100 Level


History 100 covers 700 years across the globe in 15 weeks. The course follows a basic chronological narrative from the 13th century up to the present. Our approach will combine the global and the local, emphasizing comparison and difference between times and places. Our major themes will be political systems, trade and commodities, cultural encounters, the role of women and gender, and the rise and fall of empires -- all in the context of a global framework.


Same As EALC 120

This course introduces the distinct as well as shared ideas and institutions of the major civilizations in East Asia: China and Japan. We will focus on two historical processes. First, the making of a cultural system of East Asia before the nineteenth century. We will discuss how China evolved into a major civilization in Asia, creating distinctive ideological, social, political, and economic formations that came to define China, and to a considerable extent Japan, before the nineteenth century. Within the larger context of East Asian culture, we will examine how, despite certain shared cultural elements, indigenous cultures and unique historical developments of these two countries had resulted in constrasting societies in this period. The second process witnessed the decline of China in the nineteenth century as a dominant political and cultural power in East Asia. Our attention will be given to the struggle of China and Japan in response to imperialist intrusion from Europe, and how in the process, each embarked on its unique road to reinventing its own identity as a modern nation-state. In examining these two processes, we will explore issues of critical importance to our understanding of East Asian cultures from contemporary perspective: issues such as identity formation, gender and women, power and knowledge production, racism, and imperialism, etc. Readings include several very interesting literary works and an autobiography. Visual images and videos will be used in lectures.



The Middle East for beginners, from Muhammad to modern times. This course covers the beginnings of Islam and the Caliphal empires, the medieval Islamic world, the rise and heyday of the Ottoman Empire, and the modern transformations of the last two centuries. It will help you to understand the modern Middle East in terms of its history, especially the long-term development of religious, social, and political institutions, which have undergone considerable change in the modern era. The reading includes original works in translation from all periods. Your grade will be based on attendance and participation in the discussion sections; a map quiz; two 4-5 page essays on assigned topics; and midterm and final exams. 

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

Meets with 141AL1.

Please see course description for 141AL1.

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

Meets with 140AL1.

Spanning over four thousand years of human endeavor, this course investigates some of the major events, ideas, developments, and crises which shaped societies from ancient Mesopotamia to early modern Europe.  It has two main goals:  to teach the basic elements of the historian's craft and to further students' understanding of the modern world's debt to the distant past. Interactive lectures will be supplemented by discussion sections focusing on the analysis of primary sources, encouraging a hands-on approach to working with historical artifacts. Evaluation will be based on attendance and active participation in class, two short papers, and the midterm and final examinations.

142AL1  WESTERN CIV SINCE 1660   (Liebersohn, H.)

Meets with 143AL1.

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

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


143AL1  WESTERN CIV SINCE 1660-ACP (Liebersohn, H.)

Meets with 142AL1.

Please see course description for 142AL1.

172AL1  US HIST SINCE 1877  (Barrett, J.)

Meets with 173AL1.

A survey of the United States since Reconstruction era, this course explores the varied ways that Americans perceived and responded to the massive economic, political, and social changes confronting them in the last 150 years. The course is particularly concerned with how common Americans experienced these changes and, indeed, reshaped our society in the process. The twice-weekly lectures provide interpretations of key problems and periods (as opposed to detailed narratives). These aim for a broad overview of political, cultural, and intellectual change, but the emphasis is on social and economic history. In practice, this means more attention to long-term historical change and to conflict along class, racial, gender, and ethnic lines and rather less to presidential administrations. Discussion sections meet weekly to examine the issues raised by the core textbook and several supplementary readings. Assessment will be on the basis of classroom work as assigned by section instructors, two examinations, and a paper. Attendance at lectures is assumed; attendance at discussion sections is required.

173AL1  US HIST SINCE 1877 – ACP (Barrett, J.)

Meets with 172AL1.

Please see course description for 172AL1.


Topic: American Empire

The term “American empire” has been on the lips of many of the world’s pundits and political leaders. Why is it that two centuries since the United States was founded the term has gained vogue, inspiring discussions about the proper exercise of power, imperial “overstretch,” the necessity for intervention, and the pitfalls of interference? In this course, we will trace the development of the United States as a world power, exploring debates about its status as an empire. We will examine the meanings of formal and informal empire. And we will also connect discussions of American empire to other imperial experiences around the world. There will be an emphasis on roundtable discussion and debate, learning basic library skills, identifying historical texts and contexts, and developing analytical skills through historical writing.



Topic: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

This course will be based on the decline of the Roman Empire and then will study various interpretations of "fall" of the western part of the empire, and survival of the eastern part.


Topic:  Northside/Southside: A Tale of Two Integrations        

The racial integration of Major League Baseball initiated by Jackie Robinson’s 1947 breakthrough has been hailed by many as a watershed event in the nation’s history, mobilizing support for civil rights and the remaking of American society. Yet, as trailblazers who followed Robinson into organized baseball soon discovered, the process of pioneering integration was neither swift nor smooth. In Chicago, the integration saga likewise illuminated the complexities of American ideas about race, ethnicity, and the role of government when it came to the question of integration on and particularly beyond the playing field. In the 1950s Chicagoans celebrated the accomplishments of Orestes “Minnie” Miñoso who pioneered the integration of the White Sox (May 1951) and then that of Ernie Banks and Gene Baker with the Cubs (1954). Meanwhile, throughout the same decade the city’s neighborhoods and its growing suburbs became a battleground over the building of public housing and of the entry of Black neighbors into “white” neighborhoods. This course will engage Chicago as a site where we can examine the process of integration and the different support it garnered at the ballpark and in its neighborhoods as a means to better understand the tale of the two integrations—its successes, failures, and realities.

Course readings will include both secondary source readings on baseball history, Chicago, and urban history as well as primary source materials that discuss the different actors and communities that campaigned for or against integration as the process unfolded. Assigned materials will expose the mixture of agendas that shaped the stances of the different actors in their either supporting, slowing down, or opposing integration. In so doing, we will analyze questions of historical interpretations: How do historians use evidence to build an argument? How do we place historical scholarship in conversation with one another? Finally, this class is intended for majors who are ready to think critically about history. It will be taught in a discussion-based format, with a heavy emphasis on student participation. Assignments will include presentations, short reaction papers, and an end of the semester project.


