240 Hall of Graduate Studies, 203.432.1366
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies
Daniel Botsman (236 HGS, 203.432.1361)
Professors Jean-Christophe Agnew, Abbas Amanat, Ned Blackhawk, David Blight, Daniel Botsman, Paul Bushkovitch, Deborah Coen, Stephen Davis, Carolyn Dean, Fabian Drixler, Carlos Eire, Paul Freedman, Joanne Freeman, John Gaddis, Beverly Gage, Bruce Gordon, Valerie Hansen, Robert Harms, Matthew Jacobson, Gilbert Joseph, Paul Kennedy, Benedict Kiernan, Jennifer Klein, Naomi Lamoreaux, Noel Lenski, Kathryn Lofton, Mary Lui, J.G. Manning, Ivan Marcus, John Merriman, Joanne Meyerowitz, Alan Mikhail, Samuel Moyn, Peter Perdue, Steven Pincus, Stephen Pitti, Naomi Rogers, Paul Sabin, Lamin Sanneh, Stuart Schwartz, Frank Snowden, Timothy Snyder, David Sorkin, Harry Stout, Francesca Trivellato, John Harley Warner, Anders Winroth, John Witt, Keith Wrightson
Associate Professors Paola Bertucci, Crystal Feimster, Daniel Magaziner, Edward Rugemer, Marci Shore, Eliyahu Stern
Assistant Professors Jennifer Allen, Sergei Antonov, Rosie Bsheer, Henry Cowles, Rohit De, Marcela Echeverri, Anne Eller, Denise Ho, Isaac Nakhimovsky, Joanna Radin, William Rankin, Carolyn Roberts
Lecturer* Chitra Ramalingam
For a complete list of lecturers, see the undergraduate bulletin, Yale College Programs of Study.
Fields of Study
Fields include ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern Europe (including Britain, Russia, and Eastern Europe), United States, Latin America, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, Africa, Jewish history; and diplomatic, environmental, ethnic, intellectual, labor, military, political, religious, social, and women’s history, as well as the history of science and medicine (see the section in this bulletin on the History of Science and Medicine).
Special Admissions Requirements
The deadline for submission of the application for the History graduate program is December 15.
The department requires a short book review (maximum 1,000 words) to accompany the application. It should cover the book that has most shaped the applicant’s understanding of the kind of work the applicant would like to do as a historian.
In addition, the department requires submission of an academic writing sample of not more than 25 pages, double spaced. Normally, the writing sample should be based on research in primary source materials.
Special Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree
All students must pass examinations in at least one foreign language by the end of the first year. Students are urged to do everything in their power to acquire adequate linguistic training before they enter Yale and should at a minimum be prepared to be examined in at least one language upon arrival. Typical language requirements for major subfields are as follows:
African Either (1) French and German or Portuguese or Dutch-Afrikaans; or (2) French or German or Portuguese and Arabic; or (3) French or German or Portuguese or Dutch-Afrikaans and an African language approved by the director of graduate studies (DGS) and the faculty adviser.
American One language relevant to the student’s research interests.
Ancient German, French, or Italian and two ancient languages, one of which must be Greek or Latin and the second of which can be either the second classical language or another ancient language (e.g., Hebrew, Aramaic/Syriac, Demotic, Coptic, Classical Armenian, Sanskrit).
Chinese Chinese and Japanese; additional languages like French, Russian, or German may be necessary for certain dissertation topics.
East European The language of the country of the student’s concentration plus two of the following: French, German, Russian, or an approved substitution.
Global/International Two languages to be determined by the DGS in consultation with the adviser.
Japanese Japanese and French or German; Chinese may be necessary for certain fields of Japanese history.
Jewish Modern Hebrew and German, and additional languages such as Latin, Arabic, Yiddish, Russian, or Polish, as required by the student’s areas of specialization.
Latin American Spanish, Portuguese, and French.
Medieval French, German, and Latin.
Middle East Arabic, Persian, or Turkish (or modern Hebrew, depending on area of research) and a major European research language (French, German, Russian, or an approved substitute).
Modern Western European (including British) French and German; substitutions are permitted with the approval of the DGS.
Russian Russian plus French or German with other languages as required.
Southeast Asian Choice of Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Sanskrit, or Arabic, plus one or more Southeast Asian language (e.g., Bahasa Indonesian, Burmese, Khmer, Lao, Malay, Tagalog, Thai, Tetum, or Vietnamese). In certain cases, Ph.D. dissertation research on Southeast Asia may also require knowledge of a regional or local language, e.g., Balinese or Cham.
Foreign students whose native language is not English may receive permission during their first year to hand in some written work in their own language. Since, however, the dissertation must be in English, they are advised to bring their writing skills up to the necessary level at the earliest opportunity.
These new regulations will be observed by students admitted in 2013 and following years. Students admitted earlier may opt to observe either the new or the old regulations.
During the first year of study, students normally take six term courses, including Approaching History (HIST 500). During the second year of study, they may opt to take four to six term courses, with the approval of their adviser and the DGS. Students who plan to apply for outside grants at the beginning of their third year are recommended to take the Prospectus Tutorial (HIST 995) during their second year, and it is required for students in European history. The tutorial should result in a full draft of the dissertation prospectus. The ten courses taken during the first two years should normally include at least six chosen from those offered by the department. Students must achieve Honors in at least two courses in the first year, and Honors in at least four courses by the end of the second year, with a High Pass average overall. Courses graded in the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory mode count toward the course work requirement but do not count toward the Honors requirement.
