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Fall 2017

 

     Research and Writing Seminars

 
Hist. 84900- Seminar in American History l
Monday, 2-4 p.m., 5 credits, Prof. Tom Kessner

 This seminar is designed to train incoming graduate students in the craft of historical research and writing. Over the course of the term, each student will formulate a research topic, prepare a bibliography of relevant primary and secondary sources, write an historiographic essay, and present and defend a formal project proposal for the substantial research paper that is to be completed in the second semester seminar. Weekly meetings will discuss common readings, share and critique written work, and develop and refine the research proposals.  We will also be devoting some time to methods and issues involved in undergraduate teaching.
Students will focus primarily on framing a topic and honing a well defined, focused and reasonable research proposal for their papers. The purpose of the collateral assignments is to help push this process forward.
Students are advised to give some thought to possible research projects before classes begin this way they can make some early efforts at sampling secondary materials and investigating the availability of sources. 
Syllabus here.
 
Hist. 80010- Literature of American History l
Thursday, 11:45 a.m. - 1:45 p.m., 5 credits, Prof. David Waldstreicher
 
This course introduces Ph.D. students to the historiography of the U.S. through the Civil War and is intended to prepare students for the First Written Examination.

One of our primary concerns will be periodization. To what extent should the colonial period be considered a prologue to U.S. history? And on the other side of the nationhood divide, are there analyses that suggest a coherence or continuity to U.S. history beyond the peculiarities of the early republic or Civil War periods? What is the status of the Revolution and the Civil War, and the political history that drives or used to drive the narrative of U.S. history, amid transformations that might otherwise be seen as social, cultural, economic? Are there explanations that that cut across centuries, or stories that hold up in our time?  What are the most important achievements of recent US historians, and what are the trends in the field now?

The books and articles we shall discuss include prizewinning narratives, monographs born as dissertations, and historiographical essays. An important part of what we will be doing is attempting to read these in light of each other. Be forewarned: the reading is extensive, in recognition of the five credits this course carries and its status as required preparation for qualifying examinations. Our goal is to prepare for the exam, of course, but also to prepare to teach this period at the college level and to lay a substantial foundation for future research and teaching in any period of U.S. history.
Open only to PhD Program in History students.
 
Hist. 80900- Seminar in European and non-American History l
Thursday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 5 credits, Prof. Mary Gibson
 
This course is an introduction to research methods and writing. Each student must develop a prospectus that will become the basis for a 30-page paper in the second semester. Students will learn how to identify appropriate primary and secondary sources for their projects. Throughout the semester, the class will read and discuss model articles that represent different approaches to historical analysis. Final prospectuses will undergo peer review in class. Open only to PhD Program in History students.

 
Hist. 80020- Literature of European History l
Wednesday, 2 - 4 p.m.,5 credits, Prof. David Troyansky
 
This course provides an introduction to the literature of European history from the Late Middle Ages through the eighteenth century.  It explores different conceptual frameworks and methodological approaches to the period and examines an assortment of classic and recent works on a variety of topics: religion and the state; science, technology, and medicine; economy and society; gender and sexuality; and ideas and mentalities.  The course prepares students for the end-of-semester comprehensive examination and for further study of early modern Europe.
Open only to PhD Program in History students.
 

     European ​History

Hist. 71500- Modern France and its Empire ​Since 1830
Thursday, 2-4 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Clifford Rosenberg

This course will survey the historiography of France and its empire since the conquest of Algeria in 1830. Examining a mix of classic and more recent works, we will pay special attention to two central themes that have preoccupied historians of the past generation: (1) immigration, anti-Semitism, and Vichy, and (2) controversies over the French empire and its relationship to the Republican tradition. 
Syllabus here


Hist. 72400- The Outcome of German Classical Philosophy
Monday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Richard Wolin
 
