Fall 2022


HIST 83000 The Historian’s Craft – Alexander Martin

HIST 83000 The Historian’s Craft – Alexander Martin
This seminar introduces students to the theoretical and practical foundations of the discipline of history. Students read a broad range of scholarly writings, complete several written and oral assignments, and write a historiographic paper on a topic in their area of specialization. This course is required for all first-year students

HIST 83002 The Historical Profession – Alexander Martin

This seminar consists of occasional workshops to explore the range of challenges and opportunities facing academic historians in their career in graduate school and beyond. Topics will vary from semester to semester, but some of those covered include research, teaching, administrative responsibilities, publication, seeking employment, career alternatives, and time management. This course extends over two semesters and is required for all second-year students.

HIST 83005 Research, Writing, Publishing – Jon Coleman

In this seminar, required for second-year history graduate students, students will focus on three skills that are crucial for the professional historian: research, writing, and publishing. The class will center upon the research and writing of a publication-quality seminar paper (in consultation with a faculty adviser), and will be supplemented with the analysis of exemplary works in diverse genres and collaborative peer review.

HIST 83203 The Medieval Islamic World – Deborah Tor

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the major historiographical issues and modern scholarly interpretations of the medieval Islamic world, from the rise of Islam in the early 7th century until the Mongol conquests in the 13th. Such issues will include the rise of Islam and the official biography of the Prophet Muhammad; the early formation of the religion; the meaning and role of the Caliphate at different periods; the 'Abbasid Revolution; the respective role of the various ethnic groups, Arab, Persian and Turkish, in Islamic history; military slavery; the breakup of Islamic political unity and the rise of the autonomous Persianate dynasties; and the transition from Persian to Turkish political primary in the Seljuq period.

HIST 83270 Manuscript to Print - Daniel Hobbins, Margaret Meserve

Between 1200 and 1600, the worlds of European scholarship, politics, literature, and devotion were transformed by major developments in communications technology, from the invention of paper and the mass-production of manuscripts to the emergence of new formats like the pamphlet and broadside and the invention of printing with movable type. This course, co-taught by a medievalist and a Renaissance historian, will consider the technological and cultural developments of these centuries as a coherent whole, examining the emergence of new media and new modes of communication alongside related historical phenomena like the growth of cities and towns; the development of new institutions (the university, the chancery, the court); the revival of travel and new voyages of discovery; the growth of vernacular literatures and the revival of classical ones; advances in scientific knowledge; religious reform movements, and developments in warfare, diplomacy, and state formation. Key concerns will be the changes in written culture that preceded Gutenberg from the twelfth to fifteenth centuries; and the notion of a “printing revolution” and the evidence scholars use to argue both for and against such a model. Students will read both primary sources and secondary historiography, examine manuscripts and early printed objects in Rare Books and Special Collections, and pursue their own research. The course is open to graduate students in history, literature, and other fields focused on either the medieval or the early modern periods. Knowledge of Latin is helpful but not required.

HIST 83610 American Labor History – Daniel Graff

This graduate seminar explores the history of American work, workers, labor movements, and labor policies from the nation’s founding to the near present. It argues for the centrality of the Labor Question to the human experience: Who does the work? What are the terms? Who gets the fruits? Who makes the rules? The course adopts a chronological approach, probing continuities and changes in work at the levels of law, culture, and lived experience over two-plus centuries of US history. It also casts an expansive net in terms of workplaces: the focus will be on those who worked for others, whether that work was paid or unpaid; coerced, contracted, or consented to; or even considered work by contemporaries. Designed to introduce students to important questions and debates via classic and cutting-edge scholarship, the course aims to integrate labor history and historiography within the broader study of the American past, intersecting fields such as the history of capitalism, gender history, economic and social history, political history, religious history, and the histories of race and ethnicity.

HIST 83796 History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Since 1750 – Felipe Fernández-Armesto

The course will begin by reviewing the several distinct social contexts of late 18th century science, including its relations to technology and medicine. It will then trace the emergence of academic (or more properly, university-based) science, sanctioned by the state and characterized by the emergence of distinct professions, disciplines and/or ways of knowing in the 19th century. The second half of the course will be devoted to tracing these themes in the 20th century, giving particular attention to both theoretical transformations and to the relationships between scientific disciplines, between science and the state, and between science and technology. Assignments include review essays and a final exam. Graduate standing or permission of instructor required.

