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Fall 2018


Research and Writing Seminars

Hist. 84900- Seminar in American History I
Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 5 credits, Prof. Michael Pfeifer
The Research Seminar is a year-long course, in which students produce a substantial work of original scholarship, or a research paper of journal-article length. Research Seminar I is specifically designed to train incoming students in the practice of historical reasoning and the craft of historical research and writing. To those respective ends, in the fall semester the Seminar introduces students to the varieties of history, as well as reviews those skills and ethical practices requisite for the composition of a professional work of academic history. In Research Seminar I, students produce their research-paper proposal, in which they formulate a topic, pose a research question, identify those primary sources that will form the basis of the research paper, analyze the pertinent historical literature, propose a methodological approach, and, in light of that approach, elucidate the paper’s contribution to the historical literature. The purpose of the collateral assignments and any field trips for this course is to support the process of composing that proposal, which students workshop and defend before the class at the end of the semester. Weekly readings rather introduce students to the many schools and subfields of the discipline and their methodologies, by pairing short seminal theoretical pieces with exemplary works of history. Among the many subfields, in Fall 2018 topics will include studies of class and culture, ethnicity and race, gender and sexuality, the formation of the nation and process of globalization, human rights and world citizenship, the emotions and violence, information and communication, the environment and the anthropocene. Schedules permitting, the seminar will host guest speakers from the faculty, and other metropolitan-area institutions, to speak about their methodological approaches, thematic subfields, and careers. For PhD in History students only.
Syllabus here
Hist. 80010- Literature of American History I
Thursday, 6:30-8:30 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 I
Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 5 credits, Prof. Barbara Naddeo
The Research Seminar is a year-long course, in which students produce a substantial work of original scholarship, or a research paper of journal-article length. Research Seminar I is specifically designed to train incoming students in the practice of historical reasoning and the craft of historical research and writing. To those respective ends, in the fall semester the Seminar introduces students to the varieties of history, as well as reviews those skills and ethical practices requisite for the composition of a professional work of academic history. In Research Seminar I, students produce their research-paper proposal, in which they formulate a topic, pose a research question, identify those primary sources that will form the basis of the research paper, analyze the pertinent historical literature, propose a methodological approach, and, in light of that approach, elucidate the paper’s contribution to the historical literature. The purpose of the collateral assignments and any field trips for this course is to support the process of composing that proposal, which students workshop and defend before the class at the end of the semester. Weekly readings rather introduce students to the many schools and subfields of the discipline and their methodologies, by pairing short seminal theoretical pieces with exemplary works of history. Among the many subfields, in Fall 2018 topics will include studies of class and culture, ethnicity and race, gender and sexuality, the formation of the nation and process of globalization, human rights and world citizenship, the emotions and violence, information and communication, the environment and the anthropocene. Schedules permitting, the seminar will host guest speakers from the faculty, and other metropolitan-area institutions, to speak about their methodological approaches, thematic subfields, and careers. For PhD in History students only.
Syllabus here
Hist. 80020- Literature of European History I
Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 5 credits, Prof. Allison Kavey
 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- Authoritarian National Populism and the Crisis of Democracy
Monday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Richard Wolin
With communism’s unexpected demise in 1989, optimistic forecasts concerning the worldwide triumph of democracy proliferated. During the 1980s and 1990s, authoritarian regimes unraveled not only in Europe, but also in Asia, Latin America, and South Africa, spurring hopes that a long overdue “Third Wave” of democratization was underway.
Recently, it has become painfully evident just how premature and naïve these prognoses were. Over the last ten years, instead of the triumph of liberal democracy, we have witnessed the global ascendancy of authoritarian national populism.
In part, these developments signify a defensive response to the depredations of globalization and neoliberalism. But they also represent a rejoinder to problems that, historically, have been endemic to modern democracy – problems such as: (1) how to determine who counts as part of the demos (women? those without property? religious and ethnic minorities?); and (2) which institutional mechanisms ensure that that the “will of the people” is adequately reflected by the representatives who purportedly govern in its name.
Today, the disturbing rise of political authoritarianism and ethnic nationalism reflects diminished confidence in the capacity of parliamentary democracy to remedy the acute social disequilibrium – economic, cultural, and political – intrinsic to political liberalism. Our approach to these problems will be threefold: (1) historical, (2) theoretical, and (3) political. Among the noteworthy theorists of political authoritarianism that we will discuss are: Hannah Arendt, Carl Schmitt, and leading representatives of the Frankfurt School (T. W. Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, etc.)

