100 Level

100 AL1 GLOBAL HISTORY (McLaughlin, M.)

Topic: : 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).


This course treats the contested 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 role in a globalizing world economy; 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

Description not available at time of posting.


Same as ANTH 130

Description not available at time of posting. 


Please see course description for HIST 141 AL1.


141 AL1 WESTERN CIVILIZATION TO 1660 (Crowston, C)

Meets with 140 AL1

                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.


Meets with 143 AL1

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

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


Meets with 142 AL1

Please see course description for HIST 142 AL1.


Same as RLST 120

Please see course description for RLST 120.


170 AL1 US HISTORY TO 1877 (Hoganson, K)

Meets with HIST 171 AL1

Although this is an introductory course, covering U.S. history through Reconstruction, it is not your high school history class.  The course focuses on several interpretive questions, chief among them:  how do we make sense of conflicting evidence, arguments, and views on what matters about the past?  We will explore how historians pick their topics, find their sources, and transform their research into knowledge.  Going well beyond traditional political history, this course will introduce you to recent historical approaches with a greater social, cultural, environmental, transnational, and economic  bent.  To provide some thematic unity within this analytical extravaganza, the course will focus on the concept of freedom:  how has it been understood over time?  How have various individuals and groups struggled to obtain and redefine it?  How can History help us understand this fundamental concept?  This course will meet for two lectures and one discussion section each week.

171 AL1 US HISTORY TO 1877-ACP (Hoganson, K)

Meets with HIST 170 AL1

Please see course description for 170 AL1.


172 AL1 US HISTORY SINCE 1877 (Oberdeck, K)


In this survey of U.S. history from the end of the Civil War to the present, lectures and discussions will address how modern the US was shaped from the many, often inharmonious voices of people who lived and made its history. This disharmony is central to the main themes of the course: the multiplicity of US experience in relation to a shared public, to common rights, to social responsibilities, to civic institutions, and the social efforts required to maintain these “commons.”  How notions of the “American public” were formed and transformed will be a central thread.  Lectures will incorporate audio-visual, interpretive and case-oriented treatment of these themes to illustrate issues raised in the textbook and supplementary primary documents.  Discussion sections will focus on analyzing primary source 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.  Attendance at lecture and discussion section is required.

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

Same as AFRO 101

Please see course description for AFRO 101

200 Level


Topic: The History of Human Skin from the Middle Ages to the Present

The surface of the human body has a deep history. In this course we will study the transition from medieval to modern ideas about skin, especially in relation to human difference and identity. We will read and discuss recent scholarship on a wide range of topics, including the history of

•             the skin in European anatomy and medicine

•             skin diseases, especially leprosy and smallpox

•             skin and beauty, blushing, and cosmetics

•             skin color and the formation of racial ideologies in early modern culture

•             specific European and Mediterranean practices on the skin, including surgery, penal branding, and (among Jews and Muslims) circumcision

•             scarification and "country marks" in West African cultures and in the Atlantic world

•             the global circulation of tattooing.

By encompassing diverse fields such as the history of medicine, art history, cultural history, legal history, the history of race and slavery, and the history of religion, this course provides a broad introduction to historical interpretation. Assignments include short essays, a midterm exam, and a research paper.


Topic: Islam in Africa

Less than ten years after the death of the Prophet Muḥammad in 632 CE, Islam ‘overflowed’ from the Arabian peninsula into the African continent; today one Muslim in the world out of four is from Africa and one out of two Africans is Muslim. This course focuses on the history and historiography of Muslim societies in Africa until the end of the colonial period. What were the dynamics of the spread of Islam in Africa? Is there a uniform ‘Islamic experience’ in the continent? Is Islam in Africa different from the other areas of the Islamic world? What is the image in Western scholarship of Islam in Africa?  This course will provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to understand this central phenomenon in modern world history.


Topic: African American History and Culture

This course examines a wide range of primary documents from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  Our main goal is to hear the voices of African Americans not only through their own textual productions but also through the archives of elite men and women, including slaveholders.                                                                                                                   

Students will learn how to both read primary documents skillfully and interpret them critically. 


