The MA curriculum reflects the diverse intellectual interests and research specialties of the History Department faculty, which has won numerous awards over the years for outstanding teaching. We regularly offer a mix of courses on traditional subjects and topics along with innovative thematic seminars in social, cultural, and women's history. HIS 5000 - Historiography, required of all MA students in their first semester, introduces students to the methodologies and theoretical frameworks that historians employ, and serves as the foundation for subsequent course work, independent research and/or thesis preparation. Our current MA course offerings are briefly described below.
Note: Course offerings are highly variable from semester to semester. Prospective students are encouraged to contact the Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Edmund Wehrle (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the most current information regarding course availability and scheduling.
Graduate History Course Descriptions, Spring 2013
HIS 5350: Twentieth Century U.S. Cultural and Social History
Dr. Debra Reid
This course explores U.S. culture and society during the twentieth century. Major themes include modernism, mass culture and popular culture; urbanization/suburbanization and technology; and the rise of conservatism, counter culture, black and brown movements, women's liberation, culture clash, and cultural decline. Students will analyze different approaches to the study of cultural and social history and to different methods tailored to address different types of historic evidence including material culture, technology, entertainment media, oral history, and other non-traditional history sources. The seminar will include weekly readings and discussion, written assignments, selection of period film, literature, games, music, television and radio broadcasts to supplement instruction and create an interdisciplinary atmosphere, and a research paper base in original research.
HIS 5430: Modern Germany
Dr. Sace Elder
Germany: a society responsible for some of the most important artistic, philosophical, and scientific achievements of the modern period, a society that would become in the later twentieth century one of the most prosperous and stable democracies in the world. How could it have also produced the genocidal Herero War, wartime atrocities in Belgium, paramilitary violence in the 1920s, the Holocaust, the Baader-Meinhof Gang? Toward an answer to these questions, this course take as its focus the role of violence in German society. The course will explore such topics as militarism, racial violence, political violence, and terrorism. Along the way we will be comparing the German case to that of other national contexts to determine the extent to which Germany followed a "special path" of development when it came to violence.
HIS 5400: Order and Disorder in Early Modern European Societies and Cultures, 1500-1800
Dr. Newton Key
This seminar explores in depth two key themes in early modern European history - social order and disorder, and popular cultures/print cultures. How did both affect the practical and the mental world of early modern European men and women? What are the benefits and problems of either identifying popular culture with plebeian culture or suggesting the withdrawal or separation of an elite culture? How can we apply the concept of Herrschaft outside German rural communities? How might we use print cultures to understand alternative societies? We will read a combination of classic works in the field from the 1970s and 1980s as well as the latest essays in the field. This exploration of historians' themes in discussion and brief writing assignments should help you prepare for your M.A. bibliography, writtens, and orals. A directed research paper will allow you to apply to primary source print material (especially in Early English Books Online and British Periodicals) this theoretical and methodological acumen you derive from the secondary works and seminar discussion. We will meet one Friday at the Rare Book Room at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Library.
(Note: while we will read works from English, Scottish, Italian, French, and German history mainly on the 17th and 18th centuries, only a general narrative of European narrative is presumed which can easily be acquired by reading parts of the following: Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, Early Modern Europe, 1450-1789, Beat Kumin, ed., The European World 1500-1800, or Robert Bucholz and Newton Key, Early Modern England, 1485-1714.)
HIS 5700: The West & the Middle East
Professor Brian Mann
This course will explore the modern relationships between the states and societies of the West and those of the Middle East. More specifically it is an exploration of the relationship of the 20th century, one in which the West came to dominate the Middle East and the Middle East sought to resist this domination. In order to further our understanding of this complex relationship, will will not only read interpretive works of history, but also study some of the most significant theoretical and historiographical debates which have framed recent scholarship on the Middle East. Some key topics and events will include Europe's imperial clashes with the Ottoman Empire, Britain and France's complicity in the creation of several Arab nation states, the rise of Arab nationalism and Pan-Arabism, the 1953 Coup and Islamic Revolution in Iran, the Suez Crisis, OPEC and the oil crises of the 1970s, the Gulf Wars, and the proliferation of Islamist non-state actors. As the seminar will explore the West and the Middle East from a variety of geographical and theoretical viewpoints, it will satisfy students concentrating in American, European, and/or World History.