History 101 Seminars

What is History 101?

The History 101 seminar is designed to guide you through the capstone experience of your undergraduate education as a history major: the researching and writing of your senior thesis. Successful completion of this challenging but rewarding endeavor requires you to do the work of a historian. Ultimately, this translates to producing a piece of scholarship—in this case a 30-50 page final paper—in which you articulate and defend a historical interpretation/argument rooted in extensive primary source research, informed by thorough secondary source reading.

Spring 2017 Priority Enrollment is Now Closed: 

If you completed a 101 preference form during the priority enrollment period, you will receive an email with a Permission Number and full registration instructions by Tuesday, October 18th. Your Permission Number will allow you to register for your one of your preferred 101s on or after your Phase II appointment. You must use your Permission Number to add the class before January 13th or you may lose your reserved seat.

Enrollment procedures after priority enrollments have been assigned:

After the initial distribution of seminar spaces via individual Permission Numbers is completed, many History 101s will still have space(s) available. Enrollment restrictions will be lifted for each seminar by October 18th, at which point you may register in any course available.


101 Courses

101.004: Writer's Group

This section is designed for seniors with well-conceived thesis projects that do not fit within the rubrics of other 101 seminars. Members of the group will observe a common schedule in developing, drafting, and critiquing material but will not share a common subject area.

Admission requires a written statement and the consent of the instructor. The statement should include: (1) a two-hundred word description of the proposed thesis topic; (2) a preliminary annotated bibliography (with full citations) of suitable primary sources; (3) a short bibliography of secondary sources; (4) a list of previous coursework in the proposed field of research; and (5) the name of a departmental instructor in that field who is willing to help mentor the student by providing bibliographical guidance, occasional consultation, and a critique of the first draft of the thesis. Students apply online by submitting the online preference form, and must also submit their statements directly to Leah Flanagan's mailbox in 3229 Dwinelle or via email to leahf(at)berkeley.edu by 4 p.m. on Monday, 14 November.

Although most applicants will not have had time to develop rigorous statements by the application deadline, they must demonstrate the viability of their projects and their commitment to serious preparation in advance of the course. This section is limited to students whose work clearly falls outside the scope of other 101 sections. If in doubt, please apply.

Tom Laqueur is a Professor in the Department of History.

Thomas W. Laqueur
3205 Dwinelle
TuTh 2-4
101.013: Asian Worldviews

The Asian Worldviews section is intended primarily for thesis writers studying Modern China, but is open to students working on any time or place in Asia. Our approach will be methodological, rather than topical, developing historical papers through close reading and exposition of a key text. Students are strongly encouraged to meet with Professor Cook in the Fall semester to discuss their interests, and ideally should enter the seminar having already identified a primary source (in translation, if necessary) from which to begin their investigation. The chosen text could be most any sort: political, religious, philosophical, commercial, literary; or even, through prior arrangement with the instructor, visual, musical, architectural, physical/material, etc. In any case, the “text” must originate from the historical time and place under investigation, and must be sufficiently rich in content to support our main objective: to make an argument about the ideology or worldview embodied in the text.

Alex Cook is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History.

Alexander C. Cook
3104 Dwinelle
TuTh 4-6
101.005: Research Topics in Greek and Roman History

This course is designed for History majors writing theses on ancient topics. The first several class meetings will cover historical research questions and methods as practiced by ancient historians today, as students develop their ideas about their topics. Students will then pursue their research and writing with the help of one-on-one meetings with the instructor. The class will meet as a group again toward the end of the semester so that students can share results and participate in a collaborative draft workshop that will produce valuable feedback for improving and completing the thesis.

Randall Souza is returning to Berkeley after teaching at universities in the northeast for the past two years. He received my Ph.D. from the graduate group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology in 2014, writing a dissertation on the relationship between human mobility and concepts of citizenship in ancient Sicily. That material is now the subject of a book in progress, The first Sicilians: mobility, migration, and belonging in Classical and Hellenistic Sicily. He is interested generally in how demographic change affects group dynamics, and how identity is performed and perceived; he looks for evidence in literary accounts but also in contemporary documents like inscriptions and coins, and in other material culture. To that end he has worked as an archaeologist on Sicily since 2011 and for the past three years as Field Supervisor for the Contrada Agnese Project at Morgantina. He can be reached via email at randallsouza(at)berkeley.edu.