Hist. 72500- Fashion in Early Modern Europe
Monday, 2-4 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Amanda Wunder
This seminar will examine the art and history of fashion in early modern Europe from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries. Precious few secular garments made before the eighteenth century survive, so we will be trying out a variety of sources and methods to gain a sense of the “period eye” to see and understand what clothing meant from various perspectives in the early modern period.  Seeking to understand the processes behind change and innovation in fashion, we will be looking at developments in textiles and clothing as they took place within broader historical contexts (global, political, economic, religious, and social). Students will acquire a firm grounding in the historiography of the field, which has been especially rich and dynamic in recent years. In class sessions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other collections we will learn from original objects such as: textiles, vestments, and accessories; printed costume books and tailoring manuals; portraiture; arms and armor. Other classes will include practical experience working with a variety of primary sources and methods, including historic reconstruction.
This interdisciplinary course is not restricted to students in Art History and History; students from other departments and programs are very welcome. Please email Prof. Wunder if you need permission to enroll. Auditors will be accepted by permission of instructor only if space allows.
* Important note: About half of the class sessions will meet away from the Graduate Center at museums in Manhattan (mostly the Metropolitan Museum of Art); please allow for travel time in your schedule. Also note that the Registrar has scheduled one class on a Thursday (Sept. 6).
Active participation and regular contributions to classroom discussions and museum visits; oral presentation on at least one week’s readings. Written assignments: Short paper based on a primary source or museum object due mid-semester; final research paper and brief oral presentation at the end of the term.
Preliminary Reading:
These and other course materials will be available on DropBox; email Prof. Wunder ( for the link after enrolling in the course.
Timothy McCall, “Materials for Renaissance Fashion,” Renaissance Quarterly 70, no. 4 (2017): 1449-64. 
Sarah-Grace Heller, “The Birth of Fashion,” chapter 2 in Fashion in Medieval France (2007); reprinted in The Fashion History Reader, ed. Giorgio Riello and Peter McNeil (2010).

Syllabus here.

American History

Hist. 75700- Immigration and Citizenship in US
Monday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. David Nasaw
 "Immigrants, refugees, and the ceaseless, sometimes futile quest for American citizenship" 
There is nothing new in the current debates on immigration, refugees, and paths to citizenship or the rancor, the anger, the fear that envelopes them.  Every nation on earth is defined by its immigration and citizenship policies.   Every nation on earth chooses, in one way or another, its future citizens.   In a representative democracy, these decisions are made through the political process.  
In this course we will examine how and why Americans have chosen to welcome or close this nation's mighty gates to those who sought to enter our nation and become our fellow citizens.   While attentive to European migrations from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries, we will focus on twentieth and twenty-first century border crossings from Mexico, immigrations from Asia and the Chinese exclusion acts, and the discordant and unintended consequences of post-World War II legislation.     
The readings will explore the separate but entwined historical literatures on “citizenship” and “immigration.”  I have designed them to be global in reach and interdisciplinary in perspective.   We will read works of history and sociology, as well as novels and memoirs written by authors who have immigrated to the United States in recent years, some with, some without their families.   
Students may be asked to write short papers in the course of the semester and a major final paper in the form of a “lecture” to undergraduates or civic groups on the themes and issues discussed in the readings. 
This is designed as a seminar, not a lecture course. 

