100 Level

100 AL1 GLOBAL HISTORY (Ghamari-Tabrizi, B.)

This course offers a broad introduction to global history, by discussing movements of people and ideas in addition to ecologic changes that has shaped the world from the medieval age to present times. It explores how large structural changes throughout past centuries were made and how those changes shaped and conditioned peoples’ lives around the world. This course can be used to fulfill either Western or Nonwestern general education categories but not both.


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


Same as EALC 120

This course provides a survey of the past four centuries of East Asian history from the political and economic heights of the Qing empire in China, the Chosŏn dynasty in Korea, and the Tokugawa shogunate in Japan through the turbulent decades of imperialism, colonialism, nationalism, and industrialization to the region’s resurgence in the 1980s and 1990s. To help make sense of this long and complex history, the course is subdivided into the following four chronological units: Era of Growth and Stability; the Nineteenth-Century Transformation; Alternate Modernities; and the Postwar, Cold War, and Beyond. Across these four periods, you will encounter a variety of historical sources that introduce you to all manner of people—the high, the low, women, men, outcastes, foreigners, and ethnic minorities. The sum of these voices and experiences should provide you with a broad understanding of people’s experiences in early modern and modern East Asia. This knowledge will also help you compare, contrast, and draw connections between the past and present in China, Japan, and Korea. Through section-based discussions and assignments as well as short essays and preparation for the unit exams, you will also learn and develop the skills, knowledge, and values needed to succeed as an informed and educated member of society in the twenty-first century.


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.

140 AL1 WESTERN CIV TO 1660-ACP (Mathisen, R.)

Please see course description for 141 AL1.

141 AL1 WESTERN CIV TO 1660 (Mathisen, R.)

This survey of Western civilization will cover the human past from antiquity to the Renaissance and Reformation, from 3000 BC until the sixteenth century, with even attention given to all periods of history. Beginning in the ancient near east, the first phase of the course will study the contributions to human culture of Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Hebrews, Assyrians, and Persians.  We will then turn to ancient Greece in the second phase, Rome and the early Middle Ages in the third phase, and the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Reformation in the final phase of the class. The course will focus on the cultural interactions among the different peoples of the Mediterranean and Near East and upon how individuals responded to their worlds.

142 AL1 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.

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

Please see course description for 142 AL1.


Same as RLST 120

See RLST 120

170 AL1 US HIST TO 1877-ACP (Morrissey, R.)

Please see course description for 171 AL1.

171 AL1 US HIST TO 1877 (Morrissey, R.)

This course is an introductory survey of American history from the earliest colonial encounters between Native Americans and Europeans through the Civil War and period of Reconstruction.  Emphasis is on social and cultural history-- how did diverse peoples of early America create and contest a national identity and community?   

172 AL1 US HIST SINCE 1877 (Reagan, L.)

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.

174 AL1 BLACK AMERICA, 1619-PRESENT (Cha-Jua, S.)

Same as AFRO 101

See AFRO 101


200 Level


Topic: Culture and Counterculture in Latin America

This course examines the use of sources such as music and film to interpret history.  We will focus on resistance to Brazil's military dictatorship (1964-1985), with an eye to social realist cinema and popular music.  Students will conduct a series of assignments both performing and interpreting cultural production in a historical context.


Topic:  Gender & Crime in the Early Modern World

What can the study of crime and punishment tell us about the past and about our present? This course will explore the range of behavior considered criminal in the early modern world (1450-1815) and set it beside a study of gender to examine the ways in which definitions of crime intersected, shaped, and were shaped by notions of femininity, masculinity, and gender. We will consider the importance of legal codes to early modern conceptions of order and lawfulness and study how different legal systems enforced the law. The class will also examine systems of punishment and how theories about punishment varied depending on religious belief and cultural values. Using a comparative approach we will study crime and gender in early modern Europe, colonial America, the Caribbean, the near east, and Asia. The readings will include primary sources like trial transcripts, newspapers, and pamphlets as well as a range of scholarship on these questions. Assignments include response papers, a mid-term examination, and a research paper based on primary sources.



 Topic:  1970s

This course introduces participants to methods of historical research, interpretation, and writing through a case study of the 1970s.  Topics include Black Power, Vietnam, and the sexual revolution, as well as Watergate, the New Right, and suburbanization.


