Spring 2016 Course Guide


100 Level

100 AL1 - GLOBAL HISTORY (Koslofsky, C.)

Topic: The First Global Age, 1300-1815

In this course we will study the early modern world from the fourteenth through the early nineteenth centuries. This was the first global age: the first time trade, conquest, and colonization connected all parts of the globe as never before, unleashing unprecedented economic and environmental forces.  By 1800, all large areas of human settlement and culture everywhere on Earth interacted with one another – some only barely, others in deep and transforming ways.


This course examines the history of Latin America since independence, focusing on subjects such as the Cuban and Mexican Revolutions, cycles of dictatorship, and patterns of uneven economic development.  We will look at experiences with slavery and emancipation, massive immigration, labor struggles, and women’s movement.  Latin America’s history is interconnected with that of the United States.  We will reflect on these connections as we explore the Americas' varied yet shared paths from colonies to nations.

110 A– HISTORY OF AFRICA (Nobili, M)

This course consists of a survey of African history, or rather African 'histories'. Along with historical knowledge, it seeks to give students a basic familiarity with Africa’s geographic and anthropological setting, as well as to provide an overview on African languages. The course covers a lengthy span of time, from the early civilizations to the 21st century. Through the analysis of secondary as well as of primary sources, students will first discover and examine the development of pre-colonial African societies, following which the focus will shift to the past two centuries, with the growth of European influence on the continent culminating with the colonial period. Finally, students will engage in the study of the process of decolonization and the dynamics of contemporary African states. The course will include lectures, documentaries, and discussions on the readings and of novels.


Same as EALC 120.

This course is an exploratory survey of the histories and cultures of East Asia with emphasis on China from the Neolithic age to the present days. Efforts will be made to explore the developments of East Asian cultures, societies, and politics in an ever-changing global context and the different yet interconnected ways in which China, Japan, and Korea struggled to modernize and redefine themselves in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Attendance to lectures and active participation in discussion sessions are obligatory. 



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.

140 AL1 – WESTERN CIVILIZATION TO 1660–ACP (Crowston, C)

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

Please see course description for HIST 141.

141 AL1 - WESTERN CIVILIZATION TO 1660 (Crowston, C)

Meets with HIST 140 AL1.

This course will survey essential developments in Western Civilization from Antiquity through the seventeenth century. It will focus on the evolution of political institutions from the city-states of Ancient Greece, through the Roman Empire, the feudal system of Medieval Europe and, finally, the emergence of nation-states in the seventeenth century. We will also study the philosophies or religious beliefs that helped men and women understand their society and the world, as well as the social structures and conflicts that characterized different periods of history. In particular, we will examine how relations with supposed “outsiders” - such as Jews, Muslims, indigenous peoples of the New World, enslaved Africans, and women – brought essential contributions to Western Europeans and helped them define their own identity. In the process, we will gain a new understanding of the cultural fusions and conflicts that continue to define, and challenge, our world. Another key element of the course will be to understand the role that history itself – stories about the past – has played in the creation of what we think of as Western Civilization. As much as a “real” historical entity, Western Civilization consists of the traditions and identities communities have taken on and the continuities they have claimed with earlier cultures and societies.


142 AL1 – WESTERN CIVILIZATION SINCE 1660 (Fritzsche, P)

Meets with HIST 143 AL1.

The political and economic revolutions which changed fundamentally the Western world will be the focus of this course.  How do historians account for the tremendous industrial power assembled in a few short decades by European societies, or the dramatic sequence of rebellion and revolution?  We will explore the impact of the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution on ordinary workers, peasants, and also on the world at large.  The course will examine the great burst of intellectual activity in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and discuss nationalism, liberalism and socialism.  The twentieth century, on the other hand, saw unprecedented destruction and horror.  For this reason, we will look closely at the world wars, and at life and society in Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia.  And Europe today?  The postwar division of the continent, the "dirty wars" of decolonization, the rise of a consumer society, and the revolutions of 1968 and 1989 provide the course with its final themes.  Throughout the course, we will look at the politics of war and revolution, and the accomplishments of philosophers and statesmen, but also pay attention to the lives and beliefs of ordinary people.



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

Please see course description for HIST 142.



Same as RLST 120.

Please see course description for RLST 120.