Topic:  History of Human Rights

In the aftermath of the Holocaust and World War II, human rights became an increasingly important global concern.  International political bodies like the United Nation’s Human Rights Council and non-governmental organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch were constituted to denounce human rights violations and to monitor, document, and publicize their abuse.  But what are “human rights”?  How did they come to be understood as a fundamental element of political morality, one that is inextricable from notions of personal dignity and worth?  This course explores how civil, political, economic, social, and cultural constructions of human rights—often understood as inalienable attributes of human nature—are actually historically produced.  We will begin with a brief investigation of how renaissance concepts of humanism and humanitarianism informed the elaboration of Enlightenment theories of natural law that underpin human rights norms.  We then turn to nineteenth century debates on slavery and imperialism, seeking to understand how nascent concepts of human rights were deployed both to support and combat these practices.  The bulk of our course will focus on the ways in which the tragic consequences of twentieth century European history—war, genocide, colonialism, refugee displacement, politicized sexual violence (rape as a tool of warfare) and conflicts over national sovereignty—have shaped contemporary understandings of human rights.  Our goals are both scholarly and activist, and include the research and writing of a short paper on some aspect of human rights in historical perspective.


Topic:  Where did Red Power Come From? Writing the History of the Native America’s 20th Century Renaissance      

This course is about how we explain unexpected events.  A century ago Native Americans were believed to be on the verge of extinction. Today their population is surging and they wield unprecedented political and economic power.  How did this happen?  We will explore this question by examining the history of American Indian political activism--in particular the Red Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s--as well the rising visibility of Native cultural expression and the success of tribal businesses (most prominently casinos).  What do people remember about these histories? What do they forget?  Do these aspects of the recent past "explain" the dynamic reality around us today? This course is both traditional-books, discussions and papers-and innovative. Its format resembles a science course with a laboratory section. Students will review published scholarship, but also work with primary materials, online sources, and information portals such as Google and Wikipedia.  Several class meetings will take place in the History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library.


Same as ESE 202

Introduction to the historical study of Americans’ relationship with the natural world.  Examination of the ways that natural forces help shaped American history; the ways human beings have shaped, altered, impacted, and interacted with nature over time; and the ways cultural, philosophical, scientific, and political attitudes towards the environment have changed in the course of American history, pre-history to the present.


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


Same as EALC 222 and RLST 224.       

This course takes a cultural approach to ideas of major Chinese thinkers from Confucius to Mao Zedong. We will begin with those who belong to the major schools of thought in ancient China: Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism.  These intellectual and religious traditions will be examined in terms of their genealogy in their respective historical context, paying special attention to their relationship with power in its various forms: social, political, symbolic, and institutional. Contrary to stereotypical accounts, Chinese thought has never ceased to evolve in response to both internal as well as external challenges. Over its long history, Chinese thought often engaged in dialogue with alien cultures. Through complex processes of integration, negotiation, and resistance, Chinese thought, like other aspects of Chinese culture, has continued to expand its horizon. Attention will be given to the impact of contact with foreign intellectual currents on Chinese thought from Buddhism and Christianity in the imperial period to science, individualism, liberalism, democratic theories and Marxism in modern times. Background of Chinese history is not required.

247A  MEDIEVAL EUROPE  (McLaughlin, M.)

Same as MDVL 247.

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

252B  THE HOLOCAUST  (Hayton, J.)

As perhaps the most disturbing event of the Twentieth-Century, the Holocaust as it extended across Europe during the Second World War has subsequently forced the Western world to re-think many of its most cherished assumptions about progress, civilization, and modernity. How do we explain the success of the Nazi Party and their program of racial hatred in Germany? Why did Germans and Europeans across the continent work methodically and energetically towards the grisly goal of genocide? Where can we locate motivation? How do we assign guilt? The purpose of this course is to investigate these complicated dimensions as we explore perpetrators, bystanders, and victims, the history of Jewish life in Germany and Europe prior to the events, the role of anti-Semitism, the impact of war, the influence of ideological and racial thinking, the response of Jewish and non-Jewish communities and actors, and how the event has been remembered and historicized. Primarily, we will focus on comprehension as we examine how individuals tried to make sense of what they were seeing and what they were hearing, in an effort to try and explain how the events unfolded as they did. To this end, while there will be a mid-term and final exam, the heart of the course will be located in a series of texts, and students will write three short papers from a choice of five books over the course of the semester. In the end, the goal of this general education course is to introduce students from all backgrounds to the study of the events known as the Holocaust and the interpretations scholars have offered to explain the event.

256A  BRITAIN AND WORLD SINCE 1688  (Bateman, A.)

There is an ongoing struggle in Great Britain to define who is and is not “British.” This question is usually framed as a new one, whether by the Runnymede Trust in 1997 when it insisted, “a genuinely multicultural Britain urgently needs to reimagine itself,” or by the justice secretary Kenneth Clarke in September 2011, who called the London rioters a “feral underclass cut off from the mainstream.” It is often seen as a specific issue of a newly multicultural society produced by the disintegration of the Empire and the integration of the European Union. But the attempt to define what it means to be British and who possesses the rights of “freeborn Englishmen” is nothing new – in fact, it’s one of the defining themes of the last 300 years.

In this survey of the history of modern Britain and its empire from the Glorious Revolution to the Thatcher years, we will track how liberal democracy, concepts of citizenship, industrial modernity, social classes and the welfare state emerged in tandem with Britain’s empire (including the always problematic Ireland). We will also examine how the changing empire with its penal colonies, slave plantations, white settler societies, military entanglements and colonial struggles repeatedly challenged institutions and individuals alike to define who was a British citizen or subject, and what the rights of each were. Particular attention will be paid to the role of women, colonized people, and working class movements. Finally, we’ll examine the contemporary relevance of this story as Britain debates not only who is and is not British, but also how this contested history should be taught to its next generation of citizens.

Class meetings will combine lecture and discussion. Readings will be a combination of primary sources, key secondary sources, and novels to introduce students to the principal debates of modern British history.


Economic, social, political, and cultural developments in world history from the late nineteenth-century to the mid-twentieth century.


This course will examine the ways technology has developed over time, and how those changes have affected societies in different parts of the world.  The primary emphasis will be places on understanding the evolving cultural contexts of technological change. Topics covered include the power, manufacturing, railroads, emergence of engineering professions, corporate R&D, household technology, technology of modern warfare, consumer electronics, and video gaming.  Some of the questions examined by this course include: What is technology? How do technologies develop? To what degree are technologies a product of the culture in which they develop? How are technologies propagated? How have people thought about technology in different places and periods?


