Introduction to historical research, analysis, and interpretation. Topical lectures and hands-on workshops. Required for all history majors.
What is history? How do historians use and interpret sources to analyze the thoughts and behaviors of people who lived in the past? How do historians construct narratives to convey the complexity of lives and experiences that often happened in times and places far removed from their own? What is at stake when historians battle over “presentism”? How do historians use theory? What is the role of human agency in history? How do historians tie “microhistories” to broader narratives? How do categories of class, race, gender, and sexuality shape history? These are some of the broad questions you will explore in History Workshop as we roll up our sleeves to explore how historians interpret the past.
Students will also develop practical skills regarding finding and interpreting a wide variety of primary sources, ranging from photographs and novels to legal records, government documents, letter, and diaries. Students will learn how to pose a thesis question, and how to build an argument based on primary sources and engagement with secondary scholarship. Students will also assess a wide variety of ways in which history is presented – from scholarly articles and monographs, to public history exhibits, digital humanities projects, and podcasts, taking note of different styles of narrative. Each section of History Workshop engages these broad goals through the lens of a particular topic.