Issues in Contemporary Historiography
This course is designed to introduce history majors to a range of problems and critical practices in the discipline of history as it is practiced today. Part I will explore the ethical and public dimension of history; Part II will examine the making of a field, using a primary source as a point of departure, and will provide students an opportunity to interpret a historical problem using primary sources; and Part III will consider methods and approaches in the construction of historical explanations.
There will be several different kinds of writing assignments:
- 6 short (2 page) discussion papers and a 5-7 page essay on the case study in Part II;
- brief responses to questions about the readings on days when the above papers are not due;
- and a final project that involves the preparation of a research proposal.
For additional explanation of these assignments go to page 5.
Readings will be drawn from the following books that are available at Broad Street Books and from readings available digitally on the Blackboard for this course. The books below are also on reserve in Olin Library:
Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre (1985) pb
Olaudah Equiano, Interesting Narrative and Other Writings: Revised Edition (2003) pb
James Lockhart, ed. We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico (2004) pb
Bernal Diaz del Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain (1963) pb
Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (2004) pb
Part I: Ethical and Public Dimensions of History
Week One: History, Historians, and Ethics
Tuesday, September 8:
Elliot Gorn, "Professing History: Distinguishing between Memory and the Past,"
Richard Vann, "Historians and Moral Evaluations,"History and Theory, 43 (Dec. 2004): 3-30.
Thursday, September 10:
Robert O. Paxton, "The Trial of Maurice Papon,"
Henry Rousso, "The Historian, a Site of Memory,"France at War: Vichy and the Historians, eds. Sarah Fishman et al. (New York, 2000), 285-302.
Richard J. Evans, "History, Memory, and the Law: The Historian as Expert Witness,"History and Theory, 41 (Oct. 2002): 326-45.
Week Two: History and Memory
Tuesday, September 15:
Jay Winter, "The Memory Boom in Contemporary Historical Studies,"
Michael Kort, ed.,Columbia Guide to Hiroshima and the Bomb (N.Y, 2007), pp. 4-5, 8-13, 81-82, 96-104; (only peruse as a source of information for questions that may come up in the following readings).
Tom Engelhardt and Edward T. Linenthal, "History Under Siege" idem, eds., History Wars:The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past (New York, 1966), pp. 1-7.
Michael J. Hogan, "The Enola Gay Controvery: History, Memory, and the Politics of Presentation," idem., ed.,Hiroshima in History and Memory (New York, 1996), pp. 200-32.
Michael S. Sherry, "Patriotic Orthodoxy and U.S. Decline,"Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 27:2 (April-June 1995): 19-25.
Helen H. Hammond, "Commemoration Controversies: The War, the Peace, and Democracy in Japan," Laura Jeom amd Mark Selden, eds.,Living with the Bomb: American and Japanese Cultural Conflicts in the Nuclear Age (New York, 1997), pp. 100-21.
Thursday, September 17:
Raphael Samuel, "Unofficial Knowledge," idem,
Week Three: Historicism: Its Uses and its Critics
Tuesday, September 22:
Georg G. Iggers, "Classical Historicism as a Model for Historical Scholarship," idem,
Leopold von Ranke, Excerpts from Histories of the Latin and Germanic Nations and other works, in Fritz Stern, ed.,The Varieties of History From Voltaire to the Present (Cleveland, 1956), pp. 54-62.
Frederick Jackson Turner,The Frontier in American History (New York, 1920), pp. 1-38, 205- 21.
Thursday, September 24:
Hayden White, "The Historical Text as Literary Artifact," in idem,
Jill Lepore, "Just the Facts, Ma?m: Fake memoirs, factual fictions, and the history of history,"The New Yorker (March 24, 2008), 79-83.
Week Four: Confronting Evidence
Tuesday, September 29:
Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (entire book)
Thursday, October 1:
Robert Finlay, "The Refashioning of Martin Guerre,"American Historical Review, 93:3 (June, 1988): 553-571.
Natalie Zemon Davis, "On the Lame,"American Historical Review, 93:3 (June 1988): 572-603.
