Spring 2018 History Courses
Searching for an interesting and engaging class this spring? Look no further than the History Department's course selections!
We are offering a full complement of our Tier 1 Foundational Historical and Tier 2 Historical Knowledge Core Courses, including special sections of HIST 212 focused on Military and Diplomatic History and Medicine, Disease, and Health.
To go in-depth on a particular topic, check out details for our 300-Level electives - open to all majors! Explore selected offerings below or check out the full list here.
Instructor: Dr. Theresa Gross-Diaz
Time: Wed 2:30-5:00
Description: Gothic architecture, tapestries, ivory diptychs, reliquaries, swords, manuscript codexes: the material culture of the Middle Ages is unmistakable and varied. Medieval art and architecture have long been studied through the discipline of art history, while “non-art” objects like shoes, spoons, boat piers and bedframes have been the domain of archaeologists.
Since the “material turn” in the historical and social sciences, we have become more attentive to the roles of objects in medieval society. Do “things” merely illustrate realities about medieval society, or do they play an active role: do they have “agency”? How do objects both reflect and transmit ideas and values? How did medieval people envision their relationship with the things they made and used? How can we “think with things” in order to better understand medieval culture?
This course will explore, through recent scholarly articles and primary source readings, various ways that medieval people related to their material culture, as well as the ways we today can reconstruct those relationships. Each week we will focus on a different object or group of objects, through images and through direct contact.
Note: The course meets once a week at Water Tower Campus, to allow for visits to examine objects and collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, Newberry Library, and LUMA. Accordingly, please be aware that we may not always be meeting at our WTC classroom.
Why should I take this class? Explore the ways in which nationalism has affected relations between peoples and states, as well as those between different ethnic communities. Answer the question if nationalism is a form of neurosis affecting today’s world.
Instructor: Marek Suszko
Time: Mon/Wed/Fri 1:40-2:30 pm
Description: The extraordinary popularity that nationalism has enjoyed over the last centuries among European as well as non-European societies makes it necessary to study this phenomenon in a great detail. The course will begin by tracing the origins and various forms of nationalism, continue with the establishment of nation-states, and end with a discussion of various national, ethnic, and migration issues that dominate European and world politics today.
Why should I take this class? We will learn about how race, class, and gender have shaped the country's school lunch program -- long before Michelle Obama drew attention to the connection between race and adequate and healthy eating in the US. And think about connections between domestic food policies (like school lunches) and global warfare and transnational economic development.
Instructor: Dr. Alice Weinreb
Time: Mon/Wed 2:45-4:00pm
Description: This course examines the ways in which conflicts over food have shaped the modern world. We will explore changing ways of understanding and fighting famines (focusing on Ireland, India, and Ethiopia), as well as looking at the ways in which food was a “weapon of war” during the First and Second World Wars. Finally, the course will analyze the ways in which race, gender, and class have shaped our country’s food and welfare policies.
Learn more about this course and Dr. Weinreb's recently published book, Modern Hungers: Food and Power in Twentieth Century Germany, here!
“Fascinating Fascism”: Fascist Movements and Regimes, 1919 to the Present
Instructor: Dr. Anthony Cardoza
Time: Tues/Thurs 1:00-2:15
Description: The recent emergence of right-wing populist nationalism in the western world has sparked a renewed interest in fascism as a political phenomenon. Unfortunately, the term “fascist” has become a generic linguistic weapon to attack and demonize one’s political adversaries. In this context, my course seeks to restore analytical meaning and content to fascism by exploring the rise and evolution of actual fascist movements and regimes from their inception in the early twentieth century up to the present day.
Syllabus: HIST 300C Fascism
Instructor: Dr. Candeloro
Time: Tues/Thurs 1:00-2:15
Description: "Italian American Culture in Historical Perspective" traces the story of one of the largest European-descended immigrant groups in the United States with particular attention to the literary, theatrical, artistic, folkloric, and popular culture elements of the Italian American migration, settlement patterns, linguistic development, music, ethnic/racial consciousness, conflicts between marginal and mainstream cultures, and gender ideology. In addition to reading the historic narrative, students will focus on classic and contemporary novels by Italian American men and women, and the films, music, and cultural institutions that have shaped the self identity and the public perception of Italians in this country.
