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Fall 2016 Graduate Course Descriptions

 510:500    Historians Craft: 1 (Intro Course)
                     Professor Alastair Bellany

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: Poverty In Global Historical Perspective  
                  Professor Gail Triner

Historians and social scientists have explored “Poverty in Global Historical Perspective” from an incredibly wide range of frameworks; in this course, we will begin to explore some of the most important. To try to give some shape to the “big questions” of the theme, we will organize the semester around the following questions:

1.     What is/was “poverty”?

2.     What are the geo-historic debates about poverty (Why Europe?; Why North America?)

3.     What did poverty mean in specific times and places? And can we discern any commonalities among different times and places we study?

4.     How did different kinds of activities contribute to making and/or alleviating poverty?

Obviously, these questions are very broad. They give us the opportunity to focus on subtopics that are of interest to you and that will arise as we read/discuss/debate. Some of the subtopics that may emerge include: the intersection of poverty with questions of ethnicity, gender, state or civil violence, urban/rural divides, etc.; individual vs. social components of poverty; the implications of material well-being, power relations and social construct in studying (and in experiencing) poverty; the institutional foundations of poverty.

While the course has a rigorous reading load, we will also concentrate on your research interests and their intersection with the concepts of poverty. And we will work collaboratively towards an understanding of remaining unaddressed questions of current historical research on poverty.


510:532   Colloquium in Atlantic History and African Diaspora
                  Professor Bayo Holsey

This course will examine the making and continuous reimagining of an Atlantic African diaspora. It will focus specifically on the transnational movement of people, products, and ideas across the Atlantic Ocean from the sixteenth century to the present. We will explore the history of the slave trade, the creation of diasporic communities, and the ongoing effects of the slave trade and imperialism on continental African and diasporic groups. The course will also consider various forms of communication and collaboration employed by these groups throughout history. Key questions will include: What kinds of cultural encounters have structured the experiences of Africans and people of African descent? What kinds of “imagined communities” have they created? What visions of freedom have they developed? What are the politics of “blackness” in its various instantiations? This course is designed to introduce students to key texts in the Atlantic/African Diaspora field.


Ferrer, Ada. 2014. Freedom's Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution. New York:

Cambridge University Press.

Grandin, Greg. 2014. The Empire of Necessity: Slavery, Freedom, and Deception in the New World.

New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company.

Kelley, Robin D. G. 2012. Africa Speaks, America Answers Modern Jazz in Revolutionary

Times. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Kelley, Robin D. G. Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination. Boston: Beacon Press,


Lowe, Lisa. 2015. The Intimacies of Four Continents. Durham: Duke University Press.

Putnam, Lara. 2013. Radical Moves: Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz

Age. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Raboteau, Emily. 2013. Searching for Zion. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.

Sheller, Mimi. 2012. Citizenship from Below: Erotic Agency and Caribbean Freedom. Durham:

Duke University Press.

Smallwood, Stephanie E. 2007. Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to the

American Diaspora. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Sweet, James H. 2011. Domingos Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the

Atlantic World. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

White, Elisa Joy. 2012. Modernity, Freedom, and the African Diaspora: Dublin, New Orleans,

Paris. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2012.

Wilder, Gary. 2015. Freedom Time: Negritude, Decolonization, and the Future of the World.

Durham: Duke University Press.


510:534   Colloquium in Global Environmental History
                  Professor Toby Jones

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


510:539   Colloquium in Women's and Gender History: Gender and Imperialism
                  Professor Chie Ikeya

This colloquium examines comparatively the nature and impact of European, American, and Japanese colonial empires in the 19th to 20th centuries, with particular emphasis on how gender has influenced the policies, practices, and legacies of these overlapping and competing imperial powers. Recent scholarship on imperialism has shown that gender was an integral element of almost every aspect of the political, social, and economic structures and cultures of modern colonial empires. European, American, and Japanese imperial regimes all deployed gender hierarchy in creating and sustaining the kind of social order that yielded the labor and resources on which they depended. Across different colonies in the Asia-Pacific, Indian Ocean, Africa, and North and South America, gender, together with race, religion, sexuality and other intersecting categories of difference, served to rationalize, naturalize, and legitimize colonial oppression and exploitation. These scholarly insights will guide our exploration of both shared and divergent historical experiences of modern colonial empires. Focusing on select case studies, mainly though not exclusively, from the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean worlds, we will seek to understand the various and specific ways that gender shaped the goals, strategies, and achievements of modern imperial powers and the marks they left on their respective colonies. Sub-themes will include: conversion, transgenderism, labor migration, orientalism, family law, intermarriage and miscegenation, eugenics and sexology, vice regulation, the military-sexual complex, nationalism, feminism, and decolonization.

This colloquium is intended as a general introduction to the history and historiography of gender and empire, as well as an aid to help graduate students prepare for comprehensive exams. It will introduce students to some of the key concepts, questions, texts, and historiographical and theoretical approaches used to study imperialism in various geographies. It aims to not only help students define their research interests but also prepare them for future teaching about geographical regions both within and beyond their field of expertise. While it is envisioned as a follow-up to the Spring 2016 WGH colloquium on Gender & Colonialism, students are neither required nor expected to have taken the Spring 2016 colloquium. All graduate students—whether majoring in women’s and gender, global and comparative, European, or US history—are welcome.


510:549   Seminar in the History of Women I
                  Professor Judith Surkis               

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


510:553   Readings in African-American History
                  Professor Mia Bay

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


 510:559  Readings in American History III
                  Professor Jennifer Mittelstadt

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.  For that reason, we will examine subfields along their own trajectories but also as part of the larger paths taken by the historical profession over the past sixty years. 


  510:561 Colloquium in American History: Early American
                  Professor Peter Silver

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


510:597  Readings in Early Modern European
                  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, the Americas and globalization; 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.


 510:616  Seminar in European History II
                   Professor Seth Koven

Continuation of year long course; no new participants.


510:631   Colloquium in Latin American History:  Colonial Latin America
                   Professor Camilla Townsend

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


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