100 Level

100 AL1 GLOBAL HISTORY (Rabin, D.)

History 100 traces the gradual integration of various regions of the world into an interconnected system. The course follows a chronological narrative from the 15th century to the present comparing the way different societies developed and interacted with each other. The main themes will be political systems, imperial conquest and resistance, trade and cultural exchange, and the role of women and gender. Forms of assessment include three exams and two short papers.


History of Latin America since Independence; emphasis on Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba and Mexico.


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. The first concerns 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 contrasting 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’s history, power and knowledge production, racism, as well as imperialism, etc. Readings include several very interesting literary works and an autobiography.


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. 

141 B WESTERN CIV TO 1660 (Harris, D.)

This course explores events, trends, peoples, cultures, ideas and institutions in the development of Western Civilization from prehistory to 1650, from the earliest civilizations of the Near East to the dawn of modern Europe. Special emphasis will be given to the roles of diverse cultures from East and West in contributing to and forming the culture of the Mediterranean world and Europe. We will examine the topic from a number of cultural and historiographic perspectives, including those of geographic development, socio-economic class, race, gender and ethnic concerns.  The overall aim is to understand the historical formation and development of the western world as a community of peoples, cultures and diverse groups, and their importance in forming the perspective of today

142 AL1 WESTERN CIV SINCE 1660 (Micale, M.)

Meets with 143 AL1

Course description was not available at time of publication.

143 AL1 WESTERN CIV SINCE 1660-ACP (Micale, M.)

Meets with 142 AL1

Please see course description for 142 AL1.

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

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.

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

Meets with 172 AL1

Please see course description for 172 AL1


200 Level


Topic: Commodities, Capital, Empire

The production, circulation, and consumption of commodities links disparate regions of the globe, connects cocoa farms in Ghana, coffee plantations in Jamaica, sugar-cane producers in Brazil, the Espresso Royale in the library, and the student at the University of Illinois. To understand the production, exchange, flows, and consumption of commodities allows us to think of an inter-connected world, where our everyday forms of consumption connect us with farms and plantations, factories, and workers across the world, from Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa to Asia and to the USA. In this course, we will learn to think historically about commodities we consume, examining how the twinned forces of imperialism and capitalism forged connections between disparate regions of the globe through the production, consumption and circulation of commodities like gold, silver, sugar, cotton, pork, timber, and corn. 


Topic: World of Late Antiquity

This course will examine the nature of the historical period known as “Late Antiquity,” which lasted from about 250 to 750 CE. This period saw the development of many concepts crucially important for the modern day, including the preservation of classical culture, the rise of the Christian and Muslim religions, the barbarian invasions and the initial formation of the European nations, and the establishment of the concept of Rule by Law.



 Topic: History of Emotions 

How do we tell the history of emotions?  In what ways can primary sources be read as evidence for building an archive of emotions?  How do our perspectives on political, intellectual, social, and economic developments shift when examined through the historical lens of emotions?  This course will examine how emotions have undergone historical transformations. We will consider the changing experiences of a range of emotions such as love, jealousy, fear, anger, sadness, pride, and shame.  Through a focus on American culture from the 1880s until the 1960s, we will examine the place and development of emotions in relationship to socialist and feminist movements, consumer culture, medicine, the rise of psychology, the changing definitions of marriage and family, imperialism, scientific research, and environmental ethics.  One of the central themes of this course is to consider the politics of emotions along the lines of race, class, gender, and sexuality.  We will analyze a range of primary sources such as diaries, speeches, films, photographs, novels, political treatises, marriage and parenting manuals, advertisements, and periodicals. Our examination of secondary sources will focus on how historians have defined emotions as a category of historical analysis.     


Topic: The Atlantic World: Slavery, Disease, and Society

This course examines the various methods historians use to understand the economic, environmental, and human costs associated with the Atlantic slave system from 1600 to 1800. We will focus on how slavery, war, and disease contributed to the development of Atlantic World societies in North America and the West Indies. We will examine how contact between Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans contributed to the development of gendered and racialized identities, as well as the ways in which race and gender influenced perceptions of health and sickness. Moreover, we will examine how experiences with epidemic diseases and the unfamiliar climates of the Americas influenced labor and settlement patterns. Finally, we will examine how commerce, war, and the slave trade functioned as conduits of disease in the Atlantic World landscape.

