Graduate Courses

Click here to view a tentative list of graduate seminars for Spring 2019. Please note that these seminars will not be confirmed until Fall 2018.

Fall 2018
275D: Survey — United States
  • A complete description is forthcoming. Please check back.
Rebecca M. McLennan
2303 Dwinelle
Tue 9am–12pm
Class #: 21592
275E: Survey — Latin America

This seminar is a selective survey of early Latin American and Caribbean history, c. 1400-1898. Our approach will combine classic texts with new lines of inquiry inspired by the overlapping field of Atlantic history. The goal is to develop a sense of key developments in the historiography of the region, build core knowledge, and identify promising new directions for future research. Topics covered include social, cultural, environmental, and economic ramifications of “the conquest”; capitalism and the world system; cultural encounter and religion; gender, sexuality, and race; indigenous and African slavery and the transatlantic slave trade; Brazil, Angola, and the South Atlantic system; and revolt, rebellion, and the Age of Revolutions.

Elena A. Schneider
2303 Dwinelle
Tue 2–4pm
Class #: 25930
275F: Meiji 150

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration, the event which by pretty much unassailable consensus marks the beginning of Japan's modern age. The purpose of the seminar is to explore the question of what the events of 1868 and the subsequent Meiji era (1868-1912) meant for Japan itself and for the world at large, both in their own era and since. As far as possible course themes will be set around (translated) primary documents of various kinds, accompanied by classic and more recent scholarship pertinent to those themes. Students in all fields are welcome. Those interested in enrolling should contact the instructor in advance.   

Andrew E. Barshay
3104 Dwinelle
Wed 12–2pm
Class #: 26071
280A: Slavery, Agricultural Labor, and the Economy in the later Roman Empire

Beginning with a discussion of the principal historiographic works and hence the central areas of scholarly controversy regarding slavery and other forms of agricultural labor and the late Roman economy (Harper, Hickey, Sarris, Bransbourg, Grey), the course will then focus on the evidence from legal, literary, and documentary sources, to end with a discussion of Augustine of Hippo's recently discovered letters on slavery and coloni.

Susanna Elm
2231 Dwinelle
Thu 9am–12pm
Class #: 21628
280B: After Empire

In Postwar (2005) Tony Judt sought to understand the history of Europe after 1945, and the brief life of its social democracies, as primarily shaped by the experience of World War Two. In contrast, this class will ask how far the history of Euro-America’s neoliberal present, even in its increasingly nativist and populist forms, was shaped by decolonization. Apart from examining the end of European empires during the Cold War we will also explore what role decolonization had on the various revolts of 1968 and the counter-revolutions they spawned, as well as their influence on the formation of what we now refer to as neoliberalism. Chronologically the class will stretch from the 1940s through to 2008 and its aftermath, while geographically it will work outwards from (predominantly western) Europe and the United States. Each week students will be expected to provide brief responses to the readings on bcourses and to participate in class discussion. The final assignment could take one of several forms:- a syllabus that outlines how you would teach the history of post-1945; a 3,000 word op-ed on how some element of Europe’s postwar history shapes its present; a podcast or blog interview with a historian engaged in an area of research or debate that engages you; a review of a recent work that you could submit to a journal; a 5,000 word historiographical review (with abstract) that you could publish; or some other exercise that you would find helpful.

James Vernon
2303 Dwinelle
Wed 2–4pm
Class #: 25917
280B: Introduction to Soviet Historiography

The landmarks of Soviet historiography from Leon Trotsky to the latest academic fad, in loose chronological order. Weekly book reviews, no papers.

