Graduate Courses

Fall 2020

CLA 547/PAW 503/HLS 547/HIS 557 Problems in Ancient History: Ancient Lives Questions of how and why individuals mattered, even of what constituted an individual, are among the most complicated and challenging asked of Greco-Roman civilization. Our seminar considers the historical development of biography from the pre-Hellenistic Greek world to late Antiquity. Through studying the representation of individual lives and asking what makes them worth narrating and what ancient discourses shape their reception, we aim to develop a better understanding of both the texts within this tradition and the changing conceptions of identity and social agency that inform them. Instructor(s): Andrew Mark Feldherr, Brent Donald Shaw
HIS 500 Introduction to the Professional Study of History A colloquium to introduce the beginning graduate student to the great traditions in historical writing, a variety of techniques and analytical tools recently developed by historians, and the nature of history as a profession. Instructor(s): Federico Marcon, Erika Lorraine Milam
HIS 510 Ottomans and Mughals: Imperial Formations in the Early Modern World The Ottoman and Mughal Empires were among the most powerful state formations in the early modern world, remarkable for their expanse and diversity. Yet, research into the Mughals and the Ottomans remains largely siloed in scholarly niches despite all that the two states shared. This class offers a perspective on the early modern era from the vantage point of these two polities and place major studies in the fields of Mughal and Ottoman history in conversation. Thinking comparatively and with an eye to connections, this seminar facilitates cross-border thinking about the histories and historiographies of the Mughal and Ottoman domains. Instructor(s): Divya Cherian, Molly Greene
HIS 511 Twentieth-Century Europe This seminar introduces students to key topics and approaches in twentieth-century European history. It encompasses classic subjects like political violence, the two world wars, the renovation of empire, and decolonization, as well as new scholarship on international order, rights, neoliberalism, religion, and the family. Instructor(s): Natasha G. Wheatley
HIS 515 Modern African History: Society, Violence, Displacement, and Memory Topics include the relationship between society and warfare in pre-modern and modern Africa, the impact of violence on society (for example, population displacement, disease, and genocide) and post-conflict recovery (i.e. demobilization, return and resettlement of internally displaced persons and refugees, the transition from emergency aid to development aid) and reconciliation (for example, truth- and/or reconciliation commissions and war crimes/humanitarian courts) as well as the memorialisation of the violence and peace-building. Instructor(s): Emmanuel H. P. M. Kreike
HIS 516 Comparative Slavery This graduate-level reading seminar introduces students to the historiography of slavery. The topics covered include slavery in antiquity and the Middle Ages, indigenous slavery, chattel slavery, convict labor, and sex trafficking, among others. The course has a strong emphasis on the workings of the Atlantic slave trade, but comparative readings highlight distinctive trajectories and models of slavery outside the Atlantic context. Students also engage with classic theoretical texts on the subject of slavery and freedom. Instructor(s): Wendy Warren
HIS 519/GSS 519/HOS 519 Topics in the History of Sex and Gender: History of Sexuality A survey of important work in the history of sexuality, seeking to understand sexuality not only as a topic of historical inquiry but as a category of analysis. Seminar focuses on U.S. history (from colonial period to the present), but some readings address contexts outside of the United States, as well as interdisciplinary and/or theoretical approaches to questions of gender/sexuality. Instructor(s): Regina Kunzel
HIS 527/EAS 522 20th-Century Japanese History Readings in Japanese political, social, and economic history. Topics include transwar continuity and change, political economy, labor, gender issues, culture and state, religion, Japanese expansion and colonialism, the Allied Occupation of Japan and "social management," and transnational-historical approaches to studying Japan. Some readings in Japanese (optional for those who do not specialize in Japanese history). Instructor(s): Sheldon Marc Garon
