McClellan Hall, 203.432.1366
M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies
Paul Sabin (203.432.1361)
Professors Abbas Amanat, Ned Blackhawk, David Blight, Daniel Botsman, Paul Bushkovitch, Deborah Coen, Stephen Davis, Carolyn Dean, Fabian Drixler, Carlos Eire, David Engerman, 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, Daniel Magaziner, J.G. Manning, Ivan Marcus, John Merriman, Joanne Meyerowitz, Alan Mikhail, Samuel Moyn, Peter Perdue, Mark Peterson, Stephen Pitti, Naomi Rogers, Paul Sabin, Lamin Sanneh, Stuart Schwartz, Timothy Snyder, David Sorkin, Harry Stout, John Harley Warner, Anders Winroth, John Witt, Keith Wrightson
Associate Professors Paola Bertucci, Anne Eller, Crystal Feimster, Andrew Johnston, William Rankin, Edward Rugemer, Marci Shore, Eliyahu Stern
Assistant Professors Jennifer Allen, Sergei Antonov, Rosie Bsheer, Rohit De, Marcela Echeverri, Denise Ho, Isaac Nakhimovsky, Joanna Radin, Carolyn Roberts
Senior Lecturer Jay Gitlin
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 and either 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 (HIST 994, HIST 995, HIST 998) 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 for extended registration. The petition, submitted to 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. An undergraduate language course, statistics course, or other applicable course in a technological “language” may count for one course 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
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 / EALL 773b / HSAR 564b / JDST 653b / NELC 533b / RLST 803b, Sensory Experiences in Ancient Ritual Carolyn Laferriere and Andrew Turner
A comparative exploration of the role the senses played in the performance of ancient and premodern ritual, drawing from a range of ancient traditions including those of Greece, Rome, and Egypt, and from cultural traditions of the Near East, India, China, and the New World. Placing particular emphasis on the relationship between art and ritual, we discuss the methods available for reconstructing ancient sensory experience, how the ancient cultures conceived of the senses and perception, and how worshipers’ sensory experiences, whether visual, sonic, olfactory, gustatory, or haptic, were integral aspects in their engagement with the divine within religious ritual. This seminar incorporates material in the Yale Art Gallery.
HIST 503b / CLSS 861b, Recent Trends, Current Problems, and New Approaches to Ancient History Joseph Manning
Current trends in the field and an examination of recent work, new theory, and new material. An overview of theory and method in ancient history. Each week is devoted to a case study or a recent monograph in the field.
HIST 508a / CLSS 847a, Climate, Environment, and Ancient History Joseph Manning
An overview of recent work in paleoclimatology with an emphasis on new climate proxy records and how they are or can be used in historical analysis. We examine in detail several recent case studies at the nexus of climate and history. Attention is paid to critiques of recent work as well as trends in the field.
HIST 536a / MDVL 536a, Charters, Cartularies, and Archives Paul Freedman and N. Raymond Clemens
An examination of medieval documentation and how to use it to answer questions about medieval politics, society, and religion. Charters are single documents representing transactions, ranging from wills to grants of rights to sales contracts. Cartularies are collections of documents that show how an institution (usually an ecclesiastical institution) acquired property; and they back up and prove rights over those properties. The course looks at archives and ways in which documents end up in archives, how they are organized, and what that can tell us about the issues they focus on.
HIST 540b / MDVL 660b, Introduction to Research in Medieval History Anders Winroth
The seminar provides an introduction to research in medieval European history: often-used source genres, methods, and research tools. We focus on working with primary sources in original languages, occasionally in their original manuscript and early printed form. A working knowledge of a medieval language is, therefore, desirable. Yale is particularly fortunate in that the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library possesses much relevant material, including medieval manuscripts and early printed bibles.
HIST 560a / RLST 691a, Society and the Supernatural in Early Modern Europe Carlos Eire
Readings in primary texts from the period 1500–1700 that focus on definitions of the relationship between the natural and supernatural realms, both Catholic and Protestant. Among the topics covered: mystical ecstasy, visions, apparitions, miracles, and demonic possession. All assigned readings in English translation.
HIST 565b / RLST 522b, Early Modern Spain Carlos Eire
Reading and discussion in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish texts (all available in English translation) and also in recent scholarship on early modern Spain.
HIST 582b / AMST 705b / RLST 705b, Readings in Religion in American Society, 1600–2018 Tisa Wenger
This seminar explores intersections of religion and society in American history from the colonial period to the present as well as methodological problems important to their study. It is designed to give graduate students a working knowledge of the field, ranging from major recent studies to bibliographical tools. In short, the seminar is a broad readings course surveying religion in American history from colonization to the present. It is not a specialized research seminar, but it does require a basic understanding of historiography.
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 597a / JDST 861a / RLST 797a, Twentieth-Century Jewish Politics: Holocaust, Israel, and American History David Sorkin
This course explores the changing nature of Jewish politics in relationship to three of the twentieth century’s major events. First we examine Jewish political behavior during the Holocaust, especially the notion of “resistance” vis-à-vis the so-called Jewish councils and the controversy surrounding Hannah Arendt’s book Eichmann in Jerusalem. Second, we probe the continuities and discontinuities in the establishment of the State of Israel, focusing on the politics of the “Yishuv” (Jewish settlement in Mandatory Palestine) and its relationship to British imperialism. Third, we analyze shifts in the domestic and foreign policies of the organized American Jewish community during the era of the civil rights movement (1946–64).
