Graduate Courses

Spring 2017
...: "Filler" credits

History 296 (dissertation research): course number 16327

History 298 (work credit): course number 16328

History 601 (MA prep): course number 16360

History 602 (orals prep): course number 16361

Class #: see description
275B.001: Early Modern Europe

History 275 is the foundational course for graduate students in the history of early modern Europe from the Renaissance to the French Revolution. This year, rather than surveying disconnected subjects, I have decided to organize the syllabus around the theme “Forms and Functions of Early Modern Politics.” This is capacious enough to include a wide range of interconnected topics: state formation; empire; gender and power; popular politics; the general crisis of the seventeenth century; political culture; church-state relations; and much else besides. Readings will consist of secondary scholarship covering many different parts of (mostly Western) Europe from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, supplemented by primary sources in political theory from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment.

Ethan H. Shagan
2231 Dwinelle
W 2-4
Class #: 16247
275B/280B: Europe's Twentieth Century

We will discuss some of the major historical syntheses on twentieth-century Europe as well as more specific writings on wartime, interwar and postwar Europe that have appeared over the last decades. Particular emphasis will be placed on the tensions between national histories and trans-European trajectories. Weekly position papers and one historiographical essay constitute the principal writing assignments.

Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann
89 Dwinelle
W 4-6
Class #: 33609 (275) and 33612 (280)
280A/285A: Roman Politics

This seminar will examine Roman politics through an investigation of three interrelated topics: (i) political thought, (ii) political institutions, and (iii) political culture.  In assessing the nature of Roman political thought, we will focus on Cicero, with attention both to philosophical works (De Republica and De Legibus) and to the changing political program sketched in the speeches.  We will also consider important Hellenistic influences on Ciceronian thought, as well as early-imperial developments in Roman political theory (Seneca, Tacitus, Pliny, and the Roman jurists).  Study of Roman political institutions will address the logistics of collective decision-making in the republican system.  Here the focus will be on the legislative and electoral assemblies of the middle and late Republic, and on the transmission of distinctively republican forms of collective knowledge.  The problem of Roman political culture will be approached from the perspectives of public ceremonial (funerals and triumphs) and public space in the city of Rome (Forum and Campus Martius), with emphasis on the convergence of ideology, representation, and authority, and on the relationship between discourse and order.  Throughout the seminar, the material will be addressed both synchronically, in an effort to grasp Roman politics as a type of “system,” and diachronically, from the middle Republic through the early imperial period, in an effort to trace (and explain) change over time in the distribution of social power.

Carlos F. Noreña
2231 Dwinelle
Th 2-5
Class #: 16257 (280A)
280B.001: Problems of Nations and Nationalism in Modern Central Europe

This course surveys questions and controversies in the history of the nation and nationalism in Central Europe, from the late 18th Century to the present. 

After general background and theoretical approaches to the subject, we consider the emergence of the idea of the (ethnic) nation, and its translation into politically relevant movements, like social clubs, scholarly academies, sports societies or savings and loans associations.  How did an idea shared by a few intellectuals in 1815 become a pervasive social and political event two generations later, shaping and distorting discourse on social, political and civil rights?  We also consider countervailing trends.  What spaces remained in the empires that governed pre-WWI Central Europe for a-national and non-national identities? How did nationalism clash or conspire with other reigning ideologies, for example socialism, or the regions' major religions? 

In the post-WWI period brand new would-be nation states endeavored to count and make national subjects and to improve the national body through eugenics; in some places the measures extended to the extremes of fascism.  The Second World War witnessed efforts led by Nazi Germany – but aped by allies like Romania and Croatia – to purify nations through ethnic cleansing and genocide; yet after World War II socialist states continued the process of ethnic homogenization.  The question in both cases is why.  Yugoslavia seemed distinct, remaining multiethnic until its bloody dissolution in the early 1990s. Again we confront the overlap but also tension between the social and national. The course concludes with post-communist Europe, where much of the region, though entering pan-European organizations, still argues for national distinctiveness.  "Europe" can even serve as a vehicle for assertion of national rights.

Readings include classic and recent scholarship, spiced with memoirs and essays. Students have to submit weekly critical responses to readings but are encouraged to identify and begin their own research on topics related to the course.

John Connelly
2303 Dwinelle
Th 2-4
Class #: 16260
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.

