Fall 2017 Course Guide


100 Level

100 AL1 - GLOBAL HISTORY (Ghamari, 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.

101 A - HISTORY NOW! (Nobili, M)

Topic: Africans in the global world of Islam

This course will explore how Africans participate to the Global World of Islam by placing current events in historical context. After the death of the Prophet Muḥammad in 632 CE, Islam ‘overflowed’ from the Arabian Peninsula into the neighboring regions, creating the foundation for the emergence of a religious space that transcends ethnic and geographical boundaries and configures itself as global from its very beginning. An integral part of this world of Islam is the African continent, now a staple of contemporary news due to the prominence gained in the past ten years by Islamist movements such as Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria, AQMI in the Sahara and the Sahel, and Shabab in the Horn and East Africa.

The course will explore the history of the emergence of such movements in the African continent, paying attention to local and global dynamics. We will study the history of Islam in the African continent by paying attention to its global nature. The continent will be approached from the point of view of “connective” spaces, meaning the Trans-Saharan World, linking Western and Central Africa to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, as well as the Indian Ocean World, connecting the Horn and the East African coast to the Arabian Peninsula and South Asia.

The course will also offer comparative perspectives between different forms of Islam that will help students in critically engaging such a contemporary phenomenon, which is very often misunderstood in more general settings, such as newspapers and TV news. Furthermore, different in-class and at home assignments will help students develop analytical and writing skills, with sessions devoted to writing constituting an integral part of the course.


101 B - HISTORY NOW! (Steinberg, M)

Topic: A Century of Revolutions, 2017-1917: From Black Lives Matter to the Russian Revolution

This course will explore how people in diverse settings have challenged the way societies treat and value human lives through a century of crises and revolutionary movements. Beginning with Black Lives Matter, the course will work backward in time toward the culminating exploration of the 1917 Russian revolutions. While history itself moves forward in time, "History" as interpretation is inevitably read in reverse from the perspective of the present. We will follow this logic and think retrospectively, even as we consider the experience of time (past, present and future) as a key part of the revolutionary project. In so doing, we will encourage students to question how we use history to understand the present and our present viewpoint to think about the past.



Topic: Survey of Latin American history from the discovery of America to 1824

This class surveys the history of the colonial period (from 1492 to 1825) of what is now called Latin America. We will discuss pre-columbian America, Europe in the fifteenth century, the encounter between the Old and the new Worlds, its consequences, the working of colonial institutions, the place of slavery, the role of race and ethnicity in the construction of colonial power, women in a multiethnic patriarchal colonial society, the role of the Church, and the coming of independence. Without doubt, the history of the colonial period in Latin America is one of the most interesting examples of how different cultures met in the early modern world. To understand this process this survey class focuses on three main questions: first, what constituted the pre-Columbian cultural heritage? Second, how did the encounter between European, African, and indigenous cultures evolve: Third, how did colonialism shape indigenous, Mestizo, Creole, and Afro-American identities?


Same as EALC 120.

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


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

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

Same as HIST 141, except for the additional writing component.

Please see course description for HIST 141.

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

Meets with HIST 140 AL1.

Fundamental developments in the history of Western societies from antiquity to eary modern Europe; includes the Greek and Roman worlds, the influence of Christianity and Islam, the emergence of medieval monarchies, the rise of cities, the commercial and intellectual revolutions of the Middle Ages, the birth of the university, the conquest and colonization of the Atlantic world, the Renaissance and Reformation, the political and religious upheavals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Credit is not given for both HIST 141 and HIST 140.

Students must register for one discussion and one lecture section.


Meets with HIST 143 AL1.

Topic: European Civilization from the Eighteenth Century to the Present

This lecture and discussion course will explore four great episodes and their enduring historical legacies in modern Europeanhistory: 1) The Age of the French Revolution; 2) Victorian Europe; 3) World War One: From Origins to Outcomes; and 4) Europe in the Age of Great Dictators.


Same as HIST 142, except for the additional writing component.

Please see course description for HIST 142.