Two of the ten courses must be research seminars in which the student produces an original research paper from primary sources. The Prospectus Tutorial does not count as a research seminar. All graduate students, regardless of field, will be required to take two seminar courses in a time period other than their period of specialty.
Students in their second year should choose their courses so that at least one course will prepare them for a comprehensive examination field in their third year. Some fields offer reading seminars specifically designed to help prepare students for examination; others encourage students to sign up for examination tutorials (HIST 994) with one of their examiners.
By the end of their fifth term, at the latest, students are expected to take comprehensive examinations. Students will have a choice of selecting three or four fields of concentration: a major field and either two or three minor fields. The examination must contain one minor field that deals 50 percent or more with the historiography of a region of the world other than the area of the student’s major field. The examination will have a written component that will be completed before the oral component. For their major field, students will write a historiographical essay of maximum 8,000 words. For each of the minor fields, the student will prepare a syllabus for an undergraduate lecture class in the field. All of these are to be written over the course of the examination preparation process and will be due on a definite, uniform date toward the end of the students’ fifth term, typically on the Friday before Thanksgiving break (or on a corresponding date in the spring term). The oral examination examines the students on their fields and will, additionally, include discussion of the materials produced for the written component of the examination. If the student selects the four-field option, the major field will be examined for thirty minutes. If the student selects the three-field option, the major field will be examined for sixty minutes and each minor field for thirty minutes.
By the end of their sixth term, at the latest, students are expected to hold a prospectus colloquium, but those who took the Prospectus Tutorial (HIST 995) during their second year are encouraged to hold the colloquium at the beginning of their third year. The prospectus colloquium offers students an opportunity to discuss the dissertation prospectus with their dissertation committee in order to gain the committee’s advice on the research and writing of the dissertation and its approval for the project. The dissertation prospectus provides the basis of grant proposals.
Completion of ten term courses (including HIST 500), the language requirements of the relevant field, the comprehensive examinations, and the prospectus colloquium will qualify a student for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D., which must take place by the end of the third year of study.
It is also possible for students who have completed extensive graduate work prior to entering the Yale Ph.D. program to complete course work sooner. Students may petition for course waivers based on previous graduate work (up to three term courses) only after successful completion of the first year.
Students normally serve as teaching fellows during four terms to acquire professional training. Ordinarily, students teach in their third and fourth years. During their first term of teaching, students must attend training sessions run by the Center for Teaching and Learning and work with the associate director of graduate studies to discuss any matters of concern. Students may teach, normally in their fourth term of teaching, as seminar fellows, teaching an undergraduate seminar in conjunction with a faculty member, if such positions are available.
By the end of their ninth term, students are required to submit a chapter of their dissertation to the dissertation committee. This chapter will then be discussed with the student by the committee, in a chapter conference, to give the student additional advice and counsel on the progress of the dissertation. This conference is designed to be an extension of the conversation begun in the prospectus colloquium and is not intended as a defense: its aim is to give students early feedback on the research, argument, and style of the first writing accomplished on the dissertation. No less than one month before students plan to submit their dissertations, a relatively polished full draft of the dissertation should be discussed with the student by the dissertation committee, in a dissertation defense of one to two hours, to give the students additional advice and counsel on completing the dissertation or on turning it into a book, as appropriate. Students are required to submit the draft to their committee in sufficient time for the committee to be able to read it. This defense is designed to give students advice on the overall arguments and the final shape of the dissertation or book, and to leave time for adjustments coming out of the discussion.
The fellowship package offered to Ph.D. students normally includes twelve months of University Dissertation Fellowship (UDF), which finances a full year of research and writing without any teaching duties. Students may choose to take the UDF at any point after they have advanced to candidacy and before the end of their sixth year. Students are prohibited from teaching when they are on the UDF. The department strongly recommends that students apply for a UDF only after completing the first chapter conference and that they have drafted at least two chapters before starting the fellowship.
Students who have not submitted the dissertation by the end of the sixth year need not register in order to submit. If, however, students wish to register for a seventh year for good academic reasons, they may petition the Graduate School for extended registration. The petition, delivered through the History DGS, will explain the academic reasons for the request. Only students who have completed the first chapter conference will be considered for extended registration.
Evaluation of First- and Second-Year Graduate Students
At the end of each term, the DGS will ask faculty members whether they have serious concerns about the academic progress of any first- or second-year students in the Ph.D. program. Faculty members who have such concerns will provide written feedback to the DGS at the DGS’s request. The DGS will use discretion in ensuring that feedback is provided in a clear and effective manner to any students about whom there are concerns. We expect such concerns to be rare.