Classical German Philosophy – Kant, Fichte, Hegel, and Schelling – has bequeathed a rich legacy of reflection on the fundamental problems of epistemology, ontology and aesthetics. Even contemporary thinkers who claim to have transcended it (e.g., poststructuralists such as Foucault and Derrida) cannot help but make reference to it in order to validate their post-philosophical standpoints and claims.
            Our approach to this very rich material will combine a reading of the canonical texts of German Idealism (e.g., Kant and Hegel) with a sustained and complementary focus on major twentieth-century thinkers who have sought to establish their originality via a critical reading of Hegel and his heirs: Alexandre Kojève, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, Theodor Adorno, and Jürgen Habermas.
The course will primarily focus on the nexus between philosophy, reason, and, autonomy. We will also examine the substantive arguments that the school’s leading representatives have set forth, with special attention to the “healing” role of both reason and the aesthetic dimension. If thought and being are sundered in real life, art and reason offer the prospect of making the world whole once more. Thus, in German Classical philosophy, aesthetic consciousness often plays what one might describe as a redemptory or reconciliatory function.
Full description and syllabus here 
 
Hist. 72110- The Intellectual Politics of the French Revolution: Then and Now
Wednesday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Helena Rosenblatt

This course is an in-depth introduction to the French Revolution and the heated debates it has engendered. We will privilege political/cultural/intellectual perspectives, focusing on the Revolution's relationship with "modernity" and its various ideologies (socialism, liberalism, totalitarianism, feminism, etc.) Scholarship on the French Revolution will be placed in historical and political context in an effort to answer the question: "what is at stake when scholars adopt certain methodologies and perspectives on the French Revolution?"
 

    American History 

 
Hist. 75600- Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years and After
Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Blanche Wiesen Cook

 This course will focus on the struggle for democracy in the fascist era.  ER's quest for racial justice, economic security, and human rights -- supported by notable allies, opposed by  congressional Dixiecrats,  Republican isolationists, and fearful American Firsters -- resulted in the failure to rescue refugees, continued segregation, the removal and incarceration of Japanese Americans.  These issues reverberate today, as 65 million refugees seek haven and fascist movements proliferate.  Hence, this will be a discussion course dedicated to controversies of history, politics, and the future.  Class participation,  a term paper and three book reviews from a varied and exciting list [ from Bill Ayers and Angela Davis to ER and Howard Zinn] are required. 

Hist. 75900- Slavery and Freedom: African American History in Comparative Perspective​
Monday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Gunja SenGupta

This course introduces students to the history and historiography of slavery and emancipation in what became the United States, within transoceanic and comparative frames of reference. The blood and toil of human chattel helped knit North America with the Indian Ocean World into international networks of trade and travel, and conquest and colonization, of politics and ideology, and culture and community. It was within and across these networks, that the historical actors and groups  that populate this course circulated, lived, loved, worked, negotiated, and rebelled. We will use the scholarship, archives, and images that they inspired, to connect and compare the ways in which slavery was codified, experienced, imagined, narrated, and contested in the United States, with slavery histories from the western Indian Ocean.
            Our comparative and transoceanic perspectives will invite reflection on the following questions: how exceptional was “American” slavery, and its relationship with notions of freedom? How do we theorize “agency,” “diaspora,” and “difference,” in African American history, and evaluate scholarly debates over the boundaries between law and practice, family and the market, and nation and empire within that history? In what ways did migration remake identities and produce change? We will  grapple with these larger questions by placing U.S. historiography in dialogue with scholarship on the Indian Ocean, comparing, for instance, the Atlantic slave trade with human trafficking on the Trans-Saharan and Indian Ocean routes; considering the ways in which tropes of difference (race, religion, class, gender, sex) and ideas about dependence (especially kinship) shaped ideologies and practices of “master-slave” relationships; discussing the workings of the state, law, political economy, religious institutions, and demography, in constructing slavery, influencing the enslaved’s material conditions, and regulating their access to community membership/citizenship; examining the dynamics of African American family, culture, community, and resistance through the prism of “subaltern” historiography; tracing the transoceanic circulation of debates over slavery and poverty, and abolition and empire; and contextualizing emancipation in the U.S, within the framework of comparative histories of freedom.

 

     Middle East History

 
Hist. 77950- Middle East Literature of 19th century
Monday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Samira Haj

The objective is to familiarize students with the main themes and approaches in the history and historiography of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth-century. Temporally, the course moves from the late 1700s to World War I.  Geographically, the area includes those regions under the dominion of the Ottoman. We will look at some foundational as well as recent works that address the issues, concerns and anxieties in the region due to fundamental changes in power structures and world politics. These works would cover a wide range of themes including the questions of governance, empire, reform and revival (religious and secular), nation, revolution, law, and political economy.