Credit is not given for both HIST 143 and HIST 142. Prerequisite: Completion of campus Composition 1 General Education requirement.


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

Same as HIST 171, except for the additional writing component.

Please see course description for HIST 171..

171 AL1 – US HISTORY TO 1877 (Hoganson, K)

Meets with HIST 170 AL1

Topic: Making America Great? US History to 1877

Recent calls to make America great again have built on the assumption that true greatness can be found in the nation's past. But when in the past? Was there ever any consensus on what national greatness meant? How can earlier struggles inform our visions for the future? These are some of the questions that we will consider in this introductory U.S. history survey, stretching from the pre-Columbian era to early European colonization, the creation of the United States, national expansion, civil war, and reconstruction. You will learn about political developments such as the U.S. Constitution and about different approaches to understanding the past, such as environmental history, material culture studies, and efforts to uncover the lives of ordinary people. This course will teach you skills that will be valuable throughout your life, whether professionally or as a citizen and civic leader. How can you make sense of conflicting evidence, arguments, and views on what matter? How can you communicate your analyses in a compelling way? This course will meet for two lectures and one discussion section each week.

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 the modern United States was shaped from the many, often inharmonious voices of people who 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 state and 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, along with a midterm exam, final exam, and two short papers based on course readings.

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

Same as AFRO 101

Please see description for AFRO 101.


As a History major, you have learned a lot about research, analysis, and problem solving, but you learn and describe these skills within an academic discipline that categorizes knowledge and competencies differently than the workplace does. In this course you will learn to translate your academic abilities into career-specific terms. You will inventory your interests and skills, identify careers that reflect your ambitions, and practice marketing your qualifications to employers. Topics to be covered include writing a resume, crafting application letters, and interviewing; we will research companies, attend a job fair, and practice networking. You will emerge with a five-year plan for making the transition from college to post-graduation success.


200 Level


Topic: History of the U of I. The long title is The History of the University of Illinois: Crime on Campus

From violent class fights and hazing rituals, Prohibition-era booze raids, to changing policies on student sexuality, and anti-war and anti-racism protests, issues related to crime and civil disobedience have always energized students and dominated campus life. This course uses crime and civil disobedience to explore the diverse and contested history of the University of Illinois from its establishment in 1867 to the present day. The readings will include primary sources like trial transcripts, newspapers, and pamphlets as well as a range of scholarship on these questions. Assignments include a source analysis, a mid-term examination, a poster presentation, and a research paper based on primary sources drawn from the university archives.


Topic: History of the Native Peoples in Latin America

How can we write the history of the indigenous people of Latin America from the colonial period to the modern era? This question has vexed generations of historians and they have found different ways of writing about the origins of Indians from Meso- and South America, their cultures, and their adaptations to new cultural influences. By reading the most outstanding of these historians—with a particular focus on the Andes—we want to analyze how Western concepts of natives have changed over time. Whenever we can, we try to counter these narratives with native peoples' own historiographies and self-perceptions. By doing so, we are induced to reflect upon changing historical methods over almost six hundred years; not least to reflect upon our own historical methods. This course proceeds in four thematic sections. We first discuss early modern European perceptions of Indians and early modern native self-perceptions. Afterwards we venture into the “laboratory” of ethnohistorical work and see how we can proceed to create reliable knowledge about past indigenous societies. We then continue to discuss the efforts by 18th- and 19th-century Creole scholars and Indians to re-negotiate the past. The course ends with a close look at twentieth-century indigenous realities, self-perceptions, and ethnographers’ reconstructions of native societies.


Topic: Global Environmental History

At its heart, environmental history is the study of the changing relationship between people and their environments over time. In this course, we will focus on the multiple intersections between environmental history and global history, including imperialism and colonialism, industrialization and consumerism, science and environmentalism, and, of course, globalization itself. In exploring these topics, ou will also learn a variety of tips and methods that will help you investigate past environments and the complex role of humans in those environments. The readings for this course are a combination of short historical documents and a balance of articles and books on topics like the controversy over elephants in India's national parks, the environmental footprint of various commodities around the globe, and why environmentialists in the northern and southern hemispheres have not always shared the same goals and commitments.