Toward the end of the academic year, the History faculty will hold a special meeting to review each first- and second-year student in the program. The purpose of the meeting is to assess students’ academic progress. In order for second-year students to proceed to the third year, they must demonstrate through written work, classroom performance, and participation in departmental activities that they have the ability to: (a) speak and write clearly; (b) conduct independent research at a high level; and (c) develop coherent scholarly arguments. A faculty vote will be taken at the conclusion of the review meeting to decide whether each second-year student may stay in the program. In the unusual case that a majority of faculty present and voting determine that a student may not continue, the student will be informed in writing and withdrawn from the program. The review meeting must be a full faculty meeting, but faculty members with no knowledge of the students under review may abstain from the vote, and their abstentions will not count in the total. Those members of the faculty who have worked with or know the students being evaluated are required to attend. In the event that any necessary faculty members absolutely cannot be present, they may send their views in writing to the DGS, who will read them at the meeting.
A student informed of a vote of dismissal from the program may submit a formal letter of appeal within two weeks, accompanied by supporting documentation (research or other scholarly work), to the Graduate Advisory Committee. The Graduate Advisory Committee will render a final decision within two weeks of receipt of the appeal. Any members of the Graduate Advisory Committee who have worked directly with the student will recuse themselves from the final vote on the case.
Combined Ph.D. Programs
History and Classics
The Department of History also offers, in conjunction with the Department of Classics, a combined Ph.D. in History and Classics, with a concentration in Ancient History. For further details, see Classics.
History and African American Studies
The Department of History also offers, in conjunction with the Department of African American Studies, a combined Ph.D. in History and African American Studies. For further details, see African American Studies.
History and Renaissance Studies
The Department of History also offers, in conjunction with the Renaissance Studies Program, a combined Ph.D. in History and Renaissance Studies. For further details, see Renaissance Studies.
M.Phil. Students who have completed all requirements for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. may receive the M.Phil. degree.
M.A. (en route to the Ph.D.) Students enrolled in the Ph.D. program may qualify for the M.A. degree upon completion of a minimum of seven graduate term courses at Yale, of which two must have earned Honors grades and the other five courses must average High Pass overall. Students must also pass an examination in one foreign language. A student in the American Studies program who wishes to obtain an M.A. in History, rather than an M.A. in American Studies, must include in the courses completed at least two research seminars in the History department.
Terminal Master’s Degree Program For this terminal master’s degree, students must pass seven term courses, four of which must be in History; substantial written work must be submitted in conjunction with at least two of these courses, and Honors grades are expected in two courses, with a High Pass average overall. Of the seven required courses, one should be a language or relevant technological language course. An undergraduate language course, statistics course, or other applicable course in a technological “language” counts for credit toward the graduate degree. All students in this program must pass an examination in one foreign language. Financial aid is not available for this program.
More information is available on the department’s website, http://history.yale.edu.
HIST 500a, Approaching History: Problems, Methods, and Theory Daniel Botsman and Jennifer Klein
An introduction to the professional study of history, which offers new doctoral students an opportunity to explore (and learn from each other about) the diversity of the field, while also addressing issues of shared concern and importance for the future of the discipline. By the end of the term participants have been exposed to some of the key methodological and theoretical approaches historians have developed for studying different time periods, places, and aspects of the human past. Required of all first-year doctoral students.
HIST 502b / ANTH 531b / ARCG 531b / CLSS 815b / CPLT 547b / JDST 653b / NELC 533b / RLST 803b, Slavery, Dependency, and Genocide in the Ancient and Premodern World Noel Lenski and Benedict Kiernan
Covers the subject of class and ethnic repression from the third millennium B.C.E. to the mid-second millennium C.E. Analyzes textual, epigraphic, and iconographic sources for slavery, dependency, and genocide in Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Han, Germanic, Angkorian, Vietnamese, Burmese, Malay, Mayan, and Aztec cultures.
HIST 504a, Survey of Greek and Latin Historical Sources Noel Lenski
Familiarizes students with the major sources for Greek and Roman history in the original languages. Covers material to be tested on comprehensive examinations for the Ph.D. in the combined program in Classics and History.
HIST 511b / CLSS 807b / RLST 514b, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews Joseph Manning and John Collins
This seminar examines two incidents in the Hellenistic world that can be construed as persecution of the Jews. The first was in the years 167–164 B.C.E., when the Seleucid Antiochus Epiphanes tried to suppress the traditional Jewish cult in Jerusalem. The second was in Alexandria in 38 C.E., when the Jewish community came under attack from its Gentile neighbors and the Roman authorities. The seminar examines these incidents in the context of Seleucid and Roman policies toward subject peoples.
HIST 537b / MDVL 612b, The Mediterranean in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages Paul Freedman
This course looks at the Mediterranean in late antiquity and the Middle Ages. How unified or diverse was this area in terms of climate, cultures, and populations? Historiography of the Mediterranean includes works by Braudel, Abulafia, McNeil, Horden, and Purcell.
HIST 542a / MDVL 555a, Law in Medieval Europe Anders Winroth
This seminar explores the creation in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries of a sophisticated system of law, the European Common Law (ius commune). All late medieval and much modern legislation is based on this legal system. The course focuses on its roots in the Roman law of Emperor Justinian and in ecclesiastical legislation. We also study the influence of the ius commune on national and local medieval law. The emphasis is on using law in historical research and on learning the technical skills necessary. Prerequisite: facility with Latin or another relevant medieval language.
HIST 574a / RLST 813a, Apocalypticism: Ancient and Modern Abbas Amanat and John Collins
This seminar reviews the origins of apocalyptic thought in the three great monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) and also considers the modern adaptations of apocalypticism in each tradition.