172 AL1 – US HISTORY SINCE 1877 (Reagan, L)

This course surveys the history of the United States from the Civil War to the present.  The course explores the transformations in the American economy, the political arena, and social life, and how Americans responded to those changes.  In particular, we will pay close attention to the struggles of Americans along class, gender, and racial lines to re-make American citizenship and freedom.  Lectures will focus more on social movements and daily life in America as well as the rise of the United States as a world power and less on presidential politics.  In discussion sections, students will have the opportunity to assess various historical interpretations and to interpret primary sources themselves.  Since the past shapes present-day debates, problems, and policies, the historical knowledge you gain in this course should help you to better understand the complexity of the society and times we live in.  Grading will be based on exams, papers, and classroom participation.  Attendance at lectures is expected; participation in discussion required.

173 AL1 – US HISTORY SINCE 1877–ACP (Reagan, L)

Same as HIST 172, except for the additional writing component.

Please see course description for HIST 172.


200 Level


Topic: Global Environmental History

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


Topic: Ethnohistory in Colonial Latin America

To write about the history of foreign people and of foreign lands was one of the great challenges authors faced in the in the great age of European explorations starting in the 15th and 16th centuries. European authors interviewed Native Americans (be they Inca, Aztecs or others) who often had a different understanding of how to locate human history in time and space. The newcomers on American shores tried to make sense of what they saw and of what they heard and struggled with making others believe that what they wrote was true.


In this course we examine some of the most important ethnohistoric accounts of Latin America from the early modern times until the twentieth century. We will explore how past historians struggled with some crucial issues western historians faced when writing history. How did they, for example, deal with problems of evidence, objectivity, and chronology? How did their methodologies change over time? How can we evaluate their biographical, literary, social and cultural bias? In the end, these ethnohistorians can serve as a mirror of our own historical methods. While drawing on ethnohistoric accounts from the Andes and Mexico during the half millenium from the sixteenth to the twentieth century we enter some of the most vibrant debates about the identity of Latin America. What about the impact of the Spanish heritage? How did an indigenous identity evolve over time? And, last but not least, what does “Mestizo” mean?



Topic: US and China: A Century of Entanglement

This course is an exploratory investigation of the culture and politics of twentieth-century US-China relations. It is also an effort to engage in a public historical reconstruction of the complex relations of two of the most important world powers. The course will be divided into two sections. In the first section, the class will explore especially the US-China relations since the World War II by learning the history of the making of their complex relations, discussing major academic works and watching popular US-produced and China-produced motion pictures portraying the two peoples. In the second section, the class will be divided into several groups, on the basis of archival research, each working on a special project, such as making a documentary film or designing a public exhibition of an important dimension of the US-China relations.    


Same as EALC 222 and RLST 224.

Please see course description for EALC 222.



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


260 A – HISTORY OF RUSSIA (Steinberg, M)

The history of “Russia” (Rus, Muscovy, Imperial Russia, the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation) from medieval times to the present. Although an introductory “survey course,” our aim is to look beneath the surface of events to discover how individuals and groups experienced, interpreted, and made their own history. Most readings are primary texts, created at the time, so that we can listen to the past in its own voice as we try to understand, explain, and interpret. Three big interpretive questions are at the center of our exploration—power (rulers and their ideals as well as dissent and rebellion); imagination (ways of thinking, feeling, seeing, and dreaming as expressed in ideas, ideologies, religion, and art); and experience (especially the experiences of everyday life).


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 placed on understanding the evolving political, economic, and environmental contexts of technological change. Topics covered include manufacturing, railroads, emergence of engineering professions, suburbanization/urbanization, corporate R&D, household technology, technology of modern warfare, the political uses of technology, the politics of technology, environmental consequences, and the digital future of higher education.  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 has technology changed our political culture, our economy, and how we teach future generations?



History 265 covers major themes in the history of Western science, technology, and medicine from Ancient Greece (800 B.C.) to the present (2015) with a focus on philosophical, social, and cultural intersections with science.  This course encourages students from all academic disciplines to critically examine science.                                                              



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.


275 A – AFRO-AMERICAN HISTORY TO 1887 (Asaka, I)

Same as AFRO 285.

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 AIS 277.

