Fall Semester 2008

Graduate Course Descriptions

History 83000
The Historian’s Craft
W 4:00 – 6:30
Course Reference Number: 10241

This colloquium introduces graduate students to the discipline of History in several ways. We will read and discuss some classic historical texts. To get a sense of current historical practices and historiographical issues across a range of subfields and subdisciplines, we will also analyze some prize-winning articles from the last decade or so. Students will get a chance to develop their own historical skills through a series of assignments designed to reproduce some of the key components of a historian's work: identifying research topics and questions; locating and interpreting sources; making arguments and substantiating them with evidence; assessing and reviewing the scholarship of others; situating oneself in a historiographical landscape; and giving and responding to feedback on works in progress.

History 83002
The Historical Profession
T 8:00 – 9:15
Course Reference Number: 11500

This seminar serves as an introduction to balancing the range of professional commitments pursuant to a career as an academic historian. Topics will vary from semester to semester, but some of those covered include research, teaching, administrative responsibilities, classroom and student problems, conduct, publication, seeking employment, career alternatives, and time management. All second-year graduate students in history are required to pass this course in the fall semester as they become teaching assistants. Attendance, preparation, and participation are required.

History 83200
Introduction to Medieval Studies I
M 5:00 – 5:50
Course Reference Number: 14192
1 credit hour course

Led by Thomas Noble, and members of the medieval studies faculty, HIST 83200/MI 60001 is a systematic introduction to the sources, research tools, and methodologies for medieval studies in the widest possible sense of the term. The course is offered on a non-graded basis but active participation in the hour-long weekly sessions is expected.

History 83201
Proseminar 1: Early Middle Ages
M 2:00 – 4:30
Course Reference Number: 18130

This course is designed to introduce students to major historiographical issues and interpreters for the years between 450 and 1000. Students will learn to read critically, and must be prepared to write short summaries and discuss intelligently each week. The course will begin with the question of Late Antiquity as a distinct historical era, examine the Merovingian and Carolingian kingdoms, and end with the state of Europe in the year 1000.

History 83604
Colloquium: US History since 1890
MCGREEVY F 1:30 – 4:00
Course Reference Number: 18131

The colloquium is an intensive survey of recent historical writing on the United States from the late nineteenth century forward. Topics will include the new global history, Progressive reform, gender and the early 20th century State, the culture of consumption, the new environmental history, the meaning of bohemia, the character of New Deal liberalism, the origins of the cold war and the shifting nature of American race relations.

History 83902
Latin America in the Era of Independence
T 2:00 – 4:30
Course Reference Number: 18134

This course is an introduction for graduate students to the history and historiography of Latin America from the mature colonial period (18th century) through independence. Topics may include: colonial institutions, slavery and emancipation, race and gender, popular rebellions, liberalism, and nation-building.

History 83975
The History of Science, Technology & Medicine to 1750
MW 9:30 – 10:45
Course Reference Number: 18338

This course initiates a two-semester survey of the main events in the history of natural philosophy, technology and medicine from Greek antiquity to the early Enlightenment. The course is intended as an exposure to main currents in scholarship, to a wide variety of primary sources, and will allow students to do bibliographic work in an area of interest. Course requirements will include examinations, presentations and reviews, and an extended bibliographic essay, though these may be modified for students of advanced standing who wish to use the course for other purposes. The course is required for HPS graduate students. Interested graduate students in History, Philosophy, and the sciences or engineering are encouraged to contact the instructor.

History 93355
The Renaissance: Society, Culture, Ideas
W 1:00 – 3:30
Course Reference Number: 18127

This course surveys the intellectual, cultural, social, and political history of the Italian peninsula in the period known as the Renaissance (ca 1300-1550). Proceeding chronologically, the course will use primary source material as well as important works of modern historiography to investigate particular topics, including the economic and political development of the late medieval city-state; the revival of classical learning; the "rebirth" of the figurative arts; the growth of new social orders, identities, and customs against a backdrop of enduring medieval traditions; and specific case studies of popular upheaval, religious devotion; political revolution, and intellectual crisis. Throughout, emphasis will fall on the Renaissance as an urban phenomenon, with case studies investigating the Renaissance city as a site for economic growth, political agitation, cultural creativity, intellectual ferment, historical commemoration, and popular debate. Students will write weekly responses to readings in addition to one long research paper or three shorter historiographical essays.