Twentieth Century U.S. History will examine the past century chronologically and thematically from 1900 to the Clinton presidency. Themes that will guide lectures and discussions will focus on the rise of the United States from a largely regional to a global power, and on the continual internal diversity of the nation. The class will emphasize topics in social, economic, political and cultural history. Readings will include textbook chapters, original documents, web-based materials and memoirs. Two mid-terms and a final as well as a number of quizzes are required.  Attendance is mandatory.

276A  AFRO-AMERICAN HIST SINCE 1877  (Cha-Jua, S.)

Same as AFRO 276.

HISTORY OF THE BLACK FREEDOM MOVEMENT is an interdisciplinary exploration of the experiences of the African American people interpreted through the prism of Black Studies’ central concepts, theories, and paradigms.  Many of the concepts and paradigms utilized in this course come from social movement theories developed in the disciplines of sociology and political science.  The course is structured around the historical process and is organized chronologically, thus, in those senses it is a history course.  The purpose of HISTORY OF THE BLACK FREEDOM MOVEMENT is three-fold: (1) to explore how and to what extent the Black Freedom Movement changed the role, position, place, and representation of African Americans in the United States’ political economy, polity, civil society, and popular culture; (2) to explore the extent to which racial oppression (racism) continues to plague African Americans after the Civil Rights and Black Power movements; and (3) to access whether and if so, in what ways and to what degree African Americans were transformed by the 1960s-era Black Freedom Movement.

HISTORY OF THE BLACK FREEDOM MOVEMENT covers the years I955 to the present, but primarily explores the turbulent 1960s (1955-1975).  During the “high tide” of the Black Freedom Movement (BFM) social activists in its Civil Rights and Black Power waves heroically confronted the United States’ system of racial oppression challenging structural oppression and racist ideologies and representations.  This course focuses on the activities of Civil Rights and Black Power movement activists.  HISTORY OF THE BLACK FREEDOM MOVEMENT explores the strategies, tactics, and discourses used by different factions of the BFM, particularly the differences between the organizing and mobilizing traditions.  A major part of this course explores unities and fractures across class, generation, color, gender, and ideological lines among African American activists and between them and their allies as they challenged corporate and local, state, and federal governmental policies and practices.  BFM activists succeeded in dismantling the constitutional scaffolding supporting segregation, transforming blackness from a pejorative into a positive identity, and in partially incorporating middle class African Americans into the political and economic mainstream.  They also built alternative autonomous institutions, revived nationalist and radical Black politics and culture, and constructed multiracial, Pan-African, and international coalitions.  Nevertheless, the Civil Rights and Black Power movements’ victories were incomplete.  Although the prevailing racial formation, the Plantation Economy, and its segregationist system of racial oppression were abolished by movement activists, the system of black racial oppression was not destroyed, but rather transmuted into a new racial formation and perhaps more insidious system of racial oppression.


Same as AAS 281, AFRO 281, LLS 281       

Today, in the context of 9/11, “racial profiling” is back with a vengeance, snaring newer groups into its conceptual net, especially those of “strange” religious fates and appearances.  Indeed, the consequences of the past decade of racial division in America have been enormous, from issues such as affirmative action and immigration to social welfare and international relations.  Yet, today, we remain as confused as ever about the meanings of race.  Is race the same as ethnicity?  How is race related to culture?  How has it influenced relations between rich and poor, men and women, gay and straight, people of urban and rural areas?  How have race and racism developed over time and place?  How have they been “constructed,” destroyed, and re-made?  What are the realities and possibilities of “multiculturalism”?  In this course, we will attempt to grapple with these difficult questions by engaging various historical sources on race.  The course will be “interdisciplinary,” based upon the presentations of professional scholars here at the University of Illinois whose disciplines range from history to education, to sociology, literature, and public policy.  But we will also utilize various books and films that have been selected for their suggestiveness in expanding our concepts of race.

286A  US GENDER HISTORY SINCE 1877  (Vostral, S.)

Same as GWS 286.

This course examines U.S. history from 1877 to the present using the history of women and gender as the primary analysis. The class lectures, multimedia presentations, and readings emphasize U.S. women's history (incorporating factors of race, class, region, ethnicity, and age), but also trace how the changing definitions of gender and sexuality has affected general historical trends such as family life, housework, education, the workforce, and politics. Readings will emphasize changes in women's life experiences in relation to larger historical changes in the U.S., such as economic change, race relations, and social movements. Students are responsible for all lecture and multimedia material presented in class as well as assigned readings on the World Wide Web and in required texts.


Same as AFRO 287 and GWS 287.

This course will explore the cultural, economic and political history of African American women in the United States from slavery to the present. Interdisciplinary in approach, we will utilize books, primary sources, art, and film to explore how African American women navigated the intersection of race, class, gender, and sexuality in defining themselves.  Major themes will include labor, social movements, community and institution building, violence, and incarceration.


Same as RST 312.

One of the basic themes of human history since ancient times is the history of travel – that is, the stories of how human beings have left their homes and visited distant places with the intention of returning to their homes.  From classical and Biblical antiquity to the present, writings now identified with Europe have described these journeys as part of a cumulative tradition. 

Two of the central themes of recent historical writing naturally emerge from travel accounts: cultural diversity and globalization.  Travel naturally involves cultural contact between different peoples who may have long histories of contact with one another (for example Germans and Italians in modern history) or may be radically new to one another (for example Columbus and the Amerindians).  In either case these encounters have a lot to teach us about how cultural diversity works – about how people from different cultures attempt to communicate with one another, with results that may be stumbling or successful, tragic or comic, on a wide spectrum of human possibilities.  Travel also leads us to the sites of globalization, the actual spots where, since the mid-nineteenth century, modern technologies and intensifying contacts have linked human beings across the world into a single, variegated yet integrated global network. 

The readings for the course will be a mixture of non-fictional travel accounts, travel fictions, and historians’ narratives about travelers.  These works cover a wide range of geographic areas, for the course is especially interested in encounters between European and non-European cultures.  In addition to written sources, we will work with visual materials and music.


What is behind the uprisings known as the “Arab spring”? How did the U.S. get involved in Iraq, and what has happened since? Why can't the Palestinians and Israelis settle their conflict? How is oil a factor in politics? What is behind Islamic fundamentalism? This course will help you answer these questions and more. We will examine the post-WWI history of Egypt, Arabia, the Fertile Crescent (including Israel), Iran, and Turkey, a region consisting of fifteen countries with diverse societies, political systems, and histories that has experienced colonization and decolonization, the rise of nationalist movements and other secular "isms," plus religious-reformist and religious-political movements. We will explore these issues against the background of the region's modern social and economic transformation. Grades will be based on written work, including a term paper. You have to read to understand this stuff, so expect a fair amount of reading. 


