Fall 2015 Course Guide


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 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

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


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

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

Same as HIST 141 except for the additional writing component.

Please see course description for HIST 141 AL1.

141 AL1 - WESTERN CIVILIZATION TO 1660 (Mathisen, R.)

Meets with HIST 140 AL1

                This survey of Western civilization will cover the human past from antiquity to the Renaissance, from 3000 BC until the sixteenth century, with equal 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 and Renaissance 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.


Meets with HIST 143 AL1

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.            


Meets with 142 AL1

Please see course description for HIST 142 AL1.

170 AL1 - US HISTORY TO 1877 (Levine, B.)

Same as HIST 171 except for the additional writing component.

Please see course description for HIST 171.

171 AL1 - US HISTORY TO 1877 (Levine, B.)

Meets with HIST 170 AL1

This course offers an introductory survey of the history of what would eventually become the United States of America, from the beginning of the seventeenth century through the end of the Civil War era (usually identified with the year 1877, when the last postwar federal occupation troops left the South).  The course is designed for freshman and sophomores.  Juniors and seniors -- and especially the history majors among them -- may well find it insufficiently advanced and intensive.


172 AL1 - US HISTORY SINCE 1877 (Oberdeck, K.)


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


174 AL1 - BLACK AMERICA, 1619-PRESENT (McDuffie, E.)

Same as AFRO 101

Please see course description for AFRO 101.

200 Level


Topic: China in Africa - Politics and Development

This course will explore the range of connections between China and Africa: trade and diplomacy in earlier centuries such as the voyages of Zheng He, and development in the mid and late 20th century such as the Tazara Railway. China is often demonized in the West as seeking to overrun Africa in order to gain access to its vast natural resources; the Chinese government on the other hand characterizes its relationship with African countries as mutually beneficial. African governments, political parties and civil society organizations also have many perspectives on the issue. We will examine these competing discourses based on a range of quantitative and qualitative sources.


Topic: History of Luxury

From the ancient era to our own globalized post-industrial times, luxury has occupied a central place in both economic production and cultural debate. Vociferously contested as a source of decadence and corruption, luxury has also signified privileged social status, aesthetic beauty, exceptional quality, and the divine. This class will address themes ranging from the production, distribution and consumption of luxury to religious, political, and economic controversies over ostentatious consumption. Our readings will examine themes including Orientalism, fashion, branding, and desire, as well as the opposing poles of charity, necessity and asceticism.


Topic: American Classics

This course rests on two questions that are essential to the work of historical interpretation with regard to the United States: what is “American?” and what is a “classic?”  The first question is prompted by the fact that we are such a large, diverse and transient people.  What, if anything, could speak for all of “us?”  (And who are “we” anyway?) The second question is both aesthetic and scholarly: what if anything is so insightful, provocative and compelling that we could label it “classic”—timeless, eternally valuable, universally meaningful?

We will explore the broad enterprise of historical interpretation and the narrower questions above by exploring together the contents and histories of four books that most people would recognize as “classic” products of American culture: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1790), Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave  (1845), How The Other Half Lives  (1890) and The Feminine Mystique (1963).  Because these books are spaced at roughly fifty year intervals across nearly two centuries of American history, our exploration will also provide an opportunity to discuss major issues in the American past (and present)—economic opportunity, racial oppression, poverty and gender politics—as well as to develop basic research, writing and interpretive skills. In the final weeks of the course, students will develop the case for a book that might be added to our list of classics.  At that point, the group should have the skill necessary to make some judgments about which texts might fill that slot.



Topic: Families and History

Families have been at the core of human existence for a long time. Ideas and imagery of what families should be continue to influence contemporary American life.  This class will focus on the changes in American families from the pre-revolutionary period to the twenty-first century as a way to understand and research history from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. From the family ideals (and dysfunctions) of the Puritans to “Hippie” families in the 1960s and fluid family formation of the 21st century, the seminar will approach different understandings of family as embedded in America’s shifting national identity.                                                                                                                   


This course surveys the history of Eastern Africa, with a strong focus on the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. We cover what is today Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, and Eastern Congo, and examine the themes of state-building, colonialism, resistance, religion, violence, nationalism, and urbanization. Through lectures, readings, discussions, and film, we will examine the continuities and changes in Eastern Africa’s politics, economy, and society.


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 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.

