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School of Humanities

History Graduate Course Descriptions

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Spring 2024

**This is not a complete list of course offerings. Please use the Course Catalog in SOAR for accurate advising.**


HIS 471/571 
American Frontier 
Dr. Patrick Hoehne 
M/W 1:00-2:15PM 
This cross-listed course for graduate and advanced undergraduate students explores the history and mythology of the American West. The “Wild West” endures in American memory as a dangerous, violent, and romantic region. Indeed, gold, guns, and gallows continue to dominate many of our popular representations of this history. But what was western expansion really like? Was it truly lawless? Just how violent was it? How likely were you to die of dysentery? In this course, we will answer those questions and more. 
This course will span from the colonial period through the dawn of the twentieth century. This is not a simple narrative of the continuous movement of settlers towards the Pacific Ocean, but a twisting and complicated history of many peoples, movements, exchanges, and collisions. As we move across this range, we will examine violence, race, law, gender, and the economy. We will also trace the roots of the mythologization of the West and appraise media representation in print as well as in both film and video games. 
HIS 473/573 
U.S. Foreign Relations 
Dr. Heather Stur 
T/TH 11:00AM-12:15PM 
In this course, we will explore the relationships that the U.S. had with other nations from America's founding to the Global War on Terror of the 21st century. We will study politics, war, diplomacy, culture, and ideas, and we will see how America's relationship with the world has shaped the lives of people at home and abroad. By the end of the semester, we will use the historical contexts of U.S. foreign relations to help us understand America's current relationships with allies and adversaries and to think about how the U.S. might respond to ongoing and potential conflicts around the world. 
HIS 710 
Philosophy of History 
Dr. Courtney Luckhardt 
W 2:30-5:15 
This seminar is designed to introduce graduate students to the philosophical and practical foundations of historical method. Our coverage is not comprehensive, but we will familiarize ourselves with some of the innovative and diverse approaches that have shaped historical work over the past several decades. As we read these works, we will consider how and why historians investigate, interpret, and write about the past, as well as contest one another’s findings. Together we will expose some of the underlying, unspoken assumptions and preoccupations that we bring with us to and which persist in the discipline. Students are required to complete several written and oral assignments to hone their critical thinking, writing, and presentation skills. 
HIS 711 
Research Seminar in History 
Dr. Heather Stur 
W 6:00-9:00PM 
This course focuses on the craft of historical research and writing at the graduate level. It is run as a writing workshop in which students present portions of their writing each week. By the end of the semester, MA students will have written two thesis chapters, and PhD students will have written a complete dissertation prospectus. 
HIS 725 
U.S. Historiography I Seminar 
Dr. Kyle F. Zelner 
TH 6:00-9:00pm 
Historiographic study, or the study of the study of history, is an incredibly 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, how they said it, 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 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: 
-Native Americans, Contact, and Ethnohistory 
-The Puritans of Colonial New England 
- Slavery in the Colonial Chesapeake 
-Coming of the Revolution 
-Women in the Early Republic 
-The Market Revolution 
-Antebellum Slavery 
-The Civil War: Who Fought and Why? 
HIS 736 
Seminar in Modern Military History 
Dr. Bafumiki Mocheregwa 
T 6:00-9:00PM 
The 20th century witnessed a momentous surge in African nationalism, a powerful movement that fueled the decolonization of the continent and became intricately intertwined with the global power struggle of the Cold War. This confluence of forces had a profound impact on the trajectory of Africa, shaping its political landscape, economic development, and social fabric in ways that continue to resonate today. This course provides a comprehensive examination of African nationalism, decolonization movements, and their intersections with the dynamics of the Cold War. Students will explore the historical, political, social, and economic factors that shaped the struggles for independence in Africa from the late 1950s until the 1990s. Similarly, the course will help students develop a full understanding of the historiography of Africa’s pre-and post-independence era. 
HIS 796 
Practicum in the Teaching of History in Colleges and Universities 
Dr. Kyle F. Zelner 
T 2:30-5:15pm 
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, write several short reaction papers, and design and execute a sample lecture for an introductory History class. 
HUM 501 
Introduction to Digital Humanities 
Dr. Patrick Hoehne 
M/W 11:00AM-12:15PM 
This graduate-level course serves an introduction to the digital humanities. You do not need to have any computational or technical background to succeed in or benefit from this class. You will, however, leave the class able to engage with, evaluate, and use a robust suite of interdisciplinary digital tools and approaches. Over the course of the semester, you will learn to map with geospatial software, perform network analysis, create 3D scans using your smartphone, train machine learning models using classic American literature, and more. This class is designed to appeal to a diverse array of scholarly interests, and students can tailor their summative projects to align with their own research. Taking both HUM 501 and HUM 501 makes you eligible for the Digital Humanities Badge. 


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