Yuri Slezkine
2220 Dwinelle
Tue 4–6pm
Class #: 21622
280B/285B: Later Medieval Law: Practice, Literature, Ritual

This course will focus primarily on France and England from the late 12th through the 14th centuries. However, assignments for the last several weeks will remain open, in order to accommodate students’ different interests. The first purpose of the course is simply to introduce some of the basic elements of legal organization and practice. We will therefore cover English writs, eyres, and commissions of oyer et terminer and trailbaston, and French “common law” rules of procedure and proof. A second purpose is to expose the public performative elements of legal procedures, concentrating especially on the ceremonial of the last great judicial circuits of Edward I’s reign and arbitration proceedings in 14th-century Marseille. A third purpose is to examine the highly self-aware literary construction of legal texts and argumentation (for example, Beaumanoir’s Coutumes de Beauvaisis), and some representations of law in literature (such as the English Song of Trailbaston and probably some French fabliaux). Most readings will be available in English or available in English translation.

  • For 280B, use class number 32908
  • For 285B, use class number 22909
Geoffrey Koziol
2231 Dwinelle
Tues 12–3pm
280B/285B: Ancient Israel in the Modern Western Imagination

Spanning the 17th through the 20th centuries this course sets out to explore the way Europeans, Americans and Israelis have imagined and represented Biblical Israel.  Among the topics we will address are: Spinoza’s heresy, the Enlightenment Bible, the politics of archaeology, histories of Ancient Israel, Christian and Jewish representations of Jesus and the Holy Land, Israelite-Sephardic authenticity and Masada and the Zionist imagination.

  • For 280B, use class number 24511
  • For 285B, use class number 21606
John M. Efron
3205 Dwinelle
Thu 3–5pm
Class #: See Course Description
280D: Law & History Foundation Seminar (American Legal History)

American Legal History is The Law & History Foundation Seminar for the Jurisprudence & Social Policy Program. It is a reading and discussion seminar taught under the auspices of the Jurisprudence and Social Policy Ph.D. Program, and is open to all JSP graduate students, Berkeley Law JD, LLM and JSD students, graduate students from History, Critical Theory, and other campus programs, and from other Bay Area institutions. The course is cross-listed with the Program in Critical Theory and with the History Department.

Considered as a field of study, legal history is as much history as it is law, and history is primarily a discipline of the book. For this reason I have chosen to make this a course that focuses on books, largely books written about the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Our goal will be to explore the “main currents” of American legal history while also acquainting ourselves with the methodological and theoretical possibilities for innovation in the production of legal history that exist at the conjunction between history and other social science and humanities disciplines. The course concentrates on the United States, but to set our discussion of theory and method off with a bang, we will begin in the dark undergrowth of a forest in eighteenth century England.

Over the course of the semester our goal will be to achieve a thorough and complete grounding in legal history’s formative literatures by reading a wide selection of the field’s best work, ranging from the classics that have structured the field, stirred controversy, and inspired generations of scholars (like James Willard Hurst’s Law and the Conditions of Freedom and Morton Horwitz’s Transformation of American Law), to the best work of the current generation of field leaders (like Laura Edwards’ The People and their Peace and Kunal Parker’s Legal Thought Before Modernism), to notable recent work by rising scholars (like Karen Tani’s States of Dependency and Ken Mack’s Representing the Race). Along the way we will accumulate considerable knowledge of the substance of American legal history, while giving close critical attention to the very different ways in which scholars have chosen to write the history of American law (and the very different subjects about which they have considered it appropriate to write). 

Faculty Bio for Christopher Tomlins, Elizabeth J. Boalt Professor of Law

Christopher Tomlins
Selznick Seminar Room, 2240 Piedmont Avenue
M 2–5 p.m.
Class #: 34162
280F: Advanced Studies — Asia
  • A complete description is forthcoming. Please check back.
Peter B. Zinoman
2303 Dwinelle
Wed 10am–12pm
Class #: 24510
280F: Tomb Manuscripts, Sites, and Artifacts in early China

This course is part 1 of a two-part course, with the second half to be taught by Mark Csikszentmihalyi (EALC) in the spring of 2019.  Every three weeks this course will examine an important tomb site whose manuscripts, layout, and other tomb contents have provided important evidence for the reconstruction of life in early China.  In the fall semester, the tombs whose site and contents will be reviewed will including Liye (Hunan), Zhangjiashan, the tombs of Zhang Anshi (Shaanxi, in Xi'an) and Haihun hou (Jiangsi), Fuyang (Anhui), and Zhangjiashan (Hubei, near modern Jingzhou).  Students will have the opportunity to explore how an object's medium affects its reception, also to compare received texts to those that have been scientifically excavated.

