Graduate Courses


* Please be aware that seminar offerings can change at any time up to the start of the term.

Fall 2017
275B.001: The Long Nineteenth Century

This seminar introduces students to the historiography of the “long” nineteenth century, from 1789 to 1914. We will read classics that have shaped the field, as well as scholarship that reflects recent trends. Major themes will include the rise of the modern state; the rise of nationalism; impact of revolution and war; and the tensions surrounding religious confession and secularization. Students will be asked to write weekly papers in response to the readings, no more than two pages in length, with a short synthetic essay at semester’s end. Please read the following three books prior to our first session: Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Revolution, 1789-1848 (1962, 1996); Eric Hobsbawm, Age of Capital, 1848-187 (1975. 1996); Eric Hobsbawm, Age of Empire, 1875-1914 (1987, 1989).

Victoria Frede
2303 Dwinelle
Tu 3-5
Class #: 46958
275B.002: Medieval Europe

The Middle Ages: An introduction to the history and historiography of Europe and the Mediterranean c. 300 – c,1500, emphasizing broad patterns of change and key interpretive debates. Themes include the end of the ancient world and the character of early medieval societies; political transformations east and west over the central Middle Ages; economic expansion and urban development; changes in ecclesiastical institutions and religious cultures. Students should expect to read and analyze c. 500 pages of monographic scholarship per week, preparing cogent notes and argument summaries. Requirements also include active, critical, and courteous participation in discussion; several presentations across the term; and two short essays akin to those expected of medieval history students in their third-semester screening examination.

Maureen C. Miller
2303 Dwinelle
W 2-4
Class #: 46959
275D.001: Introduction to North American Historiography

A rapid immersion class, this is the orientation course for entering graduate students intending to study the history of North America, whether as a first or second field, including Global History. Graduate students from all fields are welcome. A reading intensive class, 275D surveys the historiography of most of the key fields of North American History and introduces students to Berkeley’s North Americanist faculty, each of whom will visit the class for a face-to-face discussion of their work and respective subfield/s of research. In preparation, students will read a mix of classic and leading edge texts with a view to orienting themselves in the various historiographies. These include the Atlantic World, the History of Slavery, the History of Capitalism, and Legal, Cultural, African American, Borderlands, Gender and Sexuality, Civil Rights, and International History. As well as reading widely in the North American field, students will have the opportunity to dig more deeply into two subfields or literatures of their choice through their written work and in-class presentations.

Rebecca M. McLennan
2303 Dwinelle
W 10-1
Class #: 14885
280A.001: Ancient History
Claudian, the poet and “political consultant” for the emperors Theodosius and Honorius and their most important military leader Stilicho, wrote some of the most impressive passages on barbarians, eunuchs, and the relations between the Eastern and Western parts of the later Roman empire. 
What did it mean to be Roman? What to make of military leaders such as Gildo, Stilicho, or Rufinus? What should one think of a Roman consul, who was made into a eunuch as a child and hence had been a slave? 
We will read a good number of Claudian’s texts in their context, namely the so-called barbarian migrations, and then compare them to the writings of Prudentius, another late Roman author who grappled with the meaning of being Roman at a time of ideological change (i.e. the Christian Theodosian age), always with a view toward recent scholarship on the fall of the Roman empire and its gendered nature.
Requirements include an in class presentation, a book report, and a final research paper. 
Susanna Elm
3205 Dwinelle
Th 12-2
Class #: 14986
280B.002: Advanced Studies - Byzantine
This seminar offers a general introduction to Byzantine studies and an investigation of special topics within the discipline. Weeks1-9 cover the period from the 7th until the 15th centuries in chronological sequence.  Students will be expected to become familiar with the sequence of events in Byzantine history and think about particular problems that modern historians face in their attempt to study and interpret these events. Weeks 10-15 will be dedicated to particular aspects of Byzantine studies: the survival of Byzantine culture after the political end of the empire in 1453; Byzantium and the Slavs; Byzantine economy; Byzantine learned and vernacular literature; Byzantine epic poetry and the expression of collective identity, in the Middle Ages and now; the study of Byzantine art; Byzantine studies as a modern discipline. Students taking this seminar as 285 will be required to identify a research topic early in the semester, on which they will present a research report and produce a final paper.
Maria Mavroudi
2231 Dwinelle
Tu 3-6
Class #: 14967
280B/285B.001: What was Enlightenment?

For 280B, please use Class Number 22740. For 285B, please use Class Number 14926. In its ten pages, Immanuel Kant’s 1784 essay “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment” built a startlingly durable framework for thinking about the meaning of the eighteenth century. This class will investigate its key-terms – reason, the public, the state, religion, freedom, machines, mankind, human nature, progress – to reassess what Enlightenment was, both for Kant and for those who saw themselves involved in its intellectual, political, and religious projects. Readings for the course will include key authors like Spinoza, Diderot, Rousseau, and Kant, a wide range of contextual studies of eighteenth-century political and intellectual history, and a few influential contemporary perspectives on the still exigent question: what is Enlightenment?