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

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


Same as ESE 202 and NRES 202

This is an introduction to the historical study of Americans’ relationship with the natural world.  Examination of the ways that “natural” forces help shaped American history, and the ways human beings have shaped, altered, and interacted with nature, pre-history to present. 



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 mono-vocal China. Finally, we will stop at the historical juncture where the Chinese had to confront the growing presence and power of European civilizations in East Asia.  No prior knowledge of Chinese history is required.  There will be a mid-term, a term paper and a final.



Same as EALC 227

This course provides a survey of the past four centuries of history in Japan from the origins of the warrior-dominated Tokugawa regime (about 1600) through the social and economic malaise that has followed the collapse of the 1980s “bubble economy.” Every effort will also be made to introduce you to a variety of historical actors--warriors, farmers, activists, artists, entrepreneurs, politicians--with the aim of showing you the diverse perspectives from which we can view and discuss modern Japan. During this course, you will read a number of written texts, both primary and secondary, and be introduced to a variety of visual sources. By the end, you should gain a better understanding of the origins and changes within modern Japanese society and know how to initiate and carry out your own historical research.



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


Same as GWS 245 and MDVL 245

This is 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 pre-modern 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.

258 AL1 20th CENTURY WORLD TO MIDCENTURY (Chaplin, T and Fritzsche, P)

Topic: World War I & the Making of the Global 20th Century

“You will be home before the leaves have fallen from the trees.”  —Kaiser Wilhelm II to German soldiers, August 1914

This year, 2014, marks the hundredth anniversary of the onset of World War I. Lasting from 1914 to 1918 and known as “The Great War” to those unaware that more carnage would soon blight the history of the twentieth century, World War I stands as the first incarnation in human history of modern industrial warfare on a truly global scale. This bloody conflict permanently recast the ways in which nations and peoples have considered, experienced and commemorated not just military conflict, but both Western and global culture, society, industry, politics and economics writ large. Our class, which will be team-taught by Professors Tamara Chaplin and Peter Fritzsche, attempts to come to grips with World War I’s astonishing historical legacy. Our canvas is broad: we will not only learn about the chronology of the war—from its origins and military operations, to its political ramifications (including the demise of imperial empires and the rise of Soviet socialist communism), to competing experiences of battlefront and home front (with their technological and industrial innovations—including such diverse aspects as aerial and trench warfare, the use of gas and chemical weapons, food rationing, war bonds and the feminization of the workforce), but we will also study the war’s psychological and embodied effects (shell-shock, trauma, amputation, prosthetics, plastic surgery and disability) as well as the artistic and cultural attempts to acknowledge, represent and memorialize its devastation (in poetry, art, music, dance, theatre, film and literature). Our sources will be equally varied; we will read history, fiction and memoir, examine newspaper coverage, cartoons, propaganda posters, photographs and film and analyze geographic, architectural and cartographic evidence of World War I’s destruction and commemoration. We also hope to think hard together about how this history has shaped our present concerns, from our attitudes towards such issues as terrorism and human rights, to our understandings of masculinity, sexuality and gender, to our ideas about peace-making, revolution, religion and global apocalypse. To aid us in our work, our class will benefit from a series of guest lectures and presentations from specialists in other disciplinary fields.  If you are interested in exploring the ways in which modern warfare continues to shape the world in which we live, this class is for you.


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.


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


Same as AIS 277

This course is an overview of Native Americans’ experiences in North America from the onset of European colonization to the present. Using lectures, classroom discussions, visual presentations, and group projects, this course explores the impact of European expansion on Native American communities, the ways in which Native American peoples adapted to the growing European empires, and the continuities and innovations that distinguished indigenous polities and cultures in this era. The course will also examine the ways in which Native peoples survived amidst the economic, political, and social forces that were unleashed by the United States as it emerged as a continental and later, global power. Readings will include primary documents, Native American commentaries, and secondary works.


Same as LA 242, NRES 242 and RST 242

Please see course description for RST 242.

285A US GENDER HISTORY TO 1877 (Asaka, I)

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 gender difference.   Our key topics include the founding of the American Republic, the expansion of slavery, the abolitionist movement, and the Civil War as well as everyday relations of work, marriage, and family life.  We will consider how gender intersected with class, race, and sexuality in shaping the experiences of people of diverse backgrounds.  