HIST 93030 Race and Gender in the Colonial Atlantic – Karen Graubart

This is an introduction for graduate students and advanced undergraduates to the study of race, gender, labor, sexuality, and other aspects of social history in the Iberian Atlantic world from 1492 to the early 19th century, with some comparison to the rest of the Atlantic. We will read classic and recent texts that explore the ways that conquest and colonization manifested, with special attention to Atlantic slavery, resistance, and interactions between native populations and European colonizers. We will also pay attention to new methods, including digital humanities and archival practices. Expectations include active participation in weekly seminar meetings, a variety of brief writing assignments, and a major paper that could be research- or analysis-based, on the student's topic of interest. Advanced undergraduates require instructor's permission and some background in the subject and historical methods.

HIST 93375 Religion, Law, and Secularization – Linda Przybyszewski

This course introduces graduate students to the major themes and historiographical questions of law, religion, and secularization with a focus on the United States in the context of the Modern North Atlantic World from the late 18th Century onward. Both religion and law have distinctive vocabularies, concepts, and traditions, and this course aims to examine and encourage historical writing that appreciates both fields equally. Readings will address the question of toleration and religious liberty in the British Empire, in the American colonies and the arguments over the historical significance and meaning of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution in order to make sense of the amendment’s invocation in later debates; the problem of evolving definitions of terms, such as religious and secular, public and private, and the significance of the rise of federal power and imperial power within US; the different paths the US and European nations took in regards to religious disestablishment. Students will read historical case studies that examine judicial decisions, statutory law, legal treatises, and institutional practices. Students will be asked to read, respond to, and discuss common texts weekly, but individual research interests will guide further readings and writing.

HIST 93978 Problems in the History of Health – Evan Ragland

This course has two main aims: to introduce all students to the discipline of the history of medicine, and to assist each student to develop research projects and skills. Historians of medicine address the “problems” of constructing rich cultural and social conceptions of illness that also embrace individuals' embodied experiences and the variations of health and disease. We will read classic and recent works in the history of medicine on a variety of topics, from the framing of disease and diagnosis, to biology and medicine, health and disease from the margins, professionalization, policy, and medicine in relation to the histories of science, religion, and other aspects of cultures. The major assignment for each student will be a project that serves the student's own research interests, and can take the form of the study of the history and historiography of a disease over time, a research paper, a detailed syllabus, an annotated bibliography, a short translation, or other similar construction that advances the student's interests and progress toward goals. Since this course serves students first, meeting times and places are also something we may discuss and modify to improve students’ learning experiences.

Cross-list Courses

HIST 93280 Latin West and Byzantine East – Yury Avvakumov

On the basis of the reading and discussion of primary sources, this course highlights the main events, personalities, and topics in the history of relations between the Papacy and the Byzantine Church in the Later Medieval and Early Modern periods. The course is organized around the pivotal dates that determined the development of relations and the theological encounter between the two sides: 1054—the so-called “Great Schism between East and West”; 1204—the conquest of Constantinople by the Crusaders and the establishment of the Latin Patriarchate of Constantinople; 1274—the Union signed at the Second Council of Lyons; 1439—the union at the Council of Florence; 1453—the fall of Constantinople and the complete reorganization of the Greek Church under Ottoman rule; 1517—the beginning of the Reformation and its impact on the relations between the Papacy and Eastern churches; 1596—the union of the Kyivan Church with Rome in Brest. The course will focus on the ecclesiological self-understanding of conflicting Churches and their respective perception of a theological and cultural “other.” Special emphasis will be placed upon the developments within Latin theology that were inspired by the encounter with the Byzantines (ecclesiology, sacramental and moral theology, canon law). Students will also be introduced to the influences of Latin, particularly scholastic, theology on Byzantine humanists and defenders of union in the 14th and 15th centuries.


Spring 2022


HIST 83002 The Historical Profession – Darren Dochuk

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.