Students will learn about the craft of writing and critiquing historical arguments by analyzing primary sources, interpreting historical data, framing research questions, and presenting their ideas. This course will include in class discussion as well as written analyses of secondary and primary sources, book reviews, and a longer, end-of-semester project.



Same as EALC 221

This course will lead us to an exploration of a culture and society very important in our global age. Through films and readings, this exploration will help us understand the everyday life, rich history and cultural values of the Chinese in their struggle to be modern and global. This course is a general introduction to the major themes of the Chinese Revolution from the 1840 to the present, emphasizing the interplays between politics, idea and culture in shaping the tumultuous history.  The themes will include the rise of an autonomous intelligentsia, the tension between cultural integrity and Western ideologies, the conflict between democratic participation and the tradition of centralized control, and the representation of national identity in high and mass culture.


Same as GWS 245 and MDVL 245

An introduction to some major issues in the history of women and gender from the fifth to the seventeenth century.  Among the subjects to be discussed are the impact of class on gender roles, women's work and access to property, the relationship between the public and private spheres of life, women's roles in the conversion of Europe to Christianity and in The Reformation, and the connection between the misogynist tradition and pre-modern women's sense of self.

255A BRITISH ISLES TO 1688(Beer, M.)

Same as MDVL 255

In this course we will explore how the British Isles were subjected to invasions, conquest, civil war, religious reformation and political revolution in the Medieval and Early Modern period.  Topics include the Romanization of Britain, the Norman Conquest, the signing of the Magna Carta and the beginning of Parliament, the Wars of the Roses, Henry VIII and the English Reformation, the Golden Age of Elizabeth I, and the English Civil War.  Our study of the emergence and unification of the kingdoms of England, Wales, and Scotland will serve as an introduction to the tools and sources of history for students as we examine not only the events themselves, but the way those events have come down to us throughout the centuries.  Class meetings will have lecture and discussion, which will be based on students’ primary source readings.  


In the twenty-first Century no relations will be as important as the one between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies. China’s rapid economic growth,  expanding regional and global influences, rising nationalism, and rapid cultural and military modernization, are shifting the geopolitical terrain in such a way that has generated widespread concerns for the “Rise of China” or “China’s Threat” in the U.S. and the debate of the “Pivot to Asia” policy. How to understand the shifting relationship between the superpower and the rising power?  We aim to historicize this big question by looking at two moments of immense importance in shaping the US-China relations of today: the Second World War and the Cold War.  Specifically we focus on three interrelated themes:  How did China and the U.S. construct imaginaries of each other? What were the political and economic relations between the two countries in the ever-changing global contexts? What were the experiences of Chinese students in the U.S. and the American intellectuals in China during these difficult periods and in what ways did  their experiences reveal the complexity of the US-China connections?  Class requirements will include  film reviews, class presentation, and a research essay .


Topic: Kitchen (en)Counters: Food and Identity in a Postwar World

This course will consider the larger historical processes and issues of the postwar “new world order” through the lens of food. We may be what we eat, but food is not just a biological process. Through a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, we will explore the larger sociocultural politics of food, paying particular attention to the way postwar global encounters and exchange have shaped relations of power and the ways in which food practices work to construct identity.  How, for instance, does tracing the history of the taco shell illuminate the complex negotiation of national identity on a global stage? How did the American obsession with barbecue in the 1950s reflect and influence American values in a Cold War world? Does the contemporary celebration of chicken tikka marsala as Britain’s national dish serve as a multicultural bridge or neutralize the violence of decolonization and obscure the dark side of empire?

This is an Ethnography of the University Initiative (EUI) and Living-Learning Communities affiliated course. Students will conduct original archival and human subject research and develop digital group projects. They will also have the opportunity to present the results of their research at the EUI Spring 2014 Student Conference, as well as publish their work in EUI’s archive in IDEALS, the University of Illinois digital repository.

260A HISTORY OF RUSSIA (Randolph, J.)

In this special 8 week course, students may fulfill their History & Philosophical Perspectives or Western & Comparative Cultures general education requirements by undertaking an intensive study of fundamental debates about the history of Russia, since 1450 one of the world's political and civilizational powers. We will consider such questions as: what drove Russia's late medieval emergence as one of the great modern empires, 1450-1825? How did this political expansion affect the lives of everyday people, across much of Eurasia? What was the relationship between this empire and the great literary and artistic culture created in Russia's 'golden age' of the early 19th century? Why did this same state collapse in the early twentieth century, only to give birth to the world's first socialist state? What sort of legacies, and ambitions, has this past left for the Russia of today? Only a small part of this course will be lecture. Most class sessions will be spent on building basic historical skills, and debating the interpretation of Russia's past, based on a combination of textbook and primary source readings. Materials will include readings, audio files, film and other artifacts of visual culture. Evaluation will be based on short quizzes and writing assignments; no final exam. The instructor, Prof. John Randolph, welcomes questions: please write him at jwr@illinois.edu.

