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Fall 2017


Research and Writing Seminars

Hist. 84900- Seminar in American History l
Tuesday 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. 
Hist. 80010- Literature of American History l
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
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. 84900- Literature of European History l
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. 72400- The Outcome of German Classical Philosophy
Monday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Richard Wolin
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Hist. 72110- The Intellectual Politics of the French Revolution: Then and Now
Wednesday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Helena Rosenblatt

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Hist. 71100- Mad Science and Frankenstein
Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Allison Kavey
Frankenstein's science: this class investigates the scientific ideas and debates developed in Shelley's classic novel, including constructs of the preternatural, Renaissance natural philosophy and theology, electricity, vitalism, death, and the body:soul connecyion as related to anatomy.  It then analyzes the bioethical effects of Frankenstein as a morality tale reiterated by the films, in science fiction, and scientific discourse.

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. 72600- Slavery and Freedom: African American History in Comparative Perspective​
Monday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Gunja SenGupta

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Latin American History

Hist. 76000- Early Modern Iberian/Colonial Latin America
Wednesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Herman Bennett
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Middle East History

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

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Hist. 77950- Islamic rulership: the caliphate in theory and practice
Tuesday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Profs. Anna Akasoy and Chase Robinson

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World ​History

Hist. 70900- Human Rights and Nation-States: A Global History
Tuesday, 2 - 4 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Eric Weitz
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 ​History and Theory

Hist. 72300- Contemporary Theory and Historical Practices
Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Barbara Naddeo
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Hist. 72300- Quantitative Methods
Thursday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Laird Bergad

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See Also

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.