Schedule of Readings + Assignments

Decoding the syllabus

  • Regular bullet points listed under each day is what you need to READ BEFORE CLASS.
  • Usually there are one or two items; occasionally there are three, like when we have short book chapters.

Week 1

23: Syllabus, Expectations, Introductions

  • No reading for today

25: MetaHistory and course tools

  • Browse MetaHistory generally to get a sense of the entire site, and read through at least two essays carefully. For our discussion, be prepared to report on your impression of this resource.
  • What seemed useful and/or interesting?
  • What seemed a bit off?
  • What were the strengths and weaknesses of the essays you read?
  • What questions do you have that weren’t answered?

Week 2

30: What is History For?

  • Beverly Southgate, What is History For?, 31–58.

1: Greek and Roman and Medieval Histories

  • M. C. Lemon, Philosophy of History, 28–44 (Chapter 3: Greek and Roman Speculations on History).
  • M. C. Lemon, Philosophy of History, 45–56 (read up to the last paragraph); 61–73 (Chapter 4: The Christian Challenge…).

Week 3

6: NO CLASS (Labor Day)

8: Early Modern History

  • Read through the Metahistory essays on Early Modern historiography. There is a little overlap with the Cheng reading, but mostly they cover and emphasize quite different aspects of Renaissance historiography.
  • Eileen Ka-May Cheng, Historiography, 4–28 (Chap 1: Art and Science in Renaissance Historical Writing). Click the “View eBook” link to get to the actual online text.
  • Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, 5-19. (These are really small pages.)

Week 4

13 : Enlightenment History

  • Read the one Metahistory essay on Enlightenment historiography. This is particularly useful for understanding the broader historical context and legacy of historiographical change.
  • Eileen Ka-May Cheng, Historiography, 29–60 (Chap 2: Enlightenment and Philosophical History).

15: Romantic and Critical History

  • Eileen Ka-May Cheng, Historiography, 61–90 (Chap 3: Romantic and Critical History).
  • Wilhelm von Humboldt, “On the Historian’s Task” (1821). Read for the general characterization of history and what historians should be doing. There are some long sentences here that can be hard to follow, but just keep reading!

Week 5

20: Review so far

  • No new reading for today. Instead, you need to do one, longer synthetic reflection on what we’ve covered so far as a way of tying everything together and preparing for the Wednesday reading and reflection.

22: Postmodern History

  • Eileen Ka-May Cheng, Historiography, 112–132 (Chap 5: Social History, Fragmentation, and the Revival of Narrative).
  • Skim super fast: Michel Foucault, Archeology of Knowledge, 3-17; 21-30; 31-39. What’s the main point here? How does it illustrate what Cheng is talking about?

Week 6

27: Gender Histories

  • Joan Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis”, 1053-1075.

29: Postcolonial Histories

  • Dipesh Chakrabarty, “Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History: Who Speaks for ‘Indian’ Pasts?”, 1-27.

Week 7

4: Archival Power

  • Joan M. Schwartz and Terry Cook, “Archives, Records and Power: The Making of Modern Memory,” 1–19. This article is a little repetitive at times, but in a good way, as it makes it easy to understand the main points. It is shorter than it looks in terms of page count because many pages are almost entirely footnotes (which you can peruse if you’re interested).

6: Archival Silence

  • Rodney G. S. Carter, “Of Things Said and Unsaid: Power, Archival Silences, and Power in Silence” Archivaria, September 25, 2006, 215–33.

Week 8

11: TBD

13: NO CLASS: Enjoy Fall Break!!!

Week 9

This week we’re starting our one book for the course. It’s can be a bit theoretical and abstract at times (most of the time, TBH), but that challenge for us is by design. One of the aims of the course is that you can think abstractly about key issues in history and broaden your ability to think abstractly about ANYthing. That’s what senior-level capstone seminars should do, in my opinion. There will be paragraphs or even pages where you will be confused about what the author is trying to say. It’s true for me, too! Don’t be discouraged if you feel you’re not “getting it”. It’s not easy and it’s not meant to be. We’ll work through the main points in our discussion and I think you’ll agree that once we work through it together, it gives us powerful new tools for interpreting not only history, but any kind of text (any everything is a text as we learned from postmodernism).

18: Historical Theory I

  • Historical Theory, 3–11 (Ch. 1: Introduction).
  • Historical Theory, 12–30 (Ch. 2: The Contested Nature of Historical Knowledge).
  • Historical Theory, 31–50 (Ch. 3: Historical Paradigms and Theoretical Traditions).

20: Historical Theory II

  • Historical Theory, 53–73 (Ch. 4: Beyond Metanarrative: Plots, Puzzles, and Plausibility).

Week 10

25: Historical Theory III

  • Historical Theory, 74–97 (Ch. 5: Labelling the Parts: Categories and Concepts).
  • Historical Theory, 98–121 (Ch. 6: Looking for Clues).

27: Historical Theory IV

  • Historical Theory, 122–140 (Ch. 7: Satisfying Curiosity).

Week 11

1: Historical Theory V

  • Historical Theory, 143–163 (Ch. 8: Representing the Past).
  • Historical Theory, 164–184 (Ch. 9: History and Partisanship).

3: Historical Theory VI

  • Historical Theory, 185–196 (Ch. 10: Conclusion).
  • Peruse the Metahistory site again to remind yourself of the essays, their style, strengths and weaknesses. Pick an essay you want to edit according to the Metahistory guide.

Week 12

8: Metahistory Review and Historiographical Research Methods

  • No new reading

10: Public History + Historiographical Research

Week 13

15: History as Data

17: Digital History

  • No new readings, but you need to post your annotated bibliographies to GitHub for class discussion

Week 14

22: NO CLASS: Work on your essay drafts!

24: NO CLASS: Happy Thanksgiving!

Week 15

29: NO CLASS: Happy Post-Thanksgiving!

  • Find your essay review assignments for Wednesday’s assignment HERE (link TBP).

1: Reader Reports

  • No new readings. Today we read through and go over reader reports and general revision strategies.

Week 16

6: Publishing your essay

  • No new readings.

8: Last questions/comments and course wrap up

  • No new readings.

All revisions due by Dec 15!