Hist. 78110- Islamic rulership: the caliphate in theory and practice
Tuesday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Profs. Anna Akasoy and Chase Robinson

This class offers an introductory survey to Islamic political theory and practice. Readings and discussions will address origins and development of principal themes and institutions of the Islamic political tradition, including prophecy, caliphate, imamate, jihad, messianism, sharia, revivalism and modernism. We will be reading a combination of primary and secondary sources, including scripture, history, poetry, political theory, coins, and philosophical literature. Both Sunni and Shiite traditions will be covered. No background in Middle Eastern history required.

     World ​History


Hist. 72600- Human Rights and Nation-States: A Global History
Tuesday, 2 - 4 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Eric Weitz
 
We live in a world of 195 independent, sovereign states. Virtually every one of them has a constitution that proclaims the rights of its citizens – even when those rights are only a veneer, below which the jailer, the torturer, the censor reign supreme. Only as members of particular nations do we become rights-bearing citizens; we never have rights simply as individuals, and global citizenship is rhetoric or ideal, not something that represents any kind of realistic possibility. Rights based in national (or racial) belonging are inherently limiting: only citizens may partake of the full panoply of rights, others are pushed to the margins, granted lesser rights or excluded altogether through policies like forced assimilation, ethnic cleansing, and, ultimately, genocide. The central questions that drive "Human Rights and Nation-States: A Global History" are:  Who, in fact, constitutes the nation, and by what criteria? And who, therefore, has the “right to have rights,” as Hannah Arendt, and, before her, the German Enlightenment philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte proclaimed? The course will combine theoretical and empirical readings and move to different cases around the globe from the late eighteenth to the twenty-first centuries to explore the entwined phenomena of nation-states and human rights and all their accompanying achievements, paradoxes, and disasters.


     Ancient ​History

 
HIST 70320 - Rome and the Hellenistic East
Monday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Joel Allen
 
This course explores the vitality of the Hellenistic period, roughly defined as 330-30 BCE, by exploring interactions among the populations of the Mediterranean, including Roman, Hellenic, Egyptian, Punic, Judaean, Celtic, and various hybrids thereamong.  We’ll consider a series of case studies in literature, art, epigraphy, and archaeology to understand new developments in culture, politics, and geopolitics. Knowledge of a foreign language not required.

     Latin American History

 
Hist. 76000- Early Modern Iberian/Colonial Latin America
Wednesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Herman Bennett
 
            In the Fall of 2017, History 76000: Early Modern Iberia/Colonial Latin America will be framed around the political economy of the early modern Atlantic.
 
            In the wake of successive intellectual turns (the linguistic, feminist, cultural, the post-colonial, and archival turn), our engagement with the cultural domain has become finely honed but at the expense of our understanding of the social.  This dynamic, in many respects, reflects the working of related but distinct renderings of the political.  Arguably, for cultural historians narrating the political entails discursive formations and an awareness of how political rationalities are grafted on to cultural codes and grammars.  While we now understand how the political related to the social draws on similar discursive formations, it also embodies a materiality—signified in the relationship of the political to the economy as in ‘political economy’—that configures it as distinct.   To this end, the course will introduce students to a range of authors and texts which will develop our analytical skills as they relate to the realm of political economy.  To be clear, this is not a course in economics or political science for historians.  While abstractions of the “economy” or “politics” figure prominently in the semester’s work, the course focuses on the contextualized meanings that these terms and related concepts implied for various authors and historical actors through time and space.  At the same time, it should be understood that this course does not offer a formalized discussion of ‘political economy’ framed through a historiography self-consciously stylized as such.  Instead by bringing a distinct selection of authors and texts into conversation seminar participants will hopefully refine their acumen for thinking and writing about the temporal and spatial specificity of early modern ‘political economy.’
Book list here.


      ​History and Theory


Hist. 72300- Quantitative Methods
Thursday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Laird Bergad
No auditors


This course was designed with a mind toward helping students with no background in statistical analysis develop a basic literacy of quantitative methods.  Through computer-lab based tutorials students will gain proficiency in tools commonly used by thequantitative community such as SPSS Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder, IPUMS datasets, Microsoft Excel, and ArcGIS mapping.  This course will be especially useful for historians, anthropologists, and other social scientists looking to add a statistical component to their work that moves beyond basic secondary source data.  Particular emphasis will be given to the ways social scientists and humanists can use data to formulate new perspectives on their research and challenge prevailing trends in their respective fields. ​No auditors.


