of the nation: wealth, political ideology, religious belief, or the consequences of the society’s social and demographic composition.  This course will explore a different perspective. Instead of seeking the determinants of American political culture within the United States, the seminar will focus on two transnational phenomena whose impact was felt across the globe during the first 200 years of United States history.  These twin (and related) phenomena—the emergence of ideologies of racial difference and the consolidation of vast, overseas empires—shaped the modern world, establishing in the process the context within which American leaders articulated their ideas and framed their political agendas.  By exploring recent scholarship on the linkages between these global phenomena and the formation of U.S. political culture (comprised of political ideas, practices and institutions), the seminar will seek a fresher and more inclusive understanding of the history of American public life.


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.