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

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

Same as RLST 269

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


This course will offer an overview of the history of Illinois from the period before European settlement to the present. While focusing on the particular history of the state, the course will also emphasize connections between Illinois history and the wider world. Exploring topics like empire, migration, agriculture, commodity chains, and world war, students will locate Illinois within global networks of mobility and exchange. Readings will include novels, poetry, press coverage, political documents, sitcoms, and secondary literature.


Same as AFRO 275

This course surveys the history of people of African descent in the United States from the colonial era to Reconstruction.  Its main goals are to examine the social, political, economic, and cultural formations that shaped and characterized the experiences of African Americans and to understand the diverse and changing meanings of race that informed the trajectory of their history.  Key topics include Atlantic slavery, domestic slavery expansion, enslaved people’s resistance strategies, social and political activism in free black communities, and the Civil War and emancipation.  


Same as AFRO 276

Course description was not available at time of publication.

277A  US NATIVE AMERICANS TO 1850 (Hughes, M.)

Same as AIS 277

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


Same as AAS 281, AFRO 281, and LLS 281.

What is race and how have historical factors shaped its meaning from the colonial era to the present?  This course offers an introductory, interdisciplinary survey of racial constructions in the past to exploring the changing meaning and impact of race, ethnicity, and racism.   From the importation of African slaves, Native American and Hispanic settlements to white ethnic and Asian immigration, the course highlights comparative ethnic studies, along with gender, class, and sexuality.  Specific topics covered include the creation of racial categories; class and whiteness; Japanese internment; racial passing and mixture; urban segregation and ghettoization; and questions of post-race and intersectional identities. 


Same as AAS 283

“Asian Americans" today are a dizzyingly diverse group. Most "Asian Americans" do not even see or label themselves as such.  How then do we study and write "Asian American history"?  What issues arise in trying to incorporate these differences into one historical narrative, one story? In this course, we will attempt to grapple with these problems. We will relate them to the larger paradoxes of capitalism and democracy, unity and difference that have plagued American history.  We will survey the reasons why men and women of the Asian continent migrated to what is today the United States, the ways they established communities and related across generational divides, the challenges they faced, and the ways they responded to their new conditions.  We will then explore alternative views of Asian American history that go beyond these themes using autobiography and film as our windows into largerhistorical events.  One of the important themes of the course is how international developments, such as capitalism and the nation-state,  have played an integral role in the lives, the discourses, and the consciousness of Asian Americans, and how in turn they have influenced these larger structures to create their own destinies.

300 Level


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 MDVL 346 and RLST 346

This is an introduction to the cultural history of Europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. We will begin with some background study of the political and cultural meanings of the term “Renaissance.” This will involve an assessment of how learning, science, technology, and new cultural ideals changed art.

From that basis, we will begin an examination of the social and political contexts for Renaissance culture. We will consider the nature and the purposes of the arts in three different types of settings: at the imperial court (Charles V), at papal courts (emphasis on Julius II, Leo X, and Clement VII), and in independent cities (Florence and Nuremberg). Our goal is to learn about the major sources of patronage as well as the social and political functions of art. The focus on specific settings will also help us appreciate cultural diversity and distinctiveness.


This course covers the United States’ civil war and the era of postwar “reconstruction”.  During this period, the nation underwent its second revolution -- a revolution more radical in its impact than the one that freed it from the British Empire.  Much about U.S. history for the next century and more was decided during these decisive years. 


In the study of the war proper, we will emphasize three related themes: (1) how the war altered life in both the North and the South; (2) how the methods and goals of each side changed in the course of the fighting; and (3) what factors determined the war's outcome.  In studying post-war Reconstruction, we will pay particularly close attention to the diverse and conflicting goals and actions of different groups of Americans – including former slaves and their descendants, large landowners, small white farmers, and the leadership of the Republican Party.

377A UNITED STATES SINCE 1932 (Mumford, K.)