HIST 83204 The Late Middle Ages – Dan Hobbins

“Any historical period called ‘late’ is headed for interpretive trouble, and one called ‘late medieval’ is probably doomed.” So John Van Engen began his reflections on the late medieval Church. The same historiographical problem appears in the title of an important article by Howard Kaminsky, “From Lateness to Waning to Crisis.” This class faces a great challenge: how to make sense of a period for which the master narrative of “lateness” is compounded by the lack of any compelling counter-narrative. The enduring influence of Johan Huizinga’s Autumn of the Middle Ages (available in a new English translation since 1996) is clear to anyone with a passing knowledge of the field. This course cannot supply a counter-narrative, but it will provide students with an overview of the major themes in late medieval history, and thus with the tools to reevaluate the master narrative of lateness and crisis for themselves. Practically, it can also serve as good preparation for a general field exam in late medieval history. The class requires a heavy reading load, and students should come prepared to discuss the readings. Beyond weekly reports, students will have two major assignments and several shorter papers. Assigned readings are in English, both books and articles. Of course, the reality is that the scholarship is deep in all of the major European languages, and the bibliography on many topics (e.g., the Black Death, the late medieval Church) almost impossibly large and ongoing.

HIST 83604 US History Since 1890 – Darren Dochuk 

The colloquium is an intensive survey of recent historical writing on the United States from the late nineteenth century forward. Topics will include 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. 

HIST 93220 The Pluralistic Middle Ages – Thomas Burman

This course will introduce students to a broad range of modern scholarship and medieval texts bearing on four aspects of Medieval European and Mediterranean cultural and intellectual history: 1) The movement of texts, ideas, and stories around the across religious, linguistic, and ethnic borders; 2) the role of frontier areas (Iberia, Asia Minor) in shaping and filtering those movements; 3) the cultivation across ethnic/religious/linguistic boundaries of a common (and self-conscious) European/Mediterranean cultural and intellectual tradition; and 4) the energetic, enduring practices (despite the three foregoing realities) of difference making that continued to divide people into distinct identities. Students will write a substantial primary-source/historiographic paper, as well as weekly blog posts.

HIST 93361 Empire and Borders – Rory Rapple

Across the modern world the frontiers of political states, marked out by borders, have been fixed by imperial powers through negotiation and coercion. The legacy of these borders remains of the utmost relevance although, until recently, many thought that globalization had reduced their significance. Nowadays the foreign policy commitments of Donald Trump, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union have all demonstrated the endurance of these borders, even in the Western ‘engine room’ of global capitalism. This should not surprise us. Much of the world has experienced political conflict stemming from border conflicts, forced partitions and the mismatch between ethnic population and modern state. This class seeks to scrutinize and explain the contexts that have brought us the interplay between the legacy of imperial power and modern borders in the Indian subcontinent, Africa, Ireland, the Balkans, Cyprus, Antarctica and the Middle East.

HIST 93375 War, Society, and the State – Ian Johnson

This course explores major historiographical debates in the field of military history, beginning with the early modern military revolution and the rise of the modern state, and concluding with sessions on the Vietnam War and late Cold War. Students will gain an understanding of the major debates that define the field of military history, as well as the broader category of war and society. Readings will include both traditional and new methodological approaches to the study of war. Graded assignments will include several historiographic review papers on areas of relevance to each student’s course of study, as well as a final research paper.

HIST 93601 The History of American Capitalism – Emily Remus

This graduate seminar explores the history of American capitalism, reaching from the colonial era to the late twentieth century. It focuses particularly on the social and cultural dimensions of capitalism as revealed through classic scholarship as well as cutting-edge contributions to the field. Although our primary focus will be on the American experience, we will take comparative glances to other nations and regions of the world. Over the course of the semester, we will consider how the development of capitalism shaped conceptions of selfhood, morality, citizenship, and freedom. We will also investigate how changes in market relations influenced human relationships and divisions of race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, and religion. The seminar highlights key turning points in American capitalist development: the market revolution and the spread of wage labor; the defeat of slavery; the rise of mass production and mass consumption; the emergence of corporate and managerial capitalism; deindustrialization and capital flight; the growth of the service economy; and globalization.