Same as RLST 235

Please see course description for RLST 235.


Same as RLST 203

Please see course description for RLST 203.


Same as LLS 238

Please see course description for LLS 238.


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. 

300 Level


Same as MACS 300A

Topic: Fading to Black: African American History Through Film

This course examines the varied representations of black Americans in film throughout the 20th century. It addresses the ways in which, at any given moment, the history of blacks in film has mirrored the broader historical trends surrounding racial knowledge in American society. However, this course also makes the case that such trends have in turn been directly influenced by black filmic history. This course covers a host of topics including blackface minstrelsy and the earliest popular depictions of blackness, the "race films" of the 40's, 50's and 60's that grappled with the decline of Jim Crow and the birth of Civil Rights, and the emergence of Black Power as a political ideology in the late 60's and 70's alongside the rise of so-called "blaxploitation films." Ultimately, this course has in mind the goals of reevaluating what historical sources are and can be while challenging us to find new ways to "read" such sources in order to learn about the past and contemporary society.

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

In 1517, the birth-year of the Protestant Reformation, the great humanist Desiderius Erasmus wrote that "as if on a given signal, splendid talents are stirring." In 1536, the year of his death, this same Erasmus wrote: "This is the worst age of history." In both cases, Erasmus was right. The age of Reformations combined a powerful sense of promise with bitter human misery. It combined dreams of freedom with brutal subjugation. This age of astonishing beauty, penetrating faith, and fervent piety also saw so much waste and needless suffering: witch-burnings and religious war, forced conversions, famine, and exile.

In this course we will examine the many faces of this age by reading and discussing firsthand accounts of this time of creativity and destruction, hope and fear. In each class we will discuss the primary sources of the age of Reformations, focusing on the relationship between text and context. The course begins by examining Christianity and society in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

357A MODERN FRANCE (Chaplin, T)

For centuries, France has symbolized the height of European culture.  Stereotypes about France and the French abound; it is the country of rude waiters, of beautiful women, of magnificent châteaux.  France is renowned for its wine, cheese and haute couture, for its intellectuals and films, and for its crowning glory, Paris, often called the “city of lights.”  With its revolutionary, intellectual and cultural traditions, France has long influenced and fascinated both America and the world.  However, as the twentieth century progressed French dominance waned.  How do we explain the changing status of this once invincible nation?  Our class begins in 1939, on the eve of Second World War and follows France from its swift defeat to German forces, through the Vichy regime, German occupation, collaboration and resistance, from Marxism and intellectual “mandarins” through the politically fragile Fourth Republic, from decolonization and Gaullism through student revolutions and sexual revolutions, from the theoretical battles over feminism, structuralism and post-structuralism, to the geographic battles over immigration and race, from modernization and technological change to globalization, we will study the history of modern France with an aim towards understanding France’s shifting identity in the postwar world.  Does France continue to wield influence on the world's stage?  If so, how?  To what extent are the stereotypes that we hold about France and the French grounded in reality?  By examining the events, ideas, people and institutions that have shaped the French nation over the course of the last sixty years, we will formulate responses to these and other questions.  In addition to fiction, historical monographs and other texts, the critical analysis of film, music and television will be integral to our work.


Topic: War, Migration and Women in Film and Fiction

The creation of India and Pakistan in 1947 forced tens of millions of people into migration; war and capitalist economic development since have continued to upset both rural and urban worlds in South Asia and the South Asian diaspora.  This course examines how novelists and film makers -- shapers of popular consciousness of these events -- have portrayed this modern history.  In India and the USA alike, films and fiction provide the most potent representations of historical events most of us will ever encounter.  "The Help" and "Lincoln" (both nominated, 2012), and "12 Years a Slave" (nominated, 2013) prompted fierce debate over the history of slavery and racial inequalities in the USA.  But what is the relationship between fact and fiction?  Drawing on recent works by South Asian authors and directors, and focusing on war and migration's impact on women and gender, this course will allow students to see and explore the tumultuous recent history of South Asia through the lens of popular culture.



