Fall 2022 Graduate Courses

HIS 501 Historical Inquiry

Instructor: Prof. Rembis
Time: R 4:10-6:50

What is historical knowledge?  How is it put together, and what is it good for?  Those are the questions on which this seminar focuses.  We’ll address them mainly by looking at recent work by practicing historians, asking how they define the problems they study, construct their arguments, and discover and use evidence.  From these examples, we’ll try to deepen our understanding of the topics and interpretive strategies that today engage professional historians. But those questions specific to the contemporary discipline of history can’t be separated from broader problems that surround all study of the past, and we’ll consider some of those as well.  How much can we ever know the past, given that by definition it’s over and done?  Does the history written within university departments differ significantly from other forms of knowledge about the past, as produced by amateur historians, novelists, social scientists, and many others?  How do our specific disciplinary practices shape and reflect our thinking?

HIS 502 American History Core Seminar I

Instructor: Prof. Seeman
Time: T 4:00-6:40
This course seeks to introduce MA and PhD students to the history and historiography of America to 1865. That is, this course will help students master a basic narrative of American history through the Civil War. At the same time, it will introduce them to the main historiographical trends of the past twenty-five years.

HIS 510 Modern Mediterranean

Instructor: Prof. Pack
Time: M 4:10-6:50

This graduate seminar explores concept of the Mediterranean region as a discrete unit of historical analysis. Its name means “inland sea,” and, like other similar bodies of water across our planet, it separates, connects, and environs a diverse array of peoples and polities. With its sprawling chains of islands, bays, inlets, and narrows, framed by the rugged landscapes of North Africa, Southern Europe, and the Levant, the Mediterranean has facilitated intense commercial and human exchanges for millennia. As it has drawn together the peoples gathered on its many islands and shorelines, it has also served as a link between peoples further afield, the vital link between the peoples of North Atlantic, Africa, and the Indian Ocean world. Rarely has any single imperial power been able to dominate the Mediterranean, with ancient Rome at its zenith being the salient but brief exception. The region’s historical identity has thus mainly been characterized by intense pluralism and an international order that has generated both protracted conflict and models of coexistence. The seminar engages multiple perspectives on all of these themes in various historical periods, reviewing recent and classic historiography and examining primary sources.  

HIS 545 Special Topics: Stalinism

Instructor: Prof. K. Zubovich
Time: T 12:30-3:10

The Stalin era was one of the most turbulent periods in Soviet history. Between 1928 and 1953, the Soviet Union was dramatically transformed by rapid industrialization, collectivization, state violence and terror, and war. In this seminar, students will explore the major events and turning points of this period. We will also learn about key debates and themes in the historiography of Stalinism.

HIS 549 Special Topics: U.S. and the World

Instructor: Prof. G. Zubovich
Time: R 7:00-9:40

This course surveys the myriad of ways Americans have engaged with peoples abroad. In addition to foreign policy, Americans have gone abroad as tourists, missionaries, and musicians, they have flooded foreign markets with consumer goods, taken part in human rights organizations, received immigrants, and waged wars across the world. This course will introduce students to the methodological debates about the field of U.S. and the World. It will cover both American influence on foreign peoples and the impact of the world on the history of the U.S. in the twentieth and twenty first centuries.

HIS 550 Special Topics: History of American Education

Instructor: Prof. Barclay
Time: M 7:00-9:40


HIS 556 Special Topics: Topics in the History of Science

Instructor: Prof. Daum
Time: F 9:00-11:40

What constitutes “science” in the modern era?  What role do society and culture—including institutional support, ideological interests, political goals, and gender roles—play for generating and legitimizing scientific research?  What happens when science enters the public sphere, becomes “popular,” and serves as a reference point for political discussions? Our seminar pursues such questions by focusing on three themes: Charles Darwin and concepts of evolution in the 19thCentury; medicine and public health in Nazi Germany; science and technology in the Cold War.

All participants are expected to read critically secondary literature and selected sources; write three essays throughout the semester; analyze and present selected films; and participate actively in the class discussions.

HIS 558 Approaches to World History

Instructor: Prof. Stapleton
Time: M 1:00-3:40

Participants in this course will critically examine the state of research in and teaching of world history. We begin by reading about and discussing debates over the concept of world history itself, as well as over how it should be conceptualized and taught. Then we will analyze a variety of world history textbooks in light of the theoretical concerns explored in the first few weeks. In the second half of the semester, participants will lead seminar sessions on aspects of world history of particular interest to them. Assignments include reading reports, textbook analyses, class leadership, and a historiographic paper on an aspect of world history selected in consultation with the instructor.

HIS 559 Colonial Latin America

Instructor: Prof. Langfur
Time: 7:00-9:40 PM

This seminar concentrates on the formation and transformation of racial, ethnic, and gender relations and identities in colonial Latin America and the wider Iberian Atlantic world. Examining the historical literature on Spanish and Portuguese America between 1492 and the early nineteenth century, students will consider how historians have posed and answered questions concerning the legacy of contact, conflict, and cooperation among men and women of indigenous, European, and African origin. How did native peoples define themselves in the face of European conquest? How did Europeans view the original inhabitants of the New World? How did transplanted African cultures, disrupted by slavery, persist or assume new forms in the Americas? How did women navigate restrictions placed on their conduct by a patriarchal church and secular society? To what extent did colonists develop new American identities incompatible with European colonial control? By delving into scholarship concerning these and other themes, students will probe how historians have made sense of Latin America's colonial period and its role in shaping the vast region that now comprises the southwestern U.S., the Caribbean basin, Mexico, Central America, and South America.

HIS 635 Special Topics

Instructor: Prof. Wolcott
Time: W 4:00-6:40

The last decade has witnessed a “spatial turn” in historiography that has profoundly influenced a variety of sub-fields in History. This course will introduce students to this literature and allow them to develop an independent research project in which a spatial framework is used. Such projects could range from topics in urban history, public policy, geography, or cultural history. The first five weeks of the course we will meet weekly to discusses relevant historical and theoretical works. The remainder of the course will be spent working on your research papers, meeting periodically with me to discuss your projects, engaging in peer review, and presenting your projects to the class.