Same as RLST 347

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

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

352A  EUROPE IN THE WORLD  (Prochaska, D.)

In this course we focus on the colonial encounter between European colonizers and nonwestern colonized. The aim of the course is not to study the history of European imperialism in terms of European diplomacy, doctrine, and policy, but rather to elucidate the experience of both colonizers and colonized, comparing and contrasting their interactions, minglings and overlaps in the contact zones where they met. Our focus will be on the dialectics of culture and power: always keeping in mind the basis of colonialism in preponderant European power, we shall nonetheless endeavor to understand the culture of colonialism created together by both protagonists. A major theme of the course will be the contrasting experiences of colonial India, the foremost British colony, and colonial Algeria, the foremost French colony. The course will emphasize colonial visual representations.

Students will be expected to actively participate in class discussions. Course requirements include substantial written work and relatively difficult required reading assignments.

355A SOVIET JEWISH HISTORY  (Avrutin, E.)       

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

370A  US COLONIAL HISTORY    (Kurhajec, A.)

This course examines European colonialism in North America during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. We will explore the British colonies in New England, the Chesapeake, the Mid-Atlantic, and the Lower South, as well as the colonies of New Spain, French Canada, and the Caribbean.  We will trace the impact of colonization on the indigenous populations of the continent and the entrenchment of African slavery within the plantation economy.


In this course we examine this momentous Founding age of American History.  We explore the growing estrangement of American colonies from Great Britain and the culmination of this process in the Declaration of Independence.  Then we look at the process and controversies involved in creating a new nation, and the United States government.



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

375A  SOC HISTORY INDUS AM TO 1918 (Schneider, D.)       

American Social History focuses both on the history of everyday life and on the larger social changes that affected American society in lasting and profound ways between the 1840s and 1920.  This class will pay special attention to the interaction of people from different social classes with each other and to the effects of political and economic developments on the daily lives of ordinary people.  Important themes will include:  immigration, the growth of cities, the organization of labor, African Americans and industrialization, women workers and mass culture.  Prerequisite for this class is a basic knowledge of U.S. history since the mid-19th century. Consistent class participation, two in-class examinations and a paper will be the most important parts of the class assessment.

377A  UNITED STATES SINCE 1932  (Leff, M.)

This course follows American responses to domestic and foreign challenges, from capitalism's seeming economic collapse in the 1930s and post-WWII visions of an American Century to post-9/11 traumas over an economy (widening economic inequalities, financial meltdown) and "new world order" run amuck.  Recognizing James Baldwin's claim that "the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is literally present in all that we do," the class confronts such subjects as the social movements (with special emphasis on Black Freedom struggles) that sought to bring change; the presidential leadership strategies (from Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt through Barack Obama) that sought to direct and/or control it; the evolving manifestations and distributions of power in American society; the effects of anti-communist crusades at home (McCarthyism) and abroad (origins, evolution, and transformation!   Of the Cold War); the long-term impact of the New Deal welfare state and cultures of consumption; and engagements with American dilemmas of race, ethnicity, feminism, and the culture war legacies of the 1960s. Assessment will be based primarily on a midterm, a final, participation in class discussion and a website discussion board, and a 10-page argumentative research paper, each asking students to stake out their own positions on the historical issues threaded through the course.

390A  SPORT AND SOCIETY  (Burgos, A.)

Same as KIN 345.

Topic: Baseball and Integration

Many social commentators have hailed the racial integration of professional baseball as a watershed event in the march toward Civil Rights. Significantly, scholars have debated the impact integration had on Black communities and on the whole of society. Specifically, some have considered the negative impact baseball integration had on the race institutions that had been formed in Black communities during the Jim Crow era of segregation. Others have argued that integration could have unfolded differently than how Major League Baseball pursued, and that this should be considered in any historical evaluation of baseball’s racial integration. This course’s focus on baseball and integration will prompt us to consider integration as a process that was neither a guaranteed success nor an inevitable. We will examine how other racialized minorities, specifically Latinos and American Indians, illuminate the complexities of baseball’s color line and how their stories complicate or reaffirm the more popular known narratives written about baseball and integration. Course readings thus examine the different actors and communities that campaigned for or against integration as the process unfolded. Assigned materials will offer 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, specifically baseball, as the medium to analyze questions such as integration 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.

396A  SPECIAL TOPICS     (Seidelman, R.)

Topic:  Debating Israel’s History

Israel’s history is hotly contested.  Passionate and varied positions exist on terminology, the causes of historical events and the impact of their outcomes.   In this course we will critically examine the depiction of Israeli history in art, film and historiography.  We will explore the concept of parallel narratives as it can be found in various aspects of Israeli history:   leadership, society, institutions and war.  The aims of this course are: 1) to further understanding of Israeli history 2) to sharpen critical analysis skills through close readings of historiography, historical documents and non-textual historical representations.   We will explore the impact of various methods of depiction while examining the benefits and challenges that ambiguity poses for the student of history.

396B  SPECIAL TOPICS  (Hitchins, K.)

Topic:  Inner Asia: Early Times to the 20th Century       

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

396C  SPECIAL TOPICS  (Barrett, J.)

Topic:  The Irish in Ireland and America

The course, which concentrates on the modern period from the Irish Famine (1840s to recent times), is an experiment.  It mixes some key themes in Irish history, notably the Famine, Irish nationalism and revolution, the rise of the modern Irish Republic, and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, with a more extensive treatment of Irish immigrants, Irish Americans, and their impact on society, politics, and culture in the US.  The course will employ a variety of media and will likely be assessed on the basis of two essay exams and a paper.

396E  SPECIAL TOPICS  (Chaplin, T.)

Topic:  History of Sexuality

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

396F  SPECIAL TOPICS  (Ghamari-Tabrizi, B.)

Topic:  Modern Iran       

This course will examine social, political changes during the long twentieth century in Iran. The course will pay special attention to two major revolutions in 1906 and 1979 and their consequences.

396G  SPECIAL TOPICS  (Chen, J.)