Friday, October 2 ?Last date for preliminary approval of research proposal topic
Part I I: Primary Sources and Historical Interpretations
Week Five: The Making of a Field:New World Identities in the Making
Tuesday, October 6:
Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative (orig. London, 1789), ed. by Vincent Carretta (rev. edition, 2003), pp. 5, 31-144 (but omit from bot. of pp. 81 thru top ⅓ of 91, 161-93, 198-236.
Thursday, October 8:
Vincent Carretta, "Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa? New Light on an Eighteenth-Century Question of Identity,"
Paul E. Lovejoy, "Autobiography and Memory: Gustavus Vassa, alias Olaudah Equiano, the African,"Slavery and Abolition, 27:3 (2006), 317-47.
James H. Sweet, "Mistaken Identities? Olaudah Equiano, Domingo ?vares, and the Methodological Challenges of Studying the African Diaspora,American Historical Review, 114:2 (April 2009), read only pp. 279 ?mid-284, 298-306.
Geraldine Murphy, "Olaudah Equiano, Accidental Tourist,"Eighteenth-Century Studies, 27:4 (Summer 1994): 551-568.
Monday, October 12, 7 a.m. ?Final Project, Part 1 - Definition of the problem (5%) due on BB.
Week Six (1): The Making of a Field (cont.)
Tuesday, October 13:
Joan W. Scott, "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis,"
Jennifer L. Morgan, "Some Could Suckle over Their Shoulder": Male Travelers, Female Bodies, and the Gendering of Racial Ideology, 1500-1770,"The William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., 54:1 (January 1997): 167-192.
Brief oral reports by students on paper topics
Week Six (2): A Case Study: The Conquest of Mexico
Thursday, October 15: Spanish Sources (1):Chronology, Names, Maps, and Words
Hernan Cortes, Selections from letters 1-2, Anthony Pagden, ed. and trans.,
Francisco Lopez de Gomara, Selections from theLife of Cortes (Berkeley, 1964)
Week Seven: A Case Study: The Conquest of Mexico (cont.)
Tuesday, October 20: Spanish Sources (2):
Bernard Diaz del Castillo, The Conquest of New Spain, pp. 14-17, 85-88, 130-31, mid 176-78, 189-307, 353-413.
Bartolome de Las Casas,
Thursday, October 22: Nahuatl Sources:A Brief Note about Readings from Nahua Sources
Bernardino de Sahag?n, Selections from Book Twelve of the Florentine Codex compiled from Nahua sources, in James Lockhart, ed. and trans., We People Here: Nahuatl Accounts of the Conquest of Mexico, (Eugene, OR, 2004; orig. UCLA, 1993), read English column on even numbered pages in pp. 48-157, 180-184, 192-197, mid-214-220, mid-242-250.
Extract from The Annals of Tlatelolco, in We People Here, odd numbered pages in pp. 257-69.
Extract from The Codex Aubin, in Ibid., odd numbered pages in pp. 275-79.
October 24 - 27 FALL BREAK
Part III: The Historian as Interpreter of Evidence
Week Eight: Types of Evidence
Thursday, October 29: Textual Evidence
Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre, Introduction, chs. 4 and 1 (please read in this order)
Reminder: Paper on Mexico is due on Blackboard no later than7 a.m., Sun., Nov. 2
Week Nine: Types of Evidence
Tuesday, November 3: Oral Evidence:
Joan Sangster, "Telling our Stories: Feminist Debates and the Use of Oral History," Robert Perks and Alistair Thomson,
Jean-Pierre Wallot and Normand Fortier, "Archival Sciences and Oral Sources," Ibid., pp. 365-78.
Kenda B. Mutongi,
Thusday, November 5: Material Evidence
Jules D. Prown, "Mind in Matter: An Introduction to Material Culture Theory and Method,"
Cary Carson, "Material Culture: The Scholarship Nobody Knows," A. Smart Martin and J. R. Garrison,American Material Culture: The Shape of the Field (Knoxville, 1997), pp. 401-28.