The indigenous histories of the Americas and the Pacific cross international boundaries and have deep historical roots. This course takes a thematic approach to help build our understanding of the breadth and depth of indigenous politics, culture, and everyday life across this vast macro-region. This is not a survey course, but rather a class that seeks a broader global context for North American indigenous histories by focusing deeply on particular historical movements, actors, and moments. Course themes include religious revival, cultural exchange, sovereignty, and economic development.


Same as LLS 279.

Please see description for LLS 279.



Same as AAS 281, AFRO 281, 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 the changing constructions of race and ethnicity, and the shifting impact of racism on America.   From the importation of African slaves, Native American and Hispanic settlements to white ethnic and Asian immigration, the course introduces methodologies of comparative ethnic studies, and how to incorporate additional categories of gender, class, and sexuality, and disability.  Specific topics covered include the creation of racial categories in the era of slavery; working-class whiteness; Japanese internment; racial passing and mixture; social science and racial inequality; black and brown power movements; and questions of racial violence and the significance of intersectional identities.



Meets March 14 to May 16, 2016.

Same as LA 242, NRES, and RST 242.

Please see course description for RST 242.



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 larger historical 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


Same as MACS 300.

Topic:  Film and the African American Experience

This course explores the representation of African Americans in U.S. film. It explores the conflicting presentation of the Black image, male and female, in film by white and Black film makers and the interpretation of those images by critics and activists from Black’s initial appearance in U.S. films through the “coon” and race films of the 1910-40s era, the racial liberal films of the 1950s-60s, to blaxploitation, to the Black cinema movement of the 1970s-80s, especially the Los Angeles School, the “urban”, and films of the contemporary moment.


In this course, we will examine mainstream “Hollywood” films and works by independent filmmakers, Black and white with an eye toward examining the conflicting presentations of the Black image and exploring how the representation of Blacks has changed over time and across different genres of film. The course is especially concerned with how the struggle over the Black filmic image resonates with broader social struggles and issues surrounding African American life and history. Of utmost importance, is examining the socio-historical context, the political, social, and economic environment in which film is created, viewed, and understood. The course will also explore the question of Black identity through the treatment of the Black family, religion, and the issues of color, gender, class, sexuality, and their interrelation. Another important aspect of the course will be the examination of filmmakers’ depiction of movement activists and struggles for social change.




Scholars, activists, and politicians have long debated about whether the process of globalization is beneficial or harmful to the world’s population.  While some argue globalization only benefits rich countries or large corporations others maintain that this process impoverishes already poor countries or the working classes of both rich and poor countries.  One common theme in recent debates are the ideas that globalization and the rise of new economic powers such as India or China are relatively recent phenomena.  This course explores economic globalization in a historical perspective focusing on the following themes: (a) the roots of the Western dominance of the global economy; (b) the triumph of capitalism over other economic systems; and, (c) the role multinational corporations have played in the expansion of capitalism around the world. 




This course examines the role of both diplomatic and military intelligence in the political history of major global events and developments from the nineteenth century to the present day. We will study the histories of several major intelligence organizations, as well as the roles played by smaller and non-institutional actors in the global production of intelligence. This course focuses on the interplay between intelligence, state policy, and information environments to understand not only the role intelligence played in major events, but also how intelligence practices shaped and reflected political cultures across the world.




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. 



352 A - EUROPE IN THE WORLD (Peychev, S)

Topic: The Question of the 'Other': Islam and the West in Historical Perspective

This course examines the relationship between Islam and the West, tracing its history and the multitude of perceptions and images of 'otherness' that interaction has engendered on both sides. Furthermore, the course will study the intricate relationship between 'self' and 'other' and the many ways in which encounter influences and forces the 'self' to redefine itself. The course will follow the chronology of encounter between Islam and the West, but it will also be structured around major themes that have emerged as the outcome of this encounter. Western and Eastern viewpoints will be compared and contrasted. The readings consist of first-hand descriptions of encounter with the 'other', produced by Christian and Muslim authors, as well as secondary literature that provides interpretation of such descriptions and introduces the major debates in the field and the interpretive frameworks within which the study of the question of the 'other' has evolved. While the primary sources will reveal the rich experience and the variety of perceptions that encounter engenders, the secondary sources will serve as evidence of how often most of these perceptions have been subsequently subsumed under the major strands of the discourse of 'otherness.' The ultimate goal of the course, then, will be the achievement of the analytical apparatus and the theoretical and historical background necessary for the study of perceptions and descriptions of 'otherness.'