Hist. 75200- Origins of the Civil War
Tuesday, 2-4 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. James Oakes
What was the Civil War all about?  The answer lies largely in its origins.  This course examines various aspects of what historians call “The Crisis of the 1850s,” the crucial decade that ended in the secession of eleven slave states from the Union?  Why did they secede?  And why didn’t Lincoln let them?  The readings focus on two aspects off the crisis.  We will first review conflicting interpretations of the origins of the Civil War, after which we will focus on specific aspects of the crisis of the 1850, in particular the cascading series of events that led to war:  the War with Mexico, the “Compromise” of 1850, the fugitive slave crisis, the struggle over Kansas, the Dred Scot decision, the collapse of the Whig Party, the rise of the Republican Party, the catastrophic fissure of the Democratic party, and finally the election of Lincoln and the secession crisis.  No one methodology can adequately account for the origins of the Civil War—it requires economic, social, political, and cultural history.
Hist. 74300- 19th Century Women’s History
Monday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Kathleen McCarthy
When women’s history emerged as a subfield in the 1960s, its initial goal was to write women into the historical record.  Since then, the analytical focus has shifted from an emphasis on “sisterhood” to class relations, political culture, gender constructs, sex, transnationalism, and colonialism and empire.  Cultural analyses have also become increasingly important, illuminating the subtexts that shaped women’s lives in different regions and eras, while microhistories have excavated the lives of ordinary Americans in revealing ways.  This course will chart these historiographical shifts, as well as the ways in which women’s history has reshaped our understanding of American history for the period between 1790 and 1900. 
Within this framework a variety of topics will be explored, including: 1) the legacy of the Revolution; 2) microhistory, 3) crime; 4) slavery; 5) social reform; 6) religion; 7) war; 8) capitalism; 9) race; 10) transnationalism;  11) imperialism; and 12) women’s  political culture.  Particular emphasis will be placed on the ways in which historians have analyzed the changing cultural contexts that shaped women’s activities in different regions and times. 
The goal of this course is threefold: 1) to help students prepare for their written and oral examinations; 2) to deepen their knowledge of the ways in which women’s history has reshaped our understanding of American history; and 3) to bolster their research, writing and analytical skills. 
Students will lead one to three discussion sessions, and have a choice of doing weekly abstracts on the assigned readings for the weeks in which they are not presenting, or developing a research proposal on a women’s history topic of their choice for the period between 1790 and 1900.
Syllabus here

Hist. 75000- Public History
Wednesday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Andrew Robertson
 This seminar will begin by considering the subject matter, methodology and practice of public history.  A broad definition of public history would include historical evidence presented and interpreted for a wide audience outside of the academy. Public historians employ the methods of academic history and expand them by joining traditional and non-traditional evidence, inventing new formats for public presentation and reframing historical questions in a lively and accessible context.  By employing old and new forms of evidence, broadening the intended audience for the reception of historical scholarship, rethinking strategies of presentation and redirecting historical interpretations, public historians are creating an innovative and defined practice.  Public history prepares historians to consider their research in a popular and accessible context.
This seminar will introduce students to the context, methodology and practice of Public History in the following ways:
The first few weeks of the course will examine the definitions of public history, its origins, nature and prospects.  Topics include how versions of the past are created, institutionalized and disseminated as public memory in civic festivities, memorials and monuments; in invented tradition and in popular culture, including print media, film television and social media; and in the creation of public spaces. We will also consider the relationship of public memory and collective memory in museums (e.g. presenting Native America). This seminar will consider controversial case studies over historical presentation, including the Enola Gay Exhibition and the exhibits at the new Museum of African American History at the Smithsonian.  The remainder of the course will examine other aspects of public history including community and local history, oral history and digital history. Course requirements include leading one or more class discussions and a final research paper that describes and analyzes how a particular topic or issue in history has been interpreted and presented in a variety of public history formats.
Hist. 75800- Topics in US Urban History 1840-1940
Thursday, 11:45 – 1:45 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Thomas Kessner
For those who would understand America’s past, the role of urban society is crucial. The influence of our cities has been considerable, pervasive and shaping. America's cities exerted broad economic, political and cultural authority, often steering the transforming forces of nineteenth and twentieth century American life.
Historians have too often studied the city as a closed system of locally limited relations, but the impact of cities and especially the major metropolises on national life has been extraordinary. If the founding elite of the early republic - Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe - fastened upon the nation the ethos of the plantation and southern life, cities assumed a more important part in setting national priorities following the Civil War.
Herald of twentieth century modernity, urban America, made itself into the center of world capitalism and American diversity. Urban America’s fabled diversity provides a riveting history of relations between groups divided by class, interest, culture, ethnicity, and race. The variety of city markets and services afforded urban centers a reach in space and influence that remains unmatched and offers a fascinating perspective for examining the development of American economic, social, and political life.
A generation and more of freshly conceived city studies have dispelled local history's lingering fascination with superficial antiquarianism. Urban historians have fashioned a rigorous body of systematic work that is informed by theory and broad questions. Skilled in the tools of social science, and sensitive to calls for inclusion and complexity, city scholars have crafted a textured urban past from the lives of workers, women, ethnic and racial minorities and other strands from the common weave. Emphasizing analysis over narrative, applying new techniques to the study of social, economic and demographic patterns, and interested in subjects having to do with the material basis of existence, as well as cultural and political issues, these historians have elaborated a complex process of city history.
We will examine recent studies as well as a number of works that are recognized as classics in the field to arrive at a compelling if not entirely coherent overview of American urban life in the century, 1840-1940.

