Spring Semester 2010

Graduate Course Descriptions

History 83005
Research, Writing & Publishing
W 9:35 – 12:05
Course Reference Number: 24608

In this seminar students will focus on improving three skills that are crucial for professional historians: research, writing, and publishing. In consultation with a faculty adviser, each participant will research and write a publication-quality seminar paper. The analysis of exemplary works in diverse genres and collaborative peer review will inform those projects.

History 83602
Colloquium in American History: The Americas and Europe, 1680-1820
T 2:00 – 4:30
Course Reference Number: 28089

This colloquium provides an introduction to classic and recent literature on topics related to the European presence in the Americas and the trans-Atlantic connections of empire, ideas, culture, trade, economics, and social experience. It considers war in its political and social contexts, the global market economy, the environment and disease, race, slavery and anti-slavery, and constitutionalism, among other themes. Students are required to write one comparative review essay (covering four books) during the first half of the semester and a semester-concluding essay on the assigned readings and bibliography for one of the weekly topics (about ten books). All written work must be completed not later than one week from the last class meeting. Students will be graded on the quality of their written work and their active, knowledgeable participation in each weekly discussion.

History 83976
History of Science, Technology, and Medicine since 1750
R 3:30 – 6:00
Course Reference Number: 28548

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.

History 93180
Early Modern and Modern South Asia
R 7:00 – 9:30
Course Reference Number: 28090

Though traditions of historical inquiry with respect to South Asia do not have the comparatively longer lineage associated with the study of French or British history, in recent decades the study of South Asian history has assumed considerable prominence, and in the contributions of the "subaltern historians" South Asian history has now become a force in the study of history world-wide. This course is an introduction for graduate students to the history and historiography of South Asia from 1526 to the present day. It will also be useful to those with an interest in comparative history, subaltern history, historiography, the intersections between history and anthropology, and methods of historical inquiry. Topics may include the Mughal Empire (one of the early modern world’s great Islamic empires); the European expansion and South Asia’s integration into the world economy; the transition to colonialism; social, economic and cultural change under British rule; nationalism and religious politics; decolonization and partition; and trajectories of postcolonial development. Requirements include oral presentations, short papers, and a final critical essay on historiographical issues or a research paper on a topic of the student's choice, to be decided in consultation with the instructor.

History 93215
Environment, City, and Countryside in Ancient Rome & Late Antiquity
W 3:00 – 5:30
Course Reference Number: 28091

The course examines the nature of work, especially work on the land, and attitudes to it, from the later Roman republic to late antiquity. Cicero considered engagement with the land to be a laudable occupation, but he, like Roman agricultural writers, were thinking of supervising work on the land, rather than performing it themselves. In late antiquity, by contrast, Christian writers considered work on the land, along with other forms of physicial work to be honourable occupations, at least in theory. Meanwhile, in the transition from ancient to Christian methods of time reckoning, conceptions of language, and of the hours, days, weeks, months and years changed and contributed to the reformulation of the idea and reality of work. These changes were also expressed in poetry and in the visual arts, and they can be traced archaeologically on the land itself. The purpose of the course is to explore these and related shifts in the sources and to consider how they can be explained. On the one hand, we are looking for practical explanations, i.e. changes in the practice of work; on the other hand, we are looking for shifts in the cultural, religious and political environment in which people did their work and found meaning in it. To measure change and continuity, the course concludes with a 13th century Italian agricultural treatise.

History 93255
12th Century Renaissance & Reform
T 7:00 – 9:30
Course Reference Number: 28093

Since the publication of Charles Homer Haskin’s Renaissance of the Twelfth Century in 1927 and Giles Constable’s Reformation of the Twelfth Century in 1996, together with the enormous literatures on the Gregorian Reform and the emergent vernacular literatures, the years 1050-1200 have come to stand as a turning-point in European history, for some the hinge between the earlier and the later middle ages, for some the making of “Old Europe.” This course examines critical issues in recent research, and engages in close reading of representative primary sources in Latin. Though discussion and reading will range more broadly, it will focus representatively on three central figures: Peter Damian the reformer, John of Salisbury the courtier, and Hildegard of Bingen the visionary.

History 93404
Society & Religion in Modern Europe
R 3:00 – 5:30
Course Reference Number: 28094

This course will examine some of the major themes in the social history of religion as it has developed over the past two decades. We will begin with the eighteenth century, and consider the status of religion in the age of "enlightenment," with particular attention paid to movements that provided devotional and theological alternatives to established churches, and contributed to new understandings of the relationship between religion and civil society. We will then consider the challenges posed to religious institutions and believers in the era of the French Revolution, looking at but also beyond France. For the nineteenth our readings will focus on the emergence of powerful ideologies promoting nationalism and socialism, and the ways in which they intersected with religious belief and practice. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the increasing reach of state power into the lives of citizens put pressure on established religions, and generated change and innovations both inside and outside of the traditional churches. In the twentieth century we will examine how religious identities and institutions were defined in the face of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.

History 93413
European Cities in the Long Nineteenth Century
W 3:00 – 5:30
Course Reference Number: 28096

The course will discuss issues in European urban history from the late 18th century to the beginning of the 20th. Case studies will be drawn from Russia, France, and other European countries. We will focus on key issues in the modernization of European cities (e.g., old-regime urban society, socioeconomic transformations, multiethnic urban communities, changes in cultural sensibilities) and important methodologies.

History 93632
Environmental History
M 2:00 – 4:30
Course Reference Number: 28097

This course will give graduate students in history, history of science, and other disciplines an introduction to the field of environmental history. Rooted in the activism of the 1970s and 80s, environmental history owes its initial flowering and political verve to the environmental movement. But, whereas as other activist sub-fields, like African American history, women’s history, and Native American history, have delved into the theoretical mire to unearth the links between texts
and power, subjectivity and truth, authenticity and postmodern pastiche, environmental history has pretty much cruised steadily on, buoyed by the concept of nature. Indeed, a commitment to defend a concept of nature may be the core characteristic of environmental historians. They still believe in some kind of autonomous “out there.” They hold faith that non-human actors and forces play fundamental roles in human events and understandings. This course will investigate how environmental historians have defined and used nature to tell human histories. I want students to come away with an appreciation for the rewards and limits to this approach to the past. I would hope they emerge fierce critics and defenders of the “out there” and prepared to apply the lesson of the past to their own explorations of nature.

History 93902
Modern Latin America: A View from the Left
F 3:00 – 5:30
Course Reference Number: 28099

This is a graduate seminar designed to explore the evolution of Latin America’s leftist thought from the late 19th century to the present. The seminar has four interrelated goals: (1) to provide an in-depth coverage of the writings of Latin America’s most influential leftist intellectuals; (2) to analyze the historical contexts that produced them; (3) to examine the impact these intellectuals had on the development and outcome of Latin America’s most important political movements and ideological currents of the 20th century, including revolutions and social movements, as well as unique interpretations of Marxism, anarcho-syndicalism, anti-Americanism, indigenismo, mestizaje, populism, feminism, student activism, Liberation Theology, and Christian democracy; and (4) to explore the different approaches and methods that historians have used to interpret some of these movements and ideological currents. The course is required of doctoral students in Latin American history and is open to any others interested in Modern Latin America. As a graduate seminar, it will incorporate critical analysis of the secondary literature and interpretations of key primary sources. Specific assignments include weekly reports of the required readings, selected book reviews, a final paper, and in class presentations.