352 B - EUROPE IN THE WORLD (Mandru, A)


Topic: War, Society, Politics and Culture


Traditionally, the term "postwar" has been associated with the period in European history following the unprecedented destruction brought by World War Two. While there was no consensus on its precise periodization or chronology, historians have usually thought of the "postwar" as the period spanning at least the second half of the twentieth century. It was only recently that scholars have begun to question, complicate and reinterpret the concept of "postwar," reducing its chronological span and focusing on what has come to be known as "the lost decade," the messy, ambiguous and highly complex years following the immediate aftermath of war or, as other historians termed it, "the war after the war." Building on this premise, this course retains the new narrow timespan of the "postwar" while extending it temporally and geographically to the aftermath of other violent conflicts in European and American history. Consequently, this course will cover the American Civil War, the Balkan Wars, World War One, the Spanish Civil War, World War Two, and the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, looking at recurring problems of destruction and reconstruction that transgress both national boundaries and discrete historical eras. Keeping in mind the highly diverse, historically contingent and temporally and locally specific character of various "postwars", we will try to identify the equivalent of the "lost decade" for each of these conflicts. As we do so, we will look for broad patterns of problems recurring in the aftermath of war and we will face the challenge of comparing, sometimes asymmetrically, very different historical contexts. The structure of this course is thematic and comparative. We will start by exploring the origins, interpretations and historiographical debates around the concept of "postwar". As we attempt to define and characterize "postwars", we will also question the various meanings of "reconstruction", a closely related but similarly controversial concept. After this theoretical and conceptual introduction, we will move on to discussing some of the broad processes typically following official peace settlements. We will consider questions of population displacement, refugee movements, fragmented families, orphans and inevitably ethnic cleansing. These themes will help us transition into questions of postwar trauma, gender and memory. Since the American Civil War, advances in military technology have made wars more harmful both physically and psychologically, affecting both ?veterans' and the societies to which they returned.




            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; antisemitism; everyday life; the purges of the 1930s; the Jewish experience in World War II; the Holocaust; and mass emigration.




     Disruption and change have been the story of European history since the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789.  Political revolutions, technological innovation, scientific discovery, population explosion, the creation of new urban centers - the list of difficult, at times unmasterable challenges, could go on and on.  In their effort to preserve as much control as possible amid the chaotic forces of modernization, European intellectuals have tried to develop theoretical overviews that could predict or control the future movement of history, or - if this was impossible - make it more bearable by making it more understandable.  These theories have given us a treasury of concepts for analyzing the past and the political and social forces of our own time.  This year the class will place special emphasis on income inequality: how is it that some people are rich while others are poor?  How does economic status affect everything from family life to artistic movements? 


            We will be interested in European social thought in many different forms.  Some weeks we will read European theory, while in other weeks we will turn to fiction and other arts.  There are many different ways of getting insight into the structures of modern life, and we will turn to different ones as a way of bringing richness and depth into our historical understanding.



369 A – SPAIN & PORTUGAL FROM 1808 (Jacobsen, N)

This is the second part of the two-semester sequence on the history of Spain and Portugal. Its topic is the development of nation-states since the Napoleonic invasion of the Iberian peninsula in 1808 and the collapse of the two absolutist monarchies and empires. Themes include geography and the issue of “national character”; multiculturalism and exclusion; nationhood and world powers; French Revolution and loss of empires; liberalism and a century of constitutional monarchies; women's roles, gender orders and national identity; Spanish Republic and civil war; Franco's dictatorship; contemporary "European" Spain: from affluence to depression; republic, Estado Novo, the final crisis of Portuguese colonialism in Africa and the democratic revolution in Portugal.  The course will stress economic, social, and political structures, cycles, and events. There will be several class meetings dedicated to religious issues and the vibrant world-class artistic movements. The histories of the modern Iberian nations present an exciting counterpoint to standard stories about European civilization and progress based on northwestern Europe.




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.




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.



379 A – LATINA/OS AND THE CITY (Burgos, A)

Same as LLS 379.

Please see course description for LLS 379.



