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School of Humanities

History Graduate Course Descriptions

Fall 2020


HIS 711/712

Seminar in American and European History

T 6:00-9:00

Dr. Susannah Ural 

This course focuses on the craft of historical research and writing at the graduate level, and it is specifically designed to help you complete two thesis chapters or your dissertation prospectus. All 711/712 students have at least one year of MA studies behind them, so I assume you already understand the basics of good grammar, clear writing, proper citations, and the importance of making a clear argument that weaves throughout a written work. There is a difference, though, between knowing what it needed and creating that yourself. It’s a skill we all develop over time, and this course is designed to help you with that process. Students will spend the majority of class time presenting and respectfully critiquing each other's small assignments; I'll be helping with those critiques, too. You will revise according to feedback received in class & then upload your assignment into Canvas about two days later almost every week. I’ll return these to you graded before or during our next class period. All assignments are designed as parts of your thesis. By focusing on manageable pieces of your work, we will have your thesis abstract, title page, bibliography, and one chapter done by the end of October and a second chapter done by early December, along with a clear plan to move forward in the spring. If you come to class with your introduction completed (according to your advisor), you’ll write two additional chapters. This course is also open to PhD students ready to craft their dissertation prospectus and you’ll receive a separate version of the syllabus to ensure that you’ll have a prospectus ready to send to your committee by the end of the semester.

HIS 725

U.S. Historiography I Seminar

M 6:00-9:00pm

Dr. Kyle F. Zelner

Historiographic study, or the study of the study of history, is an extremely important part of being a historian. Historians do not begin a single project without first learning what came before—what other historians have said on the topic, what they argue about it and how, their methodology, and what the state of the field is at the moment. As beginning professional historians, students will be expected to talk about the historical debates surrounding their topics and how their work intersects with those debates. Students will be expected, in their classes, and especially during their comprehensive exams, not only to know what happened in the past and why, but who argued what and the methods they used to come up with those arguments. This course will start you down the historiographical road. We will examine some of the main debates in early American history as a way to “jump start” each student’s historiographical knowledge. Once students have successfully completed this course, they will know some of the important highlights of the field—but also come to the realization that they have just started what will likely be a lifelong task.

Students in the class will read deeply and widely on each debate and will come to class prepared to debate the topic at hand. NOTE: Students should come to the first class before purchasing any books for the various weeks, as we will choose individual books for the course during the first class meeting. Students may purchase:

Common Required Text:

Francis G. Couvares, et. al., Interpretations of American History: Patterns and Perspectives, Vol. 1 Through Reconstruction, 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2009.


Students will write numerous book reviews, write a short historiographical paper, lead a few and participate in all class discussions, and write a comprehensive exam-type answer for their final exam.

Some of the topics we will explore:

-Indians, Contact, and Ethnohistory

-The Puritans of Colonial New England

-The Colonial South and Slavery

-Coming of the Revolution

-Women in the Early Republic

-The Market Revolution

-Antebellum Slavery

-The Civil War: Who Fought and Why?


HIS 772

U.S. HIS since 1877

Dr. Kevin Greene 

W 6:00-9:00

This course will examine the transformation of the United States from a rural, agrarian collection of individual states into an urban and suburban country replete with a nationally popularized culture. By examining the post-Civil War US, the course will investigate the emergence and intersections of the following themes; the growth of industrialization and subsequent deindustrialization; the transformation of American agriculture; the rise of leisure culture; the preponderance of mass consumerism; the politics of urbanization and suburbanization; American and suburban migration; cosmopolitanism; street and gang life; race, class, gender and sexuality in the city; social justice and urbanity; and much more. In addition to providing a rich narrative of urbanization and urbanism in the United States, the course will explore how historians have written about American cities across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.


HIS 796

Practicum in the Teaching of History in Colleges and Universities

R 1:00-3:45pm

Dr. Kyle F. Zelner 

Required for all first-time teaching and graduate assistants and optional for others, this class is designed to encourage graduate students to think about the major issues of teaching at the college level, both as teaching assistants and as independent instructors. Different faculty members will visit to lead discussions on a different topic each class period. The course covers basic issues of teaching and learning strategies, classroom philosophy and management, technology in the classroom, testing and other assignments, issues of diversity, effective classroom presentation, and how to construct one’s own course.

Required Text:

Barbara Gross Davis, Tools for Teaching, 2nd ed. Wiley: Jossey-Bass; 2009.


Students will engage in weekly discussions, design a PowerPoint lecture slideshow, write several short reaction papers, and design and execute a sample lecture for an introductory History class.






Fall 2019 Course Descriptions


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