Ron Hendel
John M. Efron
3104 Dwinelle
T 2-4
Class #: 33611 (280) and 16302 (285)
280B/285B: Accusing the Self: Historical Credibility of Self-Accusatory Practices

The members of the seminar will try to come to terms with the historical validity of narratives, confessions, and biographies of the accused produces under duress. The class will analyze both police, and court documents, censored diaries, pseudo-autobiographies, but also attempts that try to interpret, make use and sense of the confessions and the self-accusations. The majority of the documents come from secret police archives of the Cold War, while the theories discussed range from theological tracts and philosophical explanations to historiographical and literary analysis. As Arthur Koestler wrote in his autobiography, reflecting on Darkness at Noon: “To the Western mind, unacquainted with system and the rules, the confessions in the Trials appeared as one of the great enigmas of our time”. Besides archival documents and theoretical works, members of the class will analyze documentary and experimental films; documents and reflections on forced self-accusation. The seminar probes the limits of making good use of fabrications in historical analysis. Members of the class are expected to write one-page positional papers for the classes, and produce a short research paper – experimenting with theories and methodologies discussed in class – by the end of the semester.

Thomas W. Laqueur, Istvan Rev
2303 Dwinelle
M 2-4
Class #: 33606 (280) and 16301 (285)
280D.001: Adv Studies-U.S. Kerwin L. Klein
3205 Dwinelle
M 2-4
Class #: 16271
280D.002: The Historiography of American Foreign Relations

This course is a reading seminar in the history of the United States and the World, focused on the making of U.S. foreign policy and the exercise of American power in the world. It focuses for the most part on the history of the twentieth century, although particular readings delve into the nineteenth-century origins and foundations of U.S. power in the twentieth-century world.

Daniel Sargent
2303 Dwinelle
T 12-2
Class #: 16272
280D.003: Political Economy in the United States

This course will examine recent literature about U.S. political economy, institutions, and the business and labor history now often treated under the rubric “history of capitalism,” with its links between politics, economics, and culture.  One point of this seminar is to flesh out the abstract mouthful of the previous sentence with readings that exemplify the trend.  The other is to equip students with a secure grounding in the history itself.  Starting in the early republic and ending in the mid-20th century will have a whirlwind effect, but the point is to read the best books about the most important subjects, including work by Sven Beckert, Stephen Mihm, Alexandra Harmon, Richard Bensel, Theda Scocpol, Ira Katznelson, Meg Jacobs, David Freund, Jeff Cowie, Kim Phillips-Fein, and others.  Students should emerge from all this with views about the present state of and future directions for the field -- in addition to a deeper understanding of how the U.S. grew from a small country dependent on slave-based agriculture into the military-industrial-cultural superpower.

Robin L. Einhorn
3205 Dwinelle
W 2-4
Class #: 33817
280E.001: Recent Works on Modern Mexico

This class covers the period from Mexico's independence wars in 1810 to the 1980s, with some emphasis on the theme of different kinds of "modernizations." What were "modern" politics in 1810? 1856? 1910? 1980? What about "modern" economies or "modern" gender relationships? What was "modern" Catholicism? How did advocates of these kinds of modernizations operate in the political arena? The common reading consists mostly of relatively recently-published books or articles that represent current historical approaches. The common readings will be in English; readings in Spanish are suggested but optional. Each week the professor will pontificate for 15-20 minutes at the beginning of the class on the general historiographical context into which the week’s readings fit, that is to say, classic works from the nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth centuries, plus books from the. Also, each week one or two students, depending on the number of students in the class, will present 2-3 books or articles that supplement the assigned books. They will also lead the discussion that week. Each students will present/lead twice in the course of the semester. Writing assignments are minimal: two 7-10 page review essays, based on the readings that students presented in the weeks they led the discussion plus possibly one or two other titles, to be determined in consultation with the professor.

Margaret Chowning
2303 Dwinelle
Tu 4-6
Class #: 16277
280F.002: Readings in Vietnamese History and Historiography

This course introduces graduate students to the most important works, scholars and debates in the Western-language field of Vietnamese History.  While we will devote most of our attention to the modern era (late 18th century to the present) several sessions on pre-modern history will explore the significance of Confucianism and regionalism in early Vietnam and the development over time of Sino-Vietnamese relations and a distinctive Vietnamese political culture.  Study of the modern era commences with the Tay Son Rebellion, the rise of the Nguyen Dynasty and the challenge posed by French imperialism.  The course pays substantial attention to key historical developments during the era of French rule (1862-1945) including the origins of the colonial state and colonial capitalism and the modernization and globalization of Vietnamese politics, society, culture, religion and gender relations.  Special emphasis will be given to the rise of new political movements such as nationalism, communism and republicanism during the late colonial era (1925-1940). The final section of the course will focus on the massive changes ushered in by WWII, the preliminary dynamics of decolonization, and the history of the the First Indochina War (1945-1954).  We will conclude with a brief consideration of the circumstances and conditions that gave rise to the outbreak of the Second Indochina War (1954-1975).   In addition to specialized monographs and research articles, readings will include some recent textbook accounts of Vietnamese history and some historically important works of literature.   