381 A – URBAN HISTORY (Steinberg, M)

We explore in this course the experience and meaning of city life in modern times. Our focus will be on New York, London, Paris, Berlin, St. Petersburg, and Shanghai in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through scholarly writings, primary texts, photographs, film, literature, and art. Cities have long been viewed as symbols of what humans do and make, of “civilization,” and thus of what we are—no wonder so many poets, painters, novelists, historians, sociologists, philosophers, and others have dwelled on the “the city.” In this course, we immerse ourselves in this history to think together about how these places have been interpreted, especially how everyday city life has been viewed as speaking about such big questions as modernity, progress, happiness, morality, crime, sex, gender, class, and ethnicity. Student writing will include a final project based on close reading of at least one-month of any big-city newspaper from the past. Course meetings will mainly be seminar-style discussions.



Same as LLS 382.

Please see course description for LLS 382.



Same as AFRO 383 and GWS 383.

Please see course description for AFRO 383.


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

Same as GWS 387.

Please see course description for GWS 387.


389 A – RACE & REVOLUTIONS (Hogarth, R)

Same as AFRO 378.

This course examines race in the “Age of Revolution,” a time period that roughly covers the mid eighteenth century up to the early nineteenth century. It focuses on the American Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, and slave rebellions in and across North America and the Caribbean. It pays special attention to the experiences of Africans and their descendants during these times of political and social upheaval. Using both primary and secondary sources, students will explore the cultural, spiritual, social, and structural dimensions of these conflicts. Moreover, students will gain an understanding of the ideologies and political circumstances that defined the causes, character, limitations, consequences, and legacies of revolutions within the Atlantic World. Students will draw connections between revolutions, slave rebellions, and social unrest, and will consider the ideological similarities and differences of each in a global context. Questions we seek to answer in this course include: how revolutionary was each revolution in terms opening up rights and freedoms and shifting power to racially marginalized groups? What changes did they bring politically, economically, socially, and in terms of class, race, and gender? To what extent were these diverse revolutions independent events? How did they inspire each other? What made a revolution “successful”? Along with in-class discussions, this course includes a midterm, in-class primary source analysis, an 8-10 page review essay, and a final exam.




Same as ANTH 393 and RLST 393.

Please see course description for ANTH 393.



396 A – SPECIAL TOPICS (Liebersohn, H)

Topic:  Globalization and Culture.

We live in an age of smart phones and YouTube, when music, art and fashion accelerate their spin around the world.  Our age of globalization seems radically new – or is it?  Railways, steamships, telegraph, quinine, machine guns: European innovations like these created one unified world between 1850 and 1914.  Suddenly it was possible to travel on reliable schedule across the Atlantic and Pacific, to cross land masses in days instead of weeks or months, to create global corporations and global political empires with closely linked economies.  The transforming force of these changes had a profound impact on the arts.  This course will look at music, literature and the visual arts to take a long historical view of globalization. 



396 B – SPECIAL TOPICS (Schneider, D)

Topic:  The 1960s in the U.S.

This seminar class will focus on the most eventful and tumultuous decade in twentieth century U.S.  history.  The first part of the semester will be devoted to the Civil Rights Movement from its beginnings in the 1950s to the passage of the Civil Rights legislation in the mid 1960s.  The class will then continue to develop the concept of "civil rights," through analysis of the "Great Society programs if the mid 1960s and emerging ethnic identity movements in the late 1960s.  The Vietnam War and its aftermath of political and social fragmentation will be an important theme in the second half of the semester.


The class will make use of a variety of materials and venues for understanding and teaching history. Besides text based materials, we will explore the arts in images, performance, public events and more.  Students will be encouraged to integrate alternative ways of understanding and creating history as part of their work for this class.




Special Section - SourceLab

This special section of HIST 398 spearheads a new digital publishing initiative.  Students will learn how to create reliable editions of online materials, so that they can be used as historical sources. They'll study how scholars have published historical artifacts over time, and consider the debates that have arisen around this subject.  Last, but not least, they'll work on prototype projects—draft editions of sources suggested for publication by people around campus.  After the course, following review and revision, these prototypes may (should the students wish) be developed for inclusion in our SourceLab Prototype Series, making it available for use by the public and giving students a publication for their resumes. Contact instructor for details on this exciting new course: jwr@illinois.edu .  There are no pre-requisites and advanced approval is not required.  The course will meet on Mondays at 10 for a 1 hour lecture session on basic concepts, and then will conduct workshops and labs, practicing the skills in question, during a 2 hour session on Fridays (10-11:50).