Topic: American Families

Families have been at the core of human existence for a long time. Ideas and imagery of ideal families 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 same sex families today, the seminar will approach different understandings of family as embedded in America’s shifting national identity.


Topic: Race and Religion in the Early Modern Atlantic World

Social and cultural differences among people in the early modern Atlantic world were most often articulated on the basis of race, gender, and religious affiliation. However, historical understandings of racial and religious distinctions were highly conditional on their local colonial contexts. The eventual emergence of religious tolerance among Christians and a racial hierarchy based on skin color was not predetermined or inevitable, as much new evidence from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries has demonstrated.

This course explores the historical background for understandings of racial and religious difference in early modern Europe and the Atlantic world. It will explore the ways in which looking at historical developments “from below” continues to challenge traditional narratives. Using methodologies employed by recent scholarship as a guide, this course encourages students to read colonial sources in creative ways to better understand the lived experiences of those individuals that the archive has seemingly silenced.


This course is an introduction to the historical study of Americans’ relationship with the natural world. We will examine some of the surprising ways that “natural” forces help shaped American history (such as the role of germs and climate in history). We’ll examine the ways human beings have shaped, altered, rearranged, destroyed, protected and interacted with nature over time (such as through different modes of economic production from hunting to farming to industrialization). And we’ll examine the ways cultural, philosophical, scientific, and political, and legal attitudes towards the environment have changed in the course of American history, pre-history to the present (such as in the evolution of the idea of “wilderness” in American culture and law). Environmental history is a relatively new field, and it is interdisciplinary, combining insights and techniques from various disciplines like ecology, law, geography, art history and cultural studies, literature, geology, anthropology, economics, etc. We’ll sample some of the innovative approaches and methods through readings by some of the leading practitioners in the field. And though we’ll be careful not to judge the people of the past by 21stcentury ecological standards, we’ll also try to draw connections between present day concerns and past events.


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, Uganda, and Rwanda, but with a particular focus on Kenya, as well as the wider surrounding region. We examine 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.

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.



Topic: Economic, social, political, and cultural developments in twentieth-century world histoy from Second World War era to the present.

The course begins with a close look at decolonization, the process through which European colonies in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean emerged as independent nation states. We will examine the transition from a world dominated by European imperial powers, particularly BRitain, to the Cold War world dominated by two superpowers with competing ideologies and nuclear weaponry -the United States and the Soviet Union. We will examine the rise and fall of great superpowers not from the imperial capitals of London, Paris, Washington D.C., or Moscow, but from the edges of empire - from places like Vietnam, Iran Algeria, South Africa, and Jamaica.


Explores the role of technology social force; examines innovations from the stirrup and heavy plow to the airplane and computer, that restructured economic and political life and realigned values; examines cultural representations of technology.


Topic: History of the United States from 1815-1900.

This survey of United States history from 1800-1900 will cover a period during which the nation changed from a sparsely settled agrarian republic to an industrial powerhouse with aspiration to world power. The class will emphasize a variety of topics in political and social history of the nineteenth century, including the development of the U.S. West, African American lives in slavery and freedom, the struggle for women's rights and immigration from Europe and Asia.

273 - ILLINOIS HISTORY (Mumford, K)

History of Chicago and Illinois from prehistoric times to the present, illustrating the jarring conflicts and great achievements of peoples from all over the world. Politics, economics, popular and high culture, education, mass media, racial problems, and ethnic diversity are especially featured. There is an emphasis on the relation of city, state, and region to one another.

276 A- AFRO-AMERICAN HIST SINCE 1877 (Mumford, K)

Same as AFRO 276.

This course introduces students to major themes and questions in the history of African Americans and race relations since emancipation in the United States. Major themes include the making of civil rights and disenfranchisement, racial violence, integration and nationalism, the urban crisis, and segregation and mass incarceration.   Course requirements include active discussion, group projects, critical writing, and examinations.