Randall Souza
2231 Dwinelle
MW 4-6
101.008: Anything on Modern Imperial Britain

This class is primarily designed for students who have made Britain or its empire their area of concentration. Class meetings will focus on the process of research and writing. Early readings will explore different models of research and writing and introduce students to the research materials available to them on campus. I am open to students writing on any subject so long as they have a good question and a set of archival sources that will help them answer it. Students wishing to take the class will need to contact me before the fall semester is finished.

James Vernon is a Professor in the Department of History.

James Vernon
3104 Dwinelle
TuTh 12-2
101.003: Topics in Modern European History, 1789-1989

This 101 will revolve around the questions of cultural identity as they were expressed—and sometimes repressed—in modern Europe. All students working on European topics are welcome, as well as others particularly interested in the topic (please contact me in this case) Because the uses of history are as widely varied as the questions that are asked of it, student in this class will learn to ask those questions for themselves and begin to answer them. Following a brief consideration of the genres of history, each will define and narrow a question, create a bibliography, consider a source base, and organize and write their final project. Creative thinking about sources is encouraged, and comparative projects are welcome. Students should come prepared in January to discuss some topic ideas to that you hit the ground running. Feel free to contact me this fall if you would like to get an early start on defining a topic or set of sources.

Elizabeth Wenger is earned her PhD in Berkeley's Department of History and is a Visiting Lecturer this year.

Elizabeth Wenger
3104 Dwinelle
MW 10-12
Latin America
101.009: Research Topics in Latin America

This research and writing seminar will guide students through the process of completing a senior thesis that focuses on Spanish America (including the Spanish Caribbean), Brazil, or the French Caribbean. We will focus on the viability of research topics, methodology, analysis of primary sources, and historiography. Students are encouraged to contact the professor in advance to discuss possible topics.

Alberto García specializes in the modern history of Latin America, specifically Mexico. His research focuses on twentieth-century migration to the United States, rural and agrarian history, and the political structures of the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). More broadly, Prof. García is interested in Latin American mass politics, social movements, and the history of the Catholic Church in Latin America. He may be reached via e-mail at agarciam(at)berkeley.edu.

Alberto M Garcia
3104 Dwinelle
MW 4-6
101.006: The Middle Ages

Given the scope and variety of medieval history, this 101 will not focus on any single theme. Students who already have some sense of their interests will be able to pursue them under the instructor’s guidance. Students who are less certain will be helped to formulate research projects that are feasible, interesting to the student, and so far as possible, synergistic with respect to other students’ topics. In all cases, the instructor will work with students to hone topics to make their research productive — above all, by refining questions, locating secondary sources, and identifying foolproof primary sources (i.e., open-ended sources that that allow you to say something interesting, even if it’s not the issue you had hoped to address). Students should remember that although a surprising number of medieval sources have been translated into English, some of the most productive genres of sources have not been translated at all; translations for some periods and problems are too spotty to allow convincing research; and save for medieval English history, much essential historiography is in German, French, Italian, or Spanish. This makes it all the more necessary for students to work closely with the instructor in formulating their research projects. It also means that if at all possible, students should contact the instructor before the semester begins, if only to begin thinking about what kinds of topics will and will not work in a 101.  Attendance the first week of classes is also extremely important, because this is when topics will be discussed and finalized. 

Geoff Koziol is a Professor in the Department of History.

Geoffrey Koziol
3205 Dwinelle
TuTh 4-6
101.002: Research Topics in the History of Science

This seminar is designed to help students develop and execute a thesis project in the history of science. Our focus will be on developing historiographical methods and the practical aspects of historical writing. Topics are limited to scientific subjects from the period between 1700 and 1980. However, the seminar does not limit geographical focus and the theses may be area-specific or transnational in nature. Students are encouraged to see the professor in advance regarding their research interests since an incoming student should have some familiarity with the primary sources he or she will examine. Regarding the course structure, the seminar is split into three phases. The first phase will focus on building historiographical methods in the history of science. The second phase will consist of intensive, one-on-one mentorship. Finally, the seminar group will engage with each other for review, critique, and assistance.

Ari Edmundson is a PhD candidate in the Department of History.

Ari S Edmundson
2231 Dwinelle
TuTh 12-2
United States
101.001: California

Research topics in California history.

Kerwin Klein is a Professor in the Department of History.