Topic: Long Civil Rights Movement

This course drawing the new classic conception-the Long Civil Rights Movement—to examine modern struggles for rights and recognition among African Americans and women, immigrants and indigenous peoples, as well as recent activism mobilized by LGBT, disenfranchised, and incarcerated groups.

381A URBAN HISTORY (Oberdeck, K.)

Topic: City Spaces in the 19th and 20th Century US

What kinds of spaces were "urban" in the 19th and 20th century US, and how did they change?  How did different groups understand, experience and transform "urban" space?  This course will explore how different kinds of urban spaces were planned, experienced, evaluated and transformed by diverse urban groups distinguished by ethnicity, race, gender, class and politics.   Starting with conflicts over the significance of “public” and “private” urban spaces in the Early Republic, the course will go on to examine spaces of recreation, work transportation, urban and suburban domestic life, political conflict, racial and ethnic division in the era of urban “renewal”, and activism on issues of public health and environmental justice.  The course will be discussion based; assignments will include short response papers, a focused 10-page research paper, and guided group presentations on topics related to course themes.

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 (Ghamari-Tabrizi, B.)

Topic: Modern Iran

This course will cover major transformations in Iran from mid-19th century to the present time. It will focus on two major revolutions, the Constitiutional Revolution of 1905-06 and the Islamic Revolution of 1978-79 and their social political consequences.

396C SPECIAL TOPICS (Hertzman, M.)

Topic: History of "Black Music" in the Americas and Beyond

This course provides the opportunity to not only study “black music,” but also question whether such a thing exists.  Together, we will examine musical creations pioneered by Africans and individuals of African descent over several centuries and across hemispheres.  Doing so will allow us to consider the unity of the African Diaspora and its music, and also examine internal differences and diversity.  Special focus is given to Latin America and the U.S., but we will also read about, listen to, and talk about music and musicians in Asia, Africa, and Europe.  By incorporating a broad temporal and geographical scope, we will be able to address larger questions about the African Diaspora: (Where and when) does it end?  Who patrols its borders?

396F SPECIAL TOPICS (Micale, M.)

Topic: History of Psychiatry          

What is insanity?  How do we define the normal and the pathological?  Who in society is best suited to determine psychological health and sickness?  Can there be sciences of the emotions and sexuality?  How do class, race, religion, and gender influence our views of human mental functioning?  Can the human mind know itself?  At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the sciences of the mind—psychiatry, psychoanalysis, clinical psychology, psychopharmacology, the cognitive neurosciences—claim tremendous scientific authority and exert enormous cultural influence.  Yet these are only several of the basic, urgent questions that remain unanswered or controversial today.



This course seeks to explore these and many related subjects.  We will study the social, cultural, intellectual, and institutional history of madness and psychiatry in Europe and America from the eighteenth to the early twentieth centuries.  Topics will include:  the origins of psychiatric humanitarianism, historical theories of normality and abnormality, the professionalization of psychiatry, medical diagnostics in the nineteenth century, the emergence of the modern asylum, patient autobiography, women in the mental health system, the history of the insanity defense in the courts, Victorian nervousness and hysteria, psychiatry and heredity, the beginnings of medical sexology, the origins of the neurosis concept, Freud and the coming of psychoanalysis, and shell shock in the First World War.



The course is open to all undergraduates regardless of educational background.



Topic: Greater China in Illinois: Student Culture and Trans-Pacific Connections         

This course (affiliated with the Ethnographic University Initiative) studies the trans-Pacific history of Chinese students and scholars at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the impacts of this history on Illinois education and of Chinese migration to the US. The rapidly expanding community of students from Greater China is obvious to any casual observer of the campus life. Actually since at least the 1920s, students from Greater China have made a strong  presence at the UIUC and, through their work and activities after returning to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, UIUC has established a strong reputation across the Pacific. But what have been the changed experiences of the Chinese students at UIUC and how have their experiences shaped their intellectual outlook and cultural values? In what ways have the strong presence of the students from Greater China impacted the institutional infrastructure and educational values of UIUC? The emphasis on small class and student research of the EUI creates a wonderful platform to explore these questions through doing primary research at the University Archive, reading of historical scholarship on the history of US-Chinese relations and Chinese students in the US,  conducting interviews with current students, members of the faculty and local community, and collectively producing a documentary film, this course aims to help students learn how to do archival research, apply historical research in audiovisual practice, and map out the complex history of a relatively little-known aspect of the trans-Pacific cultural exchange, lived experiences,  and educational impacts of  students from Greater China in Illinois and the US.  No prerequisite is needed. 