Same as LA 242, NRES 242 and RST 242. See RST 242.

Please see description for RLST 236.


Same as REL 236.

Please see description for REL 236.


Topics will vary. May be repeated. Prerequisite: Chancellor's Scholar or consent of department and director of Campus Honors Program.

300 Level


Same as MACS 300.

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

This is an introduction to the major themes of Hong Kong cinema from its birth in the turn of Twentieth-century to the present. Hong Kong under British rule had been the capital of Chinese- dialect cinemas (especially Cantonese) since the 1910s and 1920s. It had taken over Shanghai after the close of the World War II, and especially after the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949, to become the “Hollywood of the East.” In spite of its small local market, and its marginality in global political economy, Hong Kong was the world’s third largest film producer, after Hollywood and Bollywood. Our course will explore the history of its development, both as an entertainment industry and as a significant part of the city’s enormous political and cultural transformations from a small British colony to a global metropolis.  Our course will also explore how the cinema participated in the debate about Hong Kong’s identity, in relations to its position between China and the West.



Addresses the myriad ways American culture interacts with scientific and technological artifacts, practices, and knowledge. Some of the issues addressed are: how science and technology are deployed and used for cultural ends; how cultural beliefs and ideologies are "built" into science and technology; how the interaction of cultural experience, science, and technology shapes the built environment; how science and technology privilege certain cultural communities in America. Course requirements include participation, leadership in class discussions, as well as a research project.


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

361 A -EURO THOUGHT & SOC SINCE 1789 (Liebersohn, H)

Topic: Thought and Society in Modern Europe: Wealth and Inequality, 1800 to the Present

Wealth and inequality are subjects of urgent contemporary interest.  In the United States, the divide between a tiny elite and the rest of society has grown dramatically in recent decades.  Anxiety is widespread over the future of remunerative jobs and prosperity for all.  Controversy over unequal distribution of wealth has gripped public discussion not just in the United States, but throughout the world. 

A signal demonstration of this concern was the publication of Thomas Piketty’s work, Capital in the Twent-First Century (2014).  Written by an academic economist and grounded in an extremely complex quantitative analysis, Piketty’s book became an international best-seller.  It attempts to reconstruct the distribution of wealth in numerous countries over the past two hundred years.  His book is the starting-point for the readings and questions that will guide this class.  But as historians our concern will not be just what levels of inequality exist, but also how perceptions of wealth and poverty have changed across time and space.  What is the meaning of wealth?  How does it shape status, power and culture in marketplace societies, and how do we continue to draw on non-marketplace exchanges? 

To answer these questions we will focus on three classics.  Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility (1811) is a novel that analyzes how landed wealth affects women’s lives in early nineteenth-century England.  Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), plunges us into the industrial city and the creation of the modern working class.  Marcel Mauss, The Gift (1925), makes us rethink the meaning of wealth by examining it since pre-historic times and around the world.  Finally, Piketty’s recently published book will allow us to reflect on the continuities and meaning of unequal wealth distribution over the past two hundred years. 

The authors of the three classics were profoundly aware of the connections between wealth and every other aspect of human life.  Following their lead, we will turn to many different kinds of sources – to paintings and film as well as Austen’s novel and social science – in order to understand wealth in its many dimensions.  Like Piketty, we will assume that a balanced and full understanding of wealth can only emerge from a historical inquiry, a study of the past that is inseparable from the nature and meaning of wealth in our time. 

370 A - COLONIAL AMERICA (Morrissey, R)

This course is an interpretive survey of North America and the 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’ll explore this period not only as the first chapter in American history, but more broadly as a hugely transformative era in World history. We’ll explore many themes, including encounters between Natives and Europeans in the New World, contests for colonization, settler societies and the development of various colonial social patterns in North America and the Caribbean, the beginnings of slavery, the role of religion in the various colonial societies, and the gradual emergence of distinctive provincial cultures in the North American colonies of the British Empire. Throughout all of this, we try to examine colonial America as part of a larger Atlantic system, understanding early American history as a process of exchange and interaction which included Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and North America itself.