400 Level

400 G2/G4/U3 – WAR, SOCIETY, POLITICS, & CULTURE (Reagan, L)

Topic:  Vietnam

For many, perhaps most, Americans, the word Vietnam immediately brings to mind “The Vietnam War” and with it a whole host of images and ideas. Vietnam is not thought of as a country or a people, but as a war. This course will analyze the American War in Vietnam, but we will be investigating much more as well.  We will study the American-Vietnam War’s origins, its effects in Vietnam, in the U.S., and around the world along with its ongoing legacies.  Unexploded bombs and Agent Orange still threaten and harm Vietnamese and others in the region; American veterans, their families, and children continue to suffer the results of herbicide spraying during the war too.  The War’s cultural, economic, and political legacies will be examined as well. Exactly when the war began and even when it ended will be up for discussion just as it is among historians.  The course also includes the history and culture of Vietnam prior to the American presence there.  We will trace the history of European colonialism in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh, and Vietnamese resistance to European colonizers. Finally, the course studies post-war Vietnam.  We will look at how Vietnam remembers the same War in its museums and monuments and study the society it has made at the turn of the twenty-first century.




This course addresses several fundamental questions in modern Chinese history concerning political and ethnic identities, women, tradition, and the modalities of modernity. Being the last dynasty under the rule of an originally non-Chinese people, the Qing state is as important as it is intriguing in its impact on the history of China in the past three centuries. What was the impact of the Manchu regime on the course of Chinese history in the late imperial period? How did the Manchu rule change the social, economic, political, and intellectual landscapes of China after a period of more than half a century of profound economic, intellectual, and cultural change in sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries? Why did the Manchus, a small ethnic group, succeed in conquering the vast Chinese empire, and how did they maintain their control for over two and a half centuries? Were the Manchus engulfed by the powerful cultural tradition of China (sinicization), or were they successful in resisting the latter? What was this cultural tradition? How important was it in creating a sense of "Chineseness" and a "Chinese" life style for several hundred millions of people living in different dialectal and ethnic communities? Was the Manchu state just another imperial regime in the "dynastic cycle"? Or when the Qing attempted to change its bureaucratic practice in order to cope with a host of problems created by commercialization, export surplus, population explosion and massive migration, it was knocking at the door of modernity? Was Qing China confronted with a similar array of problems shared by the most advanced European states in the same period? How successful was the Qing state in its attempt to deal with the problems of food supply, depletion of natural resources, peasant rebellions, and its senile Manchu warriors? Were women subjected to even more oppression under the Qing? Why and how did the Manchu regime fail to meet the challenges from within the Chinese society and from the intrusion of Western imperialist powers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? Finally, why did the Chinese abandon the imperial system they had embraced for over two thousand years? To answer these questions, we will investigate broad trends of change in politics, population, the economy, thought, culture, social structure, and the relationship between the state and national and local elites. Class participation is crucial and students need to have some background in Chinese history.




This course (which assumes no prior knowledge of South Asian history) examines the post-colonial processes of nation and state formation in South Asia after the end of British Imperialism.  We will focus on the creation of legal and administrative state institutions, the assertion of territorial boundaries, questions of citizenship and identity, and legitimizing discourses of newly created nation-states.  We will explore how anti-colonial nationalist movement, the trauma of partition, and the post-World War II international order affected processes of nation and state formation in India and Pakistan after formal independence.  We will also consider various forms of resistance to nation and state formation.




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.



439 G2/G4/U3 – THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE (Todorova, M)

This course introduces the history of one of the great imperial formations of the early modern and modern period, which had long-standing repercussions on the development of Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.  It covers the whole span of Ottoman history, and will pay special attention to some of the following problems: the political rise of the Ottoman state since the thirteenth century and how it became an empire, its social and   administrative structure, the classical Ottoman economic system, Ottoman impact on the societies, politics, economies and cultures of Byzantium and the medieval Balkan states, the spread of Islam in Europe, the transformations of the Ottoman polity and society and aspects of what has been conventionally named as Ottoman decline, the Eastern question in international relations, the modernizing reforms of the nineteenth century, and the spread of nationalism as a prelude to the final demise of the supranational empire in the twentieth century.



