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Fall 2017 Graduate Course Descriptions

 510:500    Historians Craft: 1 (Intro Course)
                     Professor Walter Rucker

Introduction to the professional study of history, to the diverse methodological approaches of current historiography, and to the place of historical scholarship in both academic and non-academic spheres.  First-year graduate students only.


510:511   Colloquium in Comparative History: Cultural Memory 
                  Professor Yael Zerubavel

The seminar introduces an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to the study of memory drawing on historical, sociological, anthropological, and literary perspectives. The course is designed to provide a broad framework to explore major theoretical and methodological issues and key concepts related to memory studies. Readings and class discussions address various aspects of the relations between history and memory; commemorative narratives and plot structures; national memories and invented traditions; public memory and the media; trauma and silences; testimonies and oral histories; memory and art; rituals, memorial sites, and monuments; diasporic communities, nostalgia, and heritage tourism. Students’ own research projects are an important component of the course. Students choose their topic in consultation with me and pursue their research project during the semester. The project culminates in the writing of a final paper (20-25 pages including notes and bibliography). The course concludes with students’ oral presentations of their research in our own “mini-conference” on cultural memory.


510:515   Colloquium in U.S. Foreign Relations: The United States in the World Since 1898
                  Professor David Foglesong

Course Description and Objectives

        This graduate course will focus on how social, cultural, and political changes inside the United States have influenced and been affected by events, forces, and processes outside the country’s borders since the United States emerged as a world power and acquired an overseas empire. The central premises of the course are: (1) that many important movements and developments inside the United States in the twentieth century cannot be understood solely within the frame of the nation and (2) that our understanding of such movements and developments can be enriched by transnational, international, global, and comparative perspectives.

        The course is intended especially for: (1) graduate students in U.S. history who may be asked to teach broad surveys in which they will need to lecture on U.S. foreign relations; (2) graduate students in global history who may be asked to teach world history courses in which they will need to integrate U.S. history into broader global narratives; (3) graduate students in Latin American, European, Asian, or African history who are interested in learning more about how the United States has interacted with nations in those continents.

        The major objectives of the course are: (1) to help students build foundations for teaching survey courses in U.S. history and world history at the college level; (2) to stimulate thinking about interconnections between specialized fields of American history; (3) to promote critical analysis of the strengths and limitations of existing historical studies; and (4) to encourage creative thinking about directions for future research.

Course Requirements

        1. Completion of all required readings and active participation in discussions of the works at the class meetings.

        2. Two brief (5-10 minute) oral presentations to the class. The primary purpose of each presentation will be to open discussion of the required readings by raising questions about their strengths, weaknesses, methodologies, and persuasiveness, and by commenting on their historiographical contexts and significance. The presenters should circulate lists of questions about the readings to other members of the seminar one week before their scheduled presentations.

        3. Weekly short (500-750 word) review essays which will develop critical perspectives on the assigned reading by summarizing major arguments, addressing the persuasiveness of those arguments, commenting on the strengths and weaknesses of the authors' approaches or methods, and (as far as possible) setting the works in their historiographical contexts. Students must send their essays by e-mail to other members of the class at least 24 hours before the discussion of the reading.

        4. One longer (12 to 15 page) essay, based on extensive reading (at least three books) on one of the topics addressed in the course or on another topic approved by the instructor. The books and articles listed as supplemental reading on the course syllabus may serve as initial suggestions of sources for this historiographic essay. In addition to concisely summarizing, comparing, and criticizing specific books and articles, the essay should seek to develop a wider critical perspective on “the state of the debate” in a particular field or subfield and/or an agenda for new research on the topic.


510:535   Colloquium in  History of Technology and Nature (Envirotech)
                  Professor Jamie Pietruska

Course Description

This STEH graduate colloquium will examine the historical intersections of nature and technology and trace the historiographical emergence of an area of inquiry recently identified as “envirotech.” The entangled histories of nature and technology have been examined across multiple disciplines and fields, especially environmental history and the history of technology, but also STS, sociology, and geography, among others. We will read widely across time and place, with an emphasis on monographs and articles that adopt global, comparative, transnational, and US-in-the-world perspectives. This course is designed for graduate students in History who are preparing for a major or minor field in STEH, as well as students concentrating in US, European, Global/Comparative, and other fields whose interests relate broadly to industrialization and its ecological consequences, capitalism and the commodification of nature, agriculture, empire, energy, discourses of modernization, networks of technoscientific and commercial exchange, knowledge production, and embodied experiences of technologies. (Our reading list is not comprehensive but rather designed to introduce a range of approaches and topics that students may pursue in more depth in their qualifying exam lists and/or their own research.)

The course will focus on these major questions: How have the concepts of technology and nature changed over time, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries? How have the historical interactions of technology and nature unfolded differently across time and place? How have technologies historically reshaped non-human nature, and how has the natural world resisted and redirected technological change? How and why have scholars shifted away from a binary opposition between technology and nature toward a hybrid framework of envirotech? How do national, comparative, and global frameworks shape narratives of ecological and technological change? How is the history of envirotech narrated differently at different scales, from the macro-level of the infrastructural to the meso-level of the institutional to the micro-level of the individual organism? How have histories of race, class, and gender intersected with histories of technology and nature?