Topic: 1960s

Everybody “knows” what happened in the 1960s. Many of the issues that surfaced during that decade seem timeless and current: War, dissatisfaction with government, a struggle for the rights of minorities, cultural diversity.  This class will teach students how to research and understand the 1960s as historians.  We will use a variety of materials to understand historical analysis, sources, and practice research techniques and critical writing all with a focus on this interesting decade.  Topics of interest will in part be generated by students.  A number of smaller assignment as well as one 15-20 page research paper will be required.


Survey of major themes and events in Southern African political and cultural history, with emphasis on the period after World War II: the inception and development of apartheid in South Africa, the growth of contests over African nationalism in the subcontinent, wars of liberation, the demise of colonial domination, and challenges faced by independent nations. Aspects of southern Africa's rich cultural heritage will also be discussed. Prerequisite: HIST 110 or consent of instructor.


Same as EALC 220

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

247A MEDIEVAL EUROPE (McLaughlin, M.)

Same as MDVL 247

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


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.

252 AL1 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.

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


Description not available at time of publication.


This class, a focused survey of United States history from 1800-1900, will cover a period during which the nation changed from a sparsely settled agrarian republic to an industrial powerhouse with aspiration to world power.  Slavery, the slave economy and the political struggle against it defined U.S. history in the middle of the century. The class will emphasize a variety of 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, the struggle for women’s rights and immigration from Europe and Asia.


Description not available at time of publication.


Same as LLS 280

Evidence of the Latino presence in U.S. society and popular culture is everywhere. Major corporations regularly enlist Latinos to target the growing Latino population. Yet, efforts at capturing the Latino market and coverage of Latinos in US society continue to portray Latinos as recent arrivals, crossovers, or exotic foreigners regardless of their national origins or citizenship status. Indeed, although Latinos are now the majority-minority, most Americans remain acutely unaware of the history of how Latinos became fellow Americans, their long participation in US society, and the historical forces that shaped their building communities in the States.

This course is geared toward developing a more historical understanding about the stateside communities of Caribbean Latinos. Course materials, class discussions, and lectures will explore the political and cultural relationships established between the US and Spanish-speaking Caribbean, the process of community building for these groups, and the challenges Caribbean Latinos have had in seeking to establish their place in the United States. A variety of individual and group exercises along with written assignments will be used to develop critical thinking skills, enhance analytical writing, and to understanding the past in a historically nuanced manner. Graded assignments will consist of two response papers, a 5-7 page critical essay, and two exams.


Same as LA 242, NRES 242, and RST 242

See RST 242

285A US GENDER HISTORY TO 1877 (Hustak, C.)

Same as GWS 285

What role has gender played in shaping the history of the United States from colonial times to 1877?  In what ways have masculinity and femininity been historically defined and enacted differently during this period?  This course addresses major historical developments through the lens of how sexual difference mattered in events, ideologies, social movements, and everyday relations of work, marriage, and family life.  We will consider what gender identity meant for imperialism, travel, the Enlightenment, evangelicalism, the founding of the American Republic, the expansion of slavery, and the Civil War.  We will consider how gender intersects with class, race, age, and sexuality.  We will read selections of both primary and secondary sources. Evaluation will be based on class discussions, two short papers, a research essay, a mid-term test, and a final exam.


Same as LLS 238

See LLS 238

300 Level

314A MATERIAL CULTURE (Fouché, R. & Weightman, D.)

LAS Blockbuster Course

Topic: The Design, Culture, and Engineering of the Automobile

The automobile has a nearly ubiquitous presence within contemporary societies around the globe. This course will emphasize a comparative approach to understand how the automobile fits into global political, economic, and social institutional structures.  We will examine the car from many angles, from questions of technology to those of gender and ethnicity, from management to environmentalism.  By embracing the histories of design, business, policy, labor, the environment, technology, and culture, this course seeks a holistic understanding of the role of the car in social and cultural life.


Same as MDVL 345 and RLST 345

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 human interactions with the natural environment; love, marriage and the family, wealth and poverty; warfare and warrior societies; and systems of meaning .


Description not available at time of publication.


An examination of how Jewish life and culture contributed to the creation of the world’s first socialist society. This course will make use of primary sources, scholarly essays and monographs, archival documents, literature, memoirs, film, and visual culture as a way of introducing students to Soviet Jewish History, from the reign of the last tsar, Nicholas II, to the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Special topics to be examined include: the breakup of the Pale of Settlement during the Great War; the role of Jews in revolution and revolutionary culture; Soviet nationality policy; shtetl culture; antisemitism; everyday life; the purges of the 1930s; the Jewish experience in World War II; the Holocaust; and mass emigration.