HIST 587b / JDST 793b / RLST 799b, Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought Eliyahu Stern
An overview of Jewish philosophical trends, movements, and thinkers from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century. Topics include enlightenment, historicism, socialism, secularism, religious radicalism, and Zionism.
HIST 590b / JDST 764b / RLST 777b, Jews in Muslim Lands from the Seventh through the Sixteenth Century Ivan Marcus
Introduction to Jewish culture and society in Muslim lands from the Prophet Muhammad to Suleiman the Magnificent. Topics include Islam and Judaism; Jerusalem as a holy site; rabbinic leadership and literature in Baghdad; Jewish courtiers, poets, and philosophers in Muslim Spain; and the Jews in the Ottoman Empire.
HIST 595b / JDST 844b / RLST 692b, Introduction to Modern European Jewish History David Sorkin
This course introduces students to European Jewish history since approximately 1648. It teaches the major historiographical traditions as well as the major themes of European Jewish history. Its audience is students specializing in Jewish history but also other historians who wish to add an understanding of Jewish history to their understanding of Europe.
HIST 596a / JDST 761a / RLST 773a, Jewish History and Thought to Early Modern Times Ivan Marcus
A broad introduction to the history of the Jews from biblical beginnings until the European Reformation and the Ottoman Empire. Focus on the formative period of classical rabbinic Judaism and on the symbiotic relationships among Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Jewish society and culture in its biblical, rabbinic, and medieval settings.
HIST 601b / JDST 790b / RLST 776b, Jewish History, Thought, and Narratives in Medieval Societies Ivan Marcus
Research seminar that focuses on the two medieval Jewish subcultures of Ashkenaz (northern Christian Europe) and Sefarad (mainly Muslim and Christian Spain).
HIST 614a / CPLT 843a, Methods in Book History: The Early Modern Book in Manuscript and Print Kathryn James
This course offers a collections-based introduction to the material culture of the early modern book in print and manuscript, while exploring questions of evidence, canonicity, disciplinary formation, and the social construction of knowledge. Focusing primarily on early modern Britain and Yale’s British collections, the course offers students a detailed understanding of English paleography and bibliography, early modern manuscript and print culture, and the disciplinary histories that have informed the collection and study of early modern British texts.
HIST 617a, Britain: Modernity and Empire Steven Pincus
Why and in what ways did Britain become the paradigmatic modern nation? This research seminar introduces students to a variety of approaches to the study of modernization and to a range of questions about the coming of modernity in Britain. Topics may include the emergence of the novel, the origins of the British Empire, England's economic transformation, the development of representative politics, the emergence of the bourgeois public sphere, and secularization, among others. It emphasizes methodological as well as substantive questions. The course is appropriate for historians of any period or area, as well as for graduate students in related disciplines.
HIST 619a, Readings in the Social and Cultural History of Britain, 1500-1750 Keith Wrightson
Reading and discussion of central works in the social and cultural history of the period. The class begins with the fundamental issues of social structure and population dynamics. Thereafter the weekly agenda is decided in consultation, selecting from such topics as urbanization; poverty; household and family relationships; gender and sexuality; community structures; crime and the law; protest and rebellion; education, literacy, and print culture; material culture; popular religion; witchcraft; national identities; agrarian custom and change; history and social memory.
HIST 623a, Mobility, Identification, and Identity in the Early Modern Period Francesca Trivellato
Reading or research seminar. Contrary to older views of the early modern period as one dominated by sedentary populations, in the past half century historians have stressed the high degree of geographical mobility that men and women of all social strata experienced even before railroads and steamships. Focus on the institutions that governed mobility, the processes of identification, the cultural outcomes of voluntary movement and mass expulsions, and the organizations of trading networks.
HIST 628b, Microhistories Keith Wrightson
A research seminar. The first weeks are devoted to reading and discussing a number of outstanding microhistorical studies of individuals, families, communities, incidents, and processes, principally (though not exclusively) drawn from the literature on the early modern period. Particular attention is paid to questions of sources and their use. Thereafter members of the class undertake individual microhistorical studies on subjects of their choice and present work-in-progress papers to the seminar.
HIST 634b, Community, Markets, and Authority in Pre-Industrial Europe Francesca Trivellato
Reading or research seminar. Influential studies dating from as far back as the nineteenth century and as recent as 2017 about the relationship between market exchanges and the social, political, and legal institutions that shaped late medieval and early modern European societies. Topics include citizenship and credit, the medieval commercial revolution, the public debt, trade diasporas, craft guilds, early modern global expansion, and questions of trust, information, and credible commitments.
HIST 641b, British and Iberian Atlantic Steven Pincus and Stuart Schwartz
This reading course investigates the burgeoning literature on the emergence of the Atlantic world in the early modern period. The course takes an explicitly comparative approach by examining the British and Iberian Atlantic worlds side by side, with occasional glances at French, Portuguese, and Dutch developments. Themes to be investigated include movements of goods, ideas, peoples, and cultures across the Atlantic. We also consider the independence movements of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
HIST 654a, Readings in European Cultural History Carolyn Dean
This course covers readings in European cultural history from 1789 to the present, with a focus on Western Europe.