Current Italian American culture-makers from the US and Italy will visit the class in person and via Skype. The intellectual contributions of people like Pietro di Donato, Jerre Mangione, Mario Puzo, Martin Scorcese, Tina DeRosa, Tony Ardizzone, Joseph Tusiani, Dana Gioia, Leonard Covello, Frank Sinatra, Arturo Toscanini, Francis Ford Coppola, Helen Barolini, Adria Trigiani, and Lisa Scottoline. Students will screen and review feature films and documentaries in class and online. Students will master the narrative history, develop analytic skills in reviewing film and literature in historic context and develop a sense of the cultural dynamic that places Italian ethnicity in American culture and simultaneously compares the Italian experience with that of other ethnics.
Instructor: Dr. Kim Searcy
Time: Mon/Wed/Fri 10:25-11:15
Syllabus: HIST 300E Women in Islamic History
Description: This course examines the role of women in Islamic history, from the earliest Islamic period, i.e. 7th century Arabia to the present. The course will focus on Africa and the Middle East, however predominately Muslim regions such as Malaysia and Indonesia will also figure into the course narrative. The course seeks to offer insight into how Muslim and empower themselves and into the constantly changing gender boundaries. The course will use both primary and secondary source material in order to explore these topics.
Instructor: Dr. Aidan Forth
Time: Tues/Thurs 10:00-11:15
Description: The concentration camp is an emblem of the modern world. From the camps of nineteenth-century colonialism to the Soviet Gulag, Nazi death camps, and more contemporary detention centers for refugees and political prisoners in the War on Terror, this course explores the underlying logic of extrajudicial encampment. Why have modern states—across the ideological spectrum—made use of concentration camps against real and perceived enemies? We examine the deep roots of the camp in 19th-century European politics and society, while exploring the global dimensions of the camp today. With a transnational and comparative lens, we examine memoirs, film, and theoretical and historical scholarship to explore the diverse manifestations of concentration camps over the past two centuries. Why did this system of punishment and terror first develop, and why does it continue to exist in the world today?
Learn more about this class and Dr. Forth's recently published book, Barbed-Wire Imperialism: Britain’s Empire of Camps, 1876-1903, here!
Why should I take this class? This course will explore this politically powerful position as it developed from a spousal partnership in the early Middle Ages into an institution in the later Medieval period. Through the lens of queenship, we will examine the ways in which gender, ideals of rulership, inheritance practices, and kinship networks shaped European politics and culture in the Middle Ages. We will also use the popular television series Game of Thrones to compare modern portrayals of Queens with our medieval sources.
Instructor: Tanya Stabler
Time: Tues/Thurs 1:00-2:15pm
Description: Medieval queens occupied powerful, exceptional, and (ultimately) tenuous positions in medieval society. Their positions, whether acquired via marriage or (rarely) inheritance, required constant negotiation of cultures, political factions, and gender expectations. As foreigners, Queens faced suspicion and distrust. However, as wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, Queens had undeniable influence within the family, influence that could translate into significant political power. Their positions were exceptional among medieval women, but required constant manufacture and maintenance of networks of loyalty.
Instructor: Dr. Bob Bucholz
Time: Wed 7:00 9:30
Description: History 318B is a course in the social and cultural history of Early-modern England. the course focuses on those enduring beliefs and continuing realities which formed the background to the lives of the great mass of the common people. It will concentrate, in particular, on the tension between how early modern English men and women saw their world (ordered, hierarchical, stable, divinely sanctioned) and what their world was actually and increasingly like (disordered, socially mobile, unstable, secular). This tension will be explored through reading and critical discussion of the best and most recent work in demography, iconography, family history, women’s history, and the histories of material culture, popular culture, cities, religion, education, witchcraft, poverty, crime, and riot. Thus, students enrolled in this course will be exposed not only to current work on an interesting and important subject, but also to a wide variety of historical methodologies as well as the preoccupations and techniques of related fields such as anthropology and art history.