Colleen McDannell, "Piety, Art, and Fashion: The Religious Object," in idem,Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America (New Haven, 1995), pp. 17-66.
Lunch with Prof. Sarah Croucher - Anthropology/Archeology/FGSS: 12-1:00 p.m., PAC 002
Week Ten: Types of Evidence
Monday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m.: Visual Evidence Film Showing: "Looking for an Icon" (2007) ?PAC 001
Tuesday, November 10: Visual Evidence
Raphael Samuel, "The Eye of History," idem.,
L. Wexler, "Seeing Sentiment," in Marianne Hirsch, ed.The Familial Gaze (Hanover, 1999), pp. 248-75.
Thursday, November 12: Quantitative Evidence:
E. A. Wrigley, "A Simple Model of London's Importance in Changing English Society and Economy
1650-1750,"Past and Present, 37 (Jul., 1967): 44-70.
Lunch with Suzy Taraba, University Archivist: 12-1:00 p.m., PAC 002
Week Eleven: Objectivity and Positioning
Tuesday, November 17:
Peter Novick,That Noble Dream (New York, 1988), selections from the introduction and from chs. 13, 14, 16.
Joan W. Scott, "Deconstructing Equality-versus-Difference: Or, the Uses of Poststructuralist Theory for Feminism,
Thomas Haskell, "Objectivity is not Neutrality: Rhetoric vs. Practice in Peter Novick's That Noble Dream,"History and Theory, 29:2 (May, 1990): 129-157.
Thursday, November 19:
Eric Foner, "My Life as a Historian,"Historians and Race: Autobiography and the Writing of History,
Paul A. Ciambala and Robert Himmelberg, eds., (Bloomington, 1996), 91-110.Introduction to Linda Gordon and "Interview," in Henry Abelove, ed., Visions of History (N.Y., 1983), p. 73-95. Introduction to Joan Wallach Scott and A Conversation with Joan Wallach Scott (2009), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrknwNl818Y
Friday, Nov. 20, 7 a.m. - Bibliographic essay, part 2 of final project is due on BB (10%)
Week Twelve: Tuesday, November 24: Student Oral Reports on their papers
November 25-29 - THANKSGIVING BREAK
Week Thirteen: Global/Local Histories
Tuesday, Dec. 1: (maps for this unit)
Anthony Reid, "An 'Age of Commerce' in Southeast Asian History,"
Anthony Reid,Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce 1450-1680, vol. 2 (New Haven, 1993). selections from ch. 2 and from pp. 267-330.
Thursday, Dec. 3:
C. A. Bayly et al., "Conversation: On Transnational History,"
Giancarlo Casale, "Global Politics in the 1580s: One Canal, Twenty Thousand Cannibals, and an Ottoman Plot to Rule the World,"Journal of World History, 18:3 (2007): 267-96.
Week Fourteen: Film and Public History
Monday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m. Film showing: Amistad (1997), PAC 001
Tuesday, December 8:
Robert A. Rosenstone, "History in Images/History in Words: Reflections on the Possibility of Really Putting History onto Film," The American Historical Review, 93: 5 (Dec., 1988): 1173-85.
Hayden White, "Historiography and Historiophoty,"AHR, 93: 5 (Dec., 1988): 1193-99.
Robert Brent Toplin, "The Film Maker as Historian,"AHR, 93: 5 (Dec., 1988): 1210-27.
Thursday, December 10: Reflections on History and Historiography
Thurs., Dec. 17, noon, Research Proposal, part 3 of Final Project is Due on BB (15%)
Note: In the course of the semester, several sessions will be scheduled at different times and days outside of class times to show students how to use EndNote, a program that is very helpful in writing properly formatted footnotes, endnotes, and bibliographies. Students who cannot demonstrate that they know how to use this program, are expected to attend one of the sessions because this is a skill that students will need for this course as well as for their senior essays and theses. The exact dates, times, and place of the sessions will be arranged later in the semester.