440 G4/U3 – ROMAN REPUBLIC TO 44 BC  (Mathisen, R)

Same as CLCV 440.

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.




Same as GWS 459.

Please see course description for GWS 459.



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.



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 AFRO 474.

Please see course description for AFRO 474.




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.




Same as HIST 498 A.

Please see course description for HIST 498 A.




Same as HIST 498 B.

Please see course description for HIST 498 B.




Same as HIST 498 C.

Please see course description for HIST 498 C.





Same as HIST 498 D.

Please see course description for HIST 498 D.





Meets with HIST 495 A.

Topic:  Global 1960s

The decade of the 1960s witnessed social activism, challenges to authority, and the rise to dominance of popular youth culture on an unprecedented world scale.  These movements crossed national boundaries, circulating through all three of the postwar worlds:  the first, “capitalist” world (USA and Europe), the second, “communist” world (Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, and Cuba), and the third “developing” world of Asia, Africa, and Latin America.  In this course, students will explore the key moments of the global sixties:  civil rights movements in the US and southern Africa; anti-colonial movements in Africa and Asia; cultural revolution in China; the space race; youth revolts in 1968 from Paris to the Prague Spring; war and antiwar movements; feminist movements; sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  The global 1960s offers an outstanding laboratory to explore how histories are produced, and students will write research papers that will permit them to investigate one of these global moments across national boundaries.




Meets with HIST 495 B

Topic:  Empires:  Mongols, Ottomans, Habsburgs

We shall investigate empires through a comparative study of the Mongol Empire of Genghis Khan and his successors, the Ottoman Empire in Anatolia and Southeastern Europe, and the Habsburg Empire of Central Europe. 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 (shamanistic, Islamic, Christian), their relations with Western Europe, and their crises and transformation. Besides surveys of each of the three empires, 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 HIST 495 C

Topic:  Islam in Africa

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



Meets with HIST 495 D.

Topic:  Key Problems in the Civil War Era

The seminar focuses upon the Era of the U.S. Civil War, defined here span the decades between 1820 and 1880.   Seminar members will consider and evaluate evidence concerning questions such as:  How different were the North and South during the early 19th century? What caused the Civil War?  Was the Civil War inevitable or avoidable?  Why did the Confederacy lose the Civil War?  How radically did the war and Reconstruction transform the United States?  Why was Reconstruction eventually overturned?  What were the lasting effects of the sectional conflict and its aftermath?


500 Level


Topic:  History of the Present: Genealogies & Narratives of War in Afghanistan & Iraq


As a class, we will try to configure intellectual tools to understand the practice and experience of modern war in Afghanistan and Iraq drawing on among other things Michel Foucault’s concept of “The History of the Present,” the one-hundredth anniversary of World War I, the pedagogy of the Vietnam War, and the lessons of counter-insurgency.  We will begin with an analysis of the memory and literature of war in the twentieth century, including Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory, Daniel Swift’s Bomber County: The Poetry of a Lost Pilot’s War, Jean Larteguy’s 1960 novel about Algeria, The Centurions, Tim O’Brien’s Vietnam classic, The Things They Carried, and Anthony Swofford’s Persian Gulf memoir, Jarhead, and then we will move on to work in common to find finger and hand grips on the wars since 2001.  We will be making the class up together.




Topic: Confrongint Empires, Nation-States and Neo-Liberal Multiculturalisms: Latin American Indians in Comparative Perspective

For the last 500 years, the peoples of the Western Hemisphere have shared a common story. Disconnected from regular contact with Europe, Africa and Asia prior to 1492, this vast macro-region has been shaped by distinctive legacies produced by its indigenous past and its global entanglements. The hemisphere’s story is marked by:

- The tragedies of invasion and the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

- The emergence of the most powerful and transformative early-modern colonial empires.

- The precocious rise of the earliest postcolonial nation states.

- The emergence of a regional and global “superpower.”

- (in our own time) new imaginings of and experiments with transnational economic arrangements and citizenship, and cultural rights combined with weakened neo-liberal states.


No other section of the globe has been so thoroughly enmeshed in the unfolding of modernity.


