Teaching Graduate Historiography: A Final Syllabus Redux

Every Spring for the past 6 years, I’ve taught the graduate historiography seminar at the University of North Dakota. The course is required for all of our history graduate students (M.A., D.A. or Ph.D.) and, for reasons a bit elusive to me, generally dreaded. Every year, I tweak the syllabus a bit as much to keep my own sanity as to improve the course.

For whatever reason, my first post on this class is one of the most viewed posts on my blog.

So here is the 2012 updated version:

Week 1:  Introduction: What is History?

Part 1: Introduction to Historiography

Week 2: Introduction to Historiography 1
R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History. Oxford 1946.

Week 3: An Introduction to Historiography 2
E. Breisach. Historiography: Ancient, Medieval and Modern. 3rd edition. Chicago 2007. 1-261.

Week 4: Introduction to Historiography 3
E. Breisach. Historiography: Ancient, Medieval and Modern. 3rd edition. Chicago 2007. 261-430.

Part 2: Critical Issues in 20th Century Historiography

Week 5: History and Memory
P. Connerton, How Societies Remember. Cambridge 1989. 
P. Nora, “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de MemoireRepresentations 26 (1989), 7-24. 
K. L. Klein, “On the Emergence of Memory in the Historical Discourse,” Representations 69 (2000), 127-150.

Week 6: History and Marx
E. P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline and Industrial Capitalism,” Past and Present 38 (1967), 56-97.
E. P. Thompson, “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century,” Past and Present 50 (1971), 76-136.
E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class. New York 1966. Introduction.
A. Gramsci, The Prison Notebooks, short excerpts.

Week 7: The Nation 
B. Anderson, Imagined Communities. London 1991.
S. Gourgouris, Dream Nation: enlightenment, colonization, and the institution of modern Greece. Stanford 1996. excerpts.
E. J. Palti, “The Nation as a Problem: Historians and the ‘National Question’,” History and Theory 40 (2001), 1324-346.

Week 8: 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.

Week 9: Foucault
M. Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language. Trans. A.M.S. Smith. New York 1972.
M. Foucault, The Foucault Reader. Ed. P. Rabinow. 169-238.

Week 10: Microhistory, Anthropology, and Cultural History
M Shalins, Islands of History. Chicago 1987.
C. Geertz, “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight,” in The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays.  (New York 2000), 412-454.
L. Glickman, “The ‘Cultural Turn’,” in American History Now. eds. E. Foner and L. McGirr. Philadelphia. 221-241.

Week 11: History and Literature
D. Scott, Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment. Durham 2004.
H. White, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination of Nineteenth Century Europe. Baltimore 1973. Excerpts.

Week 12: Women and Gender
Judith Bennett, History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism. Philadelphia 2007.
J. Scott, “Gender a Useful Category for Analysis,” AHR 91 (1986), 1053-1075.

Week 13: History, Space, and Place
D. Hayden, The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History. Cambridge 1995.
J. Guldi, The Spatial Turn.
M. Foucault, “Space, Knowledge, and Power” in The Foucault Reader. Ed. P. Rabinow, 239-256.

Week 14: Postcolonialism
H. Bhabha, The Location of Culture. New York 1994). Excerpt.
G. Chakravorty Spivak, “Can the Subaltern Speak” in C. Nelson and L. Grossberg eds. Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. London 1988. 
D. Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. (Princeton 2000). Excerpts.
E. Said, Orientalism. New York 1979. Introduction.
K. Davis, Periodization and Sovereignty. (Penn 2008), excerpts.

Week 15: Digital History
Various Authors, JAH Interchange, “The Promise of Digital History,” JAH 95 (2008) 
K. Fitzpatrick, Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy. (New York 2011)
Kristen Nawrotzki and Jack Dougherty, Writing History in the Digital Age. (forthcoming):

Week 16: Teaching History
S. Weinberg, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts.  (Philadelphia 2001).
Review The History Teacher 2000-2010


  1. Kostis Kourelis January 26, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Wow man. This is an amazing class.


  2. Yeah it really is.


  3. Nice job! You had big shoes to fill. I took this course far too many years ago to admit. (Dr. Thorton!) You have done an outstanding job of covering the material and adding a few new twists for the “modern age”.

    Again, Well done!


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