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Fall 2017 Course Descriptions
500-700 Level

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

HIS 510 - Historiography

84972 M 3:30-6:20
Richard Barton

This course explores some of the main trends in historical writing since the professionalization of the field in the middle years of the 19th century. Each week is devoted to a different approach, method, or school of historical writing. After some initial (and broad) discussion of the philosophy of history, we will move in a basically chronological direction, examining the development of new approaches and theories as they emerged from c.1875 to the present. Among the approaches (or schools, or methods) we will examine include the Annales movement, Marxism, history from below and radical history, the influence of cultural anthropology, gender, material culture, nationalism, constructions of the other, trans-nationalism, and post-structuralism. Pr. Admission to a graduate program in history, or permission of instructor.

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HIS 511A - Seminar in Historical Research and Writing: "The 'American Century': Powerful Coalitions, Transformational Movements, and the Decisions that Defined a Nation, 1917-2017"

84630 T 3:30-6:20
Thomas Jackson
Writing and Speaking Intensive. Prerequisite: HIS 391.

As a "capstone" of the history major, this seminar moves from general group discussion to smaller subgroup and individual inquiry. Considering US history since 1917 could not possibly cap all your "history stones," but it can lock in key insights at the apex of the arch between where we have been and what we may become. Here is ample ground too for you to refine skills of research, comparative source analysis, dialogue, writing, and oral presentation. First, we'll survey social, cultural, and political "milestones" that marked our national paths, reading a recent scholarly synthesis by Glenda Gilmore and Thomas Sugrue. How did powerful elites and ordinary Americans debate and define the boundaries of American belonging, in the policy arenas of immigration and civil rights? Among the different branches and at various levels of government, how did the state mobilize citizens to achieve national purposes in times of war, reform, economic or environmental crisis? How did Americans defend and redefine their liberties in the face of these challenges and decisions?

Subgroups of 3-5 students will collaborate in annotating shared bibliographies, the groundwork for individual projects. Individual students will chose a person, decision, or debate around a specific "milestone" event, immersing yourselves in primary sources. You can then either write a paper mixing narrative and explanation; an expanded annotated bibliography that sets up a larger research project; or a script for a documentary film or museum exhibit.
Field: United States. Markers: .WI.SI.

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

84076 R 6:00-8:50
Asa Eger

Writing and Speaking Intensive. Prerequisite: 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.

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HIS 515 - American Diplomatic History - 20th Century

87292 T 6:30-9:20
David Wight

Since 1898, the United States has played an outsized role in international relations, playing a pivotal role in two world wars, the Cold War, the development of modern global systems, and the affairs of virtually every other country on Earth. Indeed, over the course of the twentieth century, the United States progressed from being a great power to the world's sole superpower. Yet the United States has likewise been profoundly shaped by its interactions with the larger world, and Americans have periodically discovered that their power, while great, is not unlimited. This course explores the trajectory of US foreign relations since 1898 with a focus on three main themes: globalization, empire, and the constructs of race and gender.
Field: United States.

HIS 524 - 20th Century U.S. History Selected Topics: "Fifties America: Affluence, Conformity, and Paranoia"

86237 R 3:30-6:20
Susan Thomas

Postwar America was powerful and prosperous. As one of the world's two superpowers, and the only one to have successfully deployed an atomic weapon, America was poised to shape the future. For a large segment of the population, life was good. The GI Bill and VA Loans made education and housing affordable for many, the emerging military industrial complex provided jobs for the masses, automobile production and highway development expanded rapidly, and consumerism rose to meet the challenges of the baby boom. At the same time, Americans faced the daily reality of the emergent Cold War with its attendant fears and pressures. This course will examine this pivotal decade from a social, political, and economic perspective to determine how these events and experiences framed the remaining half of the American Century.

Field: United States.

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HIS 543 - Historic Preservation: Principles and Practices

80422 W 2:00-4:50
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)

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

86235 T 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 546 - American Cultural History: "At Play in Worlds of the Mind: the Cultural History and Practice of Gaming since 1970"

86730 R 6:30-9:20
Richard Barton

This team-taught course explores the origins, development, and cultural meaning of table-top role-playing games in the United States through two linked approaches. One is theoretical, and considers the relationship of such games to the broader culture of the United States in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Readings will consider the importance of play, the challenges presented (or not) by games to established religious, gender, and racial categories, and the attraction of invented worlds for post-industrial society. A second approach is actual play. Students will participate in close play of selected games so that we can better address the intersection of theory and practice in cultural formation. Although participation in play is required, students will not be graded on how well they play, but rather on how well they are able to apply insights from play to the theoretical and historical models discussed in class. Given the importance of practice to this class, the number of students is strictly limited. It is recommended that interested students contact either Professor Grieve (Religious Studies) or Professor Barton (History) for more information. N.B.: this course does not discuss video games; it is concerned with table-top games. Same as REL 503.
Field: United States.