255 A - BRITISH ISLES TO 1688 (Rabin, D.)

Same as MDVL 255

How did the British Isles change during the medieval and early modern periods?  What social, economic, military, and cultural forces created the four nations of England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales and how did their relationships change over time? This introduction to the study of history will examine the formation of Britain and the complicated origins of the institutions, customs, and traditions we call British. Students are encouraged not just to “learn the facts,” but also to consider the different types of evidence and methodologies available to historians. Through critical readings and discussions of archeology, art, literature, legal statutes, and treatises we will examine questions of historical bias and interpretation.  This course will have a midterm, two papers, and a final exam.


Same as GWS 263

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

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


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

Same as RLST 269

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


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.

278 A - NATIVE AMERICAN History (Hoxie, F.)

Same as AIS 278

A survey of the Native American experience in North America from the time of first contact to the present. The course will examine the dynamics and consequences of Native dispossession as well as the continuities in American Indian life and culture. Course materials will include writing and testimony by Native people as well as historical narratives, court decisions and government documents.


Same as LLS 280.

Evidence of the Latino presence in U.S. society is everywhere: on the news, in movies, and on the fields of sporting competition. Interest in capturing the Latino market and fascination with Latino/a contributions to “American” culture has been accompanied with popular images that present Latino/as primarily as recent arrivals, crossovers, or exotic foreigners, regardless of national origins or citizenship status.


This course is geared toward developing a historical understanding about the place of Caribbean Latinos in U.S. society.  Through course materials, class discussions, and lectures we will explore the political and cultural relationships established between the United States and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, the process of community building for these groups (Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Dominicans) in the US mainland as well as transnationally, and the efforts of Caribbean Latinos to establish their place in the United States while reconciling with their own historical pasts. A variety of individual and group exercises in addition to written assignments will be used to accomplish the major aims of this course: to further develop our ability to think critically, write analytically, and to understand the past in a historically nuanced manner. Graded assignments will consist of response papers, a 5-7 page critical essay, and two exams.


Meets October 19th to December 15th, 2015.

Same as LA 242, NRES 242 and RST 242

Please see course description for RST 242.


Same as RLST 235

Please see course description for RLST 235.


Same as LLS 238

Please see course description for LLS 238.

300 Level


Same as MACS 300A

Topic: Between China and the World: History and Politics of Hong Kong Cinema

Description not available at time of posting.


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


Topic:  Cultural History of Eastern Europe in the 20th Century:  The Most Important Films and Novels

This interdisciplinary course is devoted to the examination of the cultures, politics and societies of the nations of Eastern Europe during the 20th century. Located at the intersection of the three traditional contiguous empires – the Habsburg, the Ottoman, and the Romanov – Eastern Europe emerged as a zone of nation states after the collapse of these empires after the First World War. Beginning with a historical overview of the region, this course will offer an introduction to the major topics that have characterized its development in the course of a century, as well as particularly evocative case-studies. This will be achieved through a close analysis of some of the most important novels and films coming out of this region. Major topics will include: war and revolution, with special attention to the revolutions of 1989 and the color revolutions that issued the current Ukrainian conflict; memory and identity, especially the Holocaust in Eastern Europe, the position of Islam, and ethnic diversity; economic and political relations with the West and Russia, and European Union accession; everyday life during communism and post-communism.


This course focuses on the intellectual history of Europe from the Enlightenment to the European Union. We will explore changes over four centuries in intellectual discourses surrounding individual rights, industrialization, colonialism and imperialism, ontology and metaphysics, socialism and communism, modern science, modern technologies such as the cinema, music, the ideologies of fascism, the justifications for parties of the far right since 1945, European integration, Islam in Europe, and the Ukrainian Civil War. We will read, discuss, and write about thinkers, composers, artists, filmmakers, and politicians including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Olympe de Gouges, Karl Marx, Florence Nightingale, Charles Darwin, Arthur Schopenhauer, Richard Wagner, Rudyard Kipling, Sigmund Freud, Leni Riefenstahl, Simone de Beauvoir, Andre Bazin, Jean-Luc Godard, Michel Foucault, Jean-Marie and Marine Le Pen, Theo van Gogh, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel, and Donald Tusk. Our big topics for the term will include the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, Colonialism and Imperialism, the birth of Communism, Darwinian Evolution, Psychoanalysis, Music, Fascisms, Feminism, Cinema, Islam, and European integration. Students are expected to read and to participate in classroom discussions as well as to give a presentation, write response papers and a research paper, and take two exams. The student will come away from the course with a better understanding of the intellectual currents that have shaped Europe since the eighteenth century.


