Teaching Graduate Historiography: A Final Syllabus

This is probably my last semester teaching our Graduate Historiography course.  The course is probably the most demanding that I have ever taught. It is a rollicking ride through major issues in contemporary historical theory. On any given week, I am completely out of my depth teaching or even leading discussion on any of these books.

This is the basic syllabus at its final development.  There are obvious holes in it. For example, I make the significant concession to a class full of modernists, public historians, and Americanists when I left out most pre-modern historiography (Ancient, Medieval, and even Early Modern). While I obviously think that this work is important, I just could not justify cutting more contemporary authors from this syllabus as these works not only have so shaded my reading of ancient authors, but are likely to have a more immediate impact on the work of the students in the class.

The class is a combination of the wonderful and the frustrating. I look forward to teaching it this semester because it will probably be my last chance to teach it (and graduate students!) for a while, but I’ll also be glad to see it passed on to someone else.

Part 1: An Introduction to Historiography

Introduction to Historiography 1
R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History. Oxford 1946.

Introduction to Historiography 2
Robert M. Burns and H. Rayment-Pickard, Philosophies of History: From Enlightenment to Postmodernity. Blackwell 2000. 1-217.

Introduction to Historiography 3
Robert M. Burns and H. Rayment-Pickard, Philosophies of History: From Enlightenment to Postmodernity. Blackwell 2000. 218-327.

Part 2: Critical Issues in 20th Century Historiography

History and Memory
J. Le Goff, History and Memory.  Trans. S. Rendall and E. Claman. New York 1992. 1-98.
M. Carruthers, The Book of Memory.  Cambridge 1990.  1-45.
P. Geary, Phantoms of Remembrance.  Princeton 1994. 1-22.

History and Marx
E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class. New York 1966. 
A. Gramsci, The Prison Notebooks, short excerpts.

History and the Nation 
B. Anderson, Imagined Communities. London 1991

Freud and History
S. Freud, Totem and Taboo. New York 1950.
P. Gay, Freud for Historians. New York 1985.

The Annales School
F. Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life: The Limits of the Possible. Trans. by S. Reynolds Philadelphia 1979.
E. LeRoy Ladurie, “Motionless History,” Social Science History 1 (1977), 115-136.

History and Foucault
M. Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language. Trans. A.M.S. Smith. New York 1972.

Microhistory, Anthropology, and Cultural History
B. Latour, Aramis or The Love of Technology.  Cambridge, Mass. 1996.
C. Geertz, “Thick Description” Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture,” in The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays.  (New York 2000), 3-32.

History and Literature
H. White, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination of Nineteenth Century Europe. Baltimore 1973.

Women and Gender
J. Scott, Gender and the Politics of History. Revised Edition. New York 1999.

History Space and Place
D. Hayden, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History. Cambridge 1995.

History and Postcolonialism
D. Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton 2000.
E. Said, Orientalism. New York 1979. Introduction.

Digital History
Various Authors, JAH Interchange, “The Promise of Digital History,” 95 (2008) 
D. J. Cohen and R. Rosenzweig, Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web. Philadelphia 2005.


One Comment

  1. Where’s G.R. Elton? 😉 Anyway, I hope you had a good first session and look forward to chatting with you about it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s