Michael Nylan
2231 Dwinelle
Wed 2–5pm
Class #: 21599
280H: Advanced Studies — Africa

This course will focus on recent innovative approaches to African history published within the last ten years.

Bruce Hall
2231 Dwinelle
Tues 10-12pm
Class #: 21595
280M: World War One in the Ottoman Empire

We will be reading the emerging scholarship on World War One in the Ottoman Empire in light of a) the larger concerns of scholarship on World War One in European and Russian historiography, and b) the existing patterns and disjunctures in Ottoman and Modern MIddle East/Balkan historiography. Topics will include constitutionalism, Balkan Wars, ethnic/confessional conflict, genocide, peace settlements, and divergences and convergences in the "post-Ottoman" space. A paper involving a critique of historiography and/or a research paper based on primary sources will be required, depending on whether students take the class as a 280 or 285 (in consultation with the professor).

Christine Philliou
2303 Dwinelle
Thu 10am–12pm
Class #: 32389
283: Historical Method and Theory

This course, now required of first-semester graduate students in History (who will be given priority in enrolling), is a survey of the craft, both in its premodern and contemporary iterations. The first half focuses on canonical works of historical writing in the Western and non-Western traditions, while the second half treats a sampling of themes and topics in the modern and premodern worlds as a way of introducing a range of approaches and methods practiced at Berkeley and beyond, introducing students to the varieties of historical writing and building a shared vocabulary (about class, race, and gender for example; about borders and frontiers; about the scale of history; and about archives). Requirements include all weekly reading to be done before each class (including the first one); regular short writing assignments posted on bCourses (reading prompts and responses); and a term paper (~30 pp.) on a historiographical topic (approved in advance by the instructor).

Peter Sahlins
3205 Dwinelle
Fri 12–3pm
Class #: 21580
285D: Research Seminar — United States

This research seminar is for students working on all topics in American history. We'll begin by considering important aspects of the historian's craft, including the relationship between sources and questions; formulating topics; mapping out research programs; and effectively situating one's work within the historiography. Most especially, the seminar will be devoted to the planning, drafting, and refinement of your article-length seminar papers. We will meet regularly at the start of the semester and then reconvene near the end of the term for peer-review of drafts. All students should work to develop a mature paper topic before the start of the term, and come prepared to discuss it during our first session.

Brian DeLay
2303 Dwinelle
Mon 10am–12pm
Class #: 21637
290: Historical Colloquium

Colloquium on topics of current research

Massimo Mazzotti
470 Stephens
Thu 4–6pm
Class #: 21581
375: Teaching History at the University

This class will introduce graduate student teachers to the theory and practice of teaching, with particular attention to the opportunities and challenges of teaching history. The course has two goals. First, it will train graduate students to become skillful Graduate Student Instructors at UC Berkeley, focusing on topics such as how to run discussion section effectively and how to conduct formative and summative assessment of their students. Second, it will provide graduate students with an introduction to the process of designing and running a course independently, including designing a syllabus and assessing and improving their own teaching practice. Students will also focus on their own professional development as teachers, as they begin to formulate a teaching statement and construct a preliminary teaching portfolio. Through assigned readings, assignments, and in-class conversations with the instructor and their peers, graduate students will become familiar the basic pedagogical methods and practices that will enable them to transition to careers in teaching at different levels and institutions. 

Sarah Gold McBride
3205 Dwinelle
Tue 12–2pm
Class #: 21609
C250: Topics in Science and Technology Studies

This course provides a strong foundation for graduate work in STS, a multidisciplinary field with a signature capacity to rethink the relationship among science, technology, and political and social life. From climate change to population genomics, access to medicines and the impact of new media, the problems of our time are simultaneously scientific and social, technological and political, ethical and economic. 

Massimo Mazzotti
470 Stephens
Tue 4–6pm
Class #: 21696