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.


380 A – US IN AN AGE OF EMPIRE (Levy, J.)

Topic: Cultures of U.S. Empire, 1877-1919

This course examines the cultural dimensions of U.S. imperial expansion from about 1877 to 1919 in North America, the Pacific, and the Caribbean. It makes the case that cultural productions like fiction, film, cuisine, dance, and music represent an important route to understanding the influence of American notions of race, gender, and class on imperial enterprises. It also contends that we can come to a deeper understanding of “domestic” U.S. culture by reading it through the lens of cultural productions resulting from contacts with newly acquired territories and their people. Course readings combine texts on U.S. expansionism (such as the annexation of Hawai’i) with cultural phenomena inspired or enabled by that expansionism (such as the popularization of hula dancing and slack-key guitar). The course aims to broaden students’ understanding of how the U.S. and its people oriented themselves in an international context while also deepening our understanding of how U.S. culture has been forged in the context of empire.

390 A – SPORT AND SOCIETY (Burgos, A.)

Topic: Integration and American Sports

The racial integration of Major League Baseball has often been hailed by social commenters as a watershed event in the march toward Civil Rights. Scholars, however, have debated the impact that integration has had on the whole of U.S. society and, more specifically, on Black communities. Specifically, some have weighed the adverse impact integration had on the race institutions that had been formed in Black communities during the Jim Crow era of segregation. A few have considered how integration could have unfolded differently than how it was implemented in Major League Baseball, and that this should be considered in any historical evaluation of baseball’s racial integration. This course’s focus on integration and American sports will prompt us to consider integration as a process and as an idea by engaging works that examine race in major professional sports during the twentieth century. We will complicate the familiar black-white narrative and explore how other racialized minorities, specifically Latinos and American Indians, complicate or reaffirm the more popularly-known narratives race and sport. Course readings materials will engage different interpretations about the actors and their motivations in either supporting or opposing integration. In so doing, we will explore what are the possibilities and limitations of using sport as the medium to analyze questions such as integration, desegregation, and racial equality. Finally, this class will be taught in a discussion-based format, with a heavy emphasis on active participation. Assignments will include journal writing, in-class assignments, response papers, and a final paper assignment.


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? 

396 A - SPECIAL TOPICS (Hitchins, K.)

Topic:Eurasia: Societies & Cultures in Southeastern Europe, Anatolia, the Caucasus, & Central Asia, 16th – 20th Century

We explore the social, economic, and cultural development and the changing political status of the Romanians of Southeastern Europe, the Kurds of Anatolia and Iraq, the Georgians of the Caucasus, and the Kazakhs and Tajiks of Central Asia. We shall be concerned with broad trends and shall try to explain the similarities and differences of peoples of diverse ethnic origins, religious foundations, social and economic organization, and cultures (folklore, written literature, and historiography). We shall also consider the influence on our region of others, especially Western Europeans, Russians, and Iranians, and we shall measure the receptivity of our Eurasia to the modernization being promoted by the West and investigate indigenous alternatives.

400 Level


History 401 seeks to understand the uses of terrorist tactics and strategies 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 people’s reactions to them.  While we deal with radical Islamist terrorism, we will also study state terrorism, the use of terror tactics during wartime, racist terrorism in the United States, radical leftist terrorism in Europe, the Troubles in Northern Ireland, and much more.  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; as such, it is fated to confront us for a long time.  We, as citizens, are their real targets, and this course is meant to help students understand and confront these inevitable assaults better. 


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.

438 G2/G4/U3 – EGYPT SINCE WORLD WAR I (Cuno, K.)

Same as AFST 437

The Revolutionary interlude of January 2011 – July 1913 will be the starting point of our excursion into Egyptian history since the First World War. Its aftermath will still be unfolding during our semester. Those events are the most recent of a vast number of social, economic, political, cultural, and ideological changes that Egyptians have experienced during the past century. The political system has gone from colonial rule to constitutional monarchy, to a single party state under Nasser, and under Mubarak a stalled transition to a multi-party system. There were parallel changes in the economic realm, 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 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 – THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE AD 284-717 (Mathisen, R.)