World ​History

Hist. 72600- Socialism and Communism: Ideas, Movements, States
Wednesday, 2-4 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Eric Weitz

Socialism and Communism developed into the largest international movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. They offered profound critiques of capitalism and the promise of freedom to men and women no matter what their nationality or race. Yet as they achieved power, socialists moderated their emancipatory drive and communists constructed oppressive dictatorships. This course, global in scope, will examine all aspects of socialism and communism in the modern world. We will begin in the very late eighteenth century with the first emergence of socialist ideas and continue through the utopian socialists and the Second and Third Internationals and the post-1945 communist states. The class will combine intellectual, social, and political history. We will read classic texts as well as historical analyses.

Hist. 72800- Global Perspectives on the Enlightenment
Tuesday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Helena Rosenblatt
The Eighteenth Century Enlightenment is widely seen as a transformative moment in Western culture, one with radical consequences for almost all aspects of Western thought. But how did eighteenth century thinkers perceive the world outside of Europe? Did regions outside of Europe experience an Enlightenment too? Finally, was there a cross-fertilization of ideas between the regions and, if so, how did it happen and how did it manifest itself? With the help of both primary and secondary sources, we will investigate the Enlightenment from a global perspective.

History and Theory

Hist. 72200- The Geopoliticization of Sex: Histories and Theories
Tuesday, 2-4 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Dagmar Herzog
Instructor permission required. Please email