This course will examine the social history of medicine, from antiquity to the present. Specifically, we will examine the development of the medical profession, the formation of medical institutions, and the acquisition of medical knowledge. Students will gain an understanding of competing theories of disease and therapy; challenges to professionalization and institution building; and the relationship between medicine, society, and government. Students will consider the evolving role of the physician and will address how race, gender, nationality, religion, and class have shaped, and continue to shape the doctor patient relationship.

In addition to providing students with a broad overview of the social history of Western Medicine, this course will also address challenges to medical authority, shortcomings within the healthcare system, and nontraditional forms of practice. This course will include class discussions as well as a midterm, a 10 page paper, and a final exam. Prerequisite: One year of college biology or chemistry, one year of college history, or consent of instructor.

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.


This course examines changes in economic, social, cultural, and political life in the United States that ultimately plunged the nation into the bloodiest and most important war in its history.  Particular attention is paid to the way in which diverse segments of the country's population– North and South, urban and rural, rich and poor, slave and free, black and white, male and female–affected, and were affected by these changes.  This is an intensive course, and course requirements (including substantial weekly reading assignments) reflect that fact.  The course also assumes a basic familiarity with the history of the U.S. in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.  Students without such a familiarity may wish to take the first half of the US history survey before taking this course.


American society has frequently 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 high degree of individualism? This class will try to provide some historians' answers to these questions. We will examine how both social division and community cohesion shaped U.S. society during the twentieth century by studying some of the most important developments: 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 15-20 page research paper (instead of essays) on a topic of their choice.



Topic: Black Midwestern Urban History

Meets with AFRO 398EM

This class will look at US urban history, with special attention on twentieth century black Midwestern urban history in Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland.  We will read classic texts such as St. Clair Drake and Horace Cayton’s Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City (1945), as well as recent, cutting edge work on black Midwestern urban history such as Beth Tompkins Bates’ The Making of Black Detroit in the Age of Henry Ford (2012).  Gender, sexualities, and women’s voices will receive close attention.  The class will also use media to examine the dynamic histories of black urban Midwestern life. 


Same as LLS 391

This class introduces students to ethical discourses and practical methods in oral history. Its primary purpose is to prepare students with oral and archival research skills that are crucial for the examination of the history and memory of communities. Among the questions that the class will consider are: what is the connection between the historical record and the remembered past? How do people and groups use memories of the past to form a sense of the present? How reliable are these memories and does reliability matter? How do people mobilize and manipulate accounts of the past for purposes of community building, historic preservation, and political development? 

396A SPECIAL TOPICS (Hitchins, K)

Topic: Southeastern Europe and World War II

This course covers the political, economic, social, and cultural history of Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Albania in the fateful decades of the 1930s and 1940s. Before the war, the main questions to be studied are: the place of small powers in an international political and economic system dominated by the great powers; the rise of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler’s plans for Southeastern Europe; the role of the West, mainly France and Great Britain; the progress of the extreme right and the failure of Western-style parliamentary government in the region. The war itself is a major theme: military operations between 1941 and 1945; the role of the allies of Germany (Romania and Bulgaria); the resistance movements (Yugoslavia, Greece, and Albania); the daily life of the majority of the population; intellectual and cultural life during wartime (literature, art, the cinema); the fate of the Jews and other minorities; the consequences of the war for the region. Themes to be investigated in the immediate post-war period: the rise of Communist parties and the role of the Soviet Union; the installation of Communist regimes in the region, except in Greece; the Greek Civil War; Southeastern Europe in international relations at the beginning of the Cold War. There will be readings, discussions, and a research paper.


Topic: Making Poverty History

In this course we grapple with two big questions:  How can we eradicate poverty in our own time? And, how does knowing about histories of poverty help us understand and work to end it in the present? Our syllabus uses several case studies—hunger, health and homelessness—and draws on historical accounts to develop strategies for addressing the persistence of these social conditions today. The goal of the course is to enable students to understand the deep roots of current issues and devise solutions that speak to contemporary challenges.