Same as MDVL 443

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


Topic: Tudor-Stuart, 1475-1715

Under the Tudor and Stuart dynasties England was a dynamic kingdom, a growing nation, and an emerging empire. This course will emphasize the development of the state, the Protestant Reformation, and the revolutions of the seventeenth century. We will examine the social and economic changes of the early modern period such as the development of capitalism, changing class relations, and the slave trade. We will focus on the growth of England's colonial holdings in North America and in the Caribbean as well as its relationship with closer neighbors, Scotland and Ireland. We will cover cultural phenomena such as witchcraft, the "gender crisis" of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and the rise and fall of religious and political radicalism. The course will be organized around primary sources and discussion.



The emphasis of this class is on what some observers refer to as the "German Century," the period between 1890 and 1990 when Germany emerged as the most modern, the most revolutionary, and the most belligerent nation-state in Europe.  Germany was the site of extraordinary cultural innovation and often lethal political experimentation, it was the major protagonist in two world wars, and left its imprint as an important economic powerhouse both before 1914 and after 1945.  This course will track the political, social, and cultural developments from the empire of Wilhelm II to the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the division of Germany in the Cold War, and finally to the reunification of the “Berlin Republic.”   Class discussions and films will break up the lectures; students will read contemporary texts and novels including Heinrich Mann, Erich Maria Remarque, Hans Fallada, Victor Klemperer and Günter Grass.  Students will write three short essays on the supplementary readings.


466 G4/U3 THE BALKANS (Hitchins, K.)

Topic:  The Peoples of Southeastern Europe Between Empires:  The Ottoman, the Russian, and the Habsburg, 1650-1918

The political, economic, social, and cultural history of the region between the second half of the 17th century and the end of the First World War as it evolved from medieval to modern institutions and mentalities and exchanged Ottoman Turkish predominance for independent states. We study how the peoples of Southeastern Europe –the Romanians, Bulgarians, Serbs, Croats, Greeks, and Albanians—interacted with neighboring empires (Ottoman, Habsburg, Russian) and were able to preserve their distinct identity in the 17th and 18th century and build ethnic nations in the 19th century. 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 south (the Romanian principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia; Transylvania) in the 18th century, the rise of national consciousness and nationalism, the emergence of modern elites (the upper middle class and lay intellectuals), the struggles for independence and the processes of nation building in the 19th century, and the role of empires in all these movements. We have also to examine the ideologies of development (liberalism, conservatism, agrarianism, and socialism), especially the acceptance or rejection of Western Europe as a model. All of this raises 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? If it is distinct, what are the characteristics that define it?

468 SS – LOCATING QUEER CULTURE  (Somerville, S.)

Same as GWS 467

Please see course description for GWS 467.

472 G4/U3 – IMMIGRANT AMERICA (Espiritu, A.)

A survey of late nineteenth and twentieth-century immigration to the United States, with a particular focus on Asian and Latino/Latina migrants.  The course will cover the following topics: the global and domestic contexts for migration, immigrant and ethnic identity, race, class, and gender perspectives, and the changing national debates on immigration.


Same as LLS 475

This course examines the history of the American West from 1840 to the present.  A significant portion of this class focuses on the ways American Indians responded to various aspects of westward expansion.  Topics in the course include readings on railroad lines, mining, agriculture, gender, and race.  Furthermore, this course seeks to connect the history of the American West with other developments throughout the United States and the world.


Meeting with HIST 498A

See HIST 498A 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: Slavery and Abolition in Africa and the Americas

This course will study the history of slavery and the process of abolition in Africa and the Americas. We will spend considerable time studying the place of slavery in American (United States) history, but we will also explore the central place of systems of slavery in African, Caribbean, and Latin American societies. Like in the United States, slavery was central to how systems of labor and race were formed in these regions, and how they were structured long after these institutions of legalized bondage were abolished. This course is specific in its thematic focus, but geographically and temporally broad, and thus will be of interest to students of U.S., Caribbean and Latin American, African and European history, from the early-modern period up to the present. The course will be organized around discussions of weekly readings, and students will complete a research paper on a topic that falls within the broad outlines of slavery and abolition in Africa and the Americas.



Meeting with HIST 495C

Topic: Slavery and Freedom in Latin America

This course explores slavery and the struggle for freedom in Latin America and the Caribbean.  We will trace the historical trajectory of peoples of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Our seminar begins with a survey of documentary sources available for the historical study of slavery and explores two of the possible readings that can be made of such sources.  The seminar will go on to examine the roots of slavery in Africa, the middle passage, and patterns of slave life and labor regimes in societies with slaves.  We will critically analyze patterns of resistance and accommodation to slave regimes, as well as patterns of abolition and the formation of post-emancipation societies.  This course is designed to develop your understanding of the major historiographical currents in the field.  It is also designed to help you refine the research and writing skills you learned in History 200.