Peter B. Zinoman
3205 Dwinelle
T 12-2
Class #: 16279
280F/285F: China

The graduate seminar (offered at the two levels) discusses the research tools and methods needed to undertake advanced work in primary materials. The seminar is housed in the library, because Web resources, while ever improving, still do not suffice to study China before 1911. Thus the course provides a systematic and hands-on introduction to the available print and electronic resources. Students will also learn a bit about the history of Chinese bibliography and "Sinology." They will be encouraged to consider what research questions the available materials facilitate, and what questions remain relatively unexplored and why.

Michael Nylan
3212 Dwinelle & the Library
W 4-6
Class #: 32243 (280) and 33857 (285)
280G.001: Late Imperial and Modern China: Research Seminar on Historical Documents

This seminar offers an overview of selected types of historical documents foundational to research projects in late imperial and modern Chinese history. It also pays attention to those institutions that produced and archived these materials. Included among the topics will be studies of palace memorials, local gazetteers, county archives, Republican municipal archives, official chronological compilations (shilu, shilue), Qing bibliographies, and Nationalist Party materials.  Students are expected to make regular library visits and to familiarize themselves with database collections.  Class assignments will include bibliographical essays and translation exercises. The term paper may be either an essay on a topic of the student’s choice that identifies sources and bibliographies in preparation for a research paper, or a critical evaluation of a historical genre as a source for research.

Proficiency in Chinese is required for participation in this seminar.

Wen-hsin Yeh
341 Starr Library
F 1-4
Class #: 16283
280G/285F: Japan

This course, a joint 280G/285F seminar, will be concerned with the writing of history in Japan, and (mainly) of Japan, from the late Tokugawa era onward.  Most readings will be in Japanese.  They will consist of essays or extracts from longer works that have played a role in setting the course of Japanese historiography in their own time and since, supplemented by important secondary materials. 

Students taking the course as a 280G will be expected to read and discuss the assigned works on a weekly basis throughout the term, and will be asked to prepare short annotated translations of selected materials.  For their final papers, 280G students may write an essay comparing different styles of Japanese historiography or prepare a full, annotated translation of one of the course readings. 

Students taking the course as a 285F will be expected to participate fully in the first six weeks of common reading and discussion before embarking on their individual research projects.  Thereafter, they will be asked to report to the larger group on their progress and share drafts as they write.

Andrew E. Barshay
2303 Dwinelle
W 2-4
Class #: 33721 (280) and 16317 (285)
280H.001: Topics in African History

This is a survey seminar that introduces students to key themes and literature of the Africa field from the precolonial to the postcolonial periods. Based on classic and newly published readings augmented by primary sources, the seminar explores a broad selection of topics including, but not limited to: sources and methods of historical research; precolonial state formation and African political systems; precolonial and colonial economies( labor, infrastructure, production, commercial networks and capitalism); religion (Islam, African Traditional Religions, and Christian missions); race and empire; colonial law and customary authority; Africa and the World Wars; colonial science, health and medicine; women, gender and sexuality; society, culture and social change; environmental landscapes ; decolonization, the  cold war and end of empire; state, democracy and civil wars; Africa, globalization and neocolonialism.

Tabitha Kanogo
2303 Dwinelle
Th 12-2
Class #: 16284
280U.001: Comparative Vantages on "Early Modernity"

Anchored by the experience of Japan but broadly oriented to developments in North America and Western Europe, this seminar will explore defining features of early modernity. Topics include state formation and the law; military power; urbanization; international trade and the penetration of the market; commercial publishing and education; demography and the family; material culture and consumption; art and erotica. Regular visits by faculty colleagues in the department and elsewhere will be arranged. Weekly reading responses and one essay of fifteen to twenty pages. No prerequisites. All welcome.

Mary Elizabeth Berry
3205 Dwinelle
W 10-12
Class #: 16289
283.001: Historical Method and Theory Kerwin L. Klein
3205 Dwinelle
M 2-5
Class #: 16297
285A.001: Res Sem--Ancient Carlos F. Noreña
2231 Dwinelle
Th 2-4
Class #: 16299
285B.004: Research Topics in Soviet History

Several class meetings devoted to discussions of possible topics, bibliographies, and outlines followed by individual meetings with instructor and general discussions of final drafts. Knowledge of Russian is preferred but not required.

