101.002 Fall 2017 Writers' 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.

283 / 285B.002 Fall 2016 Historical Method and Theory / Adv Studies in European History

Does History as an academic discipline need not only methods but also its own epistemology, a theory of history? In this course, we will seek an answer to this question primarily, but not exclusively, by reading the works of the German historian and theorist Reinhart Koselleck. We will explore Koselleck’s theory of history in conversation with some of his intellectual interlocutors from Polybius to François Hartog. The principal writing assignments are weekly summaries and a research paper. 

283 Spring 2016 What is Cultural History?

Critics and practitioners speak confidently (if not always approvingly) of recent turns toward and away from cultural history, but it remains unclear what exactly the term designates. Is cultural history a field, a subject matter, a scholarly methodology, a theory about the world, an interpretive stance toward texts and images, a rhetorical posture, a set of aesthetic preferences? Is it comparable to and neatly distinguishable from social history and intellectual history?

283 Fall 2015 Historical Method and Theory

This introduction to historical method and theory will emphasize breadth and fundamental questions. What do historians do? How have the subjects of historical inquiry changed over time? What claims to historical knowledge are tenable? How have historians defined and analyzed sources? Why does the past matter? Half the term will be devoted to theories and practices of history writing from classical antiquity to Leopold von Ranke; the other half to the impact of the Annales School, the rise of cultural history, and contemporary trends.

283 Spring 2015 Historical Method and Theory

 We will read reflections on the writing and practice of history by authors from antiquity to the twentieth century.

283 Spring 2014 Historiography and Methodology

What does, and what can, history as an academic discipline claim to do?  This seminar will examine these questions by examining the contemporary practice of historians (historiographical, methodological) and pondering the claims made by historians (epistemological, philosophical).  The scope for these investigations will be limited, in the main, to developments in history and related disciplines in the past 60 years.  

283 Fall 2013 Historical Method and Theory


What have historians claimed to do?  What implications have these claims had for the problems historians believed most important and how they worked with sources?  During the course, students will identify a common literature that all historians would benefit from knowing, regardless of the time period, place, or field in which they work.  Among the themes to be addressed are: epistemology and memory, causation and narrative, objectivity, historical example and analogy, microhistory, alternatives to nation-centered history, and the advantages and drawbacks of

283 Spring 2013 Historical Method and Theory


In this seminar, you will be introduced to theoretical reflections by historians on defining problems of our discipline as well as to some new directions in the practice of history. Weekly responses and two short papers constitute the principal writing assignments.


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