Hist. 72300- Contemporary Theory and Historical Practices
Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Barbara Naddeo

This seminar introduces graduate students to the many schools of the contemporary discipline of history and their particular methodologies. To that end, each week this seminar presents one of the many influential theories that have shaped the discipline over the last few decades as well as selections from exemplary histories informed by them. As a result, students will gain familiarity with influential work from other disciplines and learn how that work has contributed to the formulation of subjects and research questions for historical inquiry. Among the many theories and historical practices, in Fall 2017 topics will include studies of class, culture, language, the public sphere, civility, gender and sex, the emotions, the nation, transnational groups, human rights, information, and the Anthropocene. Beyond obtaining extensive knowledge of the variety of theories and historical practices, students will additionally learn to reason historically and exercise the arts of historical criticism both in seminar discussion and in writing.

Syllabus here 


 

     See Also

 

MALS 70200 – Metropolis: A Political, Historical, and Sociological Profile of New York 
Wednesdays, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Cindy Lobel

This interdisciplinary course will explore New York City’s rise and role as the nation’s metropolis, examining several key themes in the city’s development.  In particular, we will look at Gotham as a center of work, culture and residency as well as at the diverse populations that have called the city home through its four-century history.  We will examine New York City from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, including history, sociology, anthropology, economics, and political science.


Soc. 83101: Populism, Authoritarianism, & Dictatorship
Tuesday, 2-4 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. John Torpey


This course explores the nature of undemocratic regimes in the modern world.  We will explore different forms of non-democracy against the background of a growing expectation since the time of the democratic revolutions of the late 18th century that democracy should be the normal form of political regime.  In order to achieve our analytical objectives, we will read political and social theory, historical treatments of non-democratic regimes, and comparative assessments of contemporary undemocratic government.  The course should therefore be of interest to those in the political and social sciences and in history who wish to understand the variety and distinctiveness of undemocratic regimes in the modern period.


Phil 76000: Mind, Matter, and Experience in Early Modern Philosophy
Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 4 credits, Prof. Catherine Wilson​


Descartes proposed that the world that science investigates is purely corporeal, consisting of aggregates of corpuscles in motion obeying the laws of mechanics. Animal and human bodies, on his view, are machines. Human bodies alone are inhabited by minds that experience emotions and perceptions and that can innovate, grasp meanings and truths, and initiate movement, all in ways that cannot be scientifically understood. In this seminar, we will examine the reactions to this proposal, including a variety of extensions of, and alternatives to this basic scheme, in early modern philosophy. Topics will include: the materialisms of Gassendi and Locke, the animism of Margaret Cavendish, the phenomenalism or idealism of Leibniz and Malebranche, and the quasi-pantheistic systems of Spinoza and Newton.

Phil 76900: Philosophy Of Social Science
Thursday, 9:30-11:30 a.m., 4 credits, Prof. John D Greenwood
This course will focus on a number of philosophical and meta-theoretical questions concerning the nature of social phenomena and social scientific explanation. We will cover topics common to most social sciences, such as the debate between so-called holists and individualists, the nature of structural and functional forms of explanation; and the place of social values in social science. We will also cover topics specific to particular social scientific disciplines, such as problems associated with the anthropological understanding of alien cultures, the role of isolative experimentation in social psychology, the presumed autonomy of historical explanation, and the instrumentalist conception of theory in economics. We will also consider the historical evolution of the social sciences, including their institutional development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Full description to be posted here
 

ASCP 81500: Themes in American Culture: The Black Freedom Movement in the US,
Wednesday, 2:00-4:00pm, 3 credits, Professor Robyn Spencer

The emergence of the movement for Black Lives in the past 5 years has moved racial justice in America to center stage and resulted in wide scale re-examination of the impact and legacy of the Black freedom movement of the post WWII period. This course will examine the major campaigns, personalities, organizations and guiding themes of the civil rights and Black Power movement.  In particular, we will analyze the major historical interpretive debates about the Civil Rights/Black Power movements and place the movements in the broader context of Cuban independence, the Cold War, the US war in Vietnam and  African liberation movements. A close examination of the intersections between the Black freedom movement and the new left, women’s movement, and anti-war movement will broaden how the movement is traditionally conceptualized and foreground the movement’s anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal and anti-imperial engagements. We will also examine the afterlives and historical memory of these movements and how they continue to animate the contemporary political landscape.