In the early twenty-first century, sexual matters saturate high politics: from the giving or withholding of billions in development aid to the preoccupations of supranational human rights treaties and juridical institutions to the reasons given for nations to intervene in wars to the shapes taken by welfare states or their dismantling to transnationally organized activism and social media-fueled social movements across the ideological spectrum. We are living through an era of “the geopoliticization of sex,” involving levels of imbrication of sex with global politics to an extent that Michel Foucault could not have imagined when he was writing in the 1970s about sex as “an especially dense transfer point for relations of power.” We confront as well the double fact that, on the one hand, sexual rights of all kinds turn out to be fragile and contested, not just at state levels and within revitalized religious traditions but also popularly (as they are the focus of apparently considerable ambivalence for many people) while, on the other, the so recently hard-won ideals of sexual rights can, it turns out, be misused for other purposes entirely. Meanwhile, we encounter new questions about what exactly “sexuality” or “sex” even is, as well as recurrent skepticism about the very concepts of “rights,” “individual autonomy,” and “self-determination.”
The legacies of multiple pasts hang over all the current struggles. This is evident whether we are considering the ravages of HIV/AIDS or Zika or family planning programs or novel reproductive technologies, the persistence of sexual aggression and harm in war and peace, the instrumentalization of either support or hostility to LGBT individuals for other political agendas, the international concern with sex trafficking at the intersection of prostitution and wider migration processes, the growing affirmative visibility of individuals with disabilities concomitantly with the onslaught of neoliberal austerity projects, or the centrality of sexualized themes in the resurgence of xenophobia and right-wing populism worldwide.
This course will combine historiography and scholarship from adjacent disciplines (from military history and the history of economics to the histories of emotions and of the modern self, and from the histories of human rights law and NGOs to the sociology and anthropology of violence, of religion, and of disease and public health) with relevant theoretical readings with the pursuit of exploratory independent projects presented either as conference talks or as research papers. The theoretical readings will include texts concerned with psychoanalytic and decolonial approaches as well as epistemology, ontology, temporality, and causation. Foucault, in short, will be supplemented not only with Freud but also with Guattari, Laplanche, Koselleck, Moyn, Gessen, Stoler, Shepard, Scott, deLauretis, and Descola.
Together we will consider: What has changed even in the last five years in the questions we pose to the past? How can we make sense of recursive returns, deferred effects, and unexpected repercussions between different moments in time? And above all, a conceptual puzzle relevant to all historians: What should count as the pertinent backstories to which subsequent developments? We will thus spend significant time exploring the intersections of aspects of the history of sexuality with the histories of slavery, colonialism, Cold War conflicts, and past wars and genocides.
Syllabus here
Hist. 72300- Contemporary Theory and History
Tuesday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Samira Haj
The question of the relationship of theory to history is laden with problems. While it is obvious that historians carry their research in archives, it is not obvious what analytical or theoretical frameworks historians utilize to make sense of the past, its relationship to the present and its potential relevance to the future. Obviously, the question of what is particularly historical about the discipline of history is central to the debate. The objective of this seminar is to explore some of the concerns that have haunted historians since history established itself as a modern discipline, including the notions of historical temporality, historical memory, conceptual history, periodization, historical materialism, genealogy and others that are more conceptual rather than historical per se. The course is de facto thematically-organized as well as interdisciplinary, which by implication means that it will be drawing on different bodies of knowledge, including philosophy, political theory, anthropology, religion and gender studies with some recent written narratives and accounts drawn from the history field itself.  


