HIST 1105: Readings & Assignments

Submitting work

All work will be submitted on UNM Learn, either through the discussion board or via a quiz.

A note about deadlines

Everything you need to turn in is listed in a red box. Most weeks have short reading quizzes or reflections due on specified days to keep everyone moving along together and space out the work. But I am also aware that sh!t happens and takes up valuable time unexpectedly. If need be, you can submit work up to TWO DAYS after the due date for full credit IF THE NEED ARISES. But this leeway should be used only as a last resort in the wake of unusual circumstances. Because there is a natural tendency to let things slide until the last weeks of the semester, unless you’ve made arrangements with me (and please do!), work more than 2 days late will be scored a 0.

Week 1 (Jan 18–22): Introductions

Tuesday: Syllabus, Expectations, Tools


  • Alice Dreger, What is History?. The significance of the anecdote offered at the beginning of this piece is not explicitly stated, but it should be. The point here is that every time we ask WHY? about anything, we can focus either on immediate practical implications (physics), or on much larger structural, social explanations (history). They are both important because they provide different kinds of answers. Those who can move fluidly between these ways of thinking and understanding will be more astute problem solvers in any career.

  • Peter Sterns, Why Study History?.


  • David Foster Wallace, What is Water?. You can listen to DFW read this (a commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005) or just read the transcript—or read and listen at the same time, as I did.

Week 2 (Jan 25–29): Premodern history writing

To understand more about what history is and what it is for, it’s imperative to have a sense of how historical methods, motivations, and interpretations have changed over time. That’s what our first book is about. It’s a very high-level overview that helps keep the big picture of historiographical change in focus. Short lectures and reading guides will complement the text with additional details and historic examples. This book provides a foundation of historical tradition that is necessary to appreciate the critical questions and changes in historical writing that are the focus of our second book.

Popkin’s book is very good at making its main points very clear while providing lots of historical examples and detail, so it’s easy to read slower when getting the more important overview and read more quickly through the details. Don’t treat it like a textbook where everything is equally important.



  • Popkin, Chapter 2: History in Ancient and Medieval Times, 26–48.


  • Popkin, Chapter 3: The Historiographical Revolution of Early Modern Europe, 49–70.

Week 3 (Feb 1–5): The rise of modern history

This week we continue our historiographical survey.


  • Week 2 Overview video. This one is good for making sure you haven’t missed key historiographical points that we’ll need later, and some advice about doing well on the quizzes.
  • Week 3 Overview video. This one is good for situating the two chapters in the contours of the course and for highlighting some important ideas you’ll need for your Wednesday reflection.


  • Popkin, Chapter 4: Rise of Academic Scholarship and Nationalist History, 71–100.


  • Popkin, Chapter 5: Scientific History in an Era of Conflict, 101–129.

Week 4 (Feb 8–12)

We finish up our historiographical survey this week. This week’s chapters cover how approaches to history changed in the second half of the 20th century. We are taking a short break from reading responses in favor of READING SUMMARIES. They are described below.



  • Popkin, Chapter 6: From Objectivity to the “Culture Wars”, 133–148 (beginning of the chapter up to section titled “Women’s History…”).
  • Maza, Thinking about History, 178–185 (Chapter 5, from section “In Search of Meaning: Microhistory” to “Clifford Geertz…”).


  • Popkin, Chapter 6: From Objectivity to the “Culture Wars”, 148–170 (from section titled “Women’s History…” to end of chapter).

Week 5 (Feb 15–19)

Our next book (though we briefly dabbled in it already) introduces and explains some critical questions that we should always be asking about every history we encounter. It covers some of the same material as Popkin’s final chapters, but in a very different way. Unlike the broad chronological overview Popkin gives us, Maza takes a more thematic approach to analyzing contemporary history writing and what’s new about it compared to past traditions. We will apply these questions (and historical examples) to analyzing our final book for the course towards the end of the term. These first two chapters are especially useful for our exercise next week examining how US History should be taught.



  • Maza, Thinking about History, Ch. 1: The History of Whom?, 10–44 (whole chapter).


  • Maza, Thinking about History, Ch. 2: The History of Where?, 45–82 (whole chapter).

Week 6 (Feb 22–26)

Having completed our historiographical survey (Popkin) and started to think about critical historical questions (Maza, and her first two chapters are especially relevant for this week), we can reflect more thoughtfully on our own historiographical moment. How should we conceptualize and write about U.S. history?

There are NO DAILY ASSIGNMENTS for this week, just one longer-than-normal reflection essay due on Friday that should demonstrate your familiarity with everything listed below. I have recommended doing work on certain days to space everything out, but you can decide what works for your schedule. HOWEVER, be sure you understand what you need to do for Friday EARLY in the week so that you have time to get everything done.



The following two responses to the NYTM issue (and reactions to it) are online, but sometimes access can be limited. In case you can’t access the articles through the links below, they are also in our Zotero library.


After browsing the full issue, reading Hannah-Jones’s introduction, and reading through the two different perspectives on how we should view the project, write a 800-900 word essay to answer the following TWO questions (using roughly half your space for each, but don’t sweat the exact ratio):

  • How would you summarize/characterize the pros and cons of what the project is trying to do?
  • What is YOUR view of how this historiographical debate fits into the long history of historiography that we’ve been reading?