370A COLONIAL AMERICA (Morrissey, R.)

This course focuses on American Colonial history in the context of a broad "Atlantic World" 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. 


Examination of 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.

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 a final are obligatory in order to pass this class. Students have the choice of writing a  research paper on a topic of their choice (related to the class) or write two take-home essays at fixed times during the semester.

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

This course speaks to recent debates about the imperial nature of the United States by going back to a time generally accepted as an age of U.S. empire building: the years around 1898. Not only did the United States intervene in Cuba in this period, but it also fought a war in the Philippines, landed troops in China, annexed Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, and took control of what became the Panama Canal Zone. In addition to considering government policies, we will investigate commercial endeavors, cultural productions, and the experiences of a variety of people joined by imperial webs.


Same as GWS 385

See GWS 385


Same as GWS 387

See GWS 387

396A SPECIAL TOPICS (Burton, A. & Powers, E.)

LAS Blockbuster Course

Meets with ECON 399, Section: HIS, CRN: 61506

Topic: Making Poverty History

In this course an economist and a historian will try to help first-year students grapple with a question of gargantuan proportion: how can we eradicate poverty in our own time? That question generates many others, but we will focus primarily on two: why have people been poor in the past, and how has the modern state tried to respond to this problem? Our syllabus focuses on three case studies: hunger, health and welfare. Students will develop projects that assess local manifestations of poverty in Champaign County, Illinois as well as specific proposals for action. The course will use interdisciplinary approaches  i.e., a combination of skills available in History and Economics,  to think through concrete solutions to the question of poverty in the here and now.

396C SPECIAL TOPICS (Mumford, K.)

Topic: Law and Film

This course explores representations of social justice in modern American culture through the historical study of a number of important documentary films and popular dramas.  Major topics include freedom of expression; criminal procedure; the death penalty; the civil rights movement; war and military crimes; sexual rights and violence.

396D SPECIAL TOPICS (Seidelman, R.)

 Topic: A History of Israel

This course will offer an introduction to modern Israeli history.  We will use as our starting point the first Zionist waves of immigration to Palestine in the late 19th Century, and we will carry on into the early decades of the State of Israel.   We will explore such themes as:  government, politics, migration, the experiences and influences of various population groups, social and cultural institutions and the Israel-Arab conflict.  Emphasis will be placed on class discussion, critical thought and rigorous readings of historiographical material.   The principle aim of the course is for the student to come away with a familiarity with - and critical understanding of - central dates, terms, events and debates that form a basis of modern Israeli history. 

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 420

This course addresses several fundamental questions in modern Chinese history concerning political and ethnic identities, women, tradition, and the modalities of modernity. Being the last dynasty under the rule of an originally non-Chinese people, the Qing state is as important as it is intriguing in its impact on the history of China in the past three centuries. What was the impact of the Manchu regime on the course of Chinese history in the late imperial period? How did the Manchu rule change the social, economic, political, and intellectual landscapes of China after a period of more than half a century of profound economic, intellectual, and cultural change in sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries? Why did the Manchus, a small ethnic group, succeed in conquering the vast Chinese empire, and how did they maintain their control for over two and a half centuries? Were the Manchus engulfed by the powerful cultural tradition of China (sinicization), or were they successful in resisting the latter? What was this cultural tradition? How important was it in creating a sense of "Chineseness" and a "Chinese" life style for several hundred millions of people living in different dialectal and ethnic communities? Was the Manchu state just another imperial regime in the "dynastic cycle"? Or when the Qing attempted to change its bureaucratic practice in order to cope with a host of problems created by commercialization, export surplus, population explosion and massive migration, it was knocking at the door of modernity? Was Qing China confronted with a similar array of problems shared by the most advanced European states in the same period? How successful was the Qing state in its attempt to deal with the problems of food supply, depletion of natural resources, peasant rebellions, and its senile Manchu warriors? Were women subjected to even more oppression under the Qing? Why and how did the Manchu regime fail to meet the challenges from within the Chinese society and from the intrusion of Western imperialist powers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? Finally, why did the Chinese abandon the imperial system they had embraced for over two thousand years? To answer these questions, we will investigate broad trends of change in politics, population, the economy, thought, culture, social structure, and the relationship between the state and national and local elites. Class participation is crucial and students need to have some background in Chinese history.


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.


