Small Histories of Greater Europe

History 101.008

Spring 2014
Day & Time: 
TuTh 930-11A
This course is intended as a launch pad and workshop for students writing senior theses in modern European history that do not fit into a more traditional definition of Europe. These might include topics based in a remote or understudied part of Europe, a region that has always only been debatably European, such as Russia and the Soviet Union, or imperial and transnational history. For the first few weeks we will take our cues from great historians, investigating “small” histories – article-length works that feature an exemplary approach with a finely-honed scope and source base that make larger claims on topics such as empire, memory, culture, war, ideology, and terror. Like your theses, these examples need not be “microhistories,” i.e. the study of a single event or case, but are simply short and effective. We will also discuss research skills and visit the library as a class to acquaint ourselves with locally available sources. The majority of the course will operate as a writers’ workshop in which students will hone their skills of analytical reading and constructive feedback and, of course, research and writing. If you are interested in this 101, please email the instructor at as soon as possible in order to get a head start in finding sources and crafting a research question.  
Charles Shaw is a Ph.D. candidate in the history department specializing in modern Russian and Central Asian history. He is writing a dissertation comprised of several episodes from the Central Asian experience in World War II, including that of soldiers, laborers, and cultural workers within the larger Soviet war effort. His research interests include the creation of Soviet borders, the politics of architectural preservation, and the Cold War as viewed from Tashkent.