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Spring 2021

600/700-Level Seminars

His 606 (History and Methods): “Unexpected Empires”
Dr. Abigail Firey
Tuesdays, 4:30-7:00pm (hybrid)

This course is cross-listed with His 700-03

In this, course, we shall explore a range of approaches to the idea of “empire”.  Can a single commodity (such as coffee) produce the full superstructure of an empire?  How can environmental factors affect the imperialist ventures of humans?  Are some empires unnoticed, such as the domain of night?  What has become of our knowledge of the indigenous empires of North America?  How do classic empires, such as the German Empire, become established models in our memory? Has anyone figured out why empires rise and fall?  The course entails much quite a bit of reading, reading that is likely to be largely outside our own fields of study.  The works studied offer a range of historical approaches, sources, and subjects.

His 613 (Topics in Pre-modern History): “Advanced Paleography”
Dr. Abigail Firey
Wednesdays, 4:00-6:30pm (hybrid)

This seminar is the second semester of a year-long sequence.  It is possible to take it as a single course, although the skills and methods acquired in the first semester (HIS 616: Paleography) will certainly support the work of HIS 613.  In this second semester, we study the most-used script of the middle ages after the eleventh century: Gothic (also known as Textualis).  In addition to being the script of the majority of surviving manuscripts, it presents special challenges that invite weeks of study.  As in HIS 616, the study of several examples of the script each week is complemented with readings in history of the book, cultural history, editorial theory and practices, textual and paleographic discoveries, and related matters.  Those who took HIS 613 will have the opportunity to pursue the research projects initiated in that course.

His 657: Race and Democracy in Modern America
Dr. Tracy Campbell
Wednesdays, 4:30-7:00pm (online)

This class picks up where Prof. Taylor’s class ends (see below), in the early twentieth century. The “problem” of the twentieth century, as W.E.B. DuBois predicted, would be “the color line,” and the readings in this course will examine this essential issue throughout the century and into the present. We will read from a wide variety of authors and periods to explore some looming questions: what were the political, legal, economic, and social dynamics that fueled Jim Crow? What was the role of violence in suppressing and, perhaps, enhancing democracy? What role did the Cold War and foreign policy play in the fight for racial equality? How does gender and economic inequality fit within the context of civil rights? Lastly, how can understanding our complex past help us in making our present more equitable and democratic? This is a reading-intensive course in which students will read from a common list as well as explore individual readings that may go beyond historians to include activists, social scientists, journalists, economists, and novelists. 

His 700-02: Reconstructing America
Dr. Amy Murrell Taylor
Thursdays, 2:00-4:30pm (hybrid)

This course is cross-listed with His 595/AAS 400

Today’s struggles for racial justice often raise a historical question: How did we get to this point? The answer may be complex but very often leads us back into the period of Reconstruction, to the years following the abolition of slavery in 1865 when the United States embarked on a radical new effort to extend citizenship rights to African

American people and build an interracial democracy. What happened during Reconstruction? What was achieved, what went wrong, and why did this period eventually give way to the era of Jim Crow? The course will begin in 1865 and then extend into the 1910s in order to assess when this “unfinished revolution,” as one historian has put it, came to an end—or whether it ended at all. Topics to be examined range from politics and citizenship to education, labor, and violence, and we will consider how the central question of race and national belonging encompassed immigrants and indigenous people too. This is a reading-intensive course that will cover both the latest scholarship as well as the classics, all of which reveal how historians have long puzzled over Reconstruction’s meaning in American history.      

His 700-001: Dependency Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Graduate Seminar
Dr. Scott Taylor (History) and Dr. Claire Clark (Behavioral Science)
Mondays, 2:00-4:30pm (hybrid)

This course is cross listed with ANT/BSC/PSY/SOC 776.

Course Objectives:
--To consider dependency as a human behavior with biological, psychological, social, spiritual and other roots.

--To consider conceptualizations of dependency behavior and how these have shaped prevention, treatment and public policy throughout history.

--To examine dependency as a range of negative and positive addictive behaviors and associated problems.

The course format includes presentations, class discussion, being a class discussion leader, and written assignments. Shared learning by all participants is anticipated. The course will begin by considering dependency behavior as a human behavior with historical, biological, psychological, social, spiritual and other roots. Example conceptual frameworks will be explored as classes focus on substance use, as well as institutional dependence and other dependencies. PREREQUISITES: This course is an introductory graduate-level course intended for students of history, sociology, psychology, anthropology, education, nursing, social work, medicine, public health, and related disciplines. No special prerequisites, other than graduate standing, are necessary.