India from Colony to Nation This course will look at the post-colonial processes of nation and state formation in South Asia after the end of British Imperialism.  We will focus on the creation of legal and administrative state institutions, the assertion of territorial boundaries, questions of citizenship and identity, and legitimizing discourses of newly created nation-states.  We will explore how anti-colonial nationalist movement, the trauma of partition, and the post-World War II international order affected processes of nation and state formation in India and Pakistan after formal independence.  We will also consider various forms of resistance to nation and state formation.


The term diaspora refers to the relations between homeland and host nation from the perspective of those who move and to the lived experience of the communities. For hundreds of years, Jews used the concept to talk about displacement, homeland, and exile after leaving their place of "origin." This course examines the histories of Jewish diaspora communities in the modern world. Drawing on a wide variety of primary and secondary sources - ranging from memoirs and letters to films and novels - we analyze the ways in which Jewish communities refashioned their collective and individual identities in Russia, Poland, France, Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and America.


Same as AFST 437

The Revolution of January 2011 will be the starting point of our excursion into Egyptian history since the First World War. The results of this event will still be unfolding during the fall semester: history in the making! This is the most recent of a vast number of social, economic, political, cultural, and ideological changes that Egyptians have experienced a during the past century. The political system has gone from colonial rule to constitutional monarchy, to a single party state under Nasser, and ended under Mubarak in a stalled transition to a multi-party system. There were parallel changes in the economic system, from a market economy to “Arab Socialism” and then Sadat’s “Open Door” and neo-liberalism, which contributed to the discontent fueling the January Revolution. Throughout, 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.

443 G4/U3 BYZANTINE EMPIRE AD 284-717 (Mathisen, R.)

Same as MDVL 443

The course will examine the political, social, economic, military, institutional, religious and cultural development of the Early Byzantine Empire focusing on the reigns of Diocletian (AD 284-305) through the Heraclian Dynasty (AD 610-717).

460 G2/G4/U3 RUSSIA TO PETER THE GREAT (Randolph, J.)

Political, economic, cultural, and social development of Russia during the Kievan and Muscovite periods.

478 A/G1 BLACK FREED MOVE, 1955-PRESENT (Cha-Jua, S.)

Same as AFRO 474

See AFRO 474

479 G2/G4/U3 19thC US INTEL & CULTR HIST (Oberdeck, K.)     

Same as RLST 478

This course examines diverse strains of cultural and intellectual life in the US from the early Republic through the Progressive Era.  The course will emphasize popular culture, religious revivalism, educational institutions, reform movements, art, science, and literature and the roles of various social groups--cultural elites, women, working-classes, African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants etc.--in shaping national, regional and local cultures.  It will focus on both the ideas and beliefs of such groups and the ways they shared and debated their ideas--that is, on the dissemination and exchange of “culture” as well as its content.  Readings will be in primary sources from the period as well as secondary sources interpreting the significance of particular practices of religion, social thought, literature, art, performance, communications, and the material culture of daily life.

Participation in class discussion, a midterm, two papers, and a final exam required.


Topic: The Family in History

Meets with 498A

See Course Description for 498A


Topic: 1960s

Meets with 498B

See Course Description for 498B


Topic: Slavery & Freedom

Meets with 498C

See Course Description for 498C


Topic: TBA

Meets with 498D

See Course Description for 498D


Topic: The Family in History

Meets with 495AH

The family is in flux. The current campaign for the recognition of same-sex marriage is the latest in a number of changes that, beginning in the late twentieth century, have been re-shaping family ideology and family life itself in much of the world. But there never really was a “traditional family” to be undone. Instead, there was an older family ideal, only occasionally realized in practice, which was invented two centuries earlier. In this course we will be surveying historic Euro-American family ideals and practices, their export to the non-Western world, and recent developments from no-fault divorce to same-sex marriage. In addition to readings and discussions, students will research and present on a topic related to the family in history – as practiced, as idealized, as legislated, and so on.


Topic: 1960s

Meets with 495BH

The decade of the 1960s witnessed social activism, challenges to authority, and the rise to dominance of popular youth culture on an unprecedented world scale.  These movements crossed national boundaries, circulating through all three of the postwar worlds:  the first, “capitalist” world (USA and Europe), the second, “communist” world (Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and Cuba), and the third “developing” world of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  In this course, students will explore the key moments of the global sixties:  civil rights movements in the US and southern Africa; anti-colonial movements in Africa and Asia; cultural revolution in China; the space race; youth revolts in 1968 from Paris to the Prague Spring; war and antiwar movements; feminist movements; sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  The global 1960s offers an outstanding laboratory to explore how histories are produced, and students will write research papers that will permit them to compare one of these global moments across national boundaries.