The course is divided into four thematic units (on energy, agriculture, knowledge production, and bodies), and specific topics will include energy infrastructures; nuclear power and toxicity; industrialization and public health; industrial agriculture and discourses of modernization; climate modeling; technologies of war and empire; timekeeping; seismology and citizen science; pharmaceutical production; mobilities and innovation; and race, gender, sexuality, and technologies of the quotidian.

Course Requirements

Coursework consists of weekly readings, short weekly response papers of 500 words (to be posted to our course Sakai blog by 7 PM each Sunday), thoughtful and sustained engagement in our class discussions, a short book review (4-5 pages), and a final historiographical essay (12-15 pages). In addition, students will take turns introducing the readings and starting discussion each week.


510:536   Colloquium in the History of Medicine
                  Professor Johanna Schoen

Prospective students who wish to discuss any aspects of the course should contact Professor Johanna Schoen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


510:539   Colloquium in Women's and Gender History: Women, Gender, Politics, and Everyday Life
                  Professor Belinda Davis               

This colloquium is a core course for women’s and gender history majors and an elective for women’s and gender history minors; it is open to all graduate students. This semester, we will take up such questions as how is "politics" gendered (and what is politics?) What constitute issues specific to any gender, and what are the uses and pitfalls of a gendered approach to politics? In addition to/as opposed to any other identity?  How have women served as both agents and objects of political and social change? How and when has it been useful for women to act through women’s groups versus through other types of organization, and what has this meant for identity politics? What has been the relative importance of formally organized politics versus less formal strategies to effect political change, and what is the relationship between individual and collective strategies, for women on issues of gender and sexuality? What possibilities have existed for those other than cis males within formal political spheres, and what are the existing alternatives? What are the various relationships between everyday life and politics across time and place, and how can we best theorize them?  The most important requirement for this course is timely completion of the reading assignments and participation in class discussions, including taking turns leading class discussion.  In addition, students will complete a review essay of the literature that constitutes a theme within the colloquium's broad topic.


510:541   Colloquium in Global History: History of Capitalism
                  Professors Jackson Lears and Johan Mathew

Prospective students who wish to discuss any aspects of the course should contact Professors Lears and Mathew at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 510:549  Seminar in the History of Women I
                  Professor Chie Ikeya

This two-semester seminar gives graduate students the opportunity to design their own independent research projects related to women’s and gender history—any time period, region or methodological approach within the field of women’s and gender history is welcome. Prospective students who wish to discuss any aspects of the seminar should contact Professor Chie Ikeya, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


  510:555 Readings in American History I
                  Professor Camilla Townsend

Early American history is a dynamic field that has changed almost beyond recognition over the course of the past generation. Community and regional studies, having successfully illuminated the contrasting colonial patterns in the New World, are receding in importance; historians now envision wide-ranging interactions between mobile peoples and ideas. The first half of this course will address the forging of patterns in North America through studies of contact of cultures (between Europeans and indigenous) and the African diaspora. The second half will focus on the world currents that caused change and even cataclysm in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.


510:563:01 Colloquium in African American History
                      Professor Walter Rucker

Prospective students who wish to discuss any aspects of the course should contact Professor  Walter Rucker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 510:563:02 Colloquium in African American History: Race, Place and Space in African American History
                        Professor Mia Bay

This course is dedicated to exploring the interplay of social, historical, and spatial forces that have shaped post-emancipation African American life. Although primarily focused on race, place and space as they figure in the African-American experience, the course readings also address American racial configurations as they affect other Americans: from Euro-Americans to Native Americans. Many readings also figure gender as a central feature of racial stratification and racial thought. 

Chronologically arranged, the course readings cover the migration and remigration of black Southerners after emancipation; the history of Jim Crow segregation in the South and  black urbanization in the North;  impact of immigration on African American communities; racial conflicts over residential and recreation spaces; the racial geographies of deindustrialization  and incarceration;  and the political effects of suburbanization.


 510:597  Readings in Early Modern European History
                   Professor Jennifer Jones

Prospective students who wish to discuss any aspects of the course should contact Professor Jennifer Jones at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


510:601   Colloquium in European History: Eastern European History
                   Professor Melissa Feinberg

For those looking at it from the outside, Eastern Europe has often seemed a mysterious place, backward, savage, and unknowable, hidden behind the veil of what Czech novelist Milan Kundera called its “strange and scarcely accessible languages.” It is rarely placed at the center of European history. This class considers how our sense of the European past changes if we look beyond Britain, France, Germany and Russia. Focusing on the modern period, this course provides a general introduction to the historiography of Eastern Europe, with an emphasis on new and innovative scholarship. It asks: what new insights can come from looking at the history of the strange, wild East?


510:616   Seminar  in European History II
                   Professor Samantha Kelly

Continuation of year long course; no new participants.

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