Topic: Histories of Economic Development in South Asia: Ideas, Institutions, and Practices

This course examines economic development in colonial and post-colonial South Asia, placing equal emphases on economic theory, development institutions, and ground or field-level practices of development programs.  We will examine the beginnings of development during the colonial period, investigating the British Raj’s liberal ideas of progress and its policies and programs of economic modernization.  We will look at the development ideas that informed the anti-colonial nationalist movement, with a particular focus on Gandhi’s economic vision.  We will investigate development policies and practices in postcolonial India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, examining Nehruvian socialism, large-scale engineering projects, Green Revolution technologies, and the contemporary practices of development NGOs.  This is an interdisciplinary course weaving together economics, political science, and anthropology in understanding the histories of economic development in South Asia.


Same as GWS 397

This course will investigate how scholars of Modern Europe (from the 18thC to the present) have approached sexuality as an object of historical inquiry.  What is sexuality?  How is it practiced, produced, policed, constructed, represented, liberated, controlled?  How do religion, the law, and the media influence the ways that we understand sexual identity and sexual practices? We shall begin by investigating the theoretical questions circumscribing work in this field.  Our readings will be structured chronologically and thematically around such topics as pornography and the erotic, queer sexualities, hermaphroditism, prostitution, sex and fascism, masturbation, sexual education, colonialism and sex, sexual revolutions, sex and the Internet, and sex and disease.  As well as introducing you to scholarship in the field of the history of sexuality, our course is designed to enhance your research and writing abilities.  Thus, in addition to completing regular writing assignments and an in-class multi-media presentation , you will be expected to write a short research paper based on a topic of your choosing drawn from the themes that we will be studying this semester.  Our work will include analyses of sexuality in art, literature, music, advertising, and film.

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. 

439G2/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.

441G4/U3 THE ROMAN EMPIRE (Mathison, 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.


Russian politics, society, and culture from Peter the Great’s “revolutionary” effort to transform Russia into a modern society to the political and social revolutions of 1917. The course focuses on history as it was experienced, interpreted, and made by people in their own times and on our own efforts to understand the past. Key interpretive themes include political power, dissidence and rebellion, everyday life, the individual, community, nation, religion, morality, and imagination. Most of the readings are primary texts, written by participants and witnesses—a key purpose of the course is to learn how to listen to the past in its own voice, though also through our own questions and concerns. Weekly discussions of the readings are an essential part of the course: for understanding the Russian experience and for developing our abilities to think interpretively and analytically about the past and evidence of the past. Other requirements include three five-page essays on various themes.

466G4/U3 THE BALKANS (Hitchins, K)

The political, economic, social, and cultural development of the region between roughly 1700 and 1918 as it evolved from medieval to modern institutions and mentalities and exchanged Ottoman Turkish domination for independent states. 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, 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); and ideologies of development (liberalism, conservatism, agrarianism, and socialism), especially the acceptance and rejection of Western 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 characteristics that defined it? There will be readings, discussions, and a research paper.


This advanced undergraduate seminar covers all aspects of the history of immigration to the United States from the early nineteenth century to the present.  After a one week introduction on European immigration to pre-industrial America, the first half of the class will focus on immigration from Europe and Asia during the period 1840-1924.  During the second half of the semester the history of immigration law and the social and cultural history of immigrants in the twentieth century United States will be the focus of lectures, readings and discussions. Contemporary topics such as undocumented migration, the second generation and transnational cultures will be discussed in the last weeks of the semester.

The class format will combine lectures and discussions. Readings will include historical materials, fiction and scholarly articles from the social sciences.  A research paper is required.


Same as LLS 475

Description not available at time of posting.


Same as AFRO 474

HISTORY OF THE BLACK FREEDOM MOVEMENT is an interdisciplinary exploration of the experiences of African American people interpreted through the prism of Black Studies’ central concepts, theories, and paradigms.  Nevertheless, many of the concepts and paradigms utilized in this course come from social movement theories developed in the disciplines of sociology and political science.  Yet, in the sense that is structured around the historical process and is organized chronologically, it is a history course.  The purpose of this course is three-fold: (1) to explore how and to what extent the Black Freedom Movement changed the role, position, and place of African Americans in the United States’ political economy, policy, and civil society; (2) to explore the extent to which racial oppression continued to plaque African Americans after the civil rights and Black power movements; and (3) to access whether and if so, in what ways and to what degree African Americans were transformed by Black Freedom Movement.       

