Fall 2021 Graduate Courses

HIS 501 Historical Inquiry

Instructor: Prof. Dewald
Time: W 4:00 PM - 6:40 PM

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 PM - 6:40 PM
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 504 Early Modern European Core

Instructor: Prof. Schen
Time: M 4:00 PM - 6:40 PM

This seminar examines Europe from the fifteenth century to the French Revolution of 1789. During these centuries, Europe underwent a series of dramatic transformations: Europeans encountered other regions of the globe and came to dominate several of them; printing increased the speed with which ideas circulated and evolved; other new technologies changed the nature of warfare, enhanced government power, and began the processes that would culminate in the Industrial Revolution. The seminar seeks to provide students with an overview of these changes, and to sketch the main lines of current historical thinking about them. For this reason, seminar readings will be drawn from recent monographs and other scholarly studies of the period; no textbook will be assigned, but students whose knowledge of the period is weak will be expected to acquire such background knowledge on their own, through reading in standard textbooks and/or Wikipedia. Three short (about ten pages each) essays on the assigned reading will be required, each counting for about 30 percent of the course grade. The remaining 10 percent of the final grade will be based on contributions to seminar discussions.

HIS 507 Asian Core

Instructor: Prof. Stapleton
Time: M 7:00 PM - 9:40 PM

This course offers an introduction to recent approaches in the study of Asian history. Covering East, South, and Southeast Asia and focusing on the changeful and tumultuous age from the early modern period to the present, the course selects monographs from disparate disciplines (history, anthropology, literature, political science) and explores a wide range of topics including science, technology, and medicine, politics, colonialism, urban/rural culture, modernity, gender, and global history. By interrogating the conceptual and historical meanings of Asia, the seminar seeks to probe the unique local features of Asian cultures and societies on the one hand, and their intimate, and often unexpected connections to the rest of the world, on the other. The ultimate goal of this course, therefore, is not just to deepen the historical and historiographical understanding of Asia, but also to bring a heightened awareness of Asian studies, at both theoretical and empirical levels, that would benefit each student’s own research regardless of its regional focus.

HIS 526 Role of the City in American History

Instructor: Prof. Wolcott
Time: R 4:00 PM - 6:40 PM

This readings course will introduce students to the major themes and historiography in American Urban History from the eighteenth century to the present. We will examine some of the theoretical underpinnings of urban history and view American cities in their global context. Topics will include the political economy of cities, race relations, gender and sexuality, immigration, and environmental history.

HIS 531 Readings in Civil War and Reconstruction

Instructor: Prof. Handley-Cousins
Time: W 7:00 PM - 9:40 PM

HIS 545 Comparative Slavery: Africa, America, and the Caribbean

Instructor: Prof. Mbah
Time: TR 2:20 PM - 3:35 PM

This seminar examines slavery in a global context, by comparing and contrasting systems of slavery and slave experiences from classical Greece and Rome, through Medieval Europe and Islamic Mediterranean, to the Modern Atlantic (Africa, Europe, Americas). It demonstrates how slavery went from a common human practice to a racialized operation in the modern period. It is divided into five parts: old world slavery, colonial slave systems, slave societies, slavery and gender, and slave soldiers. Throughout the course, we will seek to understand how and why the institution of slavery changed over time and why it was different from place to place.

HIS 564 Imperialism and Decolonization

Instructor: Prof. McDevitt
Time: T 7:00 PM - 9:40 PM

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the study of modern European imperialism and its aftermath since the 17th century.  It will not be a survey course and therefore coverage will not be the aim. Rather it will exploring different approaches to the rise and fall of imperialism.  By examining the way the history of imperialism has been written and discussing the major issues of the literature, it is hoped that students will gain a broadened understanding of the complex process of imperial expansion and retraction.

HIS 680 Special Topics: Health, Medicine, Disability, and The Body

Instructor: Prof. Rembis
Time: W 1:50 PM - 4:30 PM

In this research seminar, graduate students will be encouraged to pursue research topics related to the history of medicine, health, illness, disability, and the body in any time period. Special attention will be given to the methodological and theoretical approaches historians employ in researching and writing about these specific topics. Students will be expected to use both primary documents and secondary research to write a publishable length term paper (6,000 - 8000 words) and will engage in other skill building exercises throughout the semester.