History 701: Research Seminar
Dr. David Hamilton
Mondays, 4:30-7:00pm (online)

History 701 is a research and writing seminar in which students will produce a detailed and well-argued paper (20-30 pages) that seeks to make an original and substantial contribution to historical scholarship.  The paper must be based on extensive research in primary sources.  The seminar’s goals include learning how to identify and define a historical problem that merits in-depth research, gaining experience in locating and interpreting primary source documents, exploring how to organize and structure a historical narrative, and developing a greater command of the qualities of good prose.  Peer-review of ideas and written drafts will be an essential part of the class.  The class is open to any graduate student specializing in modern history, regardless of geographic specialty.

His 750: Introduction to the Historical Profession
Dr. Amy Murrell Taylor
Tuesdays, 2:00-4:30pm (online)

Note: This one-credit course only meets 4-5 times during the semester.

This course offers a series of professional development workshops designed to assist doctoral students with building a strong foundation for their careers as a historian. Topics to be covered may include conference participation, grant writing, publishing, networking, internships, and work-life balance.

Courses at the 500 Level

These courses are open to both graduate and undergraduate students.

His 503: History of the Roman Empire
Dr. Dan Gargola
MWF, 9:00-9:50am (in person)

A study of the foundation of the Roman Empire, the development of Imperial institutions, social and intellectual developments of the Graeco-Roman world. The decline of Rome and the barbarian invasions of the fourth century.

His 557: British Empire & the Commonwealth, 1880-2000
Dr. Mark Summers
MWF, 1:00-1:50pm (in person)

This course will trace the imperial theme, and the gradual decline and decomposition of Britain’s empire from Victoria’s day to the present; it will examine decolonization and the blending and clash of cultures, the effect of technology and western ideas on the subject peoples, and their impact on western civilization. Prereq: Prior experience in HIS 105 strongly recommended.

HIS 564: History of Brazil
Dr. Erik Myrup
MWF 12:00-12:50 (in person)

This course introduces graduate students to the historical roots of modern Brazilian society and culture, providing a comparative lens through which to view the shared histories of Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. It is especially well-suited for students who are preparing for graduate fields on the Atlantic world, Latin America, and world history more generally.  A dramatic tale that interweaves stories of gold, slavery, gender, race, and nation building into a broader history of the Americas, A History of Brazil provides students of U.S. or European history with an alternative perspective on the making of the modern world. 
Central themes include:
•    early cross-cultural encounters in the South Atlantic,
•    African slavery and the colonial legacies of race, class, and gender in the modern era, 
•    the twisted paths of imperialism and independence,
•    the social and political transformations of contemporary Brazilian society and culture, and
•    the historical connections between Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas.


His 584: Health  & Disease in the U.S.
Dr. Eric Christianson
TTR 3:30-4:45pm (online)

Examines the emergence of modern medicine and the allied health professions, from colonial times to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the social, institutional, and scientific contexts of medical thought, education, and practice. It also explores how social and professional thought and action shape the meaning of health and disease.
His 595-001: Global Black Freedom Struggle

Dr. George Wright
Thursdays, 3:00-5:50pm (online)

This seminar will cover the period from the 1870s to the present.  The last decades of the 1800s witnessed the end of slavery and at the same time,  the determination by whites,  in Africa, Brazil, and the  United States,  to create a new racial order with black people, indeed, all “people of color,” remaining at the bottom of society.  Racial discrimination, in virtually every area of society, became a reality.  Also, racial violence occurred with the primary goal of ensuring that black people clearly understood “their place.”  Yet, significantly, by the early 1900s, in various places in the world, the struggle for racial equality and justice had started.  This seminar will examine a number of key leaders: Frederick Douglass, Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DuBois, and courageous women such as Ida Wells Barnett, and several leaders whose actions continued for much of the 20th century:  Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  The seminar concludes by examining where significant changes have occurred and where aspects of the racist past still remain firmly entrenched.

His 595-002: Decolonization
Dr. Steve Davis
Wednesdays, 2:00-4:30pm (online)

This seminar will address decolonization both as a set of historical events and political processes that transformed empires into a collection of sovereign nation-states, but also as a conceptual project of forging new subjectivities in the aftermath of European colonialism.  Our discussion will center on decolonization in Africa as a microcosm of a much broader experience that extended elsewhere geographically and temporally.  We will examine the causes of the collapse of empire in Africa, identify the origins of the political alternatives that sought to replace colonialism and examine the various 'struggles within the struggle' that characterized many liberation movements, and do some preliminary explorations into the post-colonial condition.  By the end of the course students should feel confident in explaining the broad contours of decolonization in its political, social, economic and cultural manifestation with specific reference to the African experience.