Cross-list Courses

HIST 93030 World Christianity: Historical and Theological Perspectives – Paul Kollman

This course explores the contours and implications of Christianity as a global reality. It will examine some of the rich explosion of scholarship that is now pouring forth on the recent and remarkable world-wide expansion of Christianity, while also putting such growth in a historical and theological perspective. The course readings will draw from fiction, theology, history, and the social sciences. In addition to sampling major general interpretations by scholars like Dana Robert, Mark Noll, Andrew Walls, and Lamin Sanneh, readings will concentrate on certain regions of startling change over the last century as well as places for which scholarship is burgeoning. Some of the course readings come from the standpoint of missionary activity, but more reflect new expressions of indigenous faith. Studies of Protestant, Catholic, and independent movements are included; readings come from a wide variety of Catholic, Protestant, and secular perspectives.

HIST 93264 Medieval Liturgies – Margot Fassler

The Medieval Christian Liturgy in the Latin West was a vast, multifaceted conglomeration that constantly shifted both in accordance with chronological developments and regional concerns. Although it was many things to many people, from those who knew it primarily through an oral tradition to those who were highly literate and were immersed in its production for hours a day, its power to shape the culture that sustained it was profound and absolute. The liturgy of the Latin West is related to and, of course, in many ways grows out of, liturgical practices that have their beginnings in Jerusalem in the 5th and 6th centuries. These traditions were formative in the Latin West, among the Greeks and Byzantine traditions, and then in the churches of the East. Our work will be to study the Roman rite in the period from the Carolingians forward, with an emphasis on the later Middle Ages. The seminar focuses on primary sources, liturgical books, both online and in special collections, and the tools needed to work with them and consult them for the particular disciplines of liturgical studies, the history of Christinity, medieval studies, paleography and codicology, medieval literature, biblical studies, sacred music, and art history.

HIST TBD Discourses on Modernity: From Reformation to the 20th Century – Ulrich Lehner

How did theologians wrestle with the manyfold challenges of modernity?

Texts from the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish tradition will be read.

Fall 2021


HIST 83000 The Historian’s Craft – Nikhil Menon

This seminar is designed to introduce students to theoretical and practical foundations of Historical Method. Students are required to complete several written and oral assignments and to write a short primary research paper on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor. Those students who prefer to write a more substantial primary research paper with their PhD advisors should consult with the instructor as soon as possible. This course is required for all first-year students.

HIST 83002 The Historical Profession – Darren Dochuk

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.

HIST 83005 Research, Writing, Publishing – John Deak

In this seminar, required for second-year history graduate students, students will focus on three skills that are crucial for the professional historian: research, writing, and publishing. The class will center upon the research and writing of a publication-quality seminar paper (in consultation with a faculty adviser), and will be supplemented with the analysis of exemplary works in diverse genres and collaborative peer review.

HIST 83605 US History to 1865 – Jon Coleman

This colloquium is designed to acquaint graduate students with colonial North American/United States history and historiography from roughly 1450 to 1865. The course will revolve around discussion of common assigned readings. Essays and other scholarly undertakings, based on these readings, will also be required.

HIST 90100 Between the Last Ice Age and the Anthropocene – Brad Gregory

This is a graduate seminar concerned with the interconnectedness of political, economic, social, intellectual, and cultural history, and with the inextricability of human beings from the natural world.  Themes and emphases will vary each time it is taught but will span from the Neolithic period to the Anthropocene epoch.  Books to be read will be chosen less because they lie in a specific field and more because they are good to think with; they are therefore likely to include some studies that illuminate the past by scholars in disciplines other than history.  The overarching intention is to enhance students’ capacity to think about change over time and the past’s role in making the present, regardless of their particular fields.