HISTORY OF THE BLACK FREEDOM MOVEMENT covers the years 1955 to the present, but primarily explores the turbulent 1960s (1955-1975).  During the “high tide” of the Black Freedom Movement (BFM) social activists in its civil rights and Black power stages heroically confronted the United States system of racial oppression, challenging structural oppression and racist representations.  This course focuses on the activities of Civil rights and Black power movement activists.  HISTORY OF THE BLACK FREEDOM MOVEMENT explores the strategies, tactics, and discourses used by different factions of the BFM, particularly the differences between the organizing and mobilizing traditions.  A major part of this course explores, unites, and fractures across class, generational, color, gender, and ideological lines among African American activists and between them their allies as they challenged corporate and local, state, and federal governmental policies and practices.  BFM activists succeeded in dismantling the constitutional scaffolding supporting segregation, transforming blackness from a pejorative into a positive identity, and in partially incorporating middle class African Americans into the political and economic mainstream.  They also built alternative autonomous institutions, revived nationalist and radical Black politics and culture, and constructed multiracial, pan-African, and international coalitions.  Nevertheless, the Civil Rights and Black Power movements’ victories were incomplete.  Although the prevailing racial formation, the Plantation Economy, and its segregationist system of racial oppression was abolished by movement activists, the system of black racial oppression was destroyed, but transmuted into a new racial formation and perhaps more insidious system of racial oppression.


Same as RLST 478

Topic:  Making American Cultures in the 19th Century

How did diverse residents and newcomers in the United States imagine and produce the new nation's varied nineteenth-century cultures?  What institutions did they make that shaped shared and disputed values in later centuries?  This course addresses this question by examining popular culture, religious revivalism, educational institutions, reform movements, art, science, and literature and the roles of cultural elites, women, working-classes, African Americans, Native Americans and immigrants in shaping national, regional and local cultures.  It will focus on both the ideas and beliefs of various groups inhabiting the region that became the United States and the ways such groups 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, as well as the material culture of daily life.

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

483G4/U3 RACE & SCIENCE (Hogarth, R)

Same as AFRO 466

This course focuses on how race has been defined through medical and scientific thought from the late eighteenth century to the twentieth century. We will examine the development of race as a medical construct; the ways that public health and medical institutions deploy concepts of race; and the process by which race emerged as a valid topic of scientific and biomedical inquiry. Key themes addressed in this course include the origins of racial classification, the relationship between slavery and nineteenth-century medicine, the birth of the eugenics movement, legacies of medical exploitation and mistrust, trends in genetic medicine, and disparities in health outcomes and health care delivery.

As it provides students with an examination of the historical development of scientific and medical theories of race, the course highlights the changing concepts of race in the United States and emphasizes the social, cultural, political, and economic factors that framed and continue to frame identity politics. Students will engage with a sizable body of secondary scholarly work, becoming familiar with the various approaches to historical debate that are critical to our understanding of the ways race has been theorized within the realm of medicine. Along with in class discussions, this course includes a midterm, weekly response papers, and a 15-20 page historiography paper.


Meeting with HIST 498A

See HIST 498A for course description.


Meeting with HIST 498B

See HIST 498B for course description



Meeting with HIST 498C

See HIST 498C for course description




Meeting with HIST 498D

See HIST 498D for course description.




Meeting with HIST 495A

Topic: Chicago, Class, Race, and Ethnicity

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.




Meeting with HIST 495B

Topic: Shipwreck

This course will examine the sea as a cultural location through stories about shipwrecks, castaways, and captives in the early modern and modern era.  Yes, of course, we will examine the Titanic, but also the “Tempest,” Robinson Crusoe, and other historical shipwreck narratives and reflections on shipwreck in modern times.  Along the way, we will explore the “Raft of the Medusa,” the mutiny on the Bounty, and the “unredeemed captive” in the French and Indian wars. The ultimate goal is for students to write their own research paper about ships, wrecks, and sailors.




Meeting with HIST 495C

Topic: History of Travel/Travel as History

What can the study of travel tell us about our past and present? How do we approach travelogues as historical sources? This course 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, and so on. 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.


