History and Theory

History 103U.002

Fall 2008
Instructor (text): 
3104 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
Thurs 12-2

";History"; is not just so many dead presidents, and in this seminar we will be exploring different ways of imagining, writing, filming, commemorating, and even escaping history. This seminar begins with canonical works in the philosophy of history, surveys developments in theory and criticism from structuralism to structuralism, and concludes with recent debates about history and memory in museum and pop culture.
We will be discussing the history of theory and the theories of history to learn how each tale we tell about our past depends on a theory of history, however simple or abstract. Different theories of history create different senses of what the world is like and what we should do about it. Theory and history, we will learn, shape the ways we imagine ourselves and live our daily lives.
The course centers on weekly discussions of the texts (read them before the class for which they are assigned). Participation in these discussions will count for one-quarter of you course grade. The remaining quarters will be divided between brief papers, one due in class week five, another due in class week ten, and the last one due in class week fifteen. All readings are on reserve.