Syllabus: HIST 318B English Social History
Description: History 333 covers the central role of Germany in the modern world, including its politics and culture! Not only was Germany at the center of the First World War, the rise of Totalitarianism, the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Cold War. German writers, artists, composers and filmmakers responded to all of these developments by constructing modernist responses to modernity. Great literature, art, music, and films provide the best way to feel the impact of 20th century history, and this blended course of online lectures and in-class discussions will raise your understanding of all these.
Instructor: Dr. David Dennis
Time: Mon/Wed/Fri 11:30-12:20
Why should I take this class? Explore how two world wars and extreme political ideologies affected this important, but often neglected part of the world. Examine the phenomenon of “Solidarity,” a successful non-violent resistance movement. Discuss such topics as: “old” and “new” Europe, migration, religious, and national identity.
Instructor: Marek Suszko
Time: Mon/Wed/Fri 11:30-12:20
Description: This course offers a historical survey and analysis of the processes of political, social, cultural, and economic change that affected East Central and South-Eastern Europe in the twentieth century. The course will begin with the break-up of multi-national empires and the establishment of nation-states in Eastern Europe and end with the collapse of communism and all its implications for the peoples of the region.
Syllabus: HIST 338B Eastern Europe Since WW1
Colonization and Decolonization in South Asia, 1600-1947
Instructor: Dr. John Pincince
Time: Tues 2:30-5:00
Why should I take this class? I have created this course as a myth-busting journey that will expose one of the greatest lies in American culture and academia: that capitalism is a form of economic freedom and a force for human liberation.
Instructor: Dr. John Donoghue
Time: Tues/Thurs 11:30-12:45
Description:This course explores how slavery and the slave trade exemplified the brutal dynamism of “free market capitalism” and became indispensable to America’s ascent as a global economic power in the nineteenth century.
Why should I take this class? Explore the impact of the War on America, learn about the men and women who participated, and examine the challenges associated with a new global community. Participate in a quest to find traces of World War I in Chicago!
Instructor: Dr. Patricia Mooney-Melvin
Time: Tues/Thurs 10:00-11:15am
Description: World War I erupted in 1914 and engulfed Europe. Reluctant to participate actively at first, the United States ultimately entered the war.
Instructor: Dr. Timothy Gilfoyle
Time: Mon/Wed 2:45-4:00
Description: This course provides a historical introduction to sexual behaviors and attitudes in the United States from the early American period to the present. The primary emphasis concerns the impact of social and political change on sexual norms and behavior. Particular attention is paid to changing standards of sexual morality and their effect upon the structure and organization of the American family and patterns of physical intimacy over the past four centuries. As the American population and its institutions changed, so did the boundaries of sexual behavior and ideology. This course seeks to discover and define those evolving boundaries and thereby better comprehend the ongoing transformation of the family, sexuality and personal identity in the United States. Since sexual behavior, ideas and identity define much of the current political and social landscape of the United States, those issues will be studied in their historical context. The course is chronologically structured and interwoven with topical themes, beginning with early America and ending with contemporary America. The more important topics include changing gender roles and their impact on sexual relationships, courtship and marriage, the evolution of birth control and abortion, the role of medicine and politics in defining appropriate norms and forms of sexuality, the rise of sexology as a scholarly discipline, social communities and subcultures defined by alternative sexual behaviors, and so-called "deviant" forms of sexuality.
The course also attempts to comprehend the ongoing struggle regarding what it means to be an American as viewed through the prism of sexuality. How has sexuality affected definitions of citizenship and freedom in the United States? Has the meaning of "sexual freedom" and “freedom” changed over time? These questions are not only "political" because they ultimately raise very personal and ethical questions about ourselves: Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going? How do I lead a good and honest life? How did Americans in the past answer these questions?