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Spring Course Descriptions

Spring 2016 Graduate course descriptions

510:502:01  Historian's Craft: II (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.

510:509:01 Teaching of History
Professor Jennifer Mittelstadt

This course will assist graduate students as they prepare to teach undergraduate history courses. We will explore course building from the bottom up: structuring class lecture and discussion; selecting readings; creating and grading assignments; building relationships with students; negotiating and shaping the racial, class and gendered politics of the classroom and the university; using non text sources; and drawing on digitial tools. During the semester each student will deliver a forty-minute lecture in a regular department course.  Students will also prepare one or more syllabi for a course in their field. For one of these syllabi/courses, students will also prepare a SAKAI website and create parallel plans and assignments for online teaching. The syllabi and the SAKAI site module should be developed enough to include in teaching portfolios for the purposes of the job market. 

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

510:535:01 Colloquium in Science, Technology, Environment and Health: Science/Race/Museums
Professor James Delbourgo

How do the collection and arrangement of objects collect and arrange human beings? This colloquium is designed for graduate students – whether majoring in European, US or Global history – interested in the long-range history of how racial thinking has been worked out through specimens, artifacts and material culture, as well as the different methodologies that can be used for their historical analysis. Collections and museums – and the scientific traditions that undergird them – have played a historic role in producing systematic-seeming public representations of ethnicity, race, gender, class, history and identity. This colloquium examines key strands in this tangled history by combining readings from histories of race and racism, the history of science, museums studies and material culture across both the early modern and post-1800 world. Topics covered will likely include the following: the origins of European museums in traditions of natural history that included the study of human variation in both cultural and physical terms; the collection of ‘monstrous’ specimens, ‘freaks of nature’ and conceptions of monstrosity in European wonder-cabinets and beyond; the development of racial museology in Europe in relation to the cabinet of curiosities and its overlap with other discourses that marked human difference through objects, such as idolatry; Enlightenment projects of systematic human taxonomy and comprehensive human classification; non-western classification programs and racial narratives such as state-sponsored ethnography in Qing China and the construction of Asian ‘yellowness’; the parading of colonial subject peoples in Victorian British expositions; the collection of skulls for the practice of craniometry and the photography of African-Americans in the context of nineteenth-century scientific racism in the US; the development of anthropology as a discipline in the late nineteenth century and its reconfiguration of the relationship between laboratory, field and museum in the production of knowledge about ethnicity and race, as well as categories such as ‘art’ and ‘artifact’; the production of Egyptology as a form of knowledge that related the identity of both ancient and modern Egyptians through archaeology and the construction of antiquity; the adaptation of the museum form in different contexts such as the Ottoman Empire, India and Japan, and its role in promoting national identities; and the legacies of race and empire in postcolonial museology, from collecting practices and restitution debates to ongoing encounters between curators and indigenous peoples in Australasia, Canada and elsewhere.

510:539:01 Colloquium in Women's and Gender History: Gender and Colonialism
Professor Camilla Townsend  

Gender is, of course, an important “category to think with” in considering conquest and colony. We will first consider gendered readings of varied aspects of New World colonial experience—the earliest interactions between Europeans and indigenous Americans, the contrasting colonial realities in different regions of the Americas, the slave trade and African diaspora, witchcraft, and Enlightenment thought. In the second part of the course, we will treat gendered aspects of the second major wave of colonialism, that of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, focusing particularly on South Asia and Britain’s presence there. The readings—and our discussions—will be both theoretical and concrete. I envision this as a course that will help students define their research interests, but also aid them in future teaching about geographical regions beyond their field of expertise.

510:541:01 Colloquium in World History 
Professor Toby Jones

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

510:550:01 Seminar in the History of Women
Professor Melissa Feinberg

Continuation of year long course; no new participants.

510:557:01  Readings in American History II
Professor Jackson Lears

This course introduces main currents and important controversies in the recent historiography of the United States in the nineteenth century. It is designed to speed your preparation for qualifying exams, to enrich your sense of materials you will teach in the U.S. history survey, and to help you articulate the ways your dissertations will pose and answer questions that have engaged historians. We will read a few classic texts and several recent monographs—most of them revised dissertations. All of the books appear (or will soon appear) on the Master List of reading for the comprehensive examination. Not all have to read in their entirety; parts of some can be skimmed for their argument; and others (I trust) can be savored for their writing as well as their interpretation. I will also include some articles assessing a “state of the field,” and some that constituted interpretive breakthroughs when they appeared. Sometimes it’s more helpful to talk about what’s right with an article, rather than what’s wrong with it.

Of course the literature is vast and the “coverage” model is necessarily incomplete. We will try to uncover insights as well as cover interpretations and information. While the course aims to be reasonably comprehensive, it inevitably reflects my own beliefs about what constitute the major themes of nineteenth century U.S. History. So the reading list embodies the common assumption that sectional tensions over slavery and the subsequent Civil War lie at the core of our concerns, but it also embodies the less common assumption that those conflicts were part of a broader history of capitalism—a history historians are only beginning to address explicitly.

510:563:01 Colloquium in African American History: History of Black Women 
Professor Deborah White

This reading course will cover books and articles that focus on the history of African American women. The selected works will cover American History from the colonial period through to the present. The readings will include books and articles that are exclusively about black women’s American historical experience as well as those that relate to that experience though not exclusively about black women or America. Students who are working on a subject that in any way relates to the course content (even tangentially) are encouraged to enroll. The writing assignment for this course will be a historiographic paper that includes works on black women that relate (in any way) to student’s dissertation topic.

510:563:02  Colloquium in African American History : Race and Criminalization
Professor Donna Murch

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

510:573:01  US and African American Seminar
Professor Mia Bay

This course is designed to guide and facilitate research in American and African-American History. The course’s readings, assignments, and discussions combine to prepare students to complete its major assignment: a well-developed research paper on some aspect of American or African-American history. To this end, the course will begin with a brief survey of current debates on historical writing, which students will be encouraged to read with an eye to thinking about the themes and theoretical underpinnings involved in their own projects. Early readings will also include a few exemplary articles, which the class will analyze as models of the article form. Reading, however, will never be the major focus of the course: the majority of the class time will be devoted to the development and writing of research paper. Each class will move students through a series of assignments designed to guide the research and writing of their papers. These assignments will include student presentations on research projects, paper proposals, early drafts of papers, and readings and critiques of projects, proposals, and papers submitted by other students. We will begin the research process very early in the course, so prospective students for this course are encouraged to begin thinking about paper topics in advance.

510:599:01  Readings in Modern European History
Professor Paul Hanebrink

This is a foundation course for doctoral students in the field of modern European history. Its purpose is to introduce students to some of the key topics, questions, problems, controversies and debates that have characterized this field. The bulk of material in this course is new research (published in the last 5 or 10 years), but we will also discuss some of the prevailing concerns of earlier scholarship as well. This course should help you to prepare for future research, as well as for comprehensive exams in modern European history and for teaching survey courses (like Development of Europe II).

510:615:01  Seminar in European 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..

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