Topic: Slavery & Freedom

Meets with 495CH

This course examines the major themes and approaches to the study of slavery, manumission and emancipation in the societies that received the largest numbers of slaves in the African Diaspora.  The course prepares students to research and write papers based on the original interpretation of primary documents.


Topic: TBA

Meets with 495DH

Description not available at time of publication.

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).


500 Level


Topic: Memories of Disaster

In this interdisciplinary course, we will explore "catastrophe and the modern imgaination," pairing fiction with non-fiction and analyses of catastrophe with the politics of its representation. Topics will include Columbine, the extinction of the dinosaurs and global warming, millenialism, revolution, terror and counter-insurgency, colonialism and famine, the Great Depression, war and genocide, rape and race, and the financial crisis of 2008. Texts include Maurice Blanchot, Don DeLillo, Tom LaHaye, Mary Shelley, Mike Davis, John Steinbeck, Susan Rubin Suleiman, Tzvetan Todorov, Irene Nemirovsky, Eve Ensler, J.M. Coetzee, John Dower, Philip Gourevitch, Eugene Burdick, Sebastian Faulks, and Michael Lewis. For the first day of class, students are expected to have read Dave Cullen, Columbine and Joan Didion, Blue Nights.


Topic: Britain and the Global 18th Century

This course interrogates Britain's national and imperial history in the long eighteenth century (1660-1830). The readings, cultural studies of geography, race, sex, gender, religion, and a special emphasis on law, will explore the global eighteenth century and the formation of the British empire. Our geographical range will include the British Isles, India, East Asia, North America, and the Caribbean. We will also read theoretical works that inform studies of race, gender, and culture in and beyond eighteenth-century Britain. The readings will draw from history, anthropology, and English literary studies. The interdisciplinary approach will allow us to engage various theoretical and methodological perspectives as we explore this topic. In addition to leading weekly discussions, assignments will include two 5-page critical reviews and a longer historiographic essay (15-20) pages.


Topic: Commodity Chains: Visualizing Primary Goods Relations of Production in Latin American History from Silver and Sugar to Copper and Soy Beans and Their Embeddedness in Transnational Circuits of Investment, Trade and Consumption

This course will seek to understand forms of production, labor and property regimes in a series of primary goods production complexes in Latin American history, their multifaceted links to markets overseas, and how these links shaped the material cultures of  both production and consumption. The goal is to combine socio-cultural and economic variables, as far as the literature allows us to do that. One of the results will be re-envisioning the role of Latin America in the cycles of globalization over the past 500 years. We will study a set of primary agricultural and mineral commodities central in the formation of colonial and post-colonial Latin America, such as silver, sugar, bananas, rubber, guano/fishmeal, coffee, copper, wheat, cattle, and soy beans, and follow them from the field or the mine pit through the chains of commercialization and consumption across the globe. We will ask questions like: How did foreign investors, markets and transportation channels shape the labor, technology and property structures at the sites of production? Did the linkages to Latin American sites of production shape trading and consumption patterns? What types of knowledge flowed through the transportation networks connecting producers in Latin America and consumers in Europe, Asia or North America?

Since this approach to material culture is fairly young, at times it will be through our own effort that the literatures on production and marketing/consumption and on economic and socio-cultural variables will be placed into conversation with each other. Students should bring openness and curiosity towards both economic and socio-cultural types of analysis.


Same as EALC 520

Topic: Cold War Cultures: China, Hong Kong, and the United States

This course explores the little-studied intersection between culture and politics in China and Hong Kong in the rapidly changing contexts of Cold War politics. It was a time of immense social changes and political uncertainty in the region marked by massive migration and violence accompanying the Communist victory in 1949, the Korean War in 1950, the counter-insurgence in Vietnam, Taiwan Strait tensions, and US-China conflicts. What did Cold War mean to China and Hong Kong, which represented the major war zones in East Asia. It is not our aim to try to answer all questions but to question some conventional answers surrounding the questions of what was the transformative role of the Cold War in the developments of China and Hong Kong and their relations with the U.S, and how did the Superpower politics, cultural  diplomacy, and communication revolution come to shape the cultural landscape of the region. The class will study how Hollywood, U.S. exchange programs, Chinese-language cinemas and fictions and higher education across the border were mobilized for the ideological warfare of winning the hearts and minds of the people  as well as filmic and literary representation of people struggling to grapple with the Cold War politics in their daily life. All students are required to give two presentations and to submit a 15-20 pages research paper.