396H SPECIAL TOPICS (Barrett, J.)

Topic: The Irish in Ireland and America

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

400 Level

405 G2/G4/U3 HISTORY OF BRAZIL FROM 1808 (Dávila, W.)

Examines racial and ethnic diversity, immigration and social change in the largest nation in Latin America. Themes include development, populism and dictatorship. .


This course seeks to give 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 matters of social and cultural history. 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. Expectations of attendance, participation, and general good citizenship are high.

440 G4/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.

446 G2/G4/U3 EARLY MODERN BRITISH ISLES (Rabin, D.)          

Topic: Tudor-Stuart, 1475-1715

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

448 G2/G4/U3 MODERN BRITAIN (Gust, A.)

From the musical hall to the Beatles, from punk to protest, popular culture and popular movements in Britain changed dramatically over the century from 1890 and 1990.  This course takes popular culture and protest as a lens through which to explore the history of modern Britain.  The course begins with the high imperialism of the late nineteenth century and charts a course through war, decolonization and imperial decline during the twentieth century, to the neo-liberal agendas of the 1980s.  It the spans the period from high imperialism, world war, decolonization and immigration, the “sexual revolution” of the sixties, through to the miner’s strike, Thatcherism and the resurgence of right-wing nationalism.  Themes include: popular imperialism and the music hall; football hooliganism and fascism; gender and race in popular cinema; youth, class and pop music; the women’s movement and gay rights activism; and, immigration and decolonization in film and literature. 



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

462 G2/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.

466A THE BALKANS (Ivanova, V.)

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.

467 G4/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 nature of the post-World War II Communist regimes, and the transition to democracy and 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 was closed. The countries to be studied are Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, the former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Albania.


How has American society defined and managed disease? What can a society’s response to epidemic diseases tell us about the nature of that society? In this course, we examine the development of public health (broadly construed) and public health policy in the United States from the eighteenth century to the present. Throughout this course, we will trace the development of public health measures and infrastructure and responses to major public health crises. We will pay special attention to how race, gender, nationality, religion, and class have shaped, and continue to shape, conceptions of disease and risk.  Topics we will address include the rise of the germ theory of disease, quarantine and the control of infectious disease, the development of social welfare policies, the evolution of the doctor patient relationship, and the role of government in safeguarding the public’s health.


Same as LLS 475

Course description was not available at time of publication.

481 G2/G4/U3 20THC US CULTURE WARS (Oberdeck, K.)

Same as RLST 479

What ideas does "American Culture" include? How does it incorporate diverse religious traditions as well as new scientific perspectives? How are ethnicity, gender and race important? Topics of current "cultural wars", these and other questions about cultural conflict in the US have been hotly debated for over a century. This course explores such culture wars in the 20th century US and helps students evaluate contested cultural concepts they have produced, including pragmatism, pluralism, religious diversity, scientific objectivity, economic equality, as well as "popular," "high" and "democratic" culture.


This seminar examines changing conceptions of history and the historian’s craft from antiquity to the present. It focuses on different ways of writing and using history, and on some of the great achievements and challenges of historical scholarship which students themselves will confront in writing a Senior Honors Thesis. Topics include the role of the historian in society; the problems of evidence, interpretation, and objectivity; the powerful influences of religion, cultural prejudice, race, gender; and the continuing impact of methodologies borrowed from philosophy, anthropology, and literary theory. Students will be required to take an active part in the leadership of discussion, will complete a number of writing exercises and two longer essays, and will work toward the development of a research proposal for the Thesis.


Topic: Empires: Mongols, Mughals, Ottomans

Meets with 498 A

See Course Description for HIST 498 A


Topic: Slavery, War, Emancipation

Meets with 498 B

See Course Description for HIST 498 B


Topic: The Life and Death of Civilians in World War II

Meets with 498 C

See Course Description for HIST 498 C


Topic: Sex and Terrorism in the United States and the World

Meets with 498 D

See Course Description for HIST 498 D


Topic: History of African American Historiography

Course description was not available at time of publication.