Yuri Slezkine
3205 Dwinelle
W 4-6
Class #: 16303
285D.001: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in America

This research seminar is ideal for students who want to develop and write an original research paper that may form the basis of a dissertation chapter or a publishable quality essay on the subjects of race, gender, and/or sexuality in America.

We will spend the first few weeks of class reading, discussing, and analyzing a series of exemplary readings, which focus upon race, gender, and/or sexuality in America. We will meet sporadically thereafter for the purpose of discussing your progress and workshopping and offering feedback on your essay drafts. We will also meet with the librarian to help you identify sources and familiarize yourself with the library’s many resources which may prove useful for your projects. In the final class session, seminarians will deliver oral presentations based on their final projects.

Possible research topics could include but are not limited to:

  • The development of and challenges to racial categories
  • Evolving responses to interracial sex and relationships
  • Racial and sexual violence
  • Past and present waves of immigration and shifting conceptions of race
  • The history of racial passing
  • The history of whiteness
  • The pathologization of sexual difference
  • The parallels between liberation movements of racial and sexual minorities
  • Transgender Liberation Movement(s)
  • Racial and gendered implications of “Stop and Frisk” and “Stand Your Ground” laws
  • Racial and sexual minorities and the carceral state
Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers
2303 Dwinelle
Th 4-6
Class #: 16309
285E.001: Latin America

(Note: there is no specific description intended for this course.)

Margaret Chowning
3205 Dwinelle
Th 12-2
Class #: 33311
285S.001: Science, Technology, Environment, and Time

This is a project-based research practicum for graduate students who want hands-on supervised experience working out answers to two general sorts of questions about science (including social science), technology, and the environment in relation to time:

  • What were things like in the past?
  • How do things change over time?

Historians have developed a collection of strategies for tackling these non-trivial questions. We will play them out in relation to individual research challenges around science (broadly understood), technology, and the environment since the late 18th century, each of which domains raises its own questions about time. The approach to temporality in this seminar will be historical, but in a broad-minded way that should be accessible to students in disciplines outside history who are willing to put in the time to learn about how practicing historians work. Questions anchored in the present with a historical or temporal aspect are fair game.

Our approach will balance individual and collective work. Each seminar participant will work on a research problem or project from their own area, in the company of others, sharing experiences and reflections. (I will be doing the same thing.) Students are encouraged to bring in methodological issues (especially around time) appropriate to their own field of research. The classical form of output will be a seminar paper of 30 to 50 pages, prototyping an academic journal article. Other forms of output can be negotiated: a digital humanities project, a briefing memo, etc. Prospective students with questions are welcome to contact the instructor (clcarson(at) after Nov. 15.

Cathryn Carson
2303 Dwinelle
Th 10-12
Class #: 16323
285U: Digital Approaches to History

Digital Approaches to History. This seminar will explore digital approaches to history, with an emphasis on application. Rather than learning how to use technologies, we will focus on gaining an awareness of what technologies and digital methodologies are available and how these technologies and methodologies have helped historians solve specific historical questions. There will be no assigned weekly readings. However, each week, one or two students will present a book (or set of articles or project) that makes interesting use of digital tools to resolve a historical problem; we will then discuss together the possible portability of the tools to other fields and other questions. Over the course of the semester, each student will be responsible for one or two presentations, as well as a substantial seminar paper.

Nicolas Tackett
104 Dwinelle
W 10-12
Class #: 33819
290.001: Historical Colloquium: History of Science

This is a 1-credit S/U graduate course in history of science, accompanying the history of science colloquium and the activities of the working groups. It meets on Thursday, 4-6 pm (see the calendar on the CSTMS website). Meetings consist of: invited lecture on special topics, followed by an extended session of questions and answers; informal discussions over the work of affiliated scholars; and roundtable sessions on broader methodological issues in the history of science and technology. The course brings you up to the research front in these topics, interacting with historians on subjects that currently engage their scholarship. Attendance is compulsory.

Massimo Mazzotti
470 Stephens
Th 4-6
Class #: 33615
C251.001: Science and Technology Studies Research Seminar

This course will cover methods and approaches for students considering professionalizing in the field of science and Technology Studies, including a chance for students to workshop written work. Special attention will be paid to communicating across multiple science studies disciplines. Also listed as ESPM C273, Anthropology C273, and STS C250.

Rodolfo John Alaniz
112 Hilgard
W 9-11
Class #: 16244