HIST 667b / FREN 900b / WGSS 667b, History of Sexuality in Modern Europe Carolyn Dean
An introduction to the various lines of inquiry informing the history of sexuality. The course asks how historians and others constitute sexuality as an object of inquiry and addresses different arguments about the evolution of sexuality in Europe, including the relationship between sexuality and the state and sexuality and gender.
HIST 677a, Russia in the Age of Peter the Great Paul Bushkovitch
An introduction to the principal events and issues during the transformation of Russia in the years 1650 to 1725. Topics include political change and the court; Russia in Europe and Asia; religion and the revolution in Russian culture.
HIST 683b, Global History of Eastern Europe Timothy Snyder
A thematic survey of major issues in modern east European history, with emphasis on recent historiography. A reading course with multiple brief writing assignments.
HIST 686a, Revolutionary Russia Sergei Antonov
Reading seminar focusing on the fall of tsarism in 1917 and the establishment of the Bolshevik regime. Topics include potential viability of later imperial Russia; impact of the First World War; alternative political movements (such as the liberal Provisional Government of 1917 and “White” anti-Bolshevik regimes); early Soviet social, economic, and cultural experiments; and the rise of Stalin. Readings include classic accounts of the revolution, with special attention to recent archive-based historiography. Readings in English, with Russian options.
HIST 703a / AMST 803a, Research in Early National America Joanne Freeman
A research seminar focused on the early national period of American history, broadly defined. Early weeks familiarize students with sources from the period and discuss research and writing strategies. Students produce a publishable article grounded in primary materials.
HIST 724b / AMST 767b, Research Seminar in U.S. Urban History Mary Lui
Students conduct archival research to write an original, article-length essay on any aspect of U.S. urban history in any century. The first half of the seminar consists of weekly readings and discussions while the latter half consists of article workshop meetings focused on student writing.
HIST 727a / AMST 796a, Approaches to the History of Capitalism and Culture Jean-Christophe Agnew
A reading-intensive seminar that draws on different disciplines (e.g., intellectual, social, and economic history; ethnography; social studies of science and technology; religious studies; cultural studies; political theory; and literature) to explore the historical intersections between capitalism and culture in the United States and elsewhere.
HIST 731b / AMST 835b, Research in Recent U.S. History Joanne Meyerowitz
Students conduct research in primary sources and write original essays on post-1945 U.S. history. Readings include scholarly articles that might serve as models for students’ research projects.
HIST 733a, The United States in the Twentieth Century Beverly Gage
An introduction to the historiography of the United States in the twentieth century. Emphasis on methodology and major interpretive problems. Readings include "classics" as well as exemplary recent works.
HIST 734b / AMST 780b, Class and Capitalism in Twentieth-Century United States Jennifer Klein
Reading course on class formation, labor, and political economy in the twentieth-century United States; how regionalism, race, and class power shaped development of American capitalism. The course reconsiders the relationships between economic structure and American politics and political ideologies, and between global and domestic political economy. Readings include primary texts and secondary literature (social, intellectual, and political history; geography).
HIST 741b / AFAM 817b, Slavery and Abolition in the Atlantic World Edward Rugemer
An introduction to the central themes of the historiography on slavery in the Americas during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Readings include books and articles that have an explicitly comparative focus, as well as single-region studies. Themes include master/slave relations, African American cultures, resistance and rebellion, economic life, and the politics of slavery.
HIST 742b / HSHM 732b, Readings in the Environmental Humanities Paul Sabin
An interdisciplinary seminar to explore the emerging field of the environmental humanities. This reading course examines how humanities disciplines can best contribute to a broad scholarly and societal conversation about humanity and the fate of the planet. We consider how environmental problems and questions might reshape humanities teaching and research, and what humanities scholars can learn through greater collaboration with social and natural scientists. This seminar draws on faculty expertise from a range of humanities disciplines and engages students in defining the field, including designing possible future courses in the environmental humanities.
HIST 746a / AMST 903a, Introduction to Public Humanities Ryan Brasseaux
What is the relationship between knowledge produced in the university and the circulation of ideas among a broader public, between academic expertise on the one hand and nonprofessionalized ways of knowing and thinking on the other? What is possible? This seminar provides an introduction to various institutional relations and to the modes of inquiry, interpretation, and presentation by which practitioners in the humanities seek to invigorate the flow of information and ideas among a public more broadly conceived than the academy, its classrooms, and its exclusive readership of specialists. Topics include public history, museum studies, oral and community history, public art, documentary film and photography, public writing and educational outreach, the socially conscious performing arts, and fundraising. In addition to core readings and discussions, the seminar includes presentations by several practitioners who are currently engaged in different aspects of the Public Humanities. With the help of Yale faculty and affiliated institutions, participants collaborate in developing and executing a Public Humanities project of their own definition and design. Possibilities might include, but are not limited to, an exhibit or installation, a documentary, a set of walking tours, a website, a documents collection for use in public schools. Required for the M.A. with a concentration in Public Humanities.