Kerwin L. Klein
2303 Dwinelle
WF 10-12
101.010: US Latina/o History since 1848 (or, Writing about Race and Ethnicity in US History)

The History 101 aims to support students as they produce an original piece of historical scholarship—the 101 Thesis. Early in the semester we will meet to discuss common readings and to provide students with basic training in how to conduct original historical research. By the end of the semester, students will have designed a research plan, implemented research and writing strategies, engaged in intellectual dialogue with their peers, and produced an original piece of historical scholarship 30-50 pages in length.

The common readings draw heavily upon the historical experiences of Latina/os in the United States, but also explore questions that extend beyond Latina/o populations. Students enrolled in this course, in other words, need not write a paper on Latina/os in the United States if their research projects relate to the broader themes, regions, and topics driving the course, such as: immigration and migration; transnational communities; US foreign policy; the American West; labor, including issues related to recruitment and activism; social movements; inequality and inclusion; gender and sexuality; panethnicity and politics; and race, citizenship, and identity. If anything, research projects that touch upon these sorts of topics will certainly help create and sustain a robust intellectual community and dialogue during our meetings throughout the semester—a critical part of the research and writing process.

Natalie Mendoza received her PhD in US history from UC Berkeley. Before graduate school, Natalie taught high school in Northern California. As a graduate student, Natalie became interested in improving how history is taught at both the high school and college levels. She co-founded a student-based history pedagogy group focused on improving undergraduate teaching at Cal and worked frequently with the UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project, a professional development program for local K-12 social studies teachers. Natalie’s research interests include: history and the practice of pedagogy, intellectual history, the history of education, Mexican American and Chicana/o history, US Latina/o history, US civil rights history, and the history of race and racism in the US. Her dissertation is a study of the impact of the Good Neighbor Policy and WWII on the relationship between the federal government and Mexican Americans in the US Southwest. She can be reached via email at nmendoza21(at)berkeley.edu.

Natalie Mendoza
2231 Dwinelle
WF 10-12
101.011: Capitalism: The Other Big C

Capitalism may have been denaturalized for one early American colonist after he attempted to purchase a plot of land from an Indian using hand gestures and wampum only to find out later that the Indian had no idea that such a transaction was taking place, much less that land could be someone’s private property—a literally foreign concept. Even today, using words, historians have a hard time defining capitalism. Perhaps it is the illusive nature yet immense influences of capitalism that explain why the history of capitalism is currently such a hot field. Students are invited to join this seminar who would like to research questions including, but more focused than: Where did capitalism come from, and how and when did it emerge? How has capitalism shaped conceptions of race and gender? How has capitalism influenced people’s desires, values, and valuations of time, others, and themselves? How did the goal of life become synonymous with the “good life” for so many? What has been the historical relationship between capitalism and capitalism? Students are encouraged to contact the instructor before winter break, if possible, to begin the process of writing awesome 101 papers.

Daniel Robert studies the history of emotional labor, popular finance, corporate architecture, and print. His manuscript, “Courteous Capitalism,” reveals how American utility executives in the 1920s forced their clerks to provide courteous customer service in order to ingratiate monopoly capitalism with a skeptical public. He can be reached via email at daniel.m.robert(at)berkeley.edu.

Daniel M Robert
2231 Dwinelle
MW 2-4
101.012: Popular Culture in US History

How does experience with popular culture anchor someone in a particular time and place? Defined by one scholar as “the expressive practices of everyday life,” popular culture includes religious rituals, sports spectatorship, foodways, pedagogy, and musical trends. It can be experienced as a national, regional, local, or cultural practice. Depending on the ways in which these “practices” are constructed and by whom, popular culture can make legible, and earn consent for, forms of political, economic, and social power, or it can challenge these forms of power. This course is open to all students intending to write a thesis on popular culture at any period in U.S. history. We will begin the semester by reading selections from historical monographs about American popular culture and analyzing the different methods by which historians have made the everyday more than mundane. With these as models, students will conduct original, primary-source-based research into the construction and reception of a particular iteration of popular culture, asking why it emerged in the U.S. when it did and what messages it disseminated. Projects can focus on thematic developments (such as the emergence of a film genre or the popularity of certain dietary trends) or on the creation and reception of more specific cultural “texts” (such as a specific book or a community festival).

Gabriel Milner is a cultural historian of the United States, particularly popular culture and ideas of nationalism. He has taught courses in Urban History, African American History, and the Gilded Age and Progressive Era at universities around the Bay Area. He is also Project Manager of The Living New Deal, a digital humanities initiative chronicling the legacy and scholarship of the New Deal. He can be reached at gabriel.milner(at)gmail.com.

Gabriel F. Milner
3104 Dwinelle
MW 12-2