Learn about the past. Prepare for your future.
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Fall 2015 Course Descriptions
500-700 Level

SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE! Always check the University online schedule for the latest changes.

HIS 510 - Historiography

85663 W 3:30-6:20
Mark Elliott

This course examines the evolution of history writing since the first generation of professional historians in the late 19th century. Its purpose is to introduce students to the major philosophical and methodological trends that have dominated the academic field of history since its establishment. Focusing especially on the contributions of scholars over the past fifty years, readings will include influential and groundbreaking works of theory, methodology, and interpretations of the past covering such topics as: "progressive" and "consensus" history; Marxism; social history; "radical" history; the new cultural history; postmodernism; postcolonialism; women's and gender history; transnational history; cosmopolitanism; environmental history; public history. The selection of topics and readings in this course will change from semester to semester and do not represent all of the important methodologies/trends in the field of history. Pr. Admission to a graduate program in history, or permission of instructor.

HIS 511A - Seminar in Historical Research and Writing: "Using Photographs as Historical Evidence"

90430 T 3:30-6:20
Lisa Tolbert

Writing and Speaking Intensive. Prerequisite of one 300-level Research Intensive (RI) history course or HIS 391.

The priority of the course is to go beyond the use of photographs as mere illustrations to interpret the richer meanings of their visual content. We will study photographs as a distinctive type of primary source evidence that must be critically evaluated in historical context. You will put these methods and perspectives into practice by developing a research paper that uses a particular type of photograph as primary source evidence (rather than as simple illustration) to develop your own original interpretation.

HIS 511B - Seminar in Historical Research and Writing: "The Great Hunger: Ireland, Empire, & Famine"

86157 M 3:30-6:20
Jill Bender

Writing and Speaking Intensive. Prerequisite of one 300-level Research Intensive (RI) history course or HIS 391.

During the mid-nineteenth century, Ireland suffered a series of famines that nearly halved the island's population - in less than one decade, from 1846 to 1855, between 1.1 and 1.5 million people died at the hands of starvation or disease and another 2.1 million emigrated. The difficulties of these years were captured at the time and later recalled through art, literature, music, and more. Indeed, few (if any) events have had a larger impact on Irish history, politics, or national memory than "The Great Hunger." This course is designed to introduce students to the history of the Irish Famine and its repercussions. Together, we will examine the broad political, social, and cultural impacts of the Famine. Individually, students will conceptualize, research, and write papers on a related topic of their own choosing.
Field: Europe. Markers: .WI.SI.

HIS 511C - Seminar in Historical Research and Writing: "Town and Country in the Medieval Islamic World"

89324 T 3:30-6:20
Asa Eger

Writing and Speaking Intensive. Prerequisite of one 300-level Research Intensive (RI) history course or HIS 391.

At a time when western Europe was cut off from the rest of the Mediterranean world in a post-Roman insular "Dark Ages," the Medieval Islamic world, from the 8th to 12th centuries reached a thriving pinnacle of civilization. The Islamic lands included a complex system of cities and subsidiary towns, innovative new agricultural and industrial technologies, and far-flung trading networks from the Mediterranean Sea to East Asia. It is precisely the unifying force and openness of Islamic culture superimposed over these vastly different geographies from Spain to Central Asia that allowed for an expansive yet inter-connected framework of economic and social exchanges. Over the course of several stages, you will produce a final research paper on a topic of your choosing which draws upon a synthesis of your historical and archaeological research with secondary sources. No prior knowledge of Islamic history is required for the course.
Field: Wider World. Markers: .WI.SI.

HIS 520 - Southern History Topics: "The Twentieth-Century South"

89325 T 3:30-6:20
Charles Bolton

This course will look at the U.S. South's social, economic, political, and cultural development in the twentieth century. Among the topics that will be explored are the changing status of African Americans in the region; political developments during the period (from one-party rule by the Democratic party in the early twentieth century to the re-emergence of the Republican party during the second half of the twentieth century); and the transformation of the South from an overwhelmingly agricultural, rural society to a region identified in the years following World War II with the phenomena of Sunbelt urbanization and industrialization, as well as increasing globalization.

In addition to examining how historians have interpreted this century of change in the South, this course will also examine how this period of southern history has been depicted in film and through the rich tradition of southern autobiography.
Field: United States.