Meeting with HIST 495D

Topic: US Women's History

This research seminar will introduce you to some of the core research on the history of American women and gender with a special emphasis on higher education, the University of Illinois, and sexuality and health. As part of the course we will be discussing the historical construction of “woman” and “gender,” analyzing how class, race, sexuality, and gender intersect and are co-related.  Does asking questions from the perspective of “women” or with a gender analysis change the questions we ask?  Do the answers to traditional questions change?  We will be considering what the lives of ordinary women were like and how women were perceived over time—and also comparing the lives of students and employees on campus among other topics.


In addition, the course aims to teach fundamental historical research and writing skills.  To this end, we will be analyzing primary sources, visiting archives, and reading historical texts with an eye to learning how the historian did the research, the benefits and drawbacks of specific types of sources, and how to think creatively about research.  You will be required to write a research paper based on primary and secondary sources.  This course is also part of the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI), which is a special project that encourages students to learn about, interrogate, analyze and research the University of Illinois as an institution.

500 Level

502 A - PROBLEMS IN COMPARATIVE HISTORY (Cuno, K.)                                                

Topic:  Women and the Family, Law, and Colonial Modernity in South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa

The history of “the family” has emerged as an important field of investigation in studies of colonial and post-colonial South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa (SAMENA). The premises of this course are, first, that contemporary debates in the three regions on human rights, family law, gender, and sexuality can be understood better in light of the re-imagining of “family” in modern times and the efforts of states, through legislation, to realize a modern family ideal. The second premise is that we can multiply our insights into this history through a comparative approach to SAMENA that will enable us to identify transnational patterns of change that may also be applicable to other regions. Modern social constructions of the family in SAMENA have been entangled with constructions (or reconstructions) of the nation and gender. Legal systems were reformed to bring them into conformity with European norms, literally resulting in the creation of “family law,” which has become an arena in which conflicts over the roles of woman and the family are fought. We will begin with big-picture comparative and foundational works, and work our way through a series of topics. Chronologically, we will range from the pre-modern era to recent developments in family laws in selected SAMENA countries. Area content will be at least 25% African, 25% Middle Eastern, and 25% South Asian.

502 B – PROBLEMS IN COMPARATIVE HISTORY (Chaplin, T. and Mumford, K.)

Topic:  Global Sexualities

In The History of Sexuality: Volume I, Michel Foucault posited a distinction between what he called scientia sexualis and ars erotica in order to articulate a difference between Western and Eastern discourses of desire. This team-taught graduate course on Global Sexualities will explore this hypothesis and attempt to come to grips with how sexuality has been theorized, practiced, regulated, and contested around the world. Since the eighteenth century, the social regulation of sexual practices has become increasingly central to politics, economies, and identities. Empire, race, and disease have likewise shaped sexual discourses and laws. Advocates of secularization have battled the faithful to wrest control of sexual behavior from religion, and sexual desire has become a motor of the worldwide consumer economy. Sexuality has been medicalized, psychologized, normalized, and demonized as people from around the world have debated the parameters and meanings of the sexual realm. The purpose of this course is to read, discuss, and write about the history of sexuality in global perspective.



Topic:  Myth, Memory, and Martyrs in Latin American History

What roles have myths and martyrs played in creating Latin America’s colonial and post-colonial societies?  Does martyrdom in Latin America share more similarities or differences with cases from other parts of the world?  This seminar addresses these and other questions often in dialogue with the burgeoning body of literature on memory and authoritarianism in Latin America.  Additional themes to be explored include race, nationalism, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, and class.  Chronological (from colonial to modern periods) and regional (across Latin America with comparative cases included, too) coverage is broad.


Topic:  African History in the World

This course offers a survey of the most important and/or representative works of the major topics and sub-fields within African historiography. Although this course ranges across Sub-Saharan Africa, certain areas – Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania – will be visited multiple times, building up our regional knowledge in order to better appreciate certain key works. Course readings also feature the range of methodological tools employed by historians of Africa, who borrow liberally from social anthropology, historical linguistics, and Marxist and Weberian sociology.