Meeting with HIST 495D

Topic: Slavery, Serfdom, & Emancipation in Comparative Perspective

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

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

502A PROBLEMS IN COMPARATIVE HISTORY (Micale, M)                                                  

Topic:  Readings in the History of Masculinity

This graduate seminar--taught for the first time in the fall of 2014--will examine an extensive, representative selection of the very best scholarship produced thus far on the “history and theory of masculinity” irrespective of the historical time and place being studied.  We will pay special analytical attention to the range of topics, methods, sources, claims, goals, styles, and interpretations found in this varied body of writing.  The course will be entirely thematic.  Likely topics include:  military masculinity, Russian masculinities, masculinity and medicine, ancient classical masculinities, Mexican masculinities, masculinity and homosexuality, masculine femininities, imperial masculinities, Victorian manliness, fatherhood as masculinity, African-American masculinities, masculinity and sport, Japanese masculinities, masculinity and social class, religious masculinities, fascist masculinity, and futuristic masculinities.  Students are welcome regardless of their university department and may write either a historiographical or original research essay for the course.


Does politics affect science? Is there such thing as “value-free” science? The history and philosophy of science and science and technology studies (STS) have led to important changes in how we consider the nature of evidence, consensus, and objectivity more broadly, affecting history, the social sciences and our understanding of modern, democratic societies. Recent work on the history of science has taken us from the history of ideas to the history scientific practices. Ethnographic laboratory studies and accounts of science-in-action now complement the previous focus on classic texts. How do we think about science and why? The course focuses intently on the period after 1986 and requires no previous background.



Topic:  The Twentieth Century: A New Age of Revolutions

This seminar surveys the literature on social conflict, political upheaval and reaction in Latin America, with an emphasis on the Mexican Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, mid-century reform projects, and the emergence of the new left at the century’s end.


Same as EALC 522

This course introduces students to important bibliographical and scholarly methods and tools for the study of traditional Chinese history, using Chinese documents. A major objective of this course is to help student produce a substantial research paper to be expanded into a larger research project, using Chinese sources. Even though this course focuses on historical research, it is designed to introduce research tools for students studying literature, religion, and other disciplines within the field of Chinese studies. The particular interests of individual student’s research will be integrated into the course as students are required to select documents related to their project for class discussion and presentation.

Various genres of Chinese documents will be studied to show their limitations and “biases.” How different types of information are organized and classified. Students will learn where to look for information and how to use Chinese documents with knowledge of “biases” and “perspectives” of specific types of documents. Documents to be examined in class include conventional and modern bibliographies, biographical essays, genealogies, local gazetteers, official documents, official and private historical works, literary collections, poetry and prose anthologies, as well as archival materials. Other types of materials, e.g.,  painting, calligraphy, stele inscriptions, may be included if students’ projects call for use of such materials. Textual, electronic, and internet resources and reference tools will be introduced and.

Participation in discussion is required and students are responsible for presentations of readings and research proposals. There will be written assignments. Students are required to produce a 25 page research paper.


Topic:  Globalization & Culture

The rapidly expanding literature on globalization and artistic and intellectual life, both popular and elite, will be critically surveyed in this course.  Macro-structures of globalization–times and spaces of encounter, violence and the law, migration, and the circulation of objects–will be the subject of its first part.  Micro-studies of cultural expression and institutions–cosmopolitan intellectuals, objects and art, museums and heritage sites, musical encounters, and religious and “civilizing” missions–will be studied in the second part.  Our temporal focus will be the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, with room to range backward and forward.  While the course will be anchored in history, it will also welcome approaches from other disciplines including anthropology, sociology, literature, and music. 



Topic:  Problems & Controversies of Soviet History, 1917-1991

This readings seminar will examine key historical and historiographical issues of the 70-year history of the Soviet Union. Weekly discussions will be based on extensive common and supplemental readings, including both new work and ―classics. We will consider substantive, methodological, and theoretical aspects of the field. Topics to be addressed may include: the 1917 revolution, Civil War, NEP, Soviet subjectivity, identity-formation, the Communist party, Stalinism, gender, collectivization and peasants, industrialization and labor, the terror, ethnicity and nationalism, war and Cold war, cultural revolution and popular culture, destalinization, and the everyday life of developed socialism. Four papers will be required, including a survey of one of the weekly discussion themes, one scholarly introduction to a particular primary source for Soviet history (novel, memoirs, reportage), one review essay of 2-3 novels or memoirs on a particular topic, and one brief scholarly book review. Ability to read in Russian is expected for those specializing in Russian history, but not necessary for others.



