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Historiography: Research in the History of US-European Relations




Admission Requirements

A course in history will be helpful. This course could help fulfill the methodology requirement for students majoring in Human Interaction.


This course introduces students to the theories and methods of history as a field of knowledge by guiding them through independent historical research projects on a selected topic within the broad theme of U.S. / European relations.

The most important thing to know is that this is a research seminar, where students will be required to do substantial reading and research outside of the classroom. Short assignments will build incrementally towards a 4000-word final essay WHICH WILL BE DUE AT THE END OF JANUARY, 2014. This will allow students ample time in which to carry out their research and complete their writing. It will also provide good training for students preparing to undertake Capstone projects in their third year.

Authors of the strongest essays will be invited to participate in the student component of the Biennial Conference of the European American Studies Association (EAAS), which will be hosted at LUC from April 2-6, 2014. (See for more details.)

But that is the end goal. We will begin, first, by exploring 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?

We will also analyze sample primary sources. What methods should we use to interpret documentary, visual, or oral evidence? Why, where, when, and how were various sources created—and why does it matter? How can we read for and interpret silences and omissions? How do the emerging tools of “Digital History” affect the historian’s craft?

Along the way, students will pursue independent projects in which they will apply historical methods and theories to their own research questions. They will gain experience in narrowing down a topic, devising a research question, synthesizing historiographical literature, identifying and interpreting a body of sources, keeping track of and organizing data, and putting it all into writing. In this respect, our seminar will function as a workshop, where students will present on their progress and share ideas about the challenges, joys, and frustrations of historical research.

Course Objectives

After successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • identify, explain, and employ the major aims, philosophies, and methodologies of historians

  • skillfully analyze and synthesize both primary and secondary sources

  • gain a broad familiarity with major themes in the history of US/European relations

  • devise a substantial independent research project and see it through to completion

Mode of Instruction

This course will proceed as a workshop seminar, meeting for two 2-hour sessions per week. Classes will focus variously on theoretical readings; historical articles or monographs; primary historical sources; student presentations and small group work; and presentations by visiting historians. As a class, we will also visit at least one or two historical archives.




Most course readings will be available via Blackboard. The instructor will email enrolled students with a short list of books to purchase.

Contact Information

Dr. Ann Marie Wilson

Weekly Overview


Preparation for first session

The instructor will email enrolled students with instructions for the first session.