WARNING: Make specific use of ALL READINGS THIS WEEK to inform your response. Don’t just rant for or against the project or make bland generalizations about how it’s great or stupid without engaging with the arguments from the readings. There is no right answer, but there are better and worse ways of making an informed argument, and that’s what your grade depends on.

Week 7 (March 1–5)

This week we’re back to Maza, and in fact mostly finishing with it. We’re reading chapters 3 and 4 carefully this week, but just skimming 5 and 6 next week. Because everything starts to get a little crazy this time of the semester, don’t fret about the specific recommended due dates this week—just BE SURE TO GET EVERYTHING IN BY FRIDAY (or Saturday if you’re hopelessly behind, as I seem to be this semester). There is a video wrap-up (and quiz) on the 1619 Project critiques, but it doesn’t really need to (and won’t) address the Maza chapters, so you can treat them independently.


  • 1619 Project Critique Commentary Video and QUIZ. This video highlights some of the interesting points made in your essays from last week, and serves as a jumping off point for ideas I hope you’ll take away from our readings and critique.


  • Sara Maza, Thinking about History, Ch. 3: The History of What?, 83–117 (whole chapter).


  • Sara Maza, Thinking about History, Ch. 4: How is History Produced?, 118–156 (whole chapter).

Week 8 (Mar 8–12)

We’re finishing Maza this week, but there are no individual chapter reflections as we’ve done previously. As a few weeks ago, NOTHING DUE UNTIL FRIDAY as we’re winding down for break. Because your assignment this week is to reflect over Maza as a whole, it’s important to be familiar with the final two chapters (5 and 6), but we don’t need to read for the same level of detail.

Early in the week

  • SKIM MAZA chapters 5 and 6. We’ve already read a chunk of 5, and 6 overlaps with Popkin (so there’s not a lot that’s new), but it is explained a bit differently. Again, the overlap will help you better see what historiographic changes brought up in Popkin are most important. You should read to get familiar with her main points and examples rather than absorb all the details.

There is no quiz or reflection on just these chapters, but there is one last reflection on the whole Maza book to close out this half of the term.


Be sure you are providing SPECIFIC examples in addition to generic statements. To say “Maza is useful because it’s organized by question” is basically saying to me that you have no idea what’s in the book.

Remember, it’s a REFLECTION, not a summary. Any brief summary should be in the service of providing examples and illustrating your informed opinion on the questions. I’m looking for your familiarity with the Maza book as a whole; there is a not a list of stuff you’re supposed to mention.

Week 9: Mar 15–19: Spring Break!

Enjoy the break! And start reading Seven Cheap Things to make life easier over the next month! See Week 11 for a brief introduction.

Week 10 (Mar 22–26): Monuments and Architecture

Welcome back!

Before we dive into our final book for the course, I thought it would be useful to think about how history is written out in buildings and monuments all around us.

There are no daily assignments for this week, just one slightly-longer-than-usual reflection (~600 words/20 points) due on Friday. After reading Monteiro and her argument for the power of architecture and monuments to promote white supremacism, read through the essays about Confederate monuments in the Civil War Monitor and whether they should be left in place or removed. Thanks to our TA Chase for the suggestion and PDF of the CWM.

Week 11: Mar 29–Apr 2

We’re reading this book to critique its use of history, not because it’s “right” (you can decide for yourself how much you agree or disagree with it). The book’s goal is to offer a critique of capitalism, but that’s beside the point for us. OUR goal is to apply the Maza book on how we should approach history to this specific text, which has a very particular way of using history. Thinking through how history is used here will help us be more informed and critical readers when we see history invoked in any context.

For each week, you’ll have about 3 chapters to read. The number of pages per week seems high compared to what we’ve been doing but the book is a quick read and we’re not reading it to learn specific information as we were before.

To keep on track, you’ll submit a reading reflection on the assigned chapters at the end of each week (see box directly below), and that will be the only thing to turn in for the week. I will offer a few guiding questions for you to respond to, but you should feel free to address whatever aspects of the chapters are most interesting to you—but remember that the main goal is to make it clear to me that you’re keeping up with the readings and reading carefully enough that you have an informed opinion about them.

  • Patel and Moore, Seven Cheap Things, Introduction, 1–43.
  • Patel and Moore, Seven Cheap Things, 1: Cheap Nature, 44–63.
  • Patel and Moore, Seven Cheap Things, 2: Cheap Money, 64–90.

Week 12: Apr 5–9

  • Patel and Moore, Seven Cheap Things, 3: Cheap Work, 91–110.
  • Patel and Moore, Seven Cheap Things, 4: Cheap Care, 111–137.
  • Patel and Moore, Seven Cheap Things, 5: Cheap Food, 138–160.

Week 13: Apr 12–16

  • Patel and Moore, Seven Cheap Things, 6: Cheap Energy, 161–179.
  • Patel and Moore, Seven Cheap Things, 7: Cheap Lives, 180–201.
  • Patel and Moore, Seven Cheap Things, Conclusion, 202–212.

Week 14: Apr 19–23

  • Video 1/1 (pros, cons, hopeful takeaways)
  • Video 2/2 (history as proof and historical agency)
  • John W. W. Zeise, “Et in Arcadia Ego”, Los Angeles Review of Books, December 16, 2017.

Week 15: Apr 26–30

Week 16: May 3–7

  • Video: Final course wrap-up
  • Otherwise, Nothing new this week. Work on your final course reflections! You can post these whenever you’d like, but they must be posted by the end of Finals week (May 14).

If you haven’t posted your assignment from last week, please do that ASAP.