This course introduces students to the practice and writing of history through topical approaches. Students will explore methodological approaches to historical inquiry, conduct research projects, and improve their writing skills. Prerequisite: one History course. This course may not be used to satisfy a Core requirement. Open to majors and minors only, or may enroll with instructor's approval.
The Mexican Revolution. Studies of the Mexican Revolution have been at the forefront in the development of modern Latin American social, political, and cultural history. The studies have also contributed to comparative discussions in world history about the meanings of revolutionary experience in the twentieth century. However, historians and other social scientists have reached no consensus about the Mexican Revolution from its periodization to its actual existence. This seminar will examine the competing set of interpretations alongside primary sources to analyze the origins, course, and legacy of the Mexican Revolution. Prominent historiographical themes for the course include: conflict between elite liberalism and mass mobilization; agrarian reform and unionization within a capitalist project of development; corporate representation of social interests; the institutionalization of revolution; race, gender, and class in nationalist rhetoric; and, the role of art, education, and science/technology in state formation. Open to majors and minors only, or may enroll with instructor's approval.
Reel History. This course will examine some of the ways that the history of France has been represented in films. Joan of Arc, The Return of Martin Guerre, Ridicule, The Rise to Power of Louis XIV, Danton, La Nuit de Varennes, Abel Gance's Napoleon, and Night and Fog are among the great movie classics to be analyzed. We will also deal with recent theoretical work on "historical" cinema. Are images as valid as written text when making meaningful connections with the past? Open to majors and minors only, or may enroll with instructor's approval.
Writing the History of the Middle East. This course is a junior seminar on recent developments in the research and writing of history as practiced by professional historians of the modern Middle East. We will look at the history of historical writing about the region and the transformative developments in the field over the last thirty years or so. The objective is to cultivate your awareness of historiography and historical criticism. Historiography can be defined as the history of historical interpretation. Historical criticism refers to how we understand history as an object of study. To appreciate various modes of inquiry in the field, we will read exemplary texts embodying established traditions and new departures as well as critical works on the ideological roots of particular fields of history. Open to majors and minors only, or may enroll with instructor's approval.
The Fascist Revolution: Politics, Culture, and Soc.
This History 300/ Junior Seminar closely studies the period known as Fascist Italy (1922 to 1945). Through a close analysis of the politics, culture, and society of Italy under Fascist dictatorship, we study the causes, character, and ramification of the Italian abandonment of democracy in the wake of World War I. Because it is a History 300 historiographic seminar, we examine the central debates of the field, such as whether Mussolini ruled primarily through coercion or consent, the extent of Fascist race ideology, and whether the regime was "modern" or "backward-looking." Other major themes include Fascist cultural modernism, gender and Fascism, and the Italian road to empire and World War II. This course uses primary sources, such as translated documents, memoirs, and diaries, as well as contemporary historical analyses. Prerequisite: Majors and minors only, or with Instructor Permission
Writing World History
This junior seminar investigates various approaches to writing world history. The course is designed to help history majors understand historiography and historical criticism. By studying recent approaches to world history, students will learn how historical debate shapes the writing of history, how historians approach and critique each other’s work, and how different styles of historical research and writing have developed over time. Open to majors and minors only, or may enroll with permission of instructor. Prerequisite: One History course
Re-Assessing European Global Encounters
The 20th-century national movements of liberation from modern European colonialism initiated new histories of the previous early modern age of exploration (1300-1800) from the point of view of the enslaved, the conquered, the exploited, and the newly liberated. Each student will be writing a historiographical essay revealing changing interpretations of one distinctive global encounter. Historians are re-assessing on the Mediterranean both the Crusades and piracy and kidnapping. Scholars specializing in trade or colonialism of a particular nation-state such as Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, England, and France are re-considering specific settlements and trading ports on the Atlantic and Pacific Rims. Class work will enhance student skills: we shall be discussing exemplary recent historical films and histories, and we shall learn how to efficiently find diverse viewpoints through on-line and printed sources. Prerequisite: Open to majors, minors, and others with instructor's approval. Prerequisite: Open to majors and minors only, or may enroll with instructor's approval.
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: GLOBAL CONNECTIONS and PRE-1800
Histories of the French and Haitian Revolutions
Many histories have been and continue to be written about these revolutions, and they differ from each other substantially. This course examines this scholarly literature, taking into account the choices historians make as they compose their narratives. We will examine the roles of race, class and gender in these accounts, why different events and social groups are featured centrally in some but not others. And we will consider such controversial criteria as "accuracy," "truth," "evidence" and even "fact," all of which are interpreted in numerous ways within the historian's craft.