HIST 751a / AFAM 687a / AMST 701a, "Race" and "Races" in American Studies Matthew Jacobson
This reading-intensive seminar examines influential scholarship across disciplines on "the race concept" and racialized relations in American culture and society. Major topics include the cultural construction of race; race as both an instrument of oppression and an idiom of resistance in American politics; the centrality of race in literary, anthropological, and legal discourse; the racialization of U.S. foreign policy; "race mixing" and "passing," vicissitudes of "whiteness" in American politics; the centrality of race in American political culture; and "race" in the realm of popular cultural representation. Writings under investigation include classic formulations by scholars like Lawrence Levine and Ronald Takaki, as well as more recent work by Saidiya Hartman, Robin Kelley, and Ann Fabian. Seminar papers give students an opportunity to explore in depth the themes, periods, and methods that most interest them.
HIST 760b, American Legal History, 1861–1968 John Witt
Selected topics in the history of American law, including legal thought, legal institutions, the legal profession, and social movements, from 1787 to the late twentieth century. Self-scheduled examination or paper option. Follows Law School academic calendar. Also LAW 21063.
HIST 764a / AFAM 716a / AMST 910a, Working Group on Latina/o Studies I Stephen Pitti and Alicia Camacho
A continuous workshop for graduate students in American Studies, History, African American Studies, and related fields. This group devotes the fall term to intensive reading and discussion of important interdisciplinary texts in Latina/o studies. Students interested in participating should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
HIST 765b / AFAM 718b / AMST 911b, Working Group on Latina/o Studies II Stephen Pitti and Alicia Camacho
A continuous workshop for graduate students in American Studies, History, African American Studies, and related fields. The spring term focuses on the development of individual research projects and on public history work with the Smithsonian Museums and organizations in New Haven. Students interested in participating should contact email@example.com.
HIST 769b / AFAM 605b / AMST 686b, Introduction to Documentary Studies Matthew Jacobson and Anna Duensing
This mixed graduate/undergraduate seminar surveys documentary work in three media—film, photography, and sound—since the 1930s, focusing on the documentary both as a cultural form with a history of its own and as a parcel of skill sets and storytelling and production practices to be studied and mastered. Readings and discussions cover important scholarly approaches to documentary as a genre, as well as close readings of documentaries themselves and practitioners’ guides to various aspects of documentary work. Topics include major trends in documentary practice across the three media, documentary ethics, aesthetics and truth-claims, documentary’s relationship to the scholarly disciplines and to journalism, and documentary work as political activism. Class meetings include screenings/viewings/soundings of documentary works, and practitioners’ panels and workshops with Yale documentarians (including Charles Musser, Zareena Grewal, Elihu Rubin, Gretchen Berland, and Laura Wexler) and local New Haven documentarians such as Jake Halpern (Yale ’97, This American Life). Students’ final projects may take the form of a traditional scholarly paper on some aspect of documentary history or a particular documentary producer, or an actual piece of documentary work—a film treatment, a brief video, a set of photographs, a sound documentary, or script.
HIST 806a, Early Modern Latin America: Social and Cultural History and Historiography Stuart Schwartz
This course considers the recent historiography of colonial Latin America and the Caribbean with an Atlantic and cross-imperial frame.
HIST 807a / AMST 650a, Resistance, Rebellion, and Survival Strategies in Modern Latin America Gilbert Joseph
An interdisciplinary examination of new conceptual and methodological approaches to such phenomena as peasants in revolution, millenarianism, "banditry," refugee movements, and transnational migration.
HIST 818b, Narratives of Revolution in Cuba Stuart Schwartz and Reinaldo Funes Monzote
This course explores the revolutionary process in Cuba from late 1950s through the present with a special emphasis on the first decade after establishment of the Castro-led government. Based on rare and largely forgotten sources that include memoirs, speeches, the contemporary island press as well as archival film footage, this class seeks to rediscover internal power struggles and disentangle the many discourses that framed Cuba’s revolutionary reality.
HIST 819b, Citizenship and Belonging in Post-Emancipation Americas Anne Eller
In considering emancipation hemispherically, this course examines literature that seeks to dismantle the temporal and conceptual binaries between slavery and free labor posed in classic liberal thought, challenges narrow parameters of political power, and analyzes these negotiations outside of a national frame. The readings explore contests in the Caribbean, Latin America, the United States, and Canada over the definition and attainment of belonging and participation, as freed people labored in dynamic and restrictive circumstances. Finally, it looks to alternative conceptions of political allegiance and authority, often outside the auspices of a formal state.
HIST 820b, Problems in Modern Mexican History: People, State, and Nation in Historical Motion Gilbert Joseph
Focusing on the relationship between forms of the state and grassroots political culture, the course examines prevailing trends and controversies in historical writing on Mexico, with special attention given to the Mexican Revolution and its legacies.
HIST 824a, Latin America in the History of Global Capitalism Marcela Echeverri Munoz
This seminar explores Latin America's role in the rise of global capitalism over the course of the sixteenth to nineteenth century. Readings focus on historical representations of the Iberian empires and Latin America in economic treatises, classical writings in economic history, and recent secondary literature. The course reappraises debates over political economy through the lens of the history of colonialism and revolution in the Iberian Americas, highlighting their links to the Asian and European economies. It also examines the emergence and political implications of economic institutions such as slavery, agrarian production, industrialization, and the labor relations that these have engendered in Latin America and the capitalist world.
