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Fall 2015 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.


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


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


            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 open discussion of the required readings.

            3. Weekly short (500-750 word) review essays which will develop critical perspectives on the assigned reading.

            4. One longer (15-page) essay, based on extensive reading on one of the topics addressed in the course or on another topic approved by the instructor.


510:532   Colloquium in Atlantic 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 and their strategic adoption of similar cultural practices. 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” do they create? What is their relationship to the African continent? What are the politics of “blackness” in its various instantiations? This course is designed to introduce students to key texts in the Atlantic Cultures/African Diaspora field.


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

This colloquium will introduce students to the study of the history of medicine by providing an introduction to historical research and writing. We will cover select topics in the history of medicine, focused mostly on the 18th to 20th cent. with some comparison across time and space.   In our weekly meetings, we will discuss not only the historiography, but ponder methodologies, research questions, and a variety of approaches to the history of health and medicine that will serve as a broad introduction to the field. 


510:541   Colloquium in Global History:  Christian & Muslim Encounters, Medieval Through Early Modern
                  Professor Stephen Reinert

The encounters between “Christianity” and “Islam” — broadly defined — are a seminal, diachronic theme of the global and comparative history of the Mediterranean through inner Asian world from the rise of Islam in the seventh century A.D., through the dawn of the modern period in the fifteenth/sixteenth centuries A.D.

The aim of this colloquium is to establish a paradigm for comprehending and exploring such encounters, and to apply this paradigm in a series of comparative contexts throughout the aforementioned chronological trajectory.

Key dimensions of exploratory paradigm will include theological encounter, non-theological human encounter (e.g., trade, diplomacy, warfare, experience of incorporated populations), and cross-frontier acculturation through borrowings and mimesis.

Comparative contexts will be established according to student interest, but will assuredly include Byzantium, the Umayyad & early Abbasid Caliphates, the early medieval West, Iberia & Sicily in the central middle ages, the Frankish Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the early Ottoman Balkans.


 510:549   Seminar in Women's and Gender History I
                  Professor Melissa Feinberg

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


  510:555  Readings in American History I
                  Professor Peter Silver

The years after Columbus’s first Atlantic crossing brought disruptive changes to nearly every aspect of life in North America. Many native extended polities tottered, then fell under the strain of ecological, epidemiological, and military disasters that roughly coincided with Europeans’ arrival in the New World. With the transplantation into North America’s island and mainland landscapes of swiftly rising numbers of Europeans—many drawn, at first, by a wish to rival Spanish successes at mining and conquest farther south—an extraordinary world of wildly different and often mutually suspicious social fragments was assembled upon the ruins of the old. As outposts of trading and missionary activity changed into new plantation and settlement colonies, the Europeans warred and jostled with native peoples and one another. The Atlantic slave trade, swelling from a trickle to a flood, forcibly injected thousands of Africans and their descendants into this contentious jumble of peoples. As European and Indian polities scrambled to reshape themselves to meet the threats and opportunities of the colonial world, national rivalries rose in importance. The acceleration of large-scale warmaking after the late seventeenth century was part of a varied and ambitious European effort at annealing North America’s unwieldy colonies, native settlements, and African-dominated plantations into coherent transoceanic trading, military, religious, cultural, and administrative blocs, or empires. As empires emerged, one of the most turbulent and decisive periods in North American history ensued. The years between the Anglo-French imperial conflicts of the early eighteenth century and the United States’ second and final war with Britain (the War of 1812) saw the transformation through war of the English-speaking American colonies from an assemblage of quarreling settlements into a revolutionary republic. During these years European Americans took part in the first global military conflict (the Seven Years’ War); fought the world’s strongest power to a standstill, consummating what became the first in a series of movements in this hemisphere for colonial independence; founded some of the most radically democratic states in history; fought with and terrorized dozens of Indian nations, metastasizing to claim great spans of land; and shrank, for a time, the young British empire, in which they forced permanent changes. This course touches on many of these topics to offer a historiographical context for surveying the sweep of colonial North American history, from European contact through the early nineteenth century.


510:560  Readings 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.


510:571  Seminar in Recent American History
                  Professor David Greenberg

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the practice of conducting research in U.S. history and turning that research into written work. Students may choose a topic in any area they wish, although my own expertise in the 20th century. The course emphasizes the development of skills that students will need as professional scholars, including oral and written presentation, critiquing the work of others, and engaging in spontaneous debate about historical matters.

This seminar is lighter on reading than graduate readings courses and heavy on research and writing. The course takes students through various steps of the research: choosing a topic; surveying and critiquing the literature; identifying primary sources; writing drafts; responding to criticisms; revising. The goal is to produce a viable drafts of a paper that can eventually be published. Students may also choose to think of their final paper as a draft of a dissertation proposal.

The subject matter, recent U.S. history, serves primarily as an organizing theme for the class. Since both the readings and the majority of students’ papers will fall into this area, it should be possible for our conversations to deal substantively with the historical problems under discussion as well as with the challenges of research and writing.


 510:597   Readings in Early Modern European History
                   Professor Tuna Artun

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


510:601   Colloquium in European History: France, World History
                   Professor Judith Surkis

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


510:616  Seminar in European History II
                   Professor Samantha Kelly

Continuation of year long course; no new participants.


510:637   Seminar in Latin American History
                   Professor  Gail Triner

Students will pursue primary research papers on topics related to their interests is Latin American history. (In select cases, topics situated outside of Latin America will also fit the framework of the seminar.) We will focus on developing the skills of (a) primary archival research and (b) scholarly writing. The course will proceed as a series of highly collaborative workshops in which all members offer input to each other’s projects as we work our way through a progression of activities that lead to a scholarly paper. Each project should either contribute to a future dissertation or make progress towards defining the dissertation.

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