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.

Spring 2013
275B.001: 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 writing per week, preparing cogent notes and argument summaries.  Requirements also include active, mature, and courteous participation in discussion; several presentations across the term; and two short essays akin to those expected of medieval history students in their screening examination.

Maureen C. Miller
M 10-12P
CCN: 39771
275F.001: Experience and Narrative in Modern Japanese History

This seminar will explore the “autobiography of Japanese society” in modern times: its documented experience or testimony of itself.  Readings will be drawn from literature, journalism and ethnography, complemented by key scholarly works and organized around a number of interlocking spheres: family/locality, self, city and country, state, and empire.  The period covered is roughly the seven decades from the Sino-Japanese War through to the early post-WWII era.  The writers to be read include Natsume Sōseki, Higuchi Ichiyō, Yokoyama Gennosuke, Nagatsuka Takashi, Ishikawa Tatsuzō, Yokomitsu Riichi, and Miyamoto Tsuneichi; the scholars include Ann Waswo, Maruyama Masao, Miriam Silverberg, Mark Driscoll, Sheldon Garon, Nimura Kazuo, and yours truly.

Students interested in enrolling are asked to contact Andrew Barshay ( prior to the beginning of the spring semester.

Andrew E. Barshay
M 10-12P
CCN: 39792
280/285B.001 : Early Modern European Empires
  • Note new room.
  • 280B.001 CCN: 39810
  • 285B.001 CCN: 39918

This course will focus on the rise of the new empires of early modern Europe in a comparative context. Empire studies have been flourishing in recent years, and this seminar will draw upon a range of historical literature on the Spanish, Dutch, British, and French empires. Besides exploring the thematic topography of the literature, we will also bring our collective analytical pressure to bear on the theoretical and methodological approaches of the different texts. As a workshop in comparative empire studies, we will be looking at the intellectual foundations of Renaissance imperialism in Italy and beyond, political practices, economic and military strategies, and cultural manifestations. Members of the seminar will be required to be active participants in weekly meetings, give occasional short presentations, and write a lengthy final paper. The course can be taken as either a 285 or 280.

Thomas James Dandelet
W 12-2P
280A/285A.001: The City of Rome: Topography and Urban History
  • 280A.001 CCN: 39804
  • 285A.001 CCN 39912

Modern scholarship on the city of Rome has tended to divorce its architectural and topographical history from the study of its political institutions and the social and economic history of the city's populace.  A central goal of this seminar is to combine analysis of these aspects of the city in a coherent and meaningful way.  To that end, we will approach the city of Rome from two different but interrelated perspectives.  First, we will consider the physical topography of the city.  Through close analysis of individual structures and monumental complexes we will consider the articulation of public space and the changing shape of Rome's cityscape and urban image.  Then we will examine a number of topics in the urban history of Rome, with a view to understanding the various processes that governed life in this ancient megalopolis, including the organization and practice of municipal government; the enforcing of public order; the provision and consumption of food, water, fuel, and craft goods; domestic life; labor, employment, and production; construction and demolition; immigration and emigration; health and mortality; religious practice; relations with the city’s proximate and extended hinterlands; the movement into and out of the city of people, animals, and things; the generation and flow of information; social ritual and public entertainment.  Theoretical and comparative readings will help to set our discussions in a broad interpretive context.  

Course is crosslisted with Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology 210.002 and Classics 270.  Students enrolling through history must take the course for four units and will be required to present two oral reports (c. 30 min.) and to write a seminar paper (15-25 pp.).
Ted Pena
Carlos F. Noreña
308C Doe Library
M 2-5P
280B.002: Revolutionary France 1770-1848

Traditionally, the French Revolution has been studied as the last chapter in the history of the "Old Regime." Since 1989 all this has changed. Revisionist historiography has given shape to a new unit of French history, "revolutionary France," spanning roughly from the Enlightenment through the Revolution of 1848. The purpose of this course is to give students an opportunity to develop foundational knowledge of this most turbulent of periods in French history. It will introduce participants to the major areas of research in this field--political history, social history, economic history, military history, race and colonialism, women's history, the history of religion and, not least, intellectual and cultural history. The aim is to achieve a solid understanding of the causes, course and consequences of the Revolution of 1789-99 and the successive regimes that followed: the Napoleonic empire, the Bourbon Restoration, and the Revolutions of 1830 and 1848. Not least, students will have an opportunity to engage with the major traditions of interpretation of the revolutionary era, both classical and contemporary. Reading knowledge of French is preferred, but not required.

