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Spring Course Descriptions

Spring 2017 Graduate course descriptions

510:502:01  Historian's Craft: II (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.


510:509:01 Teaching of History
Professor Andy Urban

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, utilizing digital tools and platforms in both instruction and the curation of projects. 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 Andy Urban 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: Europe/Atlantic
Professor James Delbourgo

This colloquium is designed to serve the needs of graduate students in European, Atlantic, US and global history by introducing them to the field of history of science and exploring how the different methodologies of science studies can be usefully applied by those working in a wide range of different areas. We will read both classic and recent texts after the turn from positivism to social constructivism that deal with the relation of science to politics, religion, gender, race, visual culture, colonialism, environmentalism, globalization and capitalism, from the early modern period to today. The aim is to provide students with a working knowledge of the field and to introduce them to the rich variety of methodologies it has developed in recent years.

If anyone has any questions about the course, please do not hesitate to contact me: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


510:550:01 Seminar in the History of Women
ProfessorJudith Surkis

Continuation of year long course; no new participants.


510:560:01  Readings in Women's and Gender History
Professor Leah DeVun

The purpose of this class is to introduce students to some of the key topics, questions, and debates that have animated the field of women’s and gender history. In keeping with the comparative and global scope of our department’s research interests, we will be reading works about different time periods and geographic regions. I’ve included classic works in women’s and gender history, as well as a number of clusters of new or fairly new works in subfields that take up fundamental questions about gender. This set of readings is intended to help you achieve greater awareness of the diversity of possibilities that can expand your analytic toolbox and strengthen your research and teaching. I hope these readings will also prove useful to those of you preparing for your comprehensive exams in history. As I learn more about students’ interests and experiences, I will likely modify the syllabus to reflect the class’s evolving needs.


510:561:01 Colloquium in American History: Sexuality in the U.S. 
Professor Rachel Devlin

This is a reading intensive course on the history of sexuality. We will read broadly in the field from the sixteenth century through the twentieth century. The course will cover both the fundamentals in the history of sexuality in the United States (and the European history upon which much of this was grounded) and the newer historiography in transregional and global histories of sexuality, from Atlantic histories to modern transnationalism.

In addition to establishing a firm base in the historiography of this field, we will grapple with the theoretical and methodological issues involved in researching and writing histories of sexuality.


510:571:01  Seminar in Recent American History
Professor David Greenberg

This course seeks 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. The course and the readings emphasize 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 relatively light on reading and heavy on research and writing. We proceed through various steps of research: choosing a topic; surveying and critiquing the literature; identifying useful primary sources; writing drafts; responding to criticisms; revising. I don’t expect that everyone’s term paper will be publishable, but I hope that some will be and that others will constitute viable drafts that can be made publishable with additional revision. Students may also choose to think of their final paper as a draft of a dissertation proposal.

The subject matter, U.S. history, serves primarily as an organizing theme for the class. To the extent we read about substantive historical debates, the focus will be on post-World War II American history, because that is my own area of expertise. But the course is meant for students in all fields.


510:573:01  US & African American History Seminar
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..


510:599:01  Readings in Modern European History
Professor Belinda Davis

This course provides an introduction to major debates in modern European history, and examines a range of forms of historical inquiry, methodology, and use of evidence. A key focus of the readings is the challenge to existing narratives and paradigms, as we attempt to trace the longer trajectory of dominant discussions, examining such issues as modernity and modernities; paradigms,"peculiarities," and what constitutes “Europe”; continuities and ruptures; identity, belonging, and difference; and to revisit categories of analysis, such as the nation state. The course can provide only a sampling of recent discussions and their backgrounds, inevitably leaving major lacunae in important subjects, earlier literatures, various methodologies, and non-Anglophone historiography. I will provide a broader perspective and indications for further reading in class (for use e.g. in exam study) each week. Areas insufficiently covered in class offer ideal topics for the historiographical review (ca. 20 pp.) that you will write for this course. Students may opt to read a suggested alternative non-Anglophone texts for one class or another. Class members will also have the opportunity to lead discussion. Careful reading of assigned texts and readiness to discuss them is naturally a premier responsibility of all class members.


510:601:01 Colloquium in European History: Russia/Soviet Union
Professor Jochen Hellbeck

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


510:615:01  Seminar in European History
Professor Samantha Kelly

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


510:625:01 Colloquium in African History: New Historical Analyses of Africa and the African Diaspora
Professor Carolyn Brown

This is a foundational course for the graduate field of Black Atlantic and Diaspora History as well as for the field of African History. It is an introduction to the field of African history using both classical and new literature organized around specific themes. It is designed to bring in varied historiographical perspectives, as well. It begins in the pre-colonial period and concludes with the present. Readings are on ALL regions of the continent – North Africa as well as ‘Sub-Saharan’ ( a racialized problematic term). East, West and Southern Africa.

Themes include: precolonial state formation, the spread of Islam and Christianity, the new slave trade research, historical constructions of gender (male and female), the political challenge of ‘youth’, construction and contestations of the colonial state, creating ‘nationalisms’, decolonization and popular struggles in the post colonial state. The post 1980’s crisis of ‘structural adjustment’ and neoliberalism are foundational factors for the spread of radical Islamic movements like Boko Haram and ISIS as well as the tragic migration attempting to cross the Mediterranean.

The course treats the ideological and political connections between Africa and the ‘historic’ diaspora as a sustained historical processes and does not assume Africa was only as a place or origin. The persistent ideological linkages between diasporic and continental African intellectuals and political leaders has persisted until today and coalesced as Pan-Africanism, Négritude and decolonization throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Aspects of these connections occurred in the multiple African diasporas (Europe, Middle East, Asia, the Americas) around anti-slavery in the 19th century, the anti-apartheid movement and Africa’s national liberation movements, and Black Power. As New Jersey has one of the largest African immigrant populations the course concludes with readings on the ‘contemporary’[2] African diaspora of recent immigrants in New Jersey and the U.S. in general.

Course Requirements:

  • All readings are required. Each time you come to class you should have a one page list of points for the discussion based on your readings and reflections.
  • Each student will lead discussion.
  • Discussion leaders must pass out a 1-2 page guide to the discussion that outlines (1) the points for the discussion, (2) explores historical problems identified by the authors and (3) compares these readings with others in the course.
  • At the conclusion of the course you should write a 10 page paper that explores a historiographical question discussed in the class and/or readings and that relates to your own proposed research. This could

Background Reading: For a synthesis and Marxist interpretation of African history see Bill Freund, The Making of Contemporary Africa. You can use appropriate sections of the book as background for the weekly readings.


Syllabus Forthcoming


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