Same as EALC 520

Topic:  Cultural and Intellectual Transformation of  Ming-Qing China in Global Context

This course introduces students to recent scholarly works on the approaches, methodologies, and major issues in the study of Chinese thought and culture in the Ming (1368) and the Qing (1644-1911) periods from a global perspective. Works are selected from various disciplines and fields of study, covering a wide range of issues critical to our understanding of the social and cultural transformation of China in the contexts of global economy and empire building. We focus on four themes: First, the major socio-economic forces behind the transformation of Chinese society in the Ming-Qing periods—China and world trade, commodification of literary production and the co-production of modern knowledge by agents of different empires. For the second theme, we will examine works dealing with domestic impact of intensified commercialization on print culture, consumption, urban life, women culture, kinship practice, literary production and the distribution and exercise of power. The third theme concerns the problems of how the imperial state and local society, in their response to the global and domestic changes contributed to the formation of lineage and transformation of religious and ritual practices. The fourth theme examines how political change—collapse of the Ming dynasty, the rise of the British as the dominant maritime power—contributed to the transformation of the structure and conditions of knowledge production in the Qing period. Participation in discussion is required and students are responsible for presentations. There will be written assignments and a final seminar paper.


Topic:  East European Jewish History

An exploration of the major problems and themes of East European Jewish History. Course themes include the dynamics of religious life and cultural movements, neighborly relations, violence and the state, gender and the Jewish family, citizenship, varieties of assimilation practices, political movements, and mobility.  Over the course of the semester, each student is required to lead two seminars. The writing assignments include two short response papers and an annotated bibliography project. The bibliography project is designed to help students prepare for preliminary examinations and/or begin preliminary background reading for a future, long-term research project.



551 WR – PROBLEMS IN EUROPEAN HISTORY SINCE 1789 (Kinderman, W. and Liebersohn, H.)

Same as CAS 587, GER 576, AND mus 523

Topic:  The Weimar Republic:  Music, Literature, Politics

The art and thought of the Weimar Republic is as exciting today as it was in the days of Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Thomas Mann, Alban Berg, and its galaxy of other creative masters.  In this course we will begin by studying the turbulent politics of the period and then turn to the era’s music, literature and social thought.  Thomas Mann’s novel The Magic Mountain and Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck will be two of the centerpieces of the course, but we will also be examining developments as diverse as the growth of the phonograph industry and the profusion of extra-European influences on Weimar culture.  The concept of dissonance pervades the period and unites these different topics. 


A series of invited guests from other universities in the United States and Germany will make presentations to the seminar.  The class will also make an excursion to a performance of Wozzeck at the Chicago Lyric Opera.  


572 A – PROBLEMS IN US HISTORY SINCE 1815 (Oberdeck, K.)

Topic:  Culture, Class, and Space

This readings seminar will focus on cultural and intellectual formations that speak to intersectional 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 are of conceptual and methodological readings on studying culture, class, 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; and 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; and the relevance of urban/rural/suburban distinctions to cultural constructions of class, race and gender.



Same as AFRO 501

Topic:  Theorizing Diaspora

This course is an investigation of the formation and development of what has come to be referred to as the African Diaspora; that is the dispersal of African-descended people throughout the world.  While we will focus primarily on that aspect of this dispersion unfolding in the Americas since 1500, some attention will be given to Africa, Europe, Asia, the Indian Ocean Basin, and Oceania.  Interdisciplinary in breadth and historically-informed, a premium will be placed on understanding theoretical approaches and problems for critically appreciating African-descended people’s histories, cultures, and subjectivities through the lens of diaspora.  Special attention will be given to appreciating the lives of African-descended women, diasporic feminism(s), and “black/queer/diaspora” work.  In addition, the course will focus on diasporic social movements, black nationalism, black radicalism, and black internationalism (Pan Africanism, Communism, etc.)  Students will also acquire some familiarity with West, Central Africa, and Southern Africa.  To this end, the course utilizes classic and new, cutting-edge scholarship from the fields of African diaspora studies, African studies, Anthropology, black studies, history, literature, music, political science, media and cultural studies, sociology, and women’s Studies.  If successful, this class should be very useful for students interested in researching and teaching in African Diaspora Studies, African American/Africana studies, African studies, history, anthropology, women’s studies, education policy studies, American studies, English, sociology, and other fields.

591 A - HISTORY AND SOCIAL THEORY (Ghamari-Tabrizi, B.)


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."

593 A - APPROACHES TO HISTORY (Steinberg, M.)


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