HIST 93011 Modern Religious History – Tom Tweed and John McGreevy

Scholarly fields are like sustained conversations, and in this graduate seminar we hope to help you enter the ongoing discussion about the historical study of modern religion. Considering both classic approaches and recent innovations, we discuss a wide range of books dealing with the history of modern religion, beginning with global histories and then focusing more on the United States. The instructors hope to encourage reflection about what different spatial scales—local, national, and transnational—obscure and illumine. Along the way, we engage multiple approaches, including social, environmental, cultural, political, and intellectual history. We end the course by returning to historiographical issues and invite seminar participants to summarize their own thinking and propose how they think we should change the scholarly conversation in the years ahead.

HIST 93250 Byzantium and Islam – Alexander Beihammer

From the rise of Islam in the 7th century up to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Byzantium stood always in close contact and interacted at multiple levels with the Muslim World. At first sight Byzantine-Muslim relations were dominated by warfare, conquest, and religious antagonism. The expansion of Islamic empires over Eastern Roman territories forms the centerpiece of a narrative presenting Byzantium as a bulwark of Christianity in the Eastern Mediterranean. Thus, the Arab caliphate seized North Africa and the Oriental provinces in the 7th century, the Seljuk Turks Asia Minor in the 11th century, and the Ottoman Turks western Anatolia and the Balkan Peninsula in the 14th/15th centuries. Yet there were many other aspects which played a crucial role in the encounter between Byzantium and Islam. Trade routes and diplomatic channels fostered the circulation of goods and knowledge. Shared borderlands, migrations, and spaces of coexistence facilitated numerous forms of cross-cultural communication, mutual influences, and the merging of traditions and institutions. Byzantine-Muslim relations certainly differed from the experiences of Spain, Sicily, and the Crusader States. Yet they form an important part of and left a deep imprint on the politico-cultural landscape of the pre-modern Mediterranean. This seminar explores diachronic developments of structures, institutions, and attitudes in Byzantine-Muslim contacts. Students will become familiar with key texts of the primary source material, will discuss a range of problems and questions poses by modern research, and will get an insight into recent trends and new methodologies in the fields of material culture and environmental history. 

HIST 93903 The Global Sixties – Jaime Pensado

This graduate course examines the “Sixties” (c.1956-c.1976) with particular attention to politics, culture and religion. Attention will be given to the United States and Western Europe, but the emphasis will be primarily from the perspective (and influence) of the “Global South.” Work for the first part of the semester will consist of discussing the foundational texts, influential figures/ideas, and key events that shaped leftist as well as conservative movements during this period. Work for the second part of the semester will consist of evaluating key studies recently published in the field.

Cross-list Courses

HIST 93055 Christianity in Roman Africa – Robin Jensen

Examination of Christianity in North Africa from the third through the early seventh centuries in light of their social, political, and physical contexts. Research materials will include archeological and art historical materials, conciliar documents, legislation (both ecclesial and imperial), contemporary historical works, liturgical texts, sermons, and theological treatises.


HIST 93600 Gender and Material Culture – Sophie White

This interdisciplinary Seminar will use the lens of material culture to explore the intersections between gender, race, class. Material culture—the study of things and their meanings—offers a wide-ranging method for analyzing how objects become gendered, and in turn, how objects construct gender.


HIST 93971 The Politics of Science – Philip Mirowski

This course examines the increasing politicization of science, and the escalation of the enrollment of science in political controversies over the past century. Starting out with brief characterizations of major political theories such as liberalism, communitarianism, republicanism and neoliberalism, we then turn to the origins of the conviction that science was inherently “apolitical” rooted in the 1930s-50s in the philosophy, sociology and history of science, and in popular culture. The purported alliance of science with democratic structures is considered. Political controversies over Nazi science, Soviet science, atomic war and Cold War science are surveyed, followed by more recent controversies over the so-called “Science Wars,” the treatment of expertise, Foucault, feminism, and actor-network theory. The economics of science movement is treated as a reaction to the above. We then turn from theory to description of modern incidents of the relationship of science to politics, beginning with surveys of the history of science policy, controversies over biotechnology, global warming, intellectual property, the pharmaceuticals industry, and attempts by international agencies and NGOs to regulate the international diffusion of science. Readings: Mark Brown, Science in Democracy; May & Susan Sell, Intellectual Property Rights: A Critical History; Thomas McGarity and Wendy Wagner, Bending Science; Philip Mirowski, ScienceMart.