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Fall 2014 Graduate Course Descriptions

 510:500    Historians Craft: 1 (Intro Course)
                     Professor Belinda Davis

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.

510:513   Colloquium in Cultural History
                  Professor Ann Fabian

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

510:535   Colloquium in the History of Technology: Technologies and Cultures
                  Professor Jamie Petruska

This course will provide an introduction to the scholarly literature in the history of technology and will examine how the historiography has changed from the late twentieth century to the present. We will read across time and place, considering classic texts in the field as well as more recent works, some of which adopt global or comparative frameworks. We will explore the intellectual foundations of the field as well as intersections with other fields, including the history of science, environmental history, business history, and the history of capitalism. (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.)

Major questions will include the following: How has the “social construction of technology” shaped the scholarship of the past twenty years? How have histories of race, class, and gender intersected with histories of technology? How do national, comparative, and global frameworks shape narratives of technological change? How does the “the dilemma of technological determinism” account for structure and agency? How have politics and technologies shaped each other historically? How do networks, systems, and infrastructures allow us to conceptualize technological change? How do historiographical critiques of ideologies of progress relate to historical considerations of technological enthusiasm? What is the relationship between aesthetics and materiality in the history of technology?

The course is divided into four thematic units (on infrastructures, environments, economies, and representations), and specific topics will include communication and transportation networks, automobility, electrification, nuclear power, industrial agriculture, climate modeling, technologies of war and empire, invention and innovation, domestic labor and household technologies, commodity futures trading, timekeeping, acoustics, and photography.

510:539   Colloquium in Women's and Gender History
                  Professor Leah DeVun

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

 510:541   Colloquium in Global History: Rethinking Modernity
                  Professors Toby Jones and Jackson Lears

In recent decades, the concept of modernity has been challenged from a variety of conceptual and ideological perspectives. But it continues to inform public discourse, perhaps more intensely than ever in an era when Western apologists for modernity are deploying doctrines of progress against Islamic enemies, actual and imagined. This seminar provides a comparative history of modernity by exploring the key narratives underlying it—rationalization, secularization, industrialization, commodification, and the like. Our task will be to understand the inner logic of these narratives, but also to probe their weaknesses and strengths. If we are lucky, we may come up with a more capacious notion of modernity--one that includes “alternative modernities,” as some contemporary theorists advocate. Or we may decide to discard the concept altogether.

 510:549   Seminar in Women's and Gender History I
                  Professor Temma Kaplan

This two-semester-long graduate seminar in Women and Gender History, will be devoted to the students’ explorations of subjects for their doctoral dissertations. The class will read classic and contemporary books and articles dealing with women, gender, sexuality, culture, work, and social movements in various places and time periods, will write several historiographical and analytical papers, and will, at the end of the second semester, produce a major essay taking the form of a draft article suitable for publication or a possible dissertation chapter.

  510:551  Seminar in World Comparative: 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. It is designed to provide a broad framework to explore major theoretical and methodological issues and key concepts related to memory studies. Through the readings and class discussions we will examines various aspects of the relations between history and memory; myths, commemorative narratives, and plot structures; national memories and invented traditions; the cultural production of memory and the media; trauma, silence, and the fragmentation of memory; witnessing, and intergenerational transmission; rituals, memorial sites, and monuments; diasporic communities, nostalgia, and heritage tourism. The development of individual research projects is an important component of the seminar, and students will choose their topic of research, disciplinary perspective, and methodology according to the project and their field of interest. Discussion of the research projects is an integral part of the course work. The project includes identifying a topic, writing a proposal with a preliminary bibliography, an in-class research report, a first ten-page paper draft, a presentation at the end of the course, and a final paper (between 20 to 25 pages, double spaced).

510:561  Colloquium in American History: History of Sexuality, Reproduction, and Family in the U.S.: The Colonial Period to the Present
                  Professor Rachel Devlin

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

510:559   Readings in Twentieth-Century United States History (PDR III)
                  Professor Jennifer Mittelstadt

Course Objective:

This course will allow you to read, analyze and discuss some of the scholarly studies that have shaped debates about the history of the United States in the twentieth century.  If there is one major theme, it is probably the rise of the state and its relationship to individuals, social movements, politics, and the economy.  In examining this theme and others, we will pay particular to the roles of racial, class and gender identities.   

The major objectives of the course are to help prepare for qualifying examinations, to assist establishment of foundations for teaching survey courses in U.S. history, to stimulate thinking about connections between specialized fields of American history, to promote critical analyses of the strengths and limitation of existing historical studies, and to encourage creative thinking about the directions for future research. 

 510:563  Colloquium in African American History: Atlantic/Diaspora
                  Professor Marissa Fuentes

This course will explore the origins, debates, theories and historiography of the African Diaspora from the early modern period to the mid-twentieth century.  Its aim is to introduce students to the long history of transnational inquiry into black lives with a particular focus on the Atlantic region.  We will begin by covering the key terms, definitions and debates in African Diaspora and Black Atlantic scholarship which reached an apex in the late 1990s and early 2000s around renewed interest in Paul Gilroy's important text The Black Atlantic.  The rest of the course covers a broad geography of diasporic communities from the time of early modern/Atlantic slavery and the slave trade through the periods of emancipation and struggles for/in freedom.  Into the twentieth century we will explore anti-colonial movements, Pan-Africanism and Black Europe.  This course is purposely focused on the transnational/diasporic historical experiences of people of African descent in the Atlantic world and is designed to cover core historical texts in the field of black Atlantic history.

510:571   Seminar in U.S. History
                  Professor Dorothy Sue Cobble

This course focuses on the researching and writing of U.S. history.  We begin by reading a few exemplary (and not so exemplary)essays that offer diverse perspectives on questions of power and politics in U.S. society.  Subsequent class sessions alternate between consideration of our own research and writing and essays by prominent scholars that illuminate aspects of historical analysis, interpretation, and narrative.  Students are expected to complete an original historical research paper suitable for presentation at an academic conference or submission to a scholarly journal.  A dissertation proposal is also acceptable as a final paper.  Students interested in historical research and writing in any era or topic in U.S. history are welcome.

510:597   Readings in Early Modern European History
                   Professor Alastair Bellany

Readings in Early Modern European History (c.1450-1750) surveys classic and recent historiography of the era, providing students with a foundation for future reading in the field, an overview of its more contested questions, and an introduction to perhaps the most methodologically innovative branch of modern historical study. Topics will include: climate change and crisis; Renaissance culture and its legacies; the nature of Europe’s Protestant and Catholic reformations; confessional conflict, persecution, violence and toleration; media, politics and the public sphere; Europe and the Americas; the rise of natural philosophy; gender and sexuality; revolution and absolutism. Students will be required to write a number of short provocations on the week’s reading, participate regularly and effectively in seminar discussions, and complete a 15-page final paper reviewing a classic book in the field.

 510:603   Colloquium in British History
                   Professor Seth Koven

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

510:616   Seminar in European History II
                   Professor Belinda Davis

Continuation of year long course; no new participants.

 510:631  Colloquium in Latin American History
                   Professor Aldo Lauria

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


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