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COURSES

Fall 2014 Course Descriptions
500-700 Level

SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE! Always check the University online schedule for the latest changes.


HIS 502 - African American History Selected Topics:"The Black '70s"

85662 T 6:30-9:20
Watson Jennison

This class will investigate the decade following the peak of the civil rights movement, a period that has largely been overshadowed by the tumult and fame of the preceding years. The 1970s were a time of dramatic change for black Americans as they sought to capitalize on the hard-fought victories of the previous two decades. Popular depictions of black culture in the 1970s revolve around black power, dashikis, and afros. We will move beyond the clichés and stereotypes connected with this period to investigate the ways in which blacks translated the legislative victories of the civil rights era into reality.


HIS 508 - Latin American History Selected Topics: "Utopias and Golden Ages in the Americas, 1492-1849"

87655 W 6:30-9:20
Peter Villella

This course explores a variety of ways that people of diverse backgrounds attempted to imagine and establish "perfect" societies in Spanish and Portuguese America after 1492: communities organized around abstract ideals of, for example, equality, virtue, and fraternity rather than tradition, domination, or profit. Coursework will include a broad mix of primary and secondary sources, and address how and why the so-called "New World" inspired utopian thinking, not only among European colonizers eager for a new beginning, but also among America's native peoples and the descendants of Africans. How did different thinkers and groups envision the perfect society? Was utopia something in the past to be recaptured and restored, or a future society to build from scratch? Most importantly, how can we know early modern peoples through their dreams of better worlds?


HIS 510 - Historiography

85663 M 3:30-6:20
Richard Barton

This course examines the evolution of history writing since the first generation of professional historians in the late 19th century. Its purpose is to introduce students to the major philosophical and methodological trends that have dominated the academic field of history since its establishment. Focusing especially on the contributions of scholars over the past fifty years, readings will include influential and groundbreaking works of theory, methodology, and interpretations of the past covering such topics as: "progressive" and "consensus" history; Marxism; social history; "radical" history; the new cultural history; postmodernism; postcolonialism; women's and gender history; transnational history; cosmopolitanism; environmental history; public history. The selection of topics and readings in this course will change from semester to semester and do not represent all of the important methodologies/trends in the field of history. Pr. Admission to a graduate program in history, or permission of instructor.


HIS 511A - Seminar in Historical Research and Writing: "Popular Movements, Reform, and Conservative Reaction in the 1930s and the 1960s"

80728 T 3:30-6:20
Thomas Jackson

Writing and Speaking Intensive. Prerequisite of one 300-level Research Intensive (RI) history course or HIS 391.

In the twentieth century, contemporaries and some historians have labeled two intense periods of popular agitation, reform, and reaction "the second American Revolution." Largely these terms have fallen out of modern memory and historians' practice. What made so many people conclude at the time that they were living through revolutionary times? Why has memory and historical representation mellowed? Or was the radicalism of each time period whitewashed? In the 1930s, how did the vast protests and the organization of famers, the unemployed, the elderly, and industrial workers force liberal reformers in the direction of a "second" New Deal? Was the social contract, the relationship between citizen and government, actually re-written in those crucial years of the mid-1930s? For whom? How did women and minorities fare? How did conservative groups increasingly mobilize money and ideas in opposition to the New Deal? Did their efforts make it less revolutionary in the long run than was thought at the time? What did they have in common with those who opposed the "Civil Rights Revolution" that followed 20-30 years later? How did that civil rights movement address the shortcomings of the New Deal order, even as it drew upon its ideals and organizations? Who made it happen, and what were the real issues that made it a mass revolt in the streets around 1963? This movement of African Americans from 1960-1964 forced the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations to propose and pass the most far-reaching legislation affecting race relations in a century, and it inspired rebelliousness and rights consciousness among women, young people, and other minorities and identity groups. But what did it achieve, at what cost, with what ideals and talent and appeals to America's "revolutionary" tradition?

ONE of these questions or some other you formulate in the first month of the semester will give you the cutting edge of your capstone history papers. I and your classmates will help you make these questions interesting, focused, researchable, and answerable. Overall, the class will lead you through various stages of discovering a "burning question" of interest to you and others, of finding provocative scholarship and lively primary source material relevant to that question, of organizing your research and writing into a 20-30 page paper with a coherent scope and a solid line of explanation. Pick something fun and interesting. You're going to live with it for some months and you'll want to come out with something you can be proud of.


