United States

103D.003 Spring 2015 Memory in the 19th-Century United States

The United States is a young nation with a short history. In the nineteenth-century, Alexis de Tocqueville famously faulted Americans for not only being individualistic but also for having no sense of the past. A similar critique exists in popular culture today, where conservative politicians decry the historical knowledge of American citizens. And yet, the ways in which we remember the past fundamentally shape our present and our future. This seminar explores the evolving relationship between memory and history in the nineteenth-century United States.

103D.002 Spring 2015 Nations, Narratives, and Negotiating New Boundaries

How have nations and other communities redrawn their boundaries over time and space? How do the lines on a paper map simultaneously represent real and imagined geographies, produce and obscure knowledge, confirm and deny possession, and include and exclude the physical presence of distinct communities? How do stories provide maps to the past? How do our maps and stories unfold over time? How do new maps of old places reflect the changing and contested nature of political, military, economic, cultural, and social spaces?

101.015 Spring 2015 The American West since 1845

This seminar is for history students who will write their thesis on some aspect of the American West since the Mexican-American War. (Anyone interested in exploring something prior to 1845 is welcome but must contact me in the fall to discuss a topic and proposed sources.) In the first weeks, students will read a few published article-length works, discuss research strategies and writing styles, and hone their own historical questions.

101.014 Spring 2015 Capitalism and American Society since the Gilded Age

This course is designed for students interested in research that addresses American social history, labor history, economic history, and political history. There are a wide variety of themes and issues related to these subjects that would provide a potential topic for a thesis. Students should have a good historical question and sources that will help provide an answer.

101.013 Spring 2015 The History of Race, Gender, and Sexuality in America

This seminar is designed for students who want to write their theses on the subjects of race, gender, and/or sexuality in America. With guidance and assistance from the instructor, students will develop, research, and write a 30 to 50-page essay on a topic related to the seminar theme(s). We will spend the first several weeks of class reading, discussing, and analyzing a series of foundational works that shaped the study of race, gender, and sexuality in America as well as more recent essays, which reveal the shifting contours of the field.

101.016 Spring 2015 International History in the Twentieth Century

International History in the Twentieth Century" is intended for students writing 101 thesis on international, transnational, and comparative topics in the history of the twentieth century. Students will write on topics of their own devising, which may range from diplomacy, strategy, and statecraft to transnational economic, social, and cultural interactions of diverse kinds. Thesis writers may chose to focus on U.S. relations with the broader world, but they are by no means not required to do so. Given the seminar’s scope, we will not be undertaking topical readings as a class.

101.012 Spring 2015 Early America

This seminar is open to senior thesis writers working on Early America from North American colonization to the US Civil War. Our early meetings will focus on the mechanics of project design—identifying a topic, framing a question, and locating sources—and include reading a few exemplary articles and brief reflections on the art and craft of historical research.

101.011 Spring 2015 News in American History

This seminar is a thesis-writing workshop for students engaged in original research that explores or relies primarily on newspapers and other news media sources.  All research questions covering the history of the United States (or the lands that became the United States) before 1945 are acceptable.

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