HIST 837a / AFST 837a, Decolonization and Independence in Africa Robert Harms
This seminar looks at the process of decolonization in twentieth-century Africa and explores some of the major political, economic, and cultural forces that influenced the trajectories of independent African countries.
HIST 845a, Iran and the Persianate World: Text and Historical Context Abbas Amanat
In this course we read and discuss a variety of historical writings and their contexts. Participants select a collection of readings: chronicles, narratives, memoirs, documents etc. and present them to the class. Requirements include a term paper based on close reading of primary sources, class presentations and discussion. Knowledge of Persian is a prerequisite.
HIST 853b, Approaches to Studying the Modern Middle East Rosie Bsheer
This seminar aims to familiarize students with some of the major themes and debates in the field of modern Middle East history and pays careful attention to competing theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches. The course looks at some of the most important literature and debates on Orientalism, area studies, modernity, Ottoman reform, colonialism, popular politics, nationalism, gender, capitalism, and class.
HIST 858a, Further Readings in Ottoman History Alan Mikhail
Further introduction to the historiography of the Ottoman Empire. Readings include classics in the field as well as examples of recent trends and innovative new works. Emphasis on methodology, source usage, questions of periodization, and other interpretive problems. It is recommended but not required that students have taken HIST 854.
HIST 868a, Documents in Tang, Song, and Yuan Dynasties Valerie Hansen
A survey of the historical genres of premodern China: the dynastic histories, other chronicles, gazetteers, literati notes, and Buddhist and Daoist canons. How to determine what different information these sources contain for research topics in different fields. Prerequisite: at least one term of classical Chinese.
HIST 869b, Issues in Tang, Song, and Yuan Dynasties Valerie Hansen
An introduction to the debates about Chinese history between 600 and 1400 including economics, gender, printing, religion, and social change.
HIST 874b, Research Seminar in Modern Chinese History Peter Perdue
This course focuses on developing skills needed for academic writing in East Asian studies, including preparation of thesis prospectuses, research papers, and grant proposals. We begin with discussions of recent trends in the East Asian modern history and literature fields, and of academic writing styles. Students then draft projects for presentation to the class. Prerequisite: knowledge of modern Chinese or Japanese; open to undergraduate majors in East Asian Studies with permission of the instructor.
HIST 877a, Readings in Modern Chinese History Peter Perdue
In this course we read and discuss recent English-language monographs on modern Chinese history. The primary focus is topics that span the Qing to twentieth century and contain international, transnational, and comparative implications. No knowledge of Chinese required; open to undergraduates with permission of the instructor.
HIST 878a, Readings in Japanese History to 1850 Fabian Drixler
A critical introduction to debates in the history of Japan up to about 1850, with particular emphasis on the Tokugawa period but some coverage of earlier times as well. Readings are in English but, depending on student interest, supplemental materials may also be assigned in Japanese.
HIST 880a, Japanese Reference Works and Documents Daniel Botsman
Provides training in the use of reference works and an introduction to the specialist skills needed to undertake research in pre-twentieth-century Japanese history. Emphasis is on learning documents written in the epistolary style (sōrōbun) and exploring Yale's rich collection of premodern source materials.
HIST 881b, History of Chinese Science Daniel Botsman
A study of the major themes in Chinese scientific thinking from antiquity to the twentieth century. Emphasis on non-Western concepts of nature and the development of science in China, East-West scientific exchanges, and China's role in modern science.
HIST 889b, Research in Japanese History Daniel Botsman and Fabian Drixler
After a general introduction to the broad array of sources and reference materials available for conducting research related to the history of Japan since ca. 1600, students prepare original research papers on topics of their own choosing in a collaborative workshop environment. Prerequisite: reading knowledge of Japanese.
HIST 893b, History of China's Republican Period Denise Ho
This reading seminar examines recent English-language scholarship on China's Republican period (1912–1949) covering themes from state and economy to society and culture. Weekly topics include state institutions and law, nationalism, politics and political movements, the development of cities, media and publication, public health, education, labor, and rural reconstruction.
HIST 895b, Twentieth-Century Vietnam Benedict Kiernan
French colonial rule, cultural change, Japanese occupation, and the origins, course, and aftermath of the Vietnamese-American conflict. War and society from the formation of a modern national identity to the rise of communism, the resurgence of Buddhism, independence and division, the U.S. intervention, escalation and defeat, the postwar Cambodian conflict and the 1979 Chinese invasion, regional integration, and economic reform. Readings, discussion, and research.
HIST 916a, Science, Environment, and Empire Deborah Coen
A reading seminar exploring recent historiographical trends at the intersection of the history of science, imperial history, and environmental history.
HIST 917a / HSHM 719a, Natural History in History Paola Bertucci
The changing meaning of natural history, from antiquity to the nineteenth century. Topics include technologies and epistemologies of representation, the commodification of natural specimens and bioprospecting, politics of collecting and displaying, colonial science and indigenous knowledge, the emergence of ethnography and anthropology. Students work on primary sources in Yale collections.
HIST 920b / HSHM 916b, Advanced Research in History of Science & Medicine Deborah Coen
This course explores the role of travel in the making of scientific knowledge from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. It focuses on museums and cabinets of curiosities; voyages of explorations and scientific journeys; correspondence networks, espionage and colonialism; scientific imagery and fictional travels.