HIS 511B - Seminar in Historical Research and Writing: "Democracy and Its Discontents-The Weimar Republic, 1919-1933"

86157 M 3:30-6:20
Emily Levine

Writing and Speaking Intensive. Prerequisite of one 300-level Research Intensive (RI) history course or HIS 391.

Part of a widespread democratic belt that extended across Central Europe to the Balkans following the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, Germany's Weimar Republic has also been labeled the "gamble that didn't stand a chance." Despite its ultimate decline, the Weimar Republic created one of the first integrative modern cultural worlds that included film, literature, theater, architecture, and increased gender awareness. This capstone seminar examines the origins, rise, and ultimate fall of the first democratic experiment in Germany between 1919 and 1933 as an example of "modernity." Drawing on sources from Roth, Gropius, Mann, Schmitt, Hitler, among others in literature, philosophy, film, fine arts, architecture, and music, class discussions and research papers will attempt to reconcile Weimar's political unrest with these tremendous cultural achievements.


HIS 512-01 - Public History

87623 W 3:30-6:20
Benjamin Filene

Where do we find history in public life? Who shapes how we remember the past, and how do those decisions have power? From museums to monuments to memory, this course explores the place of the past in the world beyond the university. Along the way, through field trips and demonstrations, it introduces students to the tools that public historians use to interpret the past and the careers they pursue. Students complete an original research project that illuminates a local history subject.


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HIS 526 - Civil War/Reconstruction Selected Topics: "Religion in the Civil War Era"

88162 W 3:30-6:20
Christopher Graham

This course will examine the ways that Americans utilized religion and lived their faith in the era of the Civil War. We will study how theology helped divide the nation in the antebellum years, how people used religion to interpret the events of the war itself, and how religious practice bound Americans together, but divided them even further in the Reconstruction years. Of particular interest are questions about the decline—or more accurately, the transformation—of religious authority because of the war. Did the war cause a loss of faith in theological authority? Did the war cause people to embrace faith more completely? How did the war facilitate the larger trajectory of change from the days of the antebellum "evangelical empire" to the post-Reconstruction rise of both bland civil religions and fundamentalist movements?

In this class we will not simply study the history of religion in the Civil War Era, but examine and critique the historiography of this topic, and develop the skills of the historian through class discussion, written reviews, and a major primary research project.


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HIS 543 - Historic Preservation: Principles and Practices

80737 T 2:00-4:50
Jo Leimenstoll (Interior Architecture)

Prerequisite of IAR 221, IAR 222, or permission of instructor.

Change in historic preservation theory and practice since the 1800s with emphasis on preservation of built environment and development of philosophical approach for designers to contemporary preservation projects. (Same as IAR 543)


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HIS 575 - Modern Russian History: "Readings in Soviet History"

87770 W 3:30-6:20
Jeff Jones

This course will examine the historiography of the Soviet period from the Stalin era to the collapse of the USSR. The class is divided into three parts: 1) The Stalin era; 2) The Thaw and early Brezhnev period; 3) Stagnation and the late Soviet period. We will focus in particular on the Stalinist purges; World War II and postwar reconstruction; the Khrushchev era; and the Soviet-Afghan War.


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HIS 588 - East Asian History: "The Viet Nam Wars"

85668 T 3:30-6:20
James Anderson

In the eyes of many Americans, there is little separation between the image of "Vietnam" and the tragic outcome of US involvement in the Second Indochinese War. However, Viet Nam as a nation and the Vietnamese as a people have existed in the region for over two thousand years, fighting during much of this time for both political autonomy and cultural self-identity. During the course of its history, Viet Nam's military adversary and cultural ally has often been China. Conversely, Chinese leaders have long believed that their empire shared a special bond with Viet Nam, which at times promoted the impulse to subjugate their smaller neighbor. This course will consider the history of wars fought on Vietnamese soil within the larger context of political, social and cultural change. The course themes include: resistance of foreign aggression as an integral part of the Vietnamese nationalist narrative, Vietnamese self-identity in the shadow of Chinese domination, the anti-colonial origins of the Vietnamese nationalist and Communist movements, and Vietnamese government's uneasy relations with border ethnic groups. It is my desire that, after the completion of this seminar course, we will have a larger historical context in which we can more clearly evaluate the events of the last 50 years.


Prerequisite for all 600- 700 level History courses: Admission to a graduate program in history or interior architecture, or written permission of instructor.