Meets with ANTH 399G

Topic:  Reproductive Politics and Technologies: Comparative/International Perspectives

In this advanced undergraduate seminar we rebalance the common masculinist focus of science studies by highlighting reproduction as a central site of technology studies.  The course will focus on China, but situate the Chinese case in the global context and in comparison to cases in other societies.  Through comparative case studies, we will examine how cultural, moral, and political values give meaning to human reproductive events and inform people’s uses of medical technologies.  Drawing on case materials from China and a variety of other societies, we will study how competing interests within households, communities, states, and institutions influence reproductive arrangements in society.  We focus on how technological mediations of fertility, pregnancy, and birth (e.g., contraception, abortion, in vitro fertilization, prenatal testing, etc.) offer opportunities for the formation of gender and kinship, the reproduction of social inequalities, and the implementation of national population and international development agendas.  We will interrogate how bioethical evaluation of reproductive technologies might take into account the motivations and experiences of actual users.

This course is designed for students interested in: the history and anthropology of science and technology, and East Asian studies.


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 explores 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.

426G4/U3  EARLY MODERN JAPAN  (Toby, R.)

Same as EALC 426.

Japan, reunified in 1600 after more than a century of civil war and overseas adventurism, began an era of unprecedented peace at home and abroad, of cultural and economic development. In the first century of what contemporaries called the ‘Great Peace,’ population doubled and commerce boomed, creating an advanced urban society. The first half of the 17th century was perhaps the greatest boom in city-building the world had yet seen: In 1600 there were only two large cities; a century later five of the world’s twenty largest cities were in Japan, and Edo (now Tokyo) was the world’s largest city, with over a million residents.

Peace, urbanization and population growth brought commercialization (‘proto capitalism,’ some would say¬) and prolific cultural production in literature, drama and the arts that, mediated by the new, flourishing publishing industry, for the first time joined all regions and social classes in a common national culture. It was in the early-modern age that Japan began to become a ‘nation.’

Yet 250 years of peace came at a price, and prosperity was not shared equally: restricted social mobility, rural and urban oppression, and new forms of economic exploitation—often sparking protest and violent resistance. Internationally, the regime placed new, severe restrictions on overseas contact; but was this a ‘world within walls,’ a ‘closed-country’ nation with its head in the sand for 200 years, until it was forced ‘opened’ by Commodore M.C. Perry? Or had Japan found new ways to control foreign threats and overseas trade, establishing a new system of ‘controlled openness,’ as recent scholarship seems to suggest? Japanese, both intellectuals and people at large, were intensely conscious of, and interested in, the world around them.

This was also an age of great cultural ferment in Japan, as Buddhist paradigms were largely set aside for Confucian ones (both originally foreign ideas), only to discover, in part through Confucianism, new nativist visions and a new sense of national identity. The spread of prosperity and literacy even turned some philosophers into popular culture heroes: A 1685 tour-guide to Kyoto offered something like a Mansions-of-the-Stars guide to philosophers’ houses, and more than one Edo scholar’s grave appeared on tourist maps, like Elvis’s Graceland.

History/EALC 426 examines the emergence of this unified national, cultural, social and economic ‘Japan,’ from the end of the civil wars in the late 16th century, to the demise of the early-modern order in the mid-19th, in lectures, discussions and primary source readings, also paying close attention to the rich and varied visual record of the age.

Course requirements include lectures, class discussions and readings. All readings are in English. There will be a midterm, a term paper, and a final examination.


Same as RLST 434.       

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 their 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.

440G4/U3  ROMAN REPUBLIC TO 44 B C (Mathisen, R.)

The course will examine the rise of Rome from a village to a small city-state on the banks of the Tiber River to the greatest power of the Mediterranean world, and the effects that this transformation had upon Roman society and institutions between the years 753 B.C. and A.D. 14.

449G2/G4/U3  BRITISH IMPERIALISM  (Brennan, J.)

This course examines the relationship between the British Empire and Great Britain itself during the twentieth century. The course focus will be at three levels: the decline of Great Britain within the larger twentieth-century world, imperial projects of reform and ultimate decolonization within Britain's several colonial territories, and finally the impact of the British Empire in Great Britain itself, in particular in the capital city of London. We will explore the main paradox of British Imperialism in the twentieth century, when Great Britain exerted its maximum territorial control just as its global power was rapidly diminishing. By examining the realms of politics, culture, social movements, and shifting economic systems, this class will demonstrate how the Empire shaped metropolitan Britain itself, as well as examine the more conventional subject of Britain's powerful but declining influence over South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean during the twentieth century. Readings will include both secondary works and several primary texts, and instruction will be divided between lectures and class discussion. Requirements include participation in class discussion, a midterm, and a number of written paper assignments.

458 CHRISTIANS AND JEWS 1099-1789 (Price, D)

Same as RLST 458/See RLST 458       

This course examines the complex relations between Christians and Jews in Europe from the high Middle Ages through the Enlightenment. Among our topics are the religious and social roots of medieval persecutions of Jews; the history of Jewish banishments; construction of myths to foment anti-Semitism; Renaissance humanism (especially the Christian absorption of Jewish scholarship); the impact of the Christian reform movements—both Protestant and Catholic—on the status of Jews; impact of mercantilism; history of readmissions of Jews (focus on Amsterdam and England); and the emergence of a discourse of religious tolerance in the Enlightenment.

462G2/G4/U3  SOVIET UNION SINCE 1917  (Koenker, D.)

The world's first socialist society emerged out of the chaos of war and revolution and continued to astound the world until and after its collapse in 1991.  This course is constructed to encourage students to understand the legacy of 75 years of socialist experimentation, what happened in Russia and why, and to evaluate the impact of the USSR on the lives of its citizens and the world.  The course examines the experience of building socialism and living through its demise by focusing on the key moments of Soviet history:  the revolutionary process of 1917 and civil war; the role of political parties and social groups; the attempt to create a new socialist culture, society, and state; Stalin's revolution from above based on industrialization, collectivization, repression, and Russian nationalism; relations with the outside world, including the Great Fatherland War and the Cold War; efforts to reform socialism after Stalin's death; the rise of the USSR as a world power; the hidden contradictions of nationality; the implosion of all these contradictions during the turbulent regime of Gorbachev; the legacy of the Soviet Union in today's Russian Federation.  Readings include personal narratives,  selected documents, and a textbook. Requirements include 2 short papers on the readings, a take-home midterm essay, and an extended essay comparing a personal narrative with works of current historical scholarship.

466G4/U3  THE BALKANS  (Todorova, M.)      