376 A - SOC HISTORY INDUS AMERICA FROM 1918 (Schneider, D)

Topic: Study of the impact of industrial technology, business enterprise, immigration, and urbanization on American society.

The Social History of the U.S. since 1920 will examine the emergence of consumer society, social and economic inequality in the mid-twentieth century and as well as the impact of war on the Civil Rights Movement, during the 1960s and beyond. The class will conclude with an examination of post-industrial consumer society in the 1980s and 1990s.


Meets w/GWS 385. See GWS 385.

This course takes transnational and comparative approaches to analyses of gender, race, and sexuality. Comparing and connecting U.S. contexts with examples from societies in the Middle East, East Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America, it looks at diverse gender and sexuality systems from the classical to modern era and explores how race, gender, and sexuality as modern categories have intersected with one another in their construction of differences and hierarchies.

387 - HISTORY OF SEXUALITY IN U.S. (Somerville, S)


396 A – SPECIAL TOPICS (Hitchins, K)

Topic: Eurasia: Societies & Cultures in Southeastern Europe, Antolia, and Central Asia, 16th to 20th Centuries

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


Independent Study. Instructor approval required. With a faculty sponsor, a qualified student will develop a program of study or research related to an internship or other relevant employment opportunity. Consult departmental undergraduate advisor or Director of Undergraduate Studies. Approved for letter and S/U grading. May be repeated in separate terms to a maximum of 6 hours.


400 Level


Topic: Modern Conservatism in the Global Midwest

This course examines the development of Modern Conservatism through global military conflicts, cultural transformations, electoral realignments, and economic shifts. In particular, we will explore the role and influence of conservative Midwesterners within the broader political movement from 1928 to the present in the Global Midwest. We will study issues that shaped and were shaped by conservatives including, “right to work” campaigns, Vietnam War protests on college campuses, deindustrialization and globalization, the energy crisis of the 1970s, housing and school desegregation, busing, abortion, the sexual revolution, and the STOP-ERA campaign. Through these issues and events, we will reassess the impact and significance of Modern Conservatism on U.S. society through the 20th century.




This course offers students an overview of Sub-Saharan African history since the Second World War. Its main focus in on late colonial and post-colonial politics, although we will also give considerable attention to histories of conflict, religion, and development. The class is divided into three sections: a brief historical study of late-colonial Sub-Saharan Africa (roughly 1940-1960); a thematic treatment of Sub-Saharan Africa since 1960, and finally a series of cases studies of modern African nation-states. This is a writing-intensive course with frequent assignments. Students are expected not only to keep up with assigned readings, but also to do some research involving usage of on-line data sources and the university library collections.


Same as EALC 420.

This course addresses several fundamental questions in modern Chinese history concerning political and ethnic identities, women, tradition, and the modalities of modernity. Being the last dynasty under the rule of an originally non-Chinese people, the Qing state is as important as it is intriguing in its impact on the history of China in the past three centuries. What was the impact of the Manchu regime on the course of Chinese history in the late imperial period? How did the Manchu rule change the social, economic, political, and intellectual landscapes of China after a period of more than half a century of profound economic, intellectual, and cultural change in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries? Why did the Manchus, a small ethnic group, succeed in conquering the vast Chinese empire, and how did they maintain their control for over two and a half centuries? Were the Manchus engulfed by the powerful cultural tradition of China (sinicization), or were they successful in resisting the latter? What was this "cultural tradition"? How important was it in creating a sense of "Chineseness" and a "Chinese" life style for several hundred millions of people living in different dialectal and ethnic communities? To answer these questions, we will investigate broad treands of change in politics, population, the economy, thought, culture, social structure, and the relationship between the state and national and local elites. Class participation is crucial and students need to have some background in Chinese history.


Same as JS 442 and REL 443. See REL 442


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

438 G2/G4/U3 – EGYPT SINCE WORLD WAR 1 (Cuno, K)

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.

