100-level and 200-level Human Interaction courses. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation. This course is the required methodology course for the Human Interaction major.
This course introduces students to the theories and methods of history as a field of knowledge. Through close readings of scholarly texts, we will consider such questions as the words historians use; their narrative style, sources, methods, organization, and framing; and their assumptions about historical causation and human nature. How does the choice of each of these affect the historian’s work? How do historians decide which questions to ask? And how do they select, analyze, and present historical evidence? How have broader debates in the social sciences influenced the writing of history? And how have historical sub-fields—including social, political, cultural, economic, and intellectual history—varied over time and across space?
Rather than providing an abstract overview of historical writing from the Greeks to the present, this course will open a series of windows onto areas of innovative and exciting work being carried out in the discipline. In their written assignments, students will have an opportunity to focus on the areas of history that interest them most.
After successful completion of the course, students will be able to:
explain how the aims, philosophies, and methodologies of historians have varied over time and across space
identify and compare a range of historical sub-fields, including social, political, cultural, and intellectual history
discuss the relationship of history to other fields in the humanities and social sciences
enter into historiographical debates in their own right, both orally and in formal written prose
Mode of Instruction
This course will proceed primarily as a seminar, meeting for two 2-hour sessions per week. Each class will center on the discussion of an assigned reading. In addition to contributing informal web responses to a blackboard site before class, students will write two formal essays. There will also be one class excursion to the Institute for Social History in Amsterdam, on a Wednesday afternoon, likely February 20.
Assessment: Active class participation
Assessment: Informal but analytical web postings of at least 300 words each, submitted for ten class sessions
Assessment: Initial paper proposal (400-500 words)
Deadline: Week 3
Assessment: Paper proposal and annotated bibliography (1000 words)
Deadline: Week 5
Assessment: Final essay (3000 words)
Deadline: Week 8
Most course readings will be available via Blackboard. The instructor will email enrolled students with a short list of books to purchase.
Dr. Ann Marie Wilson
Week 1: What is History?
Week 2: Nations / Comparisons
Week 3: Narratives / Sources
Week 4: History from Below
Week 5: History from Above
Week 6: Environments
Week 7: Historical Memory
Week 8: Reading Week
Preparation for first session
The instructor will email enrolled students with a PDF of the short reading to prepare for the first class session.