This course covers the history of the creation and development of the independent Balkan states (Greece, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, and later Yugoslavia, Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and partly Turkey) during the 19th and 20th centuries. This process, whose obverse side was the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, can be approached as a case study of the larger and general process of dissolution of multinational empires into nation states that dominated much of Europe's experience in this period. Special attention is given to Balkan nationalism, its roots, evolution and various manifestations. The modernization of the rural societies of the Balkans, their state and nation building are major problems of comparative analysis. Other topics cover ethnic conflict and/or accommodation, inter-Balkan relations, and the role of the great powers in the region. Finally, a close look will be taken on contemporary developments in the Balkans, especially the Yugoslav crisis. By reading and discussing fictional work and showing several films by Balkan authors, the course will provide a look also at the intellectual production of the region. Books for discussion are assigned on a weekly basis. Additional texts, maps and other materials will be provided by the professor.              

467G4/U3  EASTERN EUROPE  (Hitchins, K.)

Topic: Eastern Europe Since 1919

The region between Western Europe and the Soviet Union/Russia in the twentieth century was (and is) a world of contradictions. We see them in political experiments ranging from liberalism and peasantism to fascism and communism; in the creation of democratic institutions and the failure of democracy; in nationalism before, during, and after Communism; in cultural integration into urban Europe and the persistence of the folk spirit of the village; in strivings to industrialize and the persistence of agriculture; and in the advance of materialism and the deepening of traditional spirituality. Within this broad context, we shall examine society and politics and national identity in the 1920s and 1930s, the effects of World War II on the region, the nature of Communist regimes between the end of the war and their fall in 1989, and the transition to democracy and further integration into Europe after 1989. We shall also have to decide how, and to what extent, Eastern Europe differed from the West and whether, in the twentieth century, the gap between them became wider or narrower. The countries to be studied are Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Albania.

472U3  IMMIGRANT AMERICA  (Schneider, D.)

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

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


A decade after 9/11, how do we understand who counts as worthy rights-bearing Americans and who doesn't, whose words are censored and activities surveilled, whose bodies are tortured, and whose consciences are not?   Taking as a point of departure the manipulatory post-9/11 politics of fear and its fraught security/liberty dichotomy, this class intensively investigates a series of historical case studies raising issues of "insider" versus "outsider" status--the boundaries enforced between an enlightened "us" and a barbaric subversive "them."  Starting with a consideration of notions of tolerance, citizenship and free speech, the class moves to late 19th century immigration and race panics; images of the enemy “other” and assaults on civil liberties in WWI and WWII (particularly the mass confinement of Japanese-Americans, so clearly at odds with the war’s reputation as the good “Freedom War”); the Red Scares after each of these wars (the anti-communist and anti-gay so-called “McCarthy Era” anchors this seminar); and the “backlashes” against the African-American Freedom. Weekly one-page response papers, an in-class midterm, a 7-page position paper, and a 10-page comprehensive final argumentative essay will draw upon class discussion, several films, a couple of short texts, and a weighty course packet that combines primary sources--speeches, polls, articles, propaganda posters, from the time--with historians' interpretative debates to survey the battlefield over American liberties and citizenship-- and the forces that periodically arise to imperil or contaminate the fundamental principles underlying them.



Same as LLS 475.

This course examines the history of the American West from pre-contact to the present era.  A significant portion of the class will focus on the ways American Indians responded to various aspects of westward expansion.  Topics in the course will include the significance of railroad lines, gender and race, and a critical examination of the American West of the so-called American imagination. Furthermore, this course will seek to connect the history of the American West with developments throughout the United States and the world.

481G2/G4/U3  20THC US INTEL & CULTR HIST(Oberdeck, K.)

Same as RLST 479.       

This course  the transformation of culture and intellectual life from the turn of the 20th century to the dawn of the 21st, emphasizing the role of

philosophical pragmatism, political progressivism, cultural pluralism, the emergence of popular and mass cultural industries, the growth of consumer culture, the influence of working-class life and labor movements, diverse and changing religious traditions, the cultural and intellectual contributions of specific ethnic and racialized communities, the meanings of modernism and postmodernism, the cultures of post-WWII social movements, culminating in the culture wars of the late-20th century and their implications for national and local cultures. Two papers, one midterm and final exam required; longer historiographical paper for graduate students.  Class attendance and participation are central to the course; we learn about 20th century arguments over cultural distinctions, debates about truth, constructions of community, definitions of justice, and ambitions for the US as a society, as well as the images, texts, music, beliefs and activities that have conveyed these ideas by engaging actively with them, their authors and audiences.


This seminar is required of all students in the Honors Program.  It focuses on the many different ways of writing history, and examines some of the great achievements of historical interpretation. Topics will include: the changing role of the historian in society, as a commentator on contemporary events and as a teller of stories about the past; the problems of objectivity, motive, and evidence; the powerful influences of religion, chauvinism, nationalism; and the impact of methodologies borrowed from philosophy, anthropology, and literary theory. Students will be required to take an active part in the leadership of discussion and will write several papers; each will also prepare a research prospectus for the Honors Senior Thesis with input from a potential faculty advisor.


Topic: Exploring Medicine and Public Health

Meets with 498A.

See Course Description for Hist 498A.



Topic: Place and Space in U.S. History

Meets with 498B.

See Course Description for Hist 498B.



Topic: Orientalism and Its Critics

Meets with 498C.

See Course Description for Hist 498C.


Topic: Global Encounters: Narratives of Conquest, Exploration, and Settlement

Meets with 498D.

See Course Description for Hist 498D.



Topic: Europe and the World, 1600-1750

Meets with 498H.

See Course Description for Hist 498H.



Topic: Information in Motion                                            

Meets with 498K.

See Course Description for Hist 498K.


Topic: Exploring Medicine and Public Health

Meets with 495AH.

Introduces students to historical research and writing in application to American public health and health policy in the century from the end of the Civil War to about the 1970s.  This field offers a variety of fascinating and often still topical issues about medicine, health, and society.

Students will work with one another and with the instructor in exploring how historians have studied American public health and health policy and in finding topics for their own, substantive papers in this field.  The approach will involve discussion of common readings of exemplary historical studies, understanding methodological concerns (such as how to identify and exploit both primary and secondary sources; how to analyze primary material; and how to construct an argument); and it will give each student the opportunity to write an original historical analysis (by pursuing, with guidance of the instructor and interaction with students, a series of steps from first exploration to finished product).

The kinds of issues that students’ papers may deal with include the emergence and activities of modern public-health institutions, whether public or private; a visitation of an epidemic in one or two locations and the social and scientific responses; the relation of public health to conceptions of disease, social order, gender roles, and the role of government; emergence and development of policy issues in public health and medical care (such as the role of research and its sponsorship and support; the significance of health insurance; and the extent and nature of public responsibility for the health care of the poor; disparities in health and in access to care; or ideas about gender in relation to health policy); the nature of policy formulation and the politics of public policy; the role of the sciences (whether social, biological, or epidemiological) in the formulation of policy; and the relation of policy to broader issues of social development, incidence of disease, and assumptions about the proper distribution of public and private responsibility for health and medical care.

