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Spring 2014 Graduate Course Descriptions

510:502 Historian's Craft: II (Intro Course)
Professor Belind 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.

510:509  Teaching of History
Professor Susan Schrepfer

Basic Objectives:

This course has been designed for doctoral students in history who plan to teach undergraduate courses. We will meet weekly to discuss designing courses, honing teaching skills, and navigating common problems encountered in the classroom. In addition to the specific reading below, we will explore material available from such sources as AHA Perspectives, the History Teacher, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. We will look at the AHA website on teaching and other sites with model syllabus and teaching support material. In addition to completing weekly readings and participating in class discussions, you will have three formal assignments.

First, you are to craft two syllabi, one for a broadly synthetic introductory course that you may expect to teach at some time. Your second syllabus will frame an upper division course in one of your primary fields. The format of these syllabi will be twofold:  a hard copy, or “static” version, such as one would distribute the first day of class, and a web-based, or “dynamic” version, amenable to revision and used for students as an online course record. The latter will logically be keyed to Sakai unless you expect to be teaching soon at another campus (i.e. Rutgers-Newark).

Second, you are to develop five detailed, individual class sessions designed to accompany either your introductory syllabus or your upper division syllabus.  Your lesson plans may take the form of a hard copy supplement to your static syllabus, or as components of the web-based version.

Third, you must deliver a lecture (between forty and eighty minutes in length) as a guest speaker in one of the History Department’s spring undergraduate courses. Since arrangements for these opportunities are often complicated, negotiations and scheduling with supervising faculty should be undertaken as quickly as possible. Everyone will present a preliminary version of their guest lecture to “The Teaching of History” class, ideally during weeks seven, eight, or nine.  The guest lectures may be based upon one of the lesson plans submitted for this course. The guest lectures should be slotted, preferably, shortly after the spring break. Each student will attend one of their classmate’s guest lectures and be prepared to discuss its strengths and weaknesses.

510:511 Colloquium in Comparative History: Poverty in Global Historical Perspective
Professor Grail 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?)
  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.

510:514  Aproaches to Global History
Professors Michael Adas and Benjamin Justice

The course focuses on major issues and approaches relating to teaching, writing and thinking about global history and cross-cultural comparisons of and interactions among major human societies from pre-historic times to the present.

510:519  Colloquium in Intellectual History: Backgrounds of Contemporary Theory 
Professors James Livingston and David Kurnick 

The course aims to give students a grounding in some of the major texts in philosophy and social theory informing contemporary critical discourse and historical methods.  Questions about modernity and its definition will structure our discussions: first, was classical social theory a way of marking a decisive break between “the” modern and its antecedents, and how did modernity figure in these accounts: as market society, capitalism, the division of labor, mediation, historical awareness, psychological self-consciousness? Second, does the linguistic turn, the post-structuralist moment, signify another decisive break, whereby theorists have tried to redefine the content and the implications of “modernity”?

The structure of the course is recursive: the classic social theory (roughly Hegel and Marx to Gramsci) that forms the spine of the course will be paired with major poststructuralist re-readings of those classics  that interpret, test, and wrestle with their meanings.

510:534 Colloquium in Environmental History: Global
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. .

510:539  Colloquium in Women's and Gender History: Families, Domesticities, and Intimacies
Professor Chie Ikeya

This colloquium is intended as a general introduction to the historiography on the history of family, domesticity, and intimacy, as well as an aid to help graduate students prepare for comprehensive exams in the field of women’s and gender history. It will introduce students to some of the key concepts, questions, texts, and historiographical and theoretical approaches used to study family, domesticity, and intimacy in various geographies and time periods. Sub-themes include: the role of family, kinship, and household in the production and reproduction of political power, labor systems, social difference, and cultures of inequality; notions of “traditional” and “modern” families and marriage practices; how the boundaries of the “private” sphere intersect with the “public” realm; religious, moral, and state regulation of family forms, conjugal relations, childrearing, and domestic arrangements; and changing understandings, dynamics, and experiences of power and intimacy within the sexual, affective, and economic life of the family and household. The readings for the course will bring together “classics” and new literature in the field, and facilitate conversations about why and how historians should attend to the history of family, domesticity, and intimacy and the benefits offered by different interdisciplinary methodologies.

510:550 Seminar in the History of Women II 
Professor Seth Koven  

Continuation of year long course; no new participants.

510:557  Readings in American History II
Professor Jackson Lears

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

510:573  African American, American Seminar
Professor Deborah White

This course will focus on historical writing and research. We will start with Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life as a way to introduce the subject and strategies of writing, and as a way to understand some of the unconscious issues involved in the process.  We will unpack the issue of writer’s block; study how to balance research and writing; explore different note-taking and organization techniques. We will deconstruct published articles and Heather William’s Help Me to Find My People, as a way to explore the variety of writing styles used by historians. Finally, students will learn by doing as they research and write their own original article, historiographic essay, or dissertation proposal that will be lovingly critiqued in class and presented at an historical conference.

510:593  Readings in Medieval History
Professor Stephen Reinert

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

510:599 Readings in Modern European History  
Professor Paul Hanebrink

The PDR in Modern European history is meant to provide the foundation for further study of the central problems in this field.  The emphasis will be on identifying the major themes around which we can frame a history of modern Europe – here understood as the period beginning with the French Revolution and going to the present (or at least till 1989).  Readings will focus on possible answers to this question; we will be especially attentive to the ways in which methodological choices and political preferences have shaped the “master narratives” of modern European history.  What do these narratives highlight?  What is omitted?  In addition, we will be interested in questions of periodization (Is it useful to talk about the “long” 19th century or the “short” 20th century?; Can we identify the turning points in modern European history?) as well as definition (what is Europe? Who is European?)  Specialists in other fields are welcome.

510:615  Seminar in European History  
Professor Belinda Davis

This two-semester course is an opportunity to pursue an original research project on a subject of your choice: a chance to try out a dissertation topic and to see where it takes you. This is a core course for Europeanists.  However, non-Europeanists needing to complete a seminar may also enroll, with permission of the instructor, and will correspondingly pursue research in their own area of focus.

By the end of the first semester, you will have completed such research as is possible with regionally available sources, and will write up a preliminary draft based on that research. During the summer, it is hoped you will have the opportunity to pursue research in Europe (or elsewhere, as needed). Next fall, you will work on a final draft of the paper. The bulk of the work for this course will be identifying, researching, and writing up your project. However, you will also be responsible for offering serious commentary to your colleagues in class on their ongoing projects, just as you will benefit from the same. Finally, we will have some common class readings and presentations to help us consider issues of researching and analyzing materials, constructing an argument, and writing it up in compelling fashion.

510:631  Colloquium in Latin American History: Readings in Modern Latin America
Professor Kathleen Lopez

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


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