Topic: United States in the World

Readings explore such topics as the Atlantic world, borderlands, empire, transnationalism, migration, Americanization, Orientalism, militarization, and globalization.  We will discuss the imperial turn, recent critiques of the nation-centered historiographical tradition, the relevance of postcolonial scholarship to the United States, the new diplomatic history, translocality, and the relation between U.S. history and world history.


Topic: Native American History

The "New Indian History" burst onto the scene a generation ago in response to events both inside and outside of the academy. This Native-centered approach to the indigenous past in North America has transformed the way scholars (and to some extent the general public) perceive this subject.  While the "New Indian History" remains enormously influential, it is currently being challenged and changed by new approaches that employ the frameworks of settler colonialism and transnationalism and the language of indigeneity.  This seminar will assess the contributions and limits of the New Indian History and these newer approaches to interpretations of major events and movements in American Indian history, including removal, the invasion of the Transmississippi West, and the rise of national reform movements.  The seminar will also explore the strengths and weaknesses of these approaches in understanding major themes in the Native past such as spirituality, gender, and economic change. The emphasis in the course will be on reading, debate and the charting of a new agenda for Native history.


Topic: Global Comparative Race & Ethnicity

This seminar embarks on the study of race, ethnicity, and racism in a global context, with excursions into intersecting categories of nation, gender, sexuality, and class.  The readings examine the invention of race in the age of slavery, scientific racism and neo-racism, apartheid and comparative segregation, settler racisms and racial nationalism, intersectionality and intraracial conflict; resistance to and deconstructions of race, and neoliberal post-racial theory.  Key writers include W.E.B. Du Bois, Anna Julia Cooper, Oliver Cox, Max Weber, Frantz Fanon, George Fredrickson, Thomas Holt, Eugene Genovese, Theodore Allen, Michel Foucault, Lillian Smith, James Baldwin, Immanuel Wallerstein, Stuart Hall, Edward Said, Julia Kristeva, Athnony Appiah, Barbara Fields, Etienne Balibar, Albert Memmi, David Roediger, Paul Gilroy, Audre Lorde, Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Gloria Anzuldua, and others.



This course surveys social theories from the mid-nineteenth century through the late twentieth that have important bearing on the way historians conceive of society and culture in their work.  Beginning with "classic" Western social theorists who addressed the characteristics of modern, capitalist societies, the course moves on to examine twentieth-century theorists who have addressed how individual and collective meanings contribute to the social distinctions and relations of power at stake in the social relations of a range of societies and, finally, to theorists who have questioned classic and Eurocentric accounts of these distinctions and relations from perspectives of new accounts of power and social difference associated with race, gender, and the "postmodern."



This course is the first half of a two-term sequence designed for first year students in the History Ph.D. program at UIUC. Rather than providing definitive answers or covering an established “canon” of great books, this course aims to raise questions and inspire thought and debate. Some of our questions will include: What is “history” and how have methods and approaches for conceiving and studying the past varied over time and space? What values, assumptions and theories underlie various approaches to writing history? What challenges to history as we know it are posed by post-modernist, post-colonialist and other critiques? What lessons do historiographical debates carry for our own practice as historians, teachers, and citizens? Course readings are selected to highlight contrasting theoretical standpoints and methodological approaches to the writing of history

In addition to raising questions about historiography, the course aims to impart practical skills that will be useful for graduate and professional careers. By the end of the course students will have worked through major genres of graduate writing and explored the riches of the UIUC library system.

A third aim of the course is to prepare student for the spring semester first-year research paper. By the end of this semester, students will have chosen a topic for the paper, discussed it with a potential advisor, and prepared a detailed research proposal. Class readings and discussions will introduce students to potential approaches and methods for the paper and outline the essential elements of a successful proposal and paper.