HIS 627 - Museum and Historic Site Interpretation: Principles and Practice

80743 T 3:30-6:20
Benjamin Filene

Who makes history and how? This seminar explores the relationship between history and public audiences, focusing on the theory and practice of telling stories through museums and historic sites. It introduces students to the tools that public historians use to interpret the past, explores key dilemmas in public interpretation and community collaboration, and examines contemporary models for how best to reach audiences in ways that make history meaningful. Topics include learning theory, audience evaluation, oral history, photography and material culture, exhibitions, audience evaluation, and visitor-generated interpretation. The course will culminate in a local history project, produced by the students for a public venue. Same as IAR 627.


HIS 629 - Museum Education

85676 M 6:30-9:20
Edith Brady

This course surveys the basic principles and practices of museum education, emphasizing facilitated experiences. Through reading works by researchers and practitioners in the field, students will explore the kinds of learning that occur in museums and how that learning takes place. As well, students themselves will practice the skills and techniques utilized by museum educators.


HIS 633 - Community History Practicum

84044 TR 2:00-3:15
Anne Parsons

Prerequisite: HIS/IAR 626

In this hands-on course, students work collaboratively and engage community partners as they research, design, and complete public projects - previously planned in HIS/IAR 626 - that engage audiences in local/regional history. These projects involve original research in both primary and secondary printed sources and, as well, draw on a range of sources that drive public history work, including public records, oral interviews, images, and artifacts. Final products may involve exhibitions, public markers, web-based products, programs (tours, festivals), curricula or other formats that engage public audiences in issues and stories emerging from the past around us.

This course is restricted to graduate students in History and Interior Architecture who have completed HIS/IAR 626 (The Practice of Public History) unless permission is granted by instructor.


See the M.A. FAQ for more information about the following:

HIS 690 - Internship

HIS 692 - Advanced Topics

HIS 697 - Independent Study

HIS 699 - Thesis

Written permission is required to register for these courses.


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HIS 701 - Colloquium in American History

80763 R 3:30-6:20
Greg O'Brien

This required graduate course exposes students to the major historiographical trends and debates on topics in US history before 1865. By the end, students should have mastered the principal historical interpretations of American history before 1865.


HIS 703 - Seminar in US History
see online schedule for correct section

Time/location arranged with student's mentor

Research and writing on selected topics in American history.


HIS 707 - Seminar in European History
see online schedule for correct section

Time/location arranged with student's mentor

Research and writing on selected topics in European history.


HIS 715 - Atlantic World Selected Topics: "The Atlantic Slave Trade"

87649 W 3:30-6:20
Linda Rupert

The transatlantic slave trade lasted for over four hundred years and was responsible for the largest migration of people in the early modern Atlantic world. This course introduces students to the range of significant historical themes and issues that played out in this process, the major trends in the historiography, and the variety of historical sources that are available. We will analyze the transatlantic slave trade as part of a sophisticated economic system and as a powerful shaper of societies and cultures across the Atlantic world, as well as a brutal racialized form of human exploitation. We will also explore the pedagogical challenges of teaching this complex and highly-charged topic.


HIS 720 - Public History Capstone I

87650 R 6:30-9:20
Anne Parsons

In this two-semester sequence, students will create a public history project for a public audience. In 720, students will frame the project, complete research for it and embark on preliminary development plans Restricted to MA Museum Studies students who have completed the first year of the program.


HIS 724 - 20th Century U.S. Selected Topics - "Politics, Society, and Culture: Innovative Approaches"

80772 M 6:30-9:20
Thomas Jackson

Along borderlands where cultural, social, and political history meet lie innovative new works that explain social changes and struggles for political power from multiple perspectives. Older approaches that examine the ideas that guide leadership and inform social movements have been enriched over the last 40 years by newer approaches to popular culture, symbolism, ritual, "collective memory," and journalism as an ideological arena where a host of actors compete to shape how issues are defined, and political futures are imagined. Students are invited to suggest topics and works. Some of the questions we will examine include: How did woman suffragists invent new kinds of headline-catching public protest and lobbying to make themselves seen and heard, before they had formal political power? Why did the "populism" of the mid-West and West turn from left-leaning anti-corporate agitation to right-leaning opposition to government and secular society? How did politicians and insurgents like Huey Long use radio to create new social movements in a time of economic crisis? How did World War II foster both a culture of patriotism among African Americans and a culture of resistance to imperialism abroad and racism at home? What role did television — the "vast cultural wasteland" — play in the making and undoing of McCarthyism? How did civil rights activists adapt their strategies to Cold War culture and to the possibilities of dramatizing racial oppression on a world stage? How can critical reading of feminist autobiographies written by women such as Betty Friedan, Susan Brownmiller, or Susan Douglas sensitize us and our students to how "the personal is political?"



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