Carla Hesse
M 12-2P
CCN: 39813
280B.003: Nations and Nationalism in Modern East Central Europe

This course surveys major questions and controversies in the history of the nation and nationalism in modern East Central Europe, from the mid-19th Century to the present.   After considering general background and some theoretical approaches to the subject, we move on to study the emergence of the idea of the nation, and then its translation into politically relevant movements, like sports clubs or national systems of education.  Yet we also consider countervailing trends.  What were the spaces in pre-WWI East Central Europe where a-national (nationally indifferent) identities could flourish? How did nationalism clash  or conspire with other reigning ideologies, for example socialism? 

In the post-WWI period of would-be nation states we consider efforts to improve the national body (eugenics), as well as discipline and modernize the nation through fascism.  The Second World War witnessed extreme efforts to purify the nation through ethnic cleansing and genocide; this agenda did not entirely disappear after 1945, and in fact in many ways socialist states continued the process of ethnic homogenization.  But Yugoslavia seemed distinct, remaining multiethnic until its bloody dissolution in the early 1990s. How did a functioning socialist state become a staging ground for ethnic cleansing?  We conclude with reflections on the national question in post-communist East Europe, a place where national boundaries are supposedly ever less relevant.

The course shows special concern for Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, but people with other regional interests more than welcome.   Students must complete weekly response papers and have the opportunity to write a longer paper if they choose.

John Connelly
W 2-4P
CCN: 39816
280B.004: Ancient Israel in the Modern European Imagination

This course sets out to explore the way Europeans from the 17th through the 19th centuries imagined and represented Biblical Israel.  Among the topics we will address are: Spinozasheresy, the Enlightenment Bible, the Great Powers in Jerusalem, the politics of archaeology, histories of Ancient Israel, Christian and Jewish representations of Jesus, Israelite-Sephardic authenticity and Masada and the Zionist imagination.

Ron Hendel
John M. Efron
Th 4-6P
280B.005: Introduction to Soviet Historiography
  • Note new room.

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

Yuri Slezkine
Tu 2-4P
CCN: 39822
280B/285B.006: Early Modern Eastern and East Central Europe

280B.006 CCN: 39825

285B.006 CCN: 39930

 The course will examine topics in the history of early modern Eastern and East Central Europe.  The main geographic areas of interest will be the Royal Prussian cities in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Lands in the Holy Roman Empire, and Muscovy.  The topics will include:  confessional and national identities, ecumenism, white magic and Rosicrucianism, Jews, Frankists, and Poles, early modern cartography, the Muscovite judicial system, and cities.  We will all read seven books on these topics, meeting every other week throughout the semester to discuss them.  Participants will be responsible for discussion and a 2- or 3-page response to the readings each week.

Those signed up for History 280 will choose—from a longer list provided by the instructor (or, in consultation with the instructor, they may choose some titles not on the list)—another four books to read and for which they are to submit 2- or 3-page reports Those signed up for History 285 will, instead, produce a final research paper on a topic chosen in consultation with the instructor.  Those signed up for Slavic 280 may choose either format.  All students are expected to make regular progress reports during at office hours during the semester.

This course is crosslisted with Slavic 280.001.

David Frick
Tu 12-2P
280D.001: Political Economy in the United States

The recent revival of interest in "political economy" as a historical lens (sometimes called "history of capitalism") promises to help U.S. historians to integrate the institutional turn's focus on government institutions with new attention to business history, labor history, and the 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, Liz Cohen, Theda Scocpol, Meg Jacobs, Jefferson Cowie, Kim Phillips-Fein, and, yes, 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 on the political-economic periphery and dependent on slave-based agriculture into the military-industrial superpower that set (or seemed remarkably widely to set) the international standard for freedom and opportunity.

Robin L. Einhorn
Th 12-2P
CCN: 39843
280D/285D.001: Colonial America and the Atlantic World to 1848

CCN for 280D.001: 39807 

CCN for 285D.001: 39903

This seminar offers graduate students in history and related fields the opportunity to explore original research and in-depth readings in current issues in this rapidly expanding scholarly field.  Potential topics include European colonization and conquest; indigenous peoples' histories and their entanglement with Europeans; the development of Atlantic world trade including the slave trade; the making of new American polities, economies, and the rise of capitalism; war and revolution; intellectual and cultural histories.  Students will be expected to produce a significant work of original scholarship, or a series of review essays, depending on whether the course is taken as a 285 or 280. 