HIS 581 - African History: "Oral Traditions and Oral History"

86236 W 3:30-6:20
Colleen Kriger

This course is an introduction to 'orality' - oral primary sources in and for history, the nature of those sources, and how they are to be gathered, analyzed, and interpreted for historical research. Hence this course is about historical methods and historical methodology, and is not restricted to any particular geographical area or time period. Students will be engaged in the very practical matters of research design and procedures, as well as the theoretical implications and issues raised when using oral primary sources of various kinds. Along the way, we will develop a greater awareness of and appreciation for the history of history itself. We will also be examining literacy more critically. Why do we tend to believe what is written, even if it is speculation or hearsay? Why are we oftentimes 'graphocentric' - valuing written over oral communication? Why would a society prefer to remain oral and reject literacy?
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

84977 M 3:30-6:20
Anne Parsons

Who makes history and how? This seminar seeks to answer this question by exploring the relationship between history and the public, and the tools that public historians use to interpret the past. The class focuses on the theory and practice of telling stories through museums and historic sites, while examining issues of ownership and power in interpretation and community collaboration. Students will also study contemporary models of engaging with audiences and projects that make history more meaningful to people. Finally, the class will merge theory and practice with the creation of a local history project, produced by the students for a public venue. Same as IAR 627.

HIS 629 - Museum Education

84978 R 6:30-9:20
Edith Brady

This course surveys the basic principles and practices of museum education, emphasizing facilitated experiences. Through reading works by researchers and practitioners in the field, students will explore the kinds of learning that occur in museums and how that learning takes place. As well, students themselves will practice the skills and techniques utilized by museum educators.

HIS 633 - Community History Practicum

82085 TR 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

80440 701-01 T 3:30-6:20
Watson Jennison

84979 701-02 W 6:30-9:20
Greg O'Brien

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 714 - Varieties of Teaching

86239 M 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?

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HIS 715 - Atlantic World Topics: "Empires and Colonies of the Atlantic World (and Beyond)"

86240 W 3:30-6:20
Linda Rupert

This course surveys a range of approaches and themes related to the rise and consolidation of European overseas empires in the early modern period, with a focus on the Atlantic World. We will discuss major trends in the historiography, with particular attention to changing perspectives on the relationship between, and relative importance of, imperial structures, trans-imperial processes, and colonial agency.

HIS 720 - Public History Capstone I

83436 W 3:30-6:20
Anne Parsons

This course is part of a two-semester sequence in which students design and execute original, research-driven, independent-study history projects for public audiences, usually with a community or institutional partner. In the first half of the course sequence, students solidify the goals and contours of the project, complete project research, and finish preliminary development. Restricted to graduate students in the history department's Museum Studies program who have completed at least 15 hours of graduate-level course work.

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HIS 723 - 19th Century U.S. Topics: "Human Rights at Home and Abroad"

86241 R 3:30-6:20
Mark Elliott

This is a readings course that examines the emerging historical literature on "human rights" and explores the emergence of this concept in both an American and an international context during the long 19th century. The United States, as a nation, was born during an age of international revolution in which radicals asserted universal rights and liberties "for all mankind." At the same time, a "humanitarian" sensibility that sought to lessen human suffering in the world began to emerge in Euro-American institutions and social thought. This course will trace the development and influence of both secular and religious concepts of "humanity" and "human rights" from the Revolutionary Era through the First World War. Prior to the Civil War, the debates about universal human rights were connected primarily to the movement to abolish slavery in the British Empire and the United States, and to a lesser extent to the rights of American Indians and women's rights. After the abolition of slavery, organizations and individuals devoted to "humane" causes and adopting a proto-"human rights" agenda began to proliferate across a broad spectrum of reform movements and peace societies. For many reformers, American nationalism became infused with a vision of the nation as a vehicle for promoting democracy, peace, and human rights throughout the globe. The course will examine both the proponents and the critics of this brand of American nationalism from the Civil War through the 1920s, and conclude by assessing the legacies of this vision in our own time.

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