HIS 524 - 20th Century U.S. Topics: "American Imperialism"

90428 TR 2:00-3:15
Susan Thomas

This course will examine the origins and expansion of American Imperialism, beginning in 1890 and following through to the present. The goal of the course is first to comprehend the interpretations of American Imperialism and then to evaluate those interpretations in the context of today's world. We will focus on the rise of the United States as a superpower and the experiences of those on the receiving end of U.S. imperial policy. Students will analyze the process by which the United States became a global power, examine how the American government and private citizens have interacted with the larger world, and determine how other peoples have interpreted and responded to U.S. power. Through primary and secondary source readings and selected films, students will develop historical knowledge in a collaborative learning environment in which we can explore political, cultural, and ethical concerns relating to U.S. intervention into the affairs of other countries.
Field: United States.

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HIS 543 - Historic Preservation: Principles and Practices

80737 W 3:00-5:50
Jo Leimenstoll (Interior Architecture)

Prerequisite of IAR 221, IAR 222, or permission of instructor.

Change in historic preservation theory and practice since the 1800s with emphasis on preservation of built environment and development of philosophical approach for designers to contemporary preservation projects. (Same as IAR 543)

HIS 544 - Early Modern Europe History: "History from the Bottom Up: New Approaches to the Study of Early Modern Europe, 1400-1800"

89326 M 3:30-6:20
Jodi Bilinkoff

In this course we will explore some recent approaches to history that can be loosely gathered under the rubric of "Microhistory." While most people still think of history as the exploits of the Great Men (and occasionally, Women) who strode the world stage as monarchs, popes, generals, artists, intellectuals, and scientists, beginning in the 1960s historians in Europe and North America searched for ways to uncover the lives of the ordinary farmers and urban workers who made up the vast majority of the population of early modern Europe. Using trial records, diaries, and other previously neglected sources, they examined small episodes in European history in great detail, seeking to give voice to the women and men usually left out of the textbooks.

But, has the pendulum swung too far? Has the writing of history become overly novelistic, sensationalistic, even voyeuristic? In their haste to tell a good story have historians lost sight of the Big Picture? We will read the work of some of the most thought-provoking practitioners of Microhistory and related methodologies in the last forty years, allowing students assess the manifold ways in which scholars recover the European past.
Field: Europe.

HIS 547 - History Museum Curatorship: Collections Management

89327 W 6:30-9:20
Diana Bell-Kite

Professional practices in the care and management of historic site and history museum collections, including principles of collection development, object handling, object registration, cataloging, and preservation. Course will require a 20 hour hands-on project outside of class. Prerequisite: Admission to a graduate program in history or written permission of instructor. Same as IAR 547.

HIS 581 - African History: "Perspectives on the Rwandan Genocide"

89328 M 3:30-6:20
Colleen Kriger

What did the American mainstream media coverage of the Rwandan genocide reveal about western views and stereotypes of Africa? What can a study of the Rwandan genocide teach us about the social and economic history of Africa? This seminar begins with a viewing of the film Hotel Rwanda and selected readings from newspaper coverage of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. We will then explore the deeper pre-colonial history of peoples and societies in the region, the more recent economic conditions and events that sparked the genocide, and the very difficult social and judicial problems that mark its aftermath.
Field: Wider World.

Prerequisite for all 600- 700 level History courses: Admission to a graduate program in history or interior architecture, or written permission of instructor.

HIS 627 - Museum and Historic Site Interpretation: Principles and Practice

80743 T 6:30-9:20
Christopher Graham

Who makes history and how? This seminar explores the relationship between history and public audiences, focusing on the theory and practice of telling stories through museums and historic sites. It introduces students to the tools that public historians use to interpret the past, explores key dilemmas in public interpretation and community collaboration, and examines contemporary models for how best to reach audiences in ways that make history meaningful. Topics include learning theory, audience evaluation, oral history, photography and material culture, exhibitions, audience evaluation, and visitor-generated interpretation. The course will culminate in a local history project, produced by the students for a public venue. Same as IAR 627.