Mark A. Peterson
W 12-2P
CCN: 39903
280F.001: Nationalism, Revolution and Reaction in Indonesia and Vietnam

This course compares approaches to the history of nationalism, revolution and counter-revolutionary reaction in the two largest and best-studied countries of Southeast Asia: Indonesia and Vietnam.   At the center of this comparative project is the fact that nationalist and communist movements emerged simultaneously in these two countries during the late colonial era and survived a common period of protracted Japanese occupation.  But they followed very different trajectories in the post-colonial era.  Following WWII, the Vietnamese communist movement dominated the nationalist movement and eventually seized control over the post-colonial state.  In post-WWII Indonesia, on the other hand, a nationalist movement centered on Sukarno controlled the post-colonial state while forging an alliance with the communist party.  Both the Sukarnoists and the communists were destroyed by reactionary factions within the Indonesian military after it seized power in 1965.

Along with these historical themes the course will address the impact, if any, of longue duree colonialism on modern political movements, the international and Cold War context of postcolonial state-building, and the historiographical implications of the triumph or destruction of communism as a viable political force.

Jeffrey Hadler
Peter B. Zinoman
M 2-5P
CCN: 39864
280F.002: Governing China in Late Imperial and Modern Times

With the fall of the Qing and the founding of the Republic in 1911, political arrangements in China underwent significant changes. The Qing Empire transformed into a Chinese Republic. The Chinese Republic contained frontiers and borderlands that defied the unifying and standardizing constructions of a Republican Chinese citizenship. Tension between the heartland and the frontier poses major challenges to 20th-century Chinese aspirations for the building of an integrated Chinese nation-state.
In this seminar we examine key issues in the governing of China in late imperial and modern times. We view governance practices as changing in different ways under
diverging circumstances. Readings will include foundational texts in the field. But the syllabus is designed to bring the class up to date with the most recent scholarships.
Students in this seminar are expected to take turns leading seminar discussions each week. Students should plan to submit, every other week, a three-page response paper based on seminar discussions and required readings. Final assignment for the course is a fifteenpage review essay on a topic of the student’s own choice that draws on at least five titles required in the syllabus.

A general familiarity (undergraduate upper-division level) with late imperial and modern Chinese history is a prerequisite.

Grade assignment for the semester will be calculated according to the following formula: attendance and seminar participations: 25%; response papers: 40%; final essay: 35%.

Wen-hsin Yeh
F 10-12P
280H.001: Africa in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

This seminar will examine major themes and historiographic debates in the history of Africa since 1800. Topics will include discussions of political, social and economic institutions of 19th century Africa; European scramble for colonies and the partition of Africa; Practices of colonial administration: Indirect rule and French Assimilation approaches; African negotiation of the colonial encounter; redefinitions of institutions and practices: religion, gender, work, culture, identity; health and medicine; colonial economies, apartheid; nationalism; the legacy of colonialism and reflections on post-colonial Africa. Course requirements include a book review, one oral presentation, and a research essay.

Tabitha Kanogo
Th 10-12P
CCN: 39882
280S.002: Enlightenment Science and Rationality
  • Note new room.

The Enlightenment is more than a name for the eighteenth century in Europe and in its colonial networks. The term has been used to refer to a more or less coherent set of values and beliefs, to a historical process whose moral and political legacy continues to be fiercely contested. This seminar explores the intersection of these two meanings of Enlightenment, through the lenses of the transformation of scientific practice and of the very notion of rationality during the long eighteenth century. We shall discuss key works in the historiography of the Enlightenment and the cultural history of science, following the demise of the ‘grand narrative’ and the many moves from the transcendent to the mundane: from the mind to the body, from humanity to society, from the universal to the local. Keeping our focus on the universality of modern science as a historical construction, we shall be able to address effectively a set of questions have been defining the modern world ever since, and especially the tension between universality and locality, artificial and natural, centers and peripheries.

Massimo Mazzotti
W 10-12
CCN: 39888
283: 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.

Stefan-Ludwig Hoffmann
F 12-2P
CCN: 39906
285B.002: Topics in Early Modern Europe

This research seminar invites graduate students in EME and associated fields to complete a major research paper on a topic of their choosing, ca. 1450-1800.  Run as a tutorial and a workshop, the seminar provides an occasion for students to advance their research on a topic already identified in earlier coursework.  The goal of the course is to allow students to develop a better understanding of sources, methodology, and approach that will lead to a fundable and important dissertation topic. (Students may also use the course to produce a publishable article based on their undergraduate theses).  The first part of the course will entail tutorial sessions with the instructor, and possibly some guest presentations.  In the second part of the course, students will workshop their drafts (and ideas) in collaborative and critical discussions.   All interested students should contact the instructor by December 1, 2012, with a short statement of research interests and relevant courses completed.  Preference will be given to History graduate students who have not yet completed their qualifying exams and in need of a 285 to fulfill departmental