HIST 927a / HSHM 711a, Death, Degeneration, and Decay Joanna Radin
This reading seminar addresses questions of finitude, breakdown, loss, and the limits of life as they have been articulated from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Specific topics encompass biomedical interest in cell death, ecological attention to ecosystem collapse, and racial theories of degeneration. Because theories of cybernetics and computing are a fundamental dimension of postwar life and biomedical science, we also consider how ideas about life and death have been addressed in the engineering and maintenance of digital infrastructures.
HIST 930a / HSHM 701a, Problems in the History of Medicine and Public Health John Warner
An examination of the variety of approaches to the social and cultural history of medicine and public health. Readings are drawn from recent literature in the field, sampling writings on health care, illness experiences, and medical cultures in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the United States from antiquity through the twentieth century. Topics include the role of gender, class, ethnicity, race, religion, and region in the experience of health care and sickness; the intersection of lay and professional understandings of the body; and the role of the marketplace in shaping professional identities and patient expectations.
HIST 931b / HSHM 702b, Problems in the History of Science Deborah Coen
Close study of recent secondary literature in the history of the physical and life sciences. An inclusive overview of the emergence and diversity of scientific ways of knowing, major scientific theories and methods, and the role of science in politics, capitalism, war, and everyday life. Discussions focus on historians' different analytic and interpretive approaches.
HIST 934b, TechnologySocietyIndRevolution Joanna Radin
HIST 939b / HSHM 750b, Approaches to the History of Technology Paola Bertucci
An introduction to the history of technology, with a focus on classic and recent works in the field. Students discuss theoretical problems and case studies from the Middle Ages to the present. Topics include technological determinism, technology transfer, the Industrial Revolution, the social construction of technology, thing theory, the human-machine relationship.
HIST 943b / HSHM 736b / WGSS 730b, Health Politics, Body Politics Naomi Rogers
A reading seminar on struggles to control, pathologize, and normalize human bodies, with a particular focus on science, medicine, and the state, both in North America and in a broader global health context. Topics include disease, race, and politics; repression and regulation of birth control; the politics of adoption; domestic and global population control; feminist health movements; and the pathologizing and identity politics of disabled people.
HIST 949a / HSHM 656a, Photography and the Sciences Chitra Ramalingam
Does photography belong in the history of art, or does its status as an "automatic" or "scientific" recording technique and its many uses in the sciences distinguish its history from that of earlier visual media? How does photography look when we approach it from the cultural history of science? How might its role in the sciences have shaped photographic aesthetics in the arts? This course examines the making of photography's discursive identity as an experimental and evidentiary medium in the sciences, from its announcement to the public in 1839 to the digital innovations of the present day. We take a historical and archival perspective on uses for (and debates over) photography in different fields of the natural and human sciences, grounded in visits to photographic collections at Yale.
HIST 965a / ANTH 541a / PLSC 779a, Agrarian Societies: Culture, Society, History, and Development Peter Perdue, Kalyanakrishnan Sivaramakrishnan, and James Scott
An interdisciplinary examination of agrarian societies, contemporary and historical, Western and non-Western. Major analytical perspectives from anthropology, economics, history, political science, and environmental studies are used to develop a meaning-centered and historically grounded account of the transformations of rural society. Team-taught.
HIST 967b, Intellectual History as Storytelling Marci Shore
This seminar explores the discipline of intellectual history from the perspective of the historian's role as author of that history. Topics include the challenges of working with highly personal and subjective sources; the moral dilemmas of relativism; and the relationship between voyeurism and empathy. How do historians relate to novelists grappling with similar material? How can we narrate the history of ideas? How can we write nonfiction about people whose worldviews involved elaborate fantasies about the past, present, and future? How can we situate abstract ideas in concrete times, places, and lives? How do we integrate narrative and analysis? When is it justified to write about the present? The relationship between lunacy and genius is often very intimate; we discuss how historians can approach morally ambiguous historical protagonists be they communist poets, surrealist novelists, fascist philosophers, or others. We focus on storytelling, on history as both art and Wissenschaft. Readings include novels, essays, narrative nonfiction, and the genres in between.
HIST 970b / PLSC 640b, Advanced Topics in Modern Political Philosophy Karuna Mantena
This seminar is designed to survey modern political philosophy at a level appropriate for graduate students (to help them prepare for the field exam) and for advanced undergraduates who have completed substantial course work in intellectual history and/or political theory. This term, the seminar addresses the topic of democracy and inequality from Rousseau to Marx. We pursue the politics of classical political economy by tracing discussions of the identity of the modern representative republic, the nature of capitalism or commercial society, and the relation between the two from Rousseau to Marx. While the main focus is close analysis of the writings of Rousseau, Smith, and Marx, we also mark the trajectory from Smith to Marx via readings from Kant, Hegel, Condorcet, Malthus, Ricardo, and Proudhon.
HIST 994a or b, Oral Exam Tutorial Staff
HIST 995a or b, Prospectus Tutorial Staff
HIST 998a or b, Directed Readings Staff
Offered by permission of the instructor and DGS to meet special requirements not covered by regular courses. Graded Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory.
HIST 999a or b, Directed Research Staff
Offered by arrangement with the instructor and permission of DGS to meet special requirements.