History 93412
Political Ideologies in Europe since 1789
M 1:00 – 3:30
Course Reference Number: 18129

Taking 1789 as its base-line and understanding the French Revolution as seminal in shaping modern European political ideologies this course falls into three parts:

  1. Methodologies and concepts
  2. Classic texts
  3. Case-studies

Part one consists of an introduction to the study of political thought/ideas; examines key concepts such as 'ideology', 'sovereignty', 'democracy' and 'freedom'; and investigates canonicity - or the 'Great Books' tradition - and the new, more pluralistic, 'political languages', approaches which emerged from the late 1950s. Part two looks at the major strands of European political thought as represented by major books: Conservatism, (Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France); Republicanism (Tom Paine, The Rights of Man); Socialism/Communism (Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto); Liberalism (John Stuart Mill, On Liberty) and Nationalism (extracts from Renan, Mazzini, Barker). The discussion concludes with consideration of the 'end of ideology' in the 1950s. Part three is student-led, each seminar participant presenting a work-in-progress paper on a topic of interest or relevance to her research and expertise.

History 93617
American Religious History in World Perspective
M 4:00 – 6:30
Course Reference Number: 18132

This seminar features careful reading and critical analysis of books (and some articles) that link important developments in American religious history to developments outside the United States. Most of the books offer major interpretations of American events or circumstances, as such, but they will all also be keyed in some way to the broader world. Titles studied will include works like Stephen Foster, The Long Argument: English Puritanism and the Shaping of New England Culture, 1570-1700; Richard Carwardine, Transatlantic Revivalism: Popular Evangelicalism in Britain and American, 1790-1865; Peter R. D'Agostino, Rome in America: Transnational Catholic Ideology from the Risorgimento to Fascism; Gastón Espinosa, Virgilio Elizondo, and Jesse Miranda, eds., Latino Religions and Civic Activism in the United States (though final selection of texts will depend in some measure on the interest of students in the class). For at least a couple of weeks during the semester, reading assignments will include works on American religion that originate from outside of the United States, which students will be encouraged to read in the original languages (for those weeks, students will have individual assignments tailored to their specific interests and linguistic abilities). Students will be asked to prepare brief written reviews of weekly assignments. Longer writing assignments may include a research paper related to the themes of the course, or a major historiographical discussion.

History 93656
Topics in British & American Intellectual History
R 2:00 – 4:30
Course Reference Number: 18135

Readings in selected topics in British-American intellectual history from the later seventeenth century to the early twentieth. ‘British-American intellectual history,’ as used here, comprises discourses common to Britain and anglophone North America. This concentration does not preclude occasional French or German voices. Subjects might include sensationalist psychology, Newtonian physics, republicanism, Scottish common-sense philosophy, evangelical reform movements, political economy, Romantic metaphysics, feminism, Darwinian biology, religious unbelief, quantum mechanics, and ‘mass culture.’ But ‘British-American intellectual history’ excludes topics widely discussed only on one side of the Atlantic: a policy that eliminates important regional cultures (notably the American South, Ireland, and Scotland except as participants in larger discourses) and major topics (such as African-American nationalism, Benthamite utilitarianism except as refracted through J. S. Mill, and philosophic pragmatism). We will focus on problems that were nodes of change rather than attempt an even-handed survey, impossible anyway in one semester. Besides discussion of common assigned readings, the work of the course will include papers, the character of which can vary with student needs, including the possibility of writing a seminar paper in either British or American intellectual history or both.

History 93984
The Darwinian Revolution
TR 9:30 – 10:45
Course Reference Number: 18342

This course will be an graduate level survey of the history of evolutionary biology, with particular focus on the work of Charles Darwin. This course is intended to lead in to a series of courses in Theology, HPS, Philosophy, and STV, and other campus commemorations that will be scheduled in commemoration of the bicentenary of Darwin's birth in February of 1809 and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species in 1859. Of particular focus in this course will be the origins, background, content, and reception of Darwin's theory of evolution. The intention will be to gain a comprehensive view of Darwin's work and its place in intellectual and scientific history.
Advanced graduate students in the HPS program will be expected to complete a take-home midterm, and write a research paper and complete a final. First year HPS students and students from other departments will be asked to complete two take-home midterms and a final. Auditors are welcome, but must register for the course and are expected to attend regularly. Student presentations will help introduce some of the materials.