HIS 528/CLA 544/HLS 544 The Reception of the Classical Tradition in Early Modern Europe This seminar examines the ways in which philosophers and imaginative writers, historians and philologists, antiquaries and collectors interpreted texts and objects from the ancient world. We begin by raising methodological questions, examining "reception" as a concept and setting it in the larger context of hermeneutical theory and practice. Then we carry out a series of case studies. We examine major texts and works of art and architecture, while also attending to the institutional and disciplinary contexts within which the study of the ancient world was carried on. Instructor(s): Anthony Thomas Grafton, Barbara Graziosi
HIS 530/EAS 520 Modern China This seminar introduces students to major historiographical and methodological issues in twentieth-century Chinese history, with emphasis on the Republican period. Topics reflect theoretical debates and empirical questions, including: nationalism and citizenship, urban life, gender and sexuality, the Communist revolution, early PRC history. Instructor(s): Janet Y. Chen
HIS 534/SLA 534 Russian Lies: Forgeries and Mystifications in History and Culture This course explores how the boundaries between the fake and the authentic were established, contested, and employed in Russian literature, art, politics, and historiography. In a series of scholarly investigations of major forgeries and mystifications, the course tests various methodologies of working with (seemingly) "unreliable sources" (Lotman). The topics include: values and dangers of mystifications; ethics and art of forgery; political impostors and con men, imaginary works and personalities, pseudo-translations, etc. Instructor(s): Ekaterina Pravilova, Ilya Vinitsky
HIS 537 Islam Across the Indian Ocean This seminar will consider Islam and mobility across the Indian Ocean, discussing ways that Southeast Asians, Africans, and Indians have created their distinct communities while nonetheless declaring themselves to be of one discrete entity: the Umma. Alongside discussions of knowledge creation, orientalism and nationalism, the seminar will also explore issues relating to global projects for religious and political reform, using Indonesia as a primary example. Instructor(s): Michael F. Laffan
HIS 538/NES 517 Modern Middle East This intensive reading seminar situates recent monographs from a variety of disciplines against the backdrop of extant scholarly literature and broader intellectual debates that continue to shape the field of Middle East studies, in general, and Middle East history, in particular. Instructor(s): Max David Weiss
HIS 551 Problems in French History: 19th Century France Readings in the political, social, and cultural history of nineteenth-century France are the focus of this course. Topics include: the Empire and Restoration; the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 and the Paris Commune; the Second Empire and the coming of the Third Republic; France and its empire overseas. Instructor(s): Philip Galland Nord
HIS 560 After Empire This graduate seminar explores the postcolonial world in the aftermath of World War II, a period convulsed by the aftereffects of wartime upheavals, nationalist insurgencies, imperial retreat, and the onset of the Cold War. Focusing on the period from the end of World War II to Bandung and treating it as a distinct and bounded historical conjuncture, we examine decolonization as a global phenomenon, caught between the no longer and not yet, and sparking changes in imperial and anticolonial projects. Instructor(s): Gyan Prakash
HIS 577/AAS 577 Readings in African American History This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the literature of African-American History, from the colonial era up to more recent times. Major themes and debates are highlighted. The course should help students to define interests within the field to pursue further study and research and also to aid preparation for examinations. Instructor(s): Tera W. Hunter
HIS 589 Readings in American History: Reconstruction to World War I A comprehensive introduction to the literature and problems of American History from the end of the Civil War through World War I. Instructor(s): Beth Lew-Williams, Emily Thompson
HOS 592/HIS 592 ATTENTION: History, Philosophy, Science What is attention? How can it be known? In what ways can we historicize our understanding of its dynamics and effects? These are the questions that will drive this seminar, which will reconnoiter literature from philosophy, the history of science, media theory, and art history. As new technologies and practices reshape the attentional subject (with dramatic implications for learning, politics, and social life), a deeper understanding of the shifting history of attention becomes urgent. Our aim will be to prepare ourselves to confront the attention economy from a position ballasted (by scholarship) and armed (by critical inquiry). Instructor(s): D. Graham Burnett


Director of Graduate Studies, History
124 Dickinson Hall
Graduate Program Administrator
108 Dickinson Hall