Jonathan Sheehan
2303 Dwinelle
M 10-12
Class #: See Course Description
280B/285B.003: Early Modern Britain

For 280B, please use Class Number 46957. For 285B, please use Class Number 22753. 

Ethan H. Shagan
2231 Dwinelle
W 2-4
Class #: See Course Description
280D.001: Advanced Studies - U.S.

This reading seminar focuses on major issues in American colonial and revolutionary history.  We will read a combination of classic works in this very rich and distinguished scholarly field, paired with recent scholarship addressing some of its timeless subjects in new and innovative ways.  Many of the readings will be grouped around issues under the broad umbrella of political economy, but as we move through the course there will be plenty of room to explore the ways other topics, such as religion and culture, sex and gender, race and ethnicity, war and violence, science and intellectual history, are woven into the fabric of early American history.  Assignments include frequent brief response papers, occasional classroom presentations, and an end of semester review essay, that will be worked through several drafts.

Mark A. Peterson
2231 Dwinelle
W 9-12
Class #: 14858
280D.002: The History of International Relations

World politics are different. What distinguishes international relations from other arenas of politics is the predicament of anarchy. In the absence of constituted, central authority—a world-state, that is—nation-states and non-state actors alike must define the terms of their interactions. It does not follow, however, that the basic predicament of international politics always and invariably produces a brutal struggle for advantage and even survival. Under some historical circumstances, international actors have fabricated systems of order—rules and institutions—to govern their interactions, achieving a modicum of order. This seminar will introduce students to international relations from a historical perspective. When did international relations originate? How have the scope, nature, and functioning of the international system changed over time? How has the international system been reordered as a result of great power transition and systemic war? What, reasoning from history, might we adjudge to be the prospects for international order in our times. These are the core questions that students will be asked to interrogate. Insofar as this is a reading seminar, students should expect a significant week-to-week reading load but will not be expected to produce an original research paper.

Daniel Sargent
3205 Dwinelle
W 12-2
Class #: 51906
280E.001: Modern Latin America: History and Historiography

This course will survey major trends in the literature on Latin American history and historiography since independence. Our readings and discussions will tackle the topics of revolution, nation-building, science and technology, gender and sexuality, race and citizenship, labor, commodities, political culture, Cold War politics, violence and memory. Assignments include weekly reading notes, two turns as presenter and discussion leader, and a final review paper on any topic in modern Latin American historiography.

Rebecca Herman
3104 Dwinelle
Th 1-3
Class #: 47036
280F.002: Vietnam War Controversies

This reading seminar examines contested issues in the history of the political and military conflicts that engulfed Vietnam and its neighbors (Laos and Cambodia) between 1946 and 1978. Early weeks will address the major interpretive approaches that dominate the study of these conflicts including the "orthodox" and "revisionist" schools. Subsequent weeks will address discrete issues in the field that have generated conflicting interpretations: the outbreak of the First Indochina War (1946-1954), the meaning of the Geneva Accords, the character of the northern Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the southern Republic of Vietnam, the origins of the southern insurgency and the National Liberation Front, the history of the American intervention, the role of domestic politics in shaping military strategy, the problem of violence towards civilians and the dynamics of the conflict in Laos and Cambodia. Students are expected to produce short weekly “response papers,” participate actively in class discussions and introduce readings to the rest of the class through structured oral presentations. These brief reports should summarize and assess the central arguments or interpretive thrust of the weekly readings and raise questions for discussion. Because of the heavy reading load for the course no final paper is required. (The course can also be taken as a 285 with a different writing assignment).

Peter B. Zinoman
3205 Dwinelle
W 10-12
Class #: 22738
280F.003: Luoyang in Eastern Han

This course will focus on Zhangdi's reign in the Eastern Han capital of Luoyang, undertaking the sort of fine-grained research that went into Chang'an 26 BCE. The course reading will center on 3 topics: 1) urban form, 2) archaeology, 3) circumstances surrounding the composition of the Hanshu.

Michael Nylan
3205 Dwinelle
W 3-5
Class #: 22755
280F/285F.001: Subaltern Studies and Beyond: History and Historiography for Modern South Asia

For 280F, please use Class Number 14907. For 285F, please use Class Number 46960.

Subaltern Studies as a collective was brought together by Ranajit Guha in the late 1970s with the explicit aim of generating a new kind of history writing which would, in the immediate context of Indian nationalist history, put the peasant back into the narrative of a nationalist history s/he had actively produced. However, this proved no meagre task. Within India Subaltern Studies had to challenge not just bourgeois elite (and conventional) Indian nationalist historiography that focused on the great nationalist figures (Gandhi, Nehru) to the exclusion of all else, but also take on a dominant Marxist orthodoxy in India and its grip on rural and economic history. Outside India, Subaltern Studies located itself in opposition to the vastly influential Cambridge School that saw all of Indian nationalism as a “loaves and fish” contest for local power and patronage, as well as the hegemonic understanding within the professional world of the discipline of history, of both the concept of “history” and the concept of the “archive.” At the same time, Subaltern Studies borrowed a great deal from the critical scholarship that had emerged at the intersection of the disciplines of history and anthropology, in particular the work coming from the so-called Chicago School. Subaltern Studies brought together a group of scholars who combined theoretical acumen with interdisciplinary methodologies, borrowing from the work of social history, social anthropology, structuralism, linguistics and semiotics in particular.