Topic: Empires: Mongols, Mughals, Ottomans

We shall investigate empires through a comparative study of the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan and his successors, the Mughal Empire in India, and the Ottoman Empire in Anatolia and Southeastern Europe. We shall also give some attention to the Safavid Empire in Persia. Our main concerns will be the formation of empires, their armies and methods of warfare, their conquests and treatment of conquered peoples, their political and economic organization, their religious and legal institutions, especially Islamic, their relations with Europe, and their decline. Besides surveys of each empire, we shall inquire into the nature of empires in general from Roman times to the twentieth century and thus place our three case studies within this broad historical context in order to see how empire building evolved. There will be readings, discussions and a research paper.

Meets with 495 A


Topic: Slavery, War, Emancipation

This seminar will examine questions long debated by historians, including:  How similar or different were the prewar North and South?  What caused the Civil War? Why did the Confederacy lose the Civil War?  Was the Civil War inevitable?  Could and should it have been avoided?   How significantly did war and Reconstruction transform the United States? Why was Reconstruction eventually overturned?  What were the lasting effects of the sectional conflict and its aftermath?  Reading materials will include both original historical documents (“primary sources”) and interpretative writings by historians (“secondary sources”). 


Meets with 495 B


Topic: The Life and Death of Civilians in World War II

This course is designed to allow students to a write a substantial research or historiographical paper.  To introduce the subject at hand, we will look at six thematic areas: the battle for food; the patriotic mythology around Britain’s “People’s War,” “choices” in German-occupied France; the “final solution” against Europe’s Jews in Poland; the air war in Germany; and sex and rape at war’s end.  Diaries, reportages, novels, and films will supplement the secondary sources.

Meets with 495 C


Topic: "Sex and Terrorism in the United States and the World."

This course will examine the historical connections that intimately linked ideas about terrorism with ideas about sex, sexuality, and gender from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first centuries.  We will ask why notions of sex and gender have often been at the heart of both explanations for acts of radial violence and proposed solutions, how these relations changed over time, and what these intersections can tell us about the broader links between the history of sex and gender and the history of international relations. Drawing on tentative understandings of our key terms we will investigate examples of international and domestic terrorism, radical violence in social movements, and fear of state sanctioned violence and we will ask how distinctions between these categories were affected historically by notions of gender and sexual difference. With a focus centered in the history of these overlaps in the United States, we will also explore global sites in Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere with a particular emphasis on transnational processes that carried collisions between sex and terrorism across national borders and regional divides. Assignments will emphasize work with a range of primary source materials including films, diplomatic texts, manifestos, and medical documents. Students will apply questions and approaches encountered in the course to their own research projects that broach boundaries between histories of gender and sexuality and histories of political violence.

Meets with 495 D

499A THESIS SEMINAR (Randolph, J.)

This seminar is required of all seniors in the Honors Program, and is designed to be taken concurrently with History 493 (Honors Senior Thesis). It will meet bi-weekly in the fall semester and will become a weekly writing workshop in the spring. Throughout the year, it will supplement individual students' meetings with their primary advisors. Its purpose is to provide an intellectually supportive environment in which students work together on common methodological problems, share the results of their research, and critique developing projects. Students with questions about this course are encouraged to contact the instructor, John Randolph (Associate Professor, Department of History, jwr@illinois.edu

500 Level


Topic: Reading Subaltern Studies

In this course, we will read the major works of scholars in the Subaltern School of History.  The subaltern scholars' texts we shall read focus on peasant and labour histories, histories of anti-colonial nationalism, and on the philosophy and production of knowledge.  In many ways, the course is an intellectual history of the Subaltern school of the thought.  We will consider the emergence and evolution of the Subaltern school within the practices of South Asian history writing, and the impact of this school of thought on the historiography of other regions, particularly Latin America. 


Topic: History of Marxism

This seminar will examine different currents in Marxist thought from Amglu to Žižek.


Topic: Gender and Religion: The Case of Christianity

Same as GWS 501

The history of religion has been transformed within the last thirty years by the integration of feminist perspectives into the study of many traditional religious topics, as well as by the introduction of new research questions and agendas by feminist historians of religion. Scholars are now examining such topics as the role of gender and sexuality in the construction of religious symbols, the impact of sex segregation on religious institutions, and the relationship between embodiment and religious practice.  This course is designed to provide students with a foundation for comparative work on these and similar subjects, by examining theoretical work from a variety of disciplines on gender and religion, as well as historical studies of gender in early (1st through 5th century), later medieval (11th through 15th century) and modern (20th century) American Christianity.