HIS 633 - Community History Practicum

84044 MW 2:00-3:15
Benjamin Filene

Prerequisite: HIS/IAR 626

In this hands-on course, students work collaboratively and engage community partners as they research, design, and complete public projects - previously planned in HIS/IAR 626 - that engage audiences in local/regional history. These projects involve original research and draw on a range of sources that drive public history work, including public records, oral interviews, images, and artifacts. Final products may involve exhibitions, web-based products, public programs, curricula, or other formats that engage public audiences in issues emerging from the past around us.

This course is restricted to graduate students in History and Interior Architecture who have completed HIS/IAR 626 (The Practice of Public History) unless permission is granted by instructor.

See the M.A. FAQ for more information about the following:

HIS 690 - Internship

HIS 692 - Advanced Topics

HIS 697 - Independent Study

HIS 699 - Thesis

Written permission is required to register for these courses.

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HIS 701 - Colloquium in American History

80763 R 3:30-6:20
Watson Jennison

Issues of historical interpretation from the Revolution through the Civil War.

HIS 703 - Seminar in History
see online schedule for correct section

Time/location arranged with student's mentor

Research and writing on selected topics in history.

HIS 710 - Colloquium in the Atlantic World

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89335 T 3:30-6:20
Linda Rupert

This course introduces graduate students to the variety of approaches and themes that comprise one of the newest and fastest-growing fields in our discipline. The Atlantic World provides a useful conceptual and methodological framework in which to analyze the development of European empires, the creation of American colonial societies, and the emergence of trans-imperial exchange networks in the early modern period (roughly 1400-1800) and beyond. We will read a selection of major works which have defined the field, identify different perspectives and approaches, and trace the development of the historiography. We will also consider the challenges involved in comparative, cross-cultural historical research, and the limits of an Atlantic approach. Students will critically analyze the strengths and weaknesses of an Atlantic perspective as it applies to their specific research and teaching interests.

HIS 714 - Varieties of Teaching

89336 W 6:30-9:20
Lisa Tolbert

It might be useful to start by saying what this course is not. This is not primarily a nuts and bolts course on how to teach a college-level class. We will not spend much time, for example, talking about how to lead a discussion or manage behavioral problems in the classroom. Rather, this course takes a big picture approach to epistemological issues of teaching and learning history in the twenty-first century. Why is history essential for the twenty-first century undergraduate curriculum? What distinctive challenges do students face in learning history compared to learning other subjects in the college curriculum? As Stéphane Lévesque asks in his analysis of historical thinking, if history is about critical inquiry, "what are the concepts and knowledge of the past that students should learn and master in order to think historically? What abilities do they need to practice history?" (Lévesque, p. 15) Coming to grips with these kinds of critical conceptual issues is essential for designing meaningful learning experiences for students.

Although this course does not focus on the nuts-and-bolts of teaching a college level class, we will not study the epistemology of historical thinking as an end in itself. We will make essential connections between theory and practice, historical thinking and pedagogy. You will encounter plenty of practical examples of how college teachers have operationalized disciplinary thinking in the classroom. This literature will also introduce you to research and publication opportunities offered by the scholarship of teaching and learning, with particular attention to research that illuminates the disciplinary role of history as an essential subject in the undergraduate curriculum. Rather than focusing on the content of history (what information do you want your history course to cover?), our focus will be on the learner. What do you want students (who are unlikely to become professional historians) to know and be able to DO with the content they encounter in any history courses you might teach? How do you know they have achieved the objectives you intended?

HIS 720 - Public History Capstone I

87650 R 6:30-9:20
Christopher Graham

In this two-semester sequence, students will create a public history project for a public audience. In 720, students will frame the project, complete research for it and embark on preliminary development plans Restricted to MA Museum Studies students who have completed the first year of the program.

HIS 724 - 20th Century U.S. Selected Topics - "U.S. Feminisms"

80772 M 3:30-6:20
Lisa Levenstein

This course will explore the historical scholarship on 20th century U.S. feminisms. Students will explore key features of the U.S. women's movement as well as the scholarly debates animating this politically contentious field of research. At stake in this scholarship are fundamental questions about how social movements operate, how political change occurs, and how we should envision the feminist movement today. Topics include: labor feminisms; reproductive justice; global feminisms; transfeminisms; women of color feminisms; lesbian feminism; law and public policy; coalitional politics; anti-violence activism; and antifeminism.

200-400 Courses | Advising Center | Undergraduate Bulletin | Courses
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