History 498 is a capstone course for history majors.  Students are assumed to have done prior historical study (available through History 200 and subsequent, advanced courses) of a kind that will prepare them to undertake an individual research project.


Topic: Place and Space in U.S. History

Meets with 495BH.

Students in this course will explore the significance of space and place in the ways we interpret history by examining works that focus on landscapes, cities, suburbs and neighborhoods, houses and other habitats, and issues of environmental justice.  Rather than developing a single narrative, the units of the course will cover histories of particular regions, types of urban and suburban neighborhoods, styles of dwelling, and public spaces through secondary historical accounts and primary sources.  These readings will address ways in which the production of landscapes and built environments help to shape social relations involving class, race, ethnicity, gender, political power, and cultural taste, as well as the ways these social relations mold spatial experiences of everyday life and historical change.  They will also expose students to a range of methods for researching and interpreting the meaning of space and place in US history from the mid-19th century through most of the 20th century, and a variety of historical subfields in which these methods have been applied—including environmental history, urban history, material culture, history of medicine, women’s history, history of architecture and landscape architecture, among others. 


Topic: Orientalism and Its Critics

Meets with 495CH.

This course examines the ways in which the Orient has been imagined and described by Western missionaries, artists, filmmakers, and colonial administrators. This course requires original research in the library archives.


Topic: Global Encounters: Narratives of Conquest, Exploration, and Settlement

Meets with 495DH.

This course examines the dynamic changes taking place on a global scale during the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries, as the Portuguese, Spanish, British, French and Dutch began to travel overseas and encounter other peoples.  Missionaries, colonial officials, merchants, soldiers, and artisans traveled to the Americas, Africa and Asia.  They interacted with local peoples and produced accounts of their voyages.  Through a close examination of these sources, we will explore the formation of dynamic new societies in the Pacific and Atlantic basins, and examine how understandings of community and space changed with new migrations.  By critically examining the meaning of local encounters and the sources they produced, we will analyze how categories of religious identity, nation, race, gender, and sexuality were constructed and negotiated in the early modern world.


Topic: Europe and the World, 1600-1750

Meets with 495HH.

In this period northern Europeans established their place in the first global economy. Asia, Africa, and America were more important to European trade and politics than ever before. What was the cultural impact in Europe of this intensified contact and trade with distant peoples, societies, and cultures?

In this course students will learn how to find, discuss, and evaluate the latest and best attempts by scholars to answer this question. We will focus on several specific cases, including

•      slavery and freedom in life and works of John Locke (1632-1704)

•      Africans and Europeans in the Atlantic slave trade

•      rebellion and revolution in the Atlantic world

•      images of Africa and America in European culture to 1750

•      sugar production and consumption

Students will research and write a paper of about 6000-8000 words presenting and assessing the current scholarship on any specific topic that relates to the question of the cultural impact in Europe of intensified European global contact and trade in the period 1600-1750. Several short assignments will prepare you to write the research paper.


Topic: Information In Motion

Meets with 495KH.

The social, cultural, and geographic landscapes of the twentieth century were marked by a proliferation and expansion of networks along which information could travel in often new ways. This course will take a skeptical look at the emergence of these networks—and at the rhetoric that surrounded them. Focusing on state-funded libraries and the Internet as our case studies—and the United States, India, and China as comparative locations—we will ask questions like: How did networks of information form in the twentieth century? How have they been similar to and different from previous networks? Do differences in political and economic systems influence how information moves? How do location and geography affect the flow of information across landscapes? What kinds of communities get built by and around those networks? What disrupted those networks, and who got left out of them?

The University of Illinois has a variety of rich and relevant archival resources for approaching these questions: the American Library Association archives, for example, and the records of various university departments and programs like the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the Indian Institute of Technology. Using these resources in a series of assignments and in independent research, students will identify a particular historical question, turn that question into a problem, identify sources relevant to that problem, and use writing

499A   THESIS SEMINAR  (Symes, C.)

This seminar is required of all seniors in the Honors Program, and is designed to be taken concurrently with History 493 (Honors Senior Thesis).  It will meet bi-weekly in the fall semester and will become a weekly writing workshop in the spring.  Throughout the year, it will supplement individual students' meetings with their primary advisors. Its purpose is to provide an intellectually supportive environment in which students work together on common methodological problems, share the results of their research, and critique developing projects.


Topic: Exploring the Medieval Globe

Meets with MDVL 500.

The idea of “the medieval” has been fundamental to the conceptualization of human history, and to understandings of how the interrelated pasts of societies (in contact and in isolation) have shaped the complex world we have inherited from them. “Medieval” presupposes a kind of in-between ness; it is also a Western historiographical concept that has been appropriated in non-Western contexts, often to the detrimental effect of over-simplifying or de-valuing them. This seminar will explore the modes of communication, materials of exchange, and myriad interconnections among regions, communities, and individuals in this central era; it will also consider how concepts of the Middle Ages continue to affect our own world. We will consider such questions as: What are the special challenges -- and potential rewards -- of studying this epoch in a global context? How did medieval peoples, trends, ideas, and goods interact with (or against) one another? Can we meaningfully compare coeval cultures or phenomena that didn't influence one another directly? How will our own research projects be enriched (and complicated) with reference to the wider medieval world, and by fuller awareness of the meanings attached to the Middle Ages in different places and times?


This seminar arises from major initiatives within the Program in Medieval Studies and will coincide with a conference on "The Medieval Globe" (April 12-14). Participants will therefore have a unique opportunity to meet and learn from key scholars in the field, including many Illinois faculty. Together, we will read pioneering works of scholarship and some seminal primary sources. Response papers and other written exercises will brief. Students taking the course for full credit will be expected to prepare a critical review essay or research paper reflecting the seminar's intersection with their own interests.


Topic: Global History

 No more West and the Rest. Plato to NATO is out. This course tells how we got from the Big Bang to Obama, with a few whistle stops in between. We will concern ourselves with how to read, conceptualize, and teach global history. We read wide-angle overviews (David Christian, Kenneth Pomeranz) and focus down on single spots. We will sample some old wine (Eric Wolf, Immanuel Wallerstein) as well as several newer vintages. We will expand our purview beyond the discipline of history to encompass other disciplines and perspectives. Throughout students will be encouraged to bring their own perspectives to bear; among other things, seminar members will have the opportunity to construct their own course syllabus.

