Graduate Courses

Fall 2019

CLA 547/PAW 503/HLS 547/HIS 557 Problems in Ancient History: Ancient Media, Modern Media Theory A half-century after Marshall McLuhan's minting of the phrase "The medium is the message," media theory has made few inroads in the study of ancient Mediterranean literatures and cultures, with some fields making more use of it than others. This seminar approaches the study of the ancient world as a discipline of mixed media, examining the potentials of both its textual and non-textual "things" in shaping past and present modes of knowledge production. Modern media studies and its kindred disciplines (semiotics, communication theory, mediology, the New Materialism, etc.) guide our theoretical approaches to ancient materials. Instructor(s): Dan-El Padilla Peralta, Ava Shirazi
EAS 525/HIS 525 Sources in Ancient and Medieval Japanese History This course provides an introduction to the written sources of Japanese history from 750- 1600. Instruction focuses on reading and translating a variety of documentary genres, and court chronicles, although visual sources (e.g. maps, scrolls, and screens) are introduced in class as well. Each week entails a translation of five or six short documents and a library research assignment. Research resources and methods are also emphasized. A substantial research assignment, involving primary source research, is due at the end of the semester. The final week of class is devoted to presentations about the research project. Instructor(s): Thomas Donald Conlan
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): Rosina Amelia Lozano, Federico Marcon
HIS 501 Global History (1850s - Present) This seminar offers a history of global interactions roughly since the 1850s, combining an analytical framework with an overarching narrative. It singles out geopolitics, political economy, empire, networks and exchange, warfare and welfare, and oil. Key themes include the Anglo-German antagonism, the U.S.-Japan clash, the rise and fall of global communism, the German story and the European Union, the fall and rise of China, and America's global predominance and partnerships. Instructor(s): Stephen Kotkin
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 517 Southeast Asian Islams This seminar explores topics ranging from the Islamization of Insular Southeast Asia, the development of Muslim polities, reactions to colonialism, and transnational critiques of everyday praxis. It evaluates the role of indigenous informants in creating the body of knowledge about Islam in Southeast Asia among scholars, and looks at how that knowledge informs our present day discourse on the region and its relations with the rest of the Muslim World. Instructor(s): Michael F. Laffan
HIS 523 Topics in Modern South Asia: Subaltern Studies and After This course explores special topics in modern South Asian history. The precise topic varies from year to year. Instructor(s): Gyan Prakash
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 540/HLS 545/NES 548 Themes in World History, 1300-1850: The Mediterranean The course introduces students to recent theoretical literature on writing the history of the sea/ocean and to the historiography on the early modern Mediterranean (1300-1850). The relationship between Mediterranean history and global history is also considered. The Ottoman Empire, the Venetian Republic and North Africa all figure prominently. Instructor(s): Molly Greene
HIS 544/MED 544 Seminar in Medieval History: Rural Society This course is an investigation of rural society in northern Europe during the High Middle Ages, covering issues like land clearance, agricultural technology, labor (including serfdom), crime, agricultural crises, etc.. Instructor(s): William Chester Jordan
HIS 547 Revolutionary Lives in the Atlantic World This course will take a new approach to the "Age of Democratic Revolutions," looking at the French, American and Haitian Revolutions through the prism of biography, and notions of selfhood. It will explore how individuals attempted to construct and reconstruct their lives during his period of unprecedented tumult. It will also examine how we can recapture those lives, and how individual biographies can illuminate the period's larger events. Instructor(s): David A. Bell
HIS 551 Problems in French History: 20th Century France Readings in the political, social, and cultural history of twentieth-century France are the focus of this course. Topics include: the founding of the Third Republic, the Great War and its aftermath, Vichy and the Resistance, postwar reconstruction, the end of empire, and 1968. Instructor(s): Philip Galland Nord
HIS 552 International Financial History The course examines financial innovation and its consequences from the early modern period to present: it examines the evolution of trading practices, bills of exchange, government bonds, equities, banking activity, derivatives markets, securitization. How do these evolve in particular state or national settings, how are the practices regulated, how do they relate to broader processes of economic development and to state formation? What happens as financial instruments are traded across state boundaries, and how does an international financial order evolve? What are the effects of international capital mobility? Instructor(s): Harold James
