Fall 2023

Graduate Courses

History 706: Topics in Transnational History: Early Modern Atlantic Readings
Professor James Sweet (
T 11:00 am-12:55 pm, 245 Mosse Humanities Building

This course will focus on the connected histories of the Atlantic world between the 15th century and the early 19th century. We will interrogate the meaning of “Atlantic history.” Does it even exist? If so, what are its chronologies, geographies, and methodologies? Through the lens of Atlantic history, we will also push to define the “early modern.” The course is a readings course; however, it is not a typical historiography course. The readings consist of books, most published in the last five years, which are at the cutting edge of Atlantic history. Many of the questions that animate these books derive from older works, but our concentration will be less on mastery of the field (breadth) than on the questions themselves. What areas of inquiry have most captured the attention of recent scholars?  What kinds of new approaches and/or questions are driving this recent scholarship? How do scholars arrive at these new questions?  In short, we will emphasize the creative and conceptual processes that spur a field, identifying some of the broad “new” areas of inquiry that are now shaping Atlantic history.  Topics will include Women, Children, and Family; Commodities and Curiosities; Reframing Revolutions; and Religious Transformations. Requirements will include short weekly responses and one 15-20 page critical, “state of the art” essay.

History 700: Proseminar in Traditional and Early Modern Chinese Intellectual History 
Professor Joe Dennis (
W 3:30PM – 5:25PM  5245 Humanities

This seminar is a variable-credit course, one to three credits, designed to introduce graduate students in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean history, art history, literature, anthropology, sociology, political science, and other fields to key issues and debates in the history of Late Imperial China, to prepare graduate students in Chinese history to do original research, and to better understand how academia works. It does not assume extensive preparation in Chinese history, but welcomes those who do. Topics covered will depend in part on the enrolled students: We will all read overviews of the field and important works on topics such as the use of digital humanities techniques in historical research, cities and urbanization, development of commercial society, cultural change, family, social, and government organization, relations with Japan, Korea, Mongols, and Manchus (before 1800), education, ethnic and cultural identity in Ming and Qing, but because students have varying interests and needs, approximately one-half of each student’s readings will be chosen by the student (in consultation with Professor Dennis) based on individual interest. Students who read foreign languages may select relevant readings in those languages.

Each week, we will spend about an hour discussing the scholarly literature and research tools, and then we will read and translate primary sources. Some documents will be selected to acquaint students with important categories of sources, while others will be based on the interests of enrolled students. This is designed to practice translation to help students get to the level needed for dissertation research. Those who cannot read Chinese can introduce a source in a language they do read, and then leave (if they wish).


Poli Sci 932: Seminar in Early Modern Political Theory: Early Modern Absolutisms
Professor Daniel Kapust (
W 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM, 422 North Hall

Undergraduate Courses

History 119: Europe and the World, 1400-1815 
Professor Lee Wandel (
TR 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM, 1121 Mosse Humanities Building

Introduces Europe when it entered the global stage economically, politically, socially, and culturally. How Europeans took to the seas and developed new forms of empire. How did this wave of contact, encounter, and conquest affect Europeans, indigenous peoples of the Americas, and Africans? Examine the early global economy and the development of plantation slavery. How did Europeans develop new ways to make sense of their world, its size, its peoples, its flora and fauna? Explore new forms of Christianity, the Jewish diaspora, and the globalization of Christianity. As thinkers debated how rulers should wield political power, monarchs strove to expand their authority and territory, and ordinary people demanded a greater share of political power, provoking revolutions across the Atlantic world. Encounter the lives of women and men from many backgrounds, from peasants to queens, and all kinds of people on the move.

French (French And Italian) 321: Medieval and Early Modern French Literature
Professor Ewa Miernowska (
MWF 1:20 PM – 2:10 PM, 379 Van Hise Hall

Prerequisite: French 271
Introduction to important literary works from the medieval era to the French Revolution