This course constitutes the core course for the Ph.D. field in Global Histories


Topic: Prob. In Comp. Business History                                                                                   

This course studies how scholars have analyzed the role of private corporations in the creation of globalization and at shaping pro-business policies among different governments in the world. The course analyzes different theoretical works on how firms relate to governments and under what circumstances they favor more or less free market policies and a body of scholarship on particular cases of firms operating in the United States and Latin America, and foreign firms in Latin America.  Through these works, we will attempt to understand the reasons of the different historical behavior of firms in both regions. 

502D     PROB IN COMPARATIVE HISTORY   (Hoxie, F. and Jacobson, N.)

Topic:  Sovereignty and Autonomy in the Western Hemisphere: National and Regional Struggles for Power, Identity and Space

Meets with CAS 587


Topic: Visual History: Picturing/Mapping the Past

A picture” may be “worth a thousand words,” but it is never self-evident which thousand words those might be. Pictures, that is, are representations that must be “read” with the same critical care given to “written” texts: Who is the “author” (“artist”; “producer”)? What was the context of production and reception? What conventions of representation are built into the work? What are the limits of “empirical” and “semiotic” reading of the visual? Initial examples will be taken from the rich archive of visual production in early-modern Japan, but students will be encouraged to pursue the historical reading of the visual in their own areas of geographic, chronological, and thematic interest.

“Visual History: Picturing/Mapping the Past” is a research seminar focused on the theory, problematics, and practice of interrogating visual artifacts (paintings, prints, photographs, maps, the built landscape) as “historical” document or source. We will begin with a series of theoretical and methodological readings from history, art history, visual psychology, and criticism, before proceeding to implement those insights in individual research projects employing visual or pictorial “evidence” in historical interpretation. The instructor has focused in his own research on the “reading” or “textualizing” of Japanese paintings, prints, maps and book illustration.

Students will research and write original papers in their respective areas of specialization in which they explore the possibilities of reading the visual as historical text and source. All joint readings will be in English; students are encouraged, of course, to use materials in any appropriate language in their research.


Meets with LIS 590

Topic: Oral History: Theory and Practice

Open to PhD students; other graduate students may enroll with approval of the instructor (sgdavis@illinois.edu).   Description: This course introduces graduate students to oral history as a theory and method of history.  In the last four decades, oral history has seen enormous growth in kinds of projects, techniques, and in the questions it asks about the past.  While we look at newer oral history studies from the USA, Western Europe, South America and Africa, students will begin the challenging process of project design and field work in oral history.


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

Same as EALC 520.

Cold War is an important  yet underexplored subject in Chinese studies. This interdisciplinary course discusses the history and politics of the Cold War in Hong which was a major cultural battleground between the colonial government, China, Taiwan, and the United States. The cultural Cold War has continued to shape practice and public mentality in the region.  The course will study films  made in Hong Kong, China, and the U.S.A,  and  read  biographies and  academic  historical works surrounding the Cold War in Hong Kong.  Requirements include a  major research paper and in-class presentations.

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

Topic: US in the Long 19th Century

Many years ago, Fernand Braudel introduced us to the idea of “long” centuries – centuries whose borders are determined (in the eyes of scholars looking back upon them) not by the calendar but by the beginning and ending of long-term historical processes.  In his famous trilogy (The Age of Revolution: Europe, 1789–1848; The Age of Capital, 1848–1875; and, The Age of Empire: 1875–1914), Eric Hobsbawm re-periodized European history by discerning a “long nineteenth century,” stretching from the French Revolution through the outbreak of World War I, defined by the rise and development of a set of linked economic, political, and cultural forces.  This graduate seminar will investigate whether a similar kind of conceptualization illuminates the study of the history of the United States.  It will cover the “long nineteenth century” from the war for national independence through the U.S.’s entry into the first world war.  It will explore issues including economic development, slavery and emancipation, race, social class, political practice, and cultural norms more generally. 


Topic: Investigating Lynching and Racial Violence, 1867-1968

Same as AFRO 501.      

The African American history research seminar is designed to provide training to graduate students in research skills with an emphasis on the use of African American source materials and social history methodologies.  This seminar investigates lynching and racial violence, from 1867-1968.

Studies of lynching have largely been based on three inventories the Tuskegee University Lynching Files, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Lynching Files, and the Chicago Tribunes annual compilations.  In the late 1990s, a new database, The Historical American Lynching Project (HAL) went online.  These inventories remain useful but they also have several silences, for instance, they ignore Reconstruction/Emancipation-era lynchings and they provide scant information on the lives of individual victims. Nor are northern lynchings included in the HAL database. Perhaps, most troubling, these inventories include no data on local Black communities, their institutional structures, social networks and leadership apparatuses, nor do they track the modes by which African Americans resisted lynching and other forms of racial violence.

Lynching studies have tended to focus on the period between 1882 and 1930, the moment after African Americans became the primary victims and before the decline of large-scale spectacle lynching.  Scholars researching the Emancipation/Reconstruction and Post-Reconstruction-eras have identified thousands of African Americans whose murders had they occurred after 1882 would have been classified as lynchings. Also, historians' emphasis on rape (19.22) which combined with attempted rape (6.07) constituted only 25.29 percent of lynch victims has distorted lynching by elevating a minority accusation above the majority rationalization, murder which composed 41 percent of allegations.  Lynching studies have also had a propensity to ignore the lived experiences and social relations of lynch victims.

In this research seminar students will spend a third of the semester reading seminal books and articles and major governmental reports on lynching, race riots and other forms of racial violence.

The course begins with the work of anti-lynching activists such as Ida B. Well Barnett, then it examines the methodological approaches of sociologists, the initial academic discipline to study lynching, and finally the course engages the work of historians, who as a discipline came to o the study of racial violence quite late. During the last two-thirds of class students will be engaged in investigating an episode or more than one incident of racial violence.

596BT  INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH PROJECT (Todorova, M. and Brennan, J.)

History 596 will help students produce an original contribution to historical scholarship while introducing them to disciplinary issues that concern historians no matter what their interest or level of achievement. This seminar for first-year graduate students is the second half of the introductory graduate sequence and will focus on the process of writing an original piece of historical research. Among the issues to be examined are strategies for research, the ethics of research, the use of nontraditional sources, the formulation of historical claims, the creation of extended interpretive arguments, identifying an individual interpretive voice, and communicating significant findings to people in other historical fields and other disciplines.