Topic: Race Rebels in the Americas

What and who is a “race rebel?”  And how, if at all, do class, gender, sexuality, and nationality shape our definition.  We explore these questions in multiple American contexts—from Portuguese and Spanish America to the Caribbean and the United States—and using a wide range of primary and secondary texts.  Students from all disciplines and specializing in any region are welcome.


Topic: Urban Africa

Same as AFST 511

African cities are fascinating places. Does one study them in terms of their local growth and development? As artifacts produced by particular conceptual regimes of urban planning? What do we know about pre-19th century towns and cities, and continuities with later urban spaces? Do we look primarily at architecture, or at the contributions a city makes to the landscape? Should we study neighborhoods? Perhaps the political movements that they have often spawned are the most important things to consider. Or, should we focus on urban connections with surrounding rural areas, where the majority of Africa's populations still live? Are the most important urban dynamics primarily industrial, social, cultural or environmental? How have recent works contributed to our understandings of gendered dynamics in African cities? We will read and discuss a range of historical works on "the African city" focusing mainly on Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria.


Same as EALC 520

This course introduces students to recent scholarly works on the approaches, methodologies, and major issues in the study of Qing China, focusing on the intersections of identities, empire, colonies, and law. In the first part of the seminar, we will examine works on political and cultural identities involving the Han Chinese and Manchus. How were these identities constructed and deployed by different agents within the Qing Empire? Was maintenance of identities critical to the management of the Qing Empire and its bureaucracy? Did these identities undergo transformation when European powers intruded to disrupt the politics of identities? What are the implications of the answers to these questions for a comparative study of Empires in Asia and Europe? In the second part of the seminar, we will read studies on the expansion of the Qing Empire. Did the Qing Empire resemble its European counterparts? In what ways they diverged? Were there similarities in the ways the Qing Empire and European Empires used law in its control over their colonies? In the last part, we’ll examine debates and issues regarding how clash of empires since the Opium War gave rise to exploitation by European imperialists of a binary approach to civilizations—modernity and barbarity, which served as a legal base for economic exploitation and the practice of extraterritoriality. We will also examine how the issue of sovereignty and extraterritoriality came to occupy different discursive spaces in European imperialism. The history of international law involving the Qing Empire will be interrogated in the context of asymmetric power relationship with European Empires.

549A SEM ENG & BRIT EMP SINCE 1688 (Burton, A.)

Topic: Empire from Below

This course focuses on dissent and disruption across the British empire from c. 1830s to 1930s. Its main target is the rise and fall narrative of the anglo-imperium and the developmentalist histories that have tended to flow from it, as against the more abrasive and striated terrain of indigenous persistence and anti-colonial protest, whether direct or indirect. The syllabus will mix primary and secondary readings, expository and theoretical works and literary with more conventionally historical texts. Though some knowledge of imperial history is useful, none is required.


Topic: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in North American Colonialisms

This seminar covers different imperial states that competed over resources in North America: namely, Spain, France, Britain, Russia, and the United States.  We will examine how race, gender, and sexuality constituted the social, economic, and political relations that underlined various colonial projects, with a special emphasis on settler colonial dynamics.  Our thematic focus is intimate domains—domains of sex, the body, reproduction, and domestic relations, for example.  We will investigate the ways in which colonial encounters, negotiations, and conquests took shape in intimate spheres and in the process produced the various and changing meanings of race, colonizer, and colonized.        

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

Topic: A Tale of Two Integrations

Integration stands as one of the more profound chapters in the efforts to address racial inequality in US society in the 20th century. A Tale of Two Integrations explores Chicago’s place in the national story of integration, with particular attention to post-WWII America. Two intellectual concerns drive this course: 1) Examining the meaning of integration both as a goal and as a process, especially as it was manifested in questions about housing and neighborhoods; 2) the limitations of viewing integration in professional sports as representative of everyday racial experience. Readings will allow us to revisit different periods when Chicago received waves of new arrivals, the community formation process, and tensions over neighborhood transition. We will also engage works in sport history that enlighten the ways the battle for meaningful inclusion was literally and figuratively fought through issues of access to organized sports as well as to recreational and leisure spaces. This course thus juxtaposes the often celebrated narrative of the “successful” integration of baseball where African American Ernie Banks and Afro-Cuban Orestes “Minnie” Miñoso emerged as Chicago sporting heroes with the “failed” efforts to racially integrate public housing and residential neighborhoods throughout Chicago.

594A INTRO HISTORICAL WRITING (Avrutin, E. and McDuffie, E.)

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 History Department 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.