Peter Sahlins
Tu 2-4P
CCN: 39921
285D.001: The Circle of "We" and Policy History in the United States Since Reconstruction

In this graduate seminar, students will research and write a paper on a policy-oriented attempt to expand (or contract) the "circle of 'we'" in United States history since Reconstruction. The "circle of 'we'" refers to just who exactly is constituted by the "we" in the United States Constitution's "We the people." In theory, the "we" upon whom the Constitution bestows "liberty" and "justice" – the full rights and privileges of citizenship – in the quest to "form a more perfect union" is not circumscribed. In practice, of course, the "circle of 'we'" has never been as inclusive as the pronoun implies. One of the major themes in U.S. history is the struggle of individuals representing groups of people (including, ethnoracial and religious minorities, women, gays and lesbians, the disabled, the poor, and even non-citizens residing in the U.S. or U.S. territories) to enter into the "circle of 'we'" and, in the process, expand its boundaries and redefine its content. The papers to be written in this graduate research seminar should explore some topic that comports with the theme of "the circle of 'we'" in U.S. history and the struggle to expand (or contract) it since Reconstruction. Moreover, they should do so through the lens of policy history. Policy history calls for the weaving together of essential elements of the more established sub-fields of social/cultural ("bottom up") and political/legal history ("top down"). As defined by one leading policy historian, “Policy history allows historians to incorporate a broader range of actors into narratives than previous generations of historians have been able to do. The tension between scholars who study elite politics and grassroots politics quickly dissipates when policy is made the center of inquiry. After all, public policies are crafted by government officials in alliance with, and in response to, other social and political actors. Federal, state, and local policies influence – and are shaped by – all types of social actors and institutions.” 

Mark Brilliant
Tu 10-12
CCN: 39942
285D.002: U.S. Cultural and Intellectual History: Global Contexts

In this course, students will explore the transnational and/or international dimensions of United States cultural and intellectual history. Among the topics that could be considered are the role of empire in shaping U.S. culture and institutions; the role of the United States in the formation of global cultural markets; the interaction of political, social, and intellectual movements across borders; efforts within the U.S. to build or resist regional and global organizations; institutional, political, and cultural differences within the United States that shaped attitudes and actions in other parts of the world; the relation of what Joseph Nye has called “soft power” to U.S. military and economic expansion.  The subject matter of the class is broad, and students are encouraged to bring a creative attitude to exploring the question of how international connections reflect and shape life at home.

Richard Cándida-Smith
F 2-4P
CCN: 39945
285D.003: America to 1900

This research seminar is for students working on all topics in American history prior to 1900. If you are unsure whether your project fits within these parameters, please see me. This is not a reading seminar and we won't be trying to cover or even survey the historiography of this long era. Instead we'll be dissecting exemplary articles; discussing critical elements of the historian's craft (formulating topics; mapping out research programs; situating one's work within the historiography; designing, writing, and re-writing article length essays; etc.), and making the leap from essay to dissertation/monograph. Most especially, the seminar will be devoted to the drafting, production, and refinement of your seminar papers.

Brian DeLay
Tu 4-6P
CCN: 39948
285U.001: Research Workshop with an Emphasis on Institutions of Culture and Structures of Cultural Exchange

This is a workshop course on cultural history. All are welcome. But I invite especially projects that examine the institutional infrastructure for the making, transformation, and exchange of knowledge,  art, technology, or ethical norms: printing and publishing; education; translation; travel; museums and concert halls; law and intellectual property, for example. I offer step-by- step guidance through the process of identifying, researching, and presenting the fruits of a manageable research project.  In the first few weeks we will concentrate on basic structural and esthetic choices: a first paragraph, a last paragraph, deciding on an audience and on a narrative voice. Later, the seminar will constitute itself as an editorial collective that will read rough drafts and suggest revisions aimed at making the paper acceptable to our imaginary “journal.” The aim is to have a draft of a publishable paper for a real journal by May. For those topics on which I can offer no expertise we will rely, as I have in the past in my 285s, on the expertise of colleagues in this and other departments.  Small grants-in-aid for research material will be available as needed.


Thomas W. Laqueur
W 10-12
CCN: 39984
296: Directed Dissertation Research Maureen C. Miller
CCN: 39993
298: Employment Credits Maureen C. Miller
CCN: 39996
601: Individual Study for Master's Exam Maureen C. Miller
CCN: 40092
602: Individual Study for Doctoral Students Maureen C. Miller
CCN: 40095