Latin American History

Hist. 76900- Latin American and Caribbean Slave Societies in Comparative Perspective with Slavery in the United States
Thursday, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Laird Bergad
               This course will examine some of the main themes found in the vast historiography on Latin American and Caribbean slavery in comparative perspective with slave systems in the United States.  Comparative patterns of race relations will also be considered. Readings have been selected from some, not all, of the principal scholars who have worked on the theme of slavery; and they are reflective of topics that have been the subject of recent research and debate. The most exhaustive bibliographical guide to works on slavery is Joseph C. Miller, Slavery and Slaving in World History:  A Bibliography, 1900 - 1991 (Millwood, New York:  Kraus International Publications, 1993). This has been updated as Slavery and Slaving in World History: A Bibliography - Vol 2, 1992-96 (Armonk NY: M. E. Sharpe, 1999). More importantly a searchable web site has been developed by Miller and other collaborators at the following internet address: Also see Seymour Drescher and Stanley L. Engerman, eds. A Historical Guide to World Slavery (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
There are many synthetic surveys on slavery and the slave trade to Latin America and the Caribbean that you may use for general reference. It is recommended that you read, or become familiar with, Herbert S. Klein and Ben Vinson III, African Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean  (second edition) (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007) and Klein’s survey of the slave trade, Herbert S. Klein, The Atlantic Slave Trade  (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Robin Blackburn’s book is also recommended: The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation, and Human Rights (London: Verso, 2011), as well as Seymour Drescher, Abolition: A History of Slavery and Antislavery (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009).
An expansive survey which transcends slavery, and which focuses only upon the 19th and 20th centuries is George Reid Andrews, Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Latin American and Caribbean slavery is best understood in comparative perspective, which is one of the objectives of this course.  The literature on U.S. slavery is enormous.  There are several survey histories that I recommend which summarize much research. These are: Ira Berlin, Many Thousands Gone:  The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1998); Ira Berlin, Generations of Captivity: A History of African-American Slaves (Cambridge MA: Belknap Press, 2003); Peter Kolchin, American Slavery, 1619-1877 (New York: Hill and Wang, 2003); Robert William Fogel, Without Consent or Contract: The Rise and Fall of American Slavery (New York:  W.W. Norton, 1989); and David Brion Davis, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006).
Hist. 76000- Colonial Latin America
Wednesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Herman Bennett
         In recent years, some Latin Americanists have questioned the hermeneutics defining the field of colonial Latin American History.  The colonial designation some feel posits a disjuncture (or beginning) when it could be argued that continuity characterized the historical narrative.  While students of ideas, political practice, and the cultural domain have been the strongest proponents of this intervention, scholars of indigenous cultures—especially the Nahua Studies groups—share similar sentiments despite differences in scope and method.  Consequently, scholars have been utilizing terms like ‘early’ and ‘early modern’ Latin America to distinguish their work from a colonial project and its association with the rupture that Spanish hegemony allegedly implied.  Concurrently, a self-conscious collection of scholars identified as the Latin American subaltern studies group have called into question the elitist hegemony shaping the structure and content of Latin American history.  Scholars of the Latin American subaltern along with those who take issue with the occidental reasoning informing how Latin America history is currently conceived are introducing new terminology (subaltern, postcolonial, Afro-Latin American) that allegedly re-frames the Latin American past and present.  In our semester’s work, we shall explore the meanings and implications, if any, that this and other discursive shifts have had on Latin American historiography.  Even as this seminar attends to shifts in meaning and context, we will engage the substance of the existing historiography.
            This course is specifically designed as an introduction to the early modern/colonial field and is designed to prepare History graduate students for the major field exam in Latin American history.  Courses, despite their prominence in structuring graduate programs, merely introduce students to some of the overarching historiographic and conceptual themes defining a field.  To this end, a course identifies some areas of inquiry but in doing so obscures others.  At the core of this seminar are three thematic foci:
Firstly) Utilizing the concepts of movement, power, and difference one focus is to examine the formation of a Renaissance Atlantic in the period of 1400 to 1600 in which Iberian History and early Latin America played a central yet still overlooked role.  Framed as a question, I am asking: in what ways does recent scholarship on medieval and early modern Iberia call for a reconsideration of colonial Latin America history?  Ostensibly a historiographical question, it has epistemic implications.  In view that recent scholarship on the Iberian past has been transformative, what implications might this have on our thinking, approach, and writing of early Latin American history?  Successive turns, most notably the imperial and Atlantic ones, complicate matters by underscoring how nineteenth-century nationalist fabrications conjured up a mythic Iberia with profound consequences for the foundational representations of colonial Latin America history.
Secondly) through the prism of political economy this course will also bring into relief the genealogy of economy and government in early modern Iberia and 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 aspect of the course is not intended to mean the study of 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.’
Thirdly) this course seeks to situate the study of the African diaspora in the early modern period.  Accomplishing this task is no simple feat since the study of the black experiences in the New World and the African diaspora in general emerged as subjects of scholarly inquiry burdened by the weight of European colonial expansion and racial dominance.  In our efforts to route the study of the African diaspora through another scholarly abstraction—the early modern period—we will highlight the modern genealogies of many of our analytical concepts.  The intent here is not simply to offer a relentless critique but to foster ever more awareness for historical specificity.  By employing the heuristic concept of diaspora—and specifically the African diaspora—another thematic focus resides in the analytical work generated by studying cultures of movement.  As scholars, we might begin by asking whether diaspora complicates our understanding of disciplinary formations—including the normative assumptions that inform the study of society and culture.  How does diaspora, for instance, enhance our perspectives on imperial and colonial formations and the ways in which they have been historically represented?  In utilizing the prism of diaspora we confront the politics of representation through which scholars render meaning out of the past and present.  For this reason, diaspora like other categories of analysis engages the vexed terrain of representation whereby scholars frame the subject of their inquiries.
In reading and thinking about syllabi, you need to think about courses stated objectives, the instructor’s intent in relationship to those objectives, and the work a particular syllabus performs in relationship to previous and present intellectual formations.   Though designed for students in the Latin American field, the thematic and theoretical concerns informing the assigned readings and the course itself make this seminar accessible and of interest to early modern Europeanists, colonial Americanists, students of race, anthropology and cultural formations along with those interested in the current state of early modern cultural theories.