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

This course introduces the history of one of the great imperial fomations 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, aspects of what has been conventionally named as Ottoman decline, the Eastern question in international relations, the modernizing reforms of the nineteenth century, and the spread of nationalism as a prelude to the final demise of the supranational empire in the twentieth century.

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

461 G2/G4/U3 – RUSSIA - PETER THE GREAT TO REV (Randolph, J)

Culture, society, and politics in Imperial Russia, focusing on power and resistance, the lives and culture of ordinary Russians, and competing ideas about the state, the individual, community, nation, religion, and morality.

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?

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

The goal of this course is to provide the advanced undergraduate and graduate student with a general survey of the “migrant” in American life. The course will examine various recurring themes of migration history including the global forces shaping migration, the encounters between “natives and strangers,” internal migration, the process of naturalization, race and ethnicity, gender and generation, and interethnic relations. The course is particularly interested in the formation of American society as an “empire” and will examine the predicaments of large migrant groups who were incorporated into the American polity as a result of conquest and colonial rule.  Much of this course will be centered on classroom dialogue and exercises on the lectures, readings, and films. We will be examining both primary and secondary sources, continuing debates in immigration history, and questions of historical method. There will be an opportunity to write a research paper on a topic of your choice, in consultation with the instructor. In addition to the examinations and the research paper, classroom attendance, participation, and quality of performance will be of crucial importance in the course.




This course examines the social, economic, political, and cultural transformations that gave rise to the slave trade and institutions of slavery in the Atlantic world and looks closely at the experiences of the enslaved, the rise of abolitionism, and the paths to universal emancipation in the United States.

483 G4/U3 - RACE, SCIENCE, AND MEDICINE (Hogarth, R)

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. Students will engage with a sizable body of primary sources and learn how to interpret them and think critically about their significance. Additionally, students will read a variety of secondary scholarly sources, becoming familiar with approaches to historical debates that are critical to our understanding of the ways race has been theorized within the realm of biomedicine. Along with in class discussions, this course includes a midterm, a book review (5 pages) and a 12-15 paper.  Graduate students enrolled in this course will be excused from the midterm, but will have an additional end of term assignment and extra meetings outside of class time (TBA).




Same as 498A. Meets with 498A.

Topic: The Room Where it Happens: U.S. Presidential Leadership in the Long Nineteenth Century (stretching to 1913)

After discussing two Pulitzer-winning accounts of presidential leadership (one on Andrew Jackson and one on Abraham Lincoln), we will dig into some primary sources pertaining to a lesser-known president, William Howard Taft (perhaps best known now for a ride he once took on a buffalo). Then you will be let loose in the library and in digitized collections to research a topic pertaining to the theme of this class. Much of this seminar will be conducted in workshop format so as to guide your hands-on efforts to learn about the craft of history. You will develop your ability to pick a meaningful topic, identify primary and secondary sources, analyze those sources, put your ideas down in a blog post and formal essay, provide editorial advice to your peers, and polish your prose. Upon completion of the course, you should have a better grasp of the topic, two writing samples that you should be proud to mention in applications and feature in portfolios, and a capstone level of competence in evidence-based argumentation that will stand you well in your future, whether in the White House or elsewhere.



Same as 498B. Meets with 498B.

Topic: History of Travel

This seminar offers an introduction to the ways scholars are thinking about the phenomenon of travel in a historical perspective. It will survey the ars apodemica, "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" - Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Southern and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Oceania, North America an dthe Pacific Islands, 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.



Same as 498C. Meets with 498C.