HIS 553/HLS 553 The Syriac Tradition The aim of this course is to introduce students to the history of the Syriac language and Syriac-speaking Christians. We focus on important individual authors, key historical moments, and significant themes and aspects of the history of Syriac-speaking Christians in the Middle East. Since Syriac-speaking churches have traditionally been classified by Western authors as "heretics" we also examine the nature of orthodoxy and heresy. Students are introduced to and trained in the use of the most important instrumenta studiorum of Syriac studies. Instructor(s): Jack Boulos Victor Tannous
HIS 556 The Russian Empire: 1672-1917 This seminar covers major topics of Russian history from the late 17th century to 1917: political cultures and the institutions of autocracy; Russia in the age of Enlightenment; Nationalism and the policy toward non-Russian nationalities; Russian Empire in comparative perspective; Church and State in Imperial Russia; Russian village before and after the emancipation of peasants; social, legal, and cultural reforms; revolutionary movement and the development of Russian political thought. Instructor(s): Ekaterina Pravilova
HIS 565 Early Modern Europe A survey of classic and recent scholarship in the social and cultural history of Early Modern Europe, ca. 1400-1800. Topics covered include: The Renaissance; The Reformation; Transaltantic Empires; Court Society; The Enlightenment; and the French Revolution. Instructor(s): Yair Mintzker
HIS 566 Work and Inequality This seminar surveys classic and more recent scholarship in the history of work in the United States. Path-breaking studies to be considered include many that are imbricated with histories of capitalism as well as those that emphasize transnational approaches. Inequality will be a central thematic throughout the semester. Instructor(s): Margot Canaday
HIS 571 American Cultural History Historians and critics argue that since the 1980s there was a turn towards "cultural history" but it often remains unclear what exactly cultural history entails. Even more recent scholarship pits the cultural and the digital turns against each other while ironically arguing both democratize the voices heard in historical accounts. This course explores classic texts and current methodological problems in U.S. cultural history in a global context. Instructor(s): Rhae Lynn Barnes
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 582 Readings in Western American History This readings course focuses on the central problems engaged by recent scholarship on the American West, with particular attention given to how this regional history intersects with the larger thematic concerns of national history. Readings address topics ranging from the 16th to 21st centuries, including environmental history, Native American history, race, gender, urban history, and popular culture. Instructor(s): Martha A. Sandweiss
HIS 587 Readings in Early American History This course provides an introduction to the historiography of early North America, focusing on the revolutionary and early national eras (roughly 1750-1815). Discussions of empire, revolution, state formation, Native American history, gender, political culture, slavery, and more. Instructor(s): Michael Albert Blaakman
HIS 761 Directed Readings in Medieval History No description available Instructor(s): William Chester Jordan
HOS 599/HIS 599 Special Topics in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine: Alchemy This course takes alchemy as a starting point for exploring the history of medieval and early modern science and medicine. Alchemy's goals ranged from transmuting metals to prolonging life. They also invoke broader themes: religious belief, artisanal practice, secrecy, medical doctrine, experimental philosophy, visual culture. This Spring, the University Library is hosting an exhibition on alchemical imagery that seeks to combine these themes. We use this opportunity to investigate the historical approaches that inform modern presentations of art and science: from displaying artefacts, to reconstructing experiments in a modern laboratory. Instructor(s): Jennifer M. Rampling
NES 547/HIS 546 Introduction to Arabic Documents An introduction to hands-on work with medieval Arabic documentary sources in their original manuscript form. Between 100,000 and 200,000 such documents have survived, making this an exciting new area of research with plenty of discoveries still to be made. Students learn how to handle the existing repertory of editions, documentary hands, Middle Arabic, transcription, digital resources and original manuscripts, including Geniza texts currently on loan to Firestone from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. The syllabus varies according to the interests of the students and the instructor. Instructor(s): Marina Rustow
REL 513/HIS 534 Studies in Ancient Judaism: Scholars and their Critics This seminar analyzes the construction and presentation of scholarly practices in key moments of Jewish history from late antiquity through the modern period. We discuss transformations in the figure of the scholar, the ideology of scholarship and its critique, the changing material conditions of scholarship, and the relationship between scholarship and the formation of distinct religious, social, and political movements. Instructor(s): Yaacob Dweck, Moulie Vidas


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