See Also

SOC 80200 - Sociology of Knowledge and Science
Tuesday, 2-4 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. John Torpey
This course examines the development of the sociology of knowledge and science from its nineteenth-century origins to the present day.  It seeks to convey an understanding of a) the ways in which knowledge has been grasped in sociological terms and b) the ways in which science and knowledge have affected social life in the past two centuries or so.
Reading list here

ANTH 81900 – Heterodox Marxism      
Thursday, 11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Gary Wilder 

 Instructor permission required. Please email​
This course in intellectual history will focus on 20th century thinkers who sought to reconsider Marxism in relation to changing historical conditions (including transformations in capitalism, developments within the left, shifting balances of forces and political situations in particular national and regional contexts).  There will be sections on romantic Marxists (Lukacs, Bloch, Benjamin, Lefebvre), the Frankfurt School critique of state capitalism and instrumental reason (Horkheimer, Pollock, Adorno, Marcuse), Gramsci and his legacy of conjunctural analysis with regard to political strategy, cultural politics, and hegemonic projects (Gramsci, Althusser, Poulantzas, Castoriadis, Laclau), global/anti-imperial Marxism from the South (Rosa Luxemburg, José Carlos, Mariátegui, C.L.R. James, Samir Amin), and Marxism in an age of neoliberalism (Antonio Negri and David Harvey).

Tuesdays 4:15-6:15; 4 credits, Domna Stanton

Why are we in the midst of an unparalleled refugee crisis that involves 65 million people? Such dislocations and displacements have occurred since the late 17th century, when the term was first coined; and they have proliferated over the past century, notably since 1915. Who is a refugee? Who qualifies for asylum, why and why not? What about unaccompanied minors; victims of forced migrations? What is the status of economic migrants; of internally displaced persons? How should we classify those fleeing climate catastrophes? Are these others viewed as human?
This course in critical refugee studies will begin with history (and histories), then focus on the development, successes –and failures--of the human rights regime, humanitarian law and regional instruments, such as those of the European Union. We will examine transnational North-South disparities as drivers of migration, and lastly, the current ideological and nationalist trends that have led to securitization, the closing of borders, and authoritarianism in the post 9/11 world.
We will consider particular cases: the Armenian genocide; the Holocaust; the aftermath of the Vietnam war; the intractable Palestinian problem; persecutions in Darfur and South Sudan; the flight from dictatorships, gangs and failing economies in the Americas (including Haiti); the European Union’s integrity. We will end with the present crisis catalyzed by the Syrian war.
Our approach will be interdisciplinary: critical studies in history, theory and law will combine with close readings of novels, including graphic texts, poetry, memoirs/testimonials, and documentaries that represent/construct figures of refugees as well as themes of longing, remembering and return in refugee art.
Authors/film makers include Abdelrazaq, Agamben, Ai Wei Wei, Arendt, Balibar, Bauman, Butler, Dandicat, Darwish, Derrida, Dummett, Eggers, Erpenbeck, Hisham, Lanzmann, Said, Viet Than Nguyen
Work for the course will involve, beyond close readings of assignments, a class presentation (and write-up) of a case study with other members of a team; a 20 page paper on a topic developed in consultation with the instructor; and a final exam. Course materials will be uploaded to Blackboard cAugust 15, 2018.
Please direct all questions about the course to Domna Stanton (