This course will examine the experiences of Latin America’s indigenous peoples who have dealt with invasion, conquest, exploitation, and acculturation, all while maintaining their own campaign for sovereignty and autonomy in their homelands. We will read both classical studies of the 1960s and 1970s and the latest work of the last decades. In a comparative frame we will ask what indigeneity has meant in different epochs, what epistemological problems historians, ethnohistorians and anthropologists have faced in representing and analyzing these cultures within European systems of knowledge production, and how the effects of empire, nation-state formation and neo-liberal multiculturalism posed different types of challenges for Latin America’s indigenous peoples. We will look at dimensions from society and economy to power, citizenship, memory, and cultural representation.



Topic:  Sexuality in African History

Scholars are paying increasing attention to emotional and corporeal aspects of African history such as love, affection and sexuality. In this course we will study new scholarship on heterosexual and same-sex cultures in 20th and 21st century African countries. We will read and discuss this material both for its own sake and with the goal of reexamining accepted political narratives about gender and nationalism.



Topic:  Home & Away in the British Empire

This course offers an introduction to major issues in the contemporary historiography of Britain and its empire in the modern period. In addition to thinking through big questions – slavery, environment, sex and gender, racialized mobility and resistance – students are encouraged to develop an appreciation for both portable methods and the stakes of writing imperial histories that do not reproduce the vantage point of the colonizer.




Topic: Europe and the World in 17th Century


This course will meet with HIST 545.  We will read very recent work in early modern studies, including scholarship on daily life, gender, political thought, and European expansion. We will use our reading to discover and develop research topics in all periods and fields. Students in all fields are welcome, as are students from other disciplines.




Topic:  Eurasia—History of a Space

In the past two decades, the term Eurasia once again burst into the forefront of scholarly and political discourse. It threads its way through world history courses and textbooks and adorns the mastheads of scholarly institutes and associations; as of January 2015, it designates an economic zone, uniting Russia, Belorus, and Kazakhstan.  But what is or was “Eurasia,” historically?  Who or what made it, when, and how? Of what relevance is it today, and how does it compare to other big geographical categories ('the Atlantic World,' Europe, Asia, 'the global South,' etc.) that historians use to imagine both regional and transnational histories?  This course, focused on the early modern period, explores these questions.  It opens with a short historiographical primer on space as a category of analysis, and considers the intellectual genesis of “Eurasia” as a geographical concept in the 19th century.  It then proceeds to interrogate various historical realities in the pre-modern world—in commercial, environmental, and imperial history, ca. 1200-1800—that scholars have sometimes cited as delineating a third, “Eurasian” space in the history of the Old World.  Special attention is paid to the political and cultural history of the early Russian empire, as the core of debates about Eurasia, both in the past and today.  Students completing the course will be able to use its materials in field exams in pre-modern, Russian, comparative imperial and cultural and intellectual history.  It should prepare them, as well, to conceptualize their own regional approaches to global history, and to integrate the materials we study into courses on global, imperial, environmental and Russian history.




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

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.        




Topic:  Examining Integration Matters: Race, Sport, & the 20th Century US City

Integration stands as one of the more profound chapters in the efforts to address racial inequality in US society in the 20th century. Examining Integration Matters explores the national story of integration, with particular attention to post-WWII America as it unfolded in urban centers, within sports as well as in access to spaces of leisure and recreation. 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 and other cities 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.

572 B – PROBLEMS IN US HISTORY SINCE 1815 (Espiritu, A)

Topic:  Transnationalism and Empire

Transnationalism, alongside of “global” discourses, has emerged in the last two decades as an important problem of contemporary knowledge production, and has increasingly become a concern of historians. In this course, with a critical though not exclusive focus upon the history of the United States, we will grapple with the complex questions raised by transnationalism. Did transnationalism come after the constitution of nations or was it one of the nation’s essential preconditions?  How has transnationalism shaped the construction of national, race, gender, and sexual ideologies in the USA and other empires? Is transnationalism, as pilgrimage, tourism, exile, or diaspora, a necessarily liberating predicament, or does it in fact reinforce neo-imperial and neo-colonial structures?  How has the act of claiming America obscured transnational, transborder, & transoceanic processes? And finally, how have transnationalism and empire raised fundamental questions about sovereignty and modernity in the twenty-first century?



594 A – INTRO TO HISTORICAL WRITING (Todorova, M & Ali, T)

History 594 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.