Janaki Bakhle
3205 Dwinelle
Tu 12-2pm *new time
Class #: See Course Description
280H/285H.001: Decolonization and Nationalism in Post 1945 Africa

For 280H, please use Class Number 14903. For 285H, please use Class Number 14893.

The transfer of power from European colonizers to African leaders was a “tangled and controversial” process. In some colonies it was done in a precipitate manner while in others like Angola, Mozambique, Algeria, Namibia, Kenya and Guinea Bissau, decolonization was preceded by protracted armed struggles. This seminar will focus on the diverse dynamics which shaped the nationalist and decolonization processes. Differences in colonial systems, the nature of African political consciousness and mobilization, the role of the elite, peasantry, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, economic rationalization/ pragmatism, imperial revisionism and international pressure will be discussed in an effort to explain the diversity of trajectories that characterized the end of empire in Africa. A long paper (25-35 pages) and periodic oral presentations will be required. The seminar is also offered as a 285H. This option requires participation in the first six weeks of the seminar. For this group, the balance of the semester will be devoted to the preparation of their research paper whose final draft will be presented to the larger class.

Tabitha Kanogo
3205 Dwinelle
Tu 10-12
Class #: See Course Description
283.001: Becoming a Historian?

This class is not about the methods, theories or histories of the practices of historical research and writing.   It is instead a class about what is happening to the historical profession in the contemporary world, how the job market for historians is changing, and what may be required to secure future employment within and beyond the academy.  My aim is demystify the academy and the historical profession while encouraging deeper thinking about career diversity and development.  The mantra will be that everything you need to succeed in the academic job market will make you more employable beyond the academy.  As the focus of the 375 is on teaching this class will not discuss pedagogy.   There will be reading but not much. Most of our time will be spent addressing very practical questions like how you build a CV/Resume, attend conferences, teach in different environments, use social media, write grant proposals, publish blogs and articles, build digital and quantitative skills, and translate the skills of a historian in to prospecting for work beyond the academy.  It is an experimental class and I need your help in developing it. 

James Vernon
3104 Dwinelle
Tu 2-5
Class #: 14862
285D.001: Historical Ecologies: Research Workshop on Nature, Capitalism, and Law

This research workshop guides graduate students through the process of framing, researching, and writing an original, article-length paper in the field of environmental history, broadly construed. Students from all fields are welcome, but the workshop will be especially helpful for those working on topics that directly engage the historical relations among capitalism, law, and nature since 1492 and the Columbian Exchange. These include the changing place of non-human animals in society and the social imaginary; the rise and crisis of “cheap nature” and the distinctive modes of governance to which cheap nature gave rise; law’s role in naming, claiming, and ordering the natural world; anthropogenic environmental change; the advent of industrial, urban, and suburban ecosystems; the making, unmaking, and privatization of various commons; and the discursive (including legal but also literary, visual, and scientific) construction of distinctive spaces such as “the wilderness,” “the high seas,” “the hinterland,” and “the rust belt." For any topics or subfields in which I have limited or no expertise, I will consult with the relevant colleagues in History and other departments. The first two weeks of class will be devoted to reading articles on select themes in environmental history as a means of modeling a range (by no means exhaustive) of research and narrative strategies. We’ll then discuss how to refine your research topic and write a brief research prospectus. From there, class will be run as a workshop in which we’ll read and comment upon each other’s prospectuses and drafts.

Rebecca M. McLennan
3205 Dwinelle
M 2-4
Class #: 15011
290.001: History Colloquium

Colloquium on topics of current research.

Massimo Mazzotti
470 Stephens
Th 4-6
Class #: 14863
375.001: Teaching History

This class will introduce graduate students to a variety of techniques and theories used in teaching history at the university level. It will examine readings dealing with a range of classroom situations, opportunities, and challenges, with the goal of enabling future college teachers of history to understand the learning process of their students and to develop and improve their own teaching skills. The course will have two primary goals: (1) to train graduate students to work more effectively as graduate student instructors in history classes at Berkeley; and (2) to introduce students to techniques of designing and running their own classes that they will use when they become independent instructors and, ultimately, professors of history in their own right.

Mark Brilliant
3205 Dwinelle
M 10-12
Class #: 14937
C250.001: Introduction to Science and Technology Studies
This seminar is designed to provide a rigorous foundation in the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). We’ll discuss the emergence of major themes and issues in the field, and assess strengths and weaknesses of leading theories and research methodologies. We’ll explore the relationship between science, technology, culture, and politics through exemplary case-studies from different periods and contexts. Attention will focus on the tension between expertise and democracy, and on the ways in which new scientific and political futures are produced. The seminar will equip graduate students with theoretical and practical tools for analyzing complex problems at the science, technology, and
society interface. This reading seminar is a required core course for the Designated Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies (DE in STS).
Massimo Mazzotti
470 Stephens
Tu 4-6
Class #: 15163