Topic: America, Iraq and the Wars

This course will examine the origins and conduct of one of America's longest wars, the military engagement in Iraq, from the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, to the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003/04, to the beginnings of the insurgency in 2004, and to the surge in 2006 which preceded the 2011 withdrawal. It will examine the intellectual and political framework by which the failures of the American occupation can be understood as well as the historical, geopolitical, and religious origins of both the Sunni and SHia insurgencies. A second theme will be the representation of the war: how it was conceptualized in the Bush administration, how it was reported in the media, and how it was communicated by the troops themselves. Finally, the course will zero in on the warriors themselves the small-group relations in the unit, the difficulty of identifying dispersed enemies, the dynamics of abuse and atrocity, the return home and redeployment, and post-traumatic stress syndrome. The course centers around the discussion of key texts and presentations of small topics. Students will write one essay on Finkel's The Good Soldiers, but concentrate on preparing a larger research paper on any aspect of the conflict due at the end of the semester.



Meets with HIST 495 A. Meets with 495A.

See description for 495A.


Same as 495B. Meets with 495B.

See description for 495B.


Same as 495C. Meets with 495C.

See description for 495C.


Topic: Disabilities and the University of Illinois

In 1948 the University offered the first program dedicated to the higher education of students with disabilities—in Galesburg.  The Urbana campus reluctantly admitted the “wheelchair students,” as they were then called, when the Galesburg campus closed in 1949.  Today the University of Illinois is known as one of the most accessible campuses in the world and it celebrates student athletes who compete in the Paralympics.


People with disabilities were long regarded as social and medical problems to be fixed or as victims of their bodies.  The modern disability rights movement asserted the humanity of people with disabilities, demanded equal rights, and changed the way that Americans understand disabilities.  Most important, the social movement insisted that disability is not in the person, but is a social, legal, and cultural construction.  Disability history has built upon these insights. We will examine how “disability” has been defined, created, and changed over time on campus.  How did people with disabilities represent themselves and what did they want? We will seek to learn what their lives were like as students who were exceedingly visible in the early years and what it has meant for student life, learning, and community as disabilities are increasingly “invisible” to most people. 


This course offers students the opportunity to research the history of disabilities at the University of Illinois specifically along with learning more generally about the history of disabilities in the U.S. Students will be introduced to the exciting and growing field of disability history and, through their own original research, they too will actively produce this new history.  The course will include a series of mini “labs” on historical research methods, questions and theoretical perspectives, oral history practices, the evaluation of different types of sources, and research design. Students will work in campus archives and its rich collections. Potential sources range from student magazines, organizational records, scrapbooks, and yearbooks to rehabilitation records, photographs, and film to university documents and oral histories. Students will write research papers on topics of their own selection with the approval and guidance of the professor.  Possible research topics are many; including, for example, housing and students with disabilities; veterans; local churches and their responses to “wheelchair students;” changing definitions of “disability”; whiteness and the body; racial/gender/and disability segregation and integration; fundraising and finances; specific individuals, technologies, sports, and events; university employment and disabilities.  This course is part of the Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI). As such, students will participate in a conference where they share their research findings with other students and faculty.


A required seminar for all seniors writing Honor Theses in history, this course will meet throughout the year and will supplement individual students' meetings with their primary advisors. Provides an intellectually supportive environment in which students work together on common methodological problems, share the results of their research, and critique developing projects. 1 to 2 undergraduate hours. 1 to 2 graduate hours. Approved for S/U grading only. May be repeated in separate terms to a maximum of 3 hours. Prerequisite: Admission to the History Honors Program; HIST 492; and HIST 495. Concurrent enrollment in HIST 493 is required.


500 Level


Topic: Religion & State in Central and South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa

This course will focus on the construction of institutional relationships between political and religious authority; codification/incorporation of religious law into state law, or exclusion from it; reformist and revivalist movements and debates affecting and affected by those processes. Chronologically and geographically, the readings will deal with the colonial and post-independence eras, 25% devoted to each area.




