Graduate Seminars



HIST 201A: American History: Colonial North America 

Steven Hackel 
Mondays 5:00 pm - 7:50 pm

This course offers an introduction to readings in Early American History. The aim of the course is to introduce graduate students to broad themes in the field and to recent historiographical approaches and debates.  This course is not an investigation into the antecedents of the United States.  Our goal is to understand the full range of societies in North America before 1750 and to grasp the general contours of the issues that historians working on that period have found most important.  We will cover a huge range of territory and peoples during our short time together.  Assigned readings will be drawn from journal articles and significant monographs (some classics and some recently published). Students will have the opportunity to lead discussion during a week when the readings align most closely with their own research interests. Expect weekly short writing assignments to inform discussion and then a historiographical paper of moderate length at the end.  Forty years ago this course would have focused largely on the origins and distinctive aspects of the 13 colonies that became the United States but today the field is continental if not hemispheric in scope.  We’ll have fun discussing the expanding geographic and chronological boundaries of what is now known as Vast Early America. 


HIST 203B - Reading Seminar in Native American History: 19th Century 

Dr. Andrew Shaler 
Wednesdays, 3:00 pm - 5:50 pm 
CRN: 73135 

This seminar will explore critical texts in the histories of North American Indigenous peoples in the long nineteenth century.  Beginning at the turn of the century, we will examine the nature of spiritual unity, resistance, and revitalization among Native peoples east of the Mississippi.  We will then trace Native history through the rest of the century, focusing on case studies of Cherokee, Lakota, and California Indian history, ending with the Ghost Dance Movement and the origins of the federal government’s policies of assimilation and tribal allotment.  Finally, we will engage with a number of recent studies that tie Native history to transnational phenomena and literatures: Native Hawaiian networks of migration and exploration in the Pacific World, the politics of Indigenous power along the U.S.–Mexico Borderlands, eastern Native tribes that reconstitute their societies in “Indian Territory” in the post–removal era, and comparative studies of “assimilation” policy in the United States and Australia.   Our critical discussions will examine the methodological approaches of Ethnohistory, Settler Colonial Studies, Borderlands Studies, and transnational approaches to Indigenous Studies.  Over the course of the quarter, students will write short critical responses to these key works while building a broader historiographical essay. 


HIST 218 - Africa During the Era of the Atlantic Slave Trade

Jody Benjamin 
Tuesdays 3:00 pm - 5:50 pm 

Slavery and the transatlantic slave trade were momentous developments in the histories of Africa and the modern world. The circulation of people, ideas, commercial goods, practices and knowledge around the Atlantic and Indian oceans had a profound impact on the emergence of capitalism, religious revivalism and various political revolutions. This course will ground our exploration of histories in Africa from specific regions such as Senegambia, West Central Africa, the Gold Coast, the Bights of Benin and Biafra, and southern Africa.  We will see that slavery and the slave trade in Africa were not singular and static, but can be understood as historical processes and structures that took multiple forms across time and space and with lasting consequences. 


HIST 254 - Mediterranean Encounters in the Early Modern Period

Fariba Zarinebaf
Fridays 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

How did the study of the Mediterranean world by luminaries like Fernand Braudel, Marc Bloch and Henri Pirenne shape and influence our understanding of the greater Mediterranean region and the Islamic/ Ottoman portion of it? The French Annales School of historiography had a great impact in the development of Ottoman history, which has in turn evolved into a dynamic field contributing to a better understanding of the greater Mediterranean world in light of the rich Ottoman archives. The course will offer readings and discussions of the latest research in Mediterranean studies with a focus on the themes of connectivity, commerce, diplomacy, travel and encounter going beyond the themes of piracy and captivity during the early modern period. We will have discussion of some notable works in the field every week, their methodology and contributions to the larger field of Mediterranean studies. We will also analyze primary sources in English every week. Students will write up reports and will present the readings and primary sources as well as their own research. We will emphasize historiographical debates, comparative studies and critical perspectives. For questions, you can contact   


HIST 262 - Museum Studies

Molly McGarry
Thursdays 3:00 pm - 5:50 pm

This course is a graduate-level introduction to the history of museums, the field of museum studies, and the theoretical and practical issues confronting curators and public historians in the United States today. Although our primary focus will be on the politics and practice of exhibiting public histories, we will also explore questions of collecting and display in art, natural history, and anthropology museums; popular uses of history in culture, commerce, and heritage tourism; and monuments and memorials. Topics this quarter include: Decolonizing Museums, Public Memory & Mourning, Landmarking Violence, and Public Spaces as “Sites of Conscience.”