Topic: Current Research in Early Modern Europe

In this seminar we will read recent work in early modern studies, including scholarship on communities, daily life, gender, and European expansion. We will use these readings to discover and develop research topics in all aspects of the early modern period.

572A PROB IN US HIST SINCE 1815 (Levine, B.)

Topic: US 19th Century

This course has two interconnected purposes.  First, it aims to introduce students to ways in which scholars have identified and analyzed some salient subjects, themes, and questions in the history of the U.S. during the 19th century.  Simultaneously, it aims to encourage students to identify various ways in which professional historians have approached and re-defined those subjects, themes, and questions.  The course thus combines study of specific topics under review each week with an ongoing consideration of the evolution of and differences within the historical profession itself.

572B PROB IN US HIST SINCE 1815 (Oberdeck, K.)

Topic: US Cultures of Spacial Distinction in Comparative Perspective

This readings seminar in US Cultural  History will focus on problems of locating cultural and intellectual formations that speak to class identities as they operate at a variety of scales:  local, national, imperial, global, and/or mobilized across one or more of these. We will ask about the significance and relevance of class distinctions in relation to other dimensions of social identity (e.g. race, gender, ethnicity and sexuality) and to geographical place and scale as they shape cultural production, reception, expression and conflict.  The first few weeks of conceptual and methodological readings on studying culture, intellect, and relevant conceptions of geographical scale.  Subsequent weeks explore these issues through book- and article-length secondary readings ranging topically from the mid-nineteenth through the late-twentieth centuries, accompanied in many cases by illustrative primary texts.  These readings will focus on issues of cultural production, constructions of working-class and middle-class identities through culture; the relation of class to distinctions of race, gender, ethnicity and sexuality; cultural work on empire; global cultural connections. Likely topics include popular literature, class, and race; cultural constructions of work and workplaces; working-class writing and reading; African American cultural constructions of class; culture and spatial mobility;  the relevance of urban/rural/suburban distinctions to cultural constructions of class, race and gender; and comparative analyses of these issues between the US and South Africa.

572C PROB IN US HIST SINCE 1815 (Espiritu, A.)

Topic: Transnationalism

Transnationalism, alongside of “global” discourses, has emerged in the last two decades as an important problem of contemporary knowledge production, and has increasingly become a concern of historians. In this course, with a critical though not exclusive focus upon the history of the United States, we will grapple with the complex questions raised by transnationalism. Did transnationalism come after the constitution of nations or was it one of the nation’s essential preconditions?  How has transnationalism shaped the construction of national, race, gender, and sexual ideologies in the USA and other empires? Is transnationalism, as pilgrimage, tourism, exile, or diaspora, a necessarily liberating predicament, or does it in fact reinforce neo-imperial and neo-colonial structures?  How has the act of claiming America obscured transnational, transborder, & transoceanic processes? And finally, how have transnationalism and empire raised fundamental questions about sovereignty and modernity in the twenty-first century?


“Theory”—love it or hate it, social theory provides the epistemological framework through which historians, sociologists and other scholars in the humanistic and social science disciplines conceptualize our world.  Our task this semester will be to come to grips with some of the central thinkers and concepts structuring classical and contemporary social theory.  Our goal will be to develop a modicum of familiarity and comfort with material that is renowned for its complexity—and in so doing to begin to create a “theoretical toolbox” that is both available and useful to us as historians. We will examine the works of canonical 19th century and 20th century thinkers, as well as postmodern, feminist, postcolonial and queer critical responses to them.  Our readings will draw on the scholarship of such theorists as Comte, Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Freud, Gramsci, Habermas, Geertz, Bourdieu, Lacan, Foucault, de Certeau, Lyotard, Scott, Butler, Fanon, Said, Bhaba, Halberstam and Ahmed.


This course is the first semester of a two-term sequence designed to introduce you to history as a discipline and practice.  We will consider foundational questions such as what is history, what does it mean to think like a historian, what are some different genres of history writing, and how have historians from a range of geographical, chronological, and thematic fields approached their topics?  Through a series of focused assignments, we will grapple with three challenges that face all historians:  identifying the research problems we want to tackle, deciding what methodologies are best suited to these problems, and locating and using relevant sources.  You will translate all this into a plan for researching and writing an article-length study of your own design, to be completed in the second half of this sequence.