Topic: The Digital Document

History, like other modern academic disciplines, developed in an age of physical archives and print mediation.  Today, however, we live in an era of mass digitization and digital communication.  Billions of new artifacts have been scanned and published as digital documents, both by large organizations (Google, Hathi Trust) and by individual users of social media.  Meanwhile, digital technology is itself being used to produce historical information on an unprecedented scale, as 'data.'  This course will explore the methodological and empirical questions posed by the rise of the digital document.  How is digitization changing the quality and size of 'the historical record'? How should historical methodologies, research, and teaching themselves evolve, to interpret and engage this digital archive and the publics and histories it represents? What practical knowledge about digital documentation should humanists develop, in order to participate in this rapidly evolving world?  This interdisciplinary seminar will explore these and related questions, through a mix of historical, methodological, and technical readings.  We will study and discuss major Digital Documentary Editions—sponsored by the NEH and other institutions—as well as vernacular documentary practices, conducted through networks like Twitter.  We will, as well, engage with materials and concepts drawn from the History Department's SourceLab initiative, to consider the intersection between digital publishing, documentary editing, and classroom education.  Students of all disciplines welcome: please contact the instructor at jwr@illinois.edu for more information. 



Topic: Race and Ethnicity in Latin America

This course surveys major themes in the study of race relations and ethnicity in Latin America, from the colonial era to the present. The course examines comparative and transnational approaches to the subjects in history and the social sciences. We will focus on the experiences of Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Argentina to understand patterns of race relations, immigration and ethnicity, cultural and intellectual currents, and social movements.



Topic: Globalization and Culture

The rapidly expanding literature on globalization and artistic and intellectual life, both popular and elite, will be critically surveyed in this course. Over the past three decades historians’ understanding of globalization and culture has steadily shifted.  Initially emphasizing the contrast between Western domination and subaltern self-assertion, studies of globalization have developed a new interest in topics like cultural brokers, self-refashioning, and the variety of national and local experiences.  The readings in this course reflect a wide range of approaches rather than a single school and are designed to encourage critical discussion. 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 take in approaches from other disciplines including anthropology, art history, and music.


Topic: Slavery and Society: American Atlantic and Antebellum Perspectives

This graduate seminar focuses on the historiography of racial slavery in the American Atlantic. It explores the expansion of racial slavery in North America in the decades leading up to the Civil War. We focus on the distinctive cultural, medical, social, and economic characteristics that shaped this institution across distinct slave holding societies over time. While our focus will be on slavery in the southern United States, we will also consider the experiences of displaced Africans in the North, in transit (during the middle passage), and within other regions of South America and the Caribbean Basin. We will also critique scholarly investigations in the history of slavery, noting how they have evolved in new works and classic, seminal pieces. This seminar is discussion driven; as such, students will be responsible for completing all assigned reading prior to class and must come prepared to participate in thoughtful discussion. Students are expected to be able to engage with major historiographical and pedagogical debates within the field including, but not limited to agency among the enslaved, Africanization vs. Creolization, commodification and objectification of the slave body, the economics of slavery, paternalism, and accommodation and resistance, health and gender.  Assignments include book reviews, a historiography essay, and an end of term assignment (TBD).


The first semester of a two-term sequence for first year students in the History Ph.D. program.We will address questions including: what is history and the historical mode of thinking, what is "interpretation," what is the role of "theory" in our work, what different genres of historical writing exist and what lessons do historiographical debates carry for our own practice as historians, teachers, and citizens?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 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.


Restricted to Graduate - Urbana-Champaign.


Dissertation Proposal Writing. Directed readings in special fields. Primarily, but not exclusively, for students with a master's degree or equivalent, who are preparing for the preliminary examination in history and who need instruction in areas not provided by current course offerings.

Restricted to Graduate - Urbana-Champaign

Topic: Dissertation Proposal Writing

Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor.

597 P - READING COURSE (Steinberg, M)

Prelim Reading. Directed readings in special fields. Primarily, but not exclusively, for students with a master's degree or equivalent, who are preparing for the preliminary examination in history and who need instruction in areas not provided by current course offerings.

Restricted to Graduate - Urbana-Champaign

Topic: Prelim Reading

Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor.


Independent Study.

Restricted to Graduate - Urbana - Champaign

Restricted to History major(s)

Prerequisite: Candidate for Ph.D. degree in history.


Restricted to Graduate - Urbana-Champaign.

Instructor approval required.