HIST 600b / JDST 802b / MDVL 670b, Jewish Everyday Life in the Middle Ages Micha Perry
Medieval Jewish history has been based primarily on written sources and hence has tended to concentrate on the intellectual male elite, institutions, and events. In recent years, historians are increasingly interested in everyday, or quotidian, history, looking beyond the intellectual elite to society as a whole and using, alongside texts, archaeology and the material world. Following the “material turn,” this seminar focuses on Jewish material culture, using archaeology and art history in the service of cultural history. Among the subjects considered are the Jewish quarter and street; the synagogue; the ritual bath (mikve); the cemetery and gravestone; book culture; charters; jewelry; fashion; and food.
HIST 601a / JDST 790a / RLST 776a, 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 613a / ENGL 592a, English Paleography and Manuscript Culture, 1500–1750 Kathryn James
This course provides a detailed introduction to early modern English paleography and manuscript cultures. The primary objective is for students to acquire fluency in reading the main English hands encountered in the early modern archive. Students become familiar with the documentary forms and methods of production of early modern British manuscripts and with the techniques and terms by which these are understood and described. Topics include Anglicana, secretary, chancery, and italic hands; alphabets; writing techniques; abbreviations; numbers; shorthand and cipher; transcription; the forms and vocabulary associated with early modern letters, sermon-notes, diaries, annotations, inventories, and other documentary forms. The course meets in the Beinecke Library and is based on the library’s early modern English manuscript collections.
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 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 656a / PLSC 629a, Histories of Political Thought Isaac Nakhimovsky
The intersection between political theory and intellectual history, examined from a historiographical rather than an exclusively methodological perspective. The course aims to develop a comparative framework for discussing the kinds of preoccupations and commitments that have animated various important contributions to the history of political thought since the nineteenth century.
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 677b, 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 687a, Russia, the USSR, and the World, 1855–1945 Paul Bushkovitch
Political and economic relations of Russia/Soviet Union with Europe, the United States, and Asia from tsarism to socialism.
HIST 701a / AMST 920a, Writing Workshop in U.S. History Joanne Meyerowitz
For advanced graduate students in History, American Studies, and related fields. Students share and comment on draft dissertation chapters, article manuscripts, and conference papers.
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 704b, Research in Early American and Atlantic History, 1500–1815 Mark Peterson
The Atlantic turn in historical scholarship on colonial America has made it clear that there is a great deal of fundamental work to be done to understand the interconnected world of European colonial projects and their fraught relationships with the peoples of Africa and the Americas. Yale’s archival resources housed in the Beinecke Library, Sterling Library, and the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Divinity School, and other archives offer a treasure trove of materials to form the basis for such research projects. This seminar, to be taught in the Beinecke Library, is designed to introduce graduate students to an array of such source materials and to address challenges and questions in using these sources ranging from orthography to contextualization. The goal is for each student to produce an article-length original research paper grounded in Yale’s collections.
HIST 711a / AFAM 738a / AMST 706a / WGSS 716a, Readings in African American Women’s History Crystal Feimster
The diversity of African American women’s lives from the colonial era through the late twentieth century. Using primary and secondary sources we explore the social, political, cultural, and economic factors that produced change and transformation in the lives of African American women. Through history, fiction, autobiography, art, religion, film, music, and cultural criticism we discuss and explore the construction of African American women’s activism and feminism; the racial politics of the body, beauty, and complexion; hetero- and same-sex sexualities; intraracial class relations; and the politics of identity, family, and work.
HIST 715a / AFAM 764a / AMST 715a, Readings in Nineteenth-Century America David Blight
The course explores recent trends and historiography on several problems through the middle of the nineteenth century: sectionalism, expansion; slavery and the Old South; northern society and reform movements; Civil War causation; the meaning of the Confederacy; why the North won the Civil War; the political, constitutional, and social meanings of emancipation and Reconstruction; violence in Reconstruction society; the relationships between social/cultural and military/political history; problems in historical memory; the tension between narrative and analytical history writing; and the ways in which race and gender have reshaped research and interpretive agendas.
HIST 737b, Research Seminar in U.S. Political Economy Jennifer Klein
Research seminar oriented around themes and issues in U.S. political economy from the late nineteenth century through the end of the twentieth. Readings in the first part of the term look at various approaches to writing about political economy: for example, business history, intellectual history, labor history, biography, local monograph, or transnational history. Research projects explore new possibilities for writing about labor, business, the state, and capitalism.
HIST 746a, 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 747a / AFAM 763a / AMST 731a, Methods and Practices in U.S. Cultural History Matthew Jacobson
This sampling of U.S. cultural history from the early national period to the present is designed to unfold on two distinct planes. The first is a rendering of U.S. culture itself—a survey, however imperfect, of the major currents, themes, and textures of U.S. culture over time, including its contested ideologies of race and gender, its organization of productivity and pleasure, its media and culture industries, its modes of creating and disseminating “information” and “knowledge,” its resilient subcultures, and its reigning nationalist iconographies and narratives. The second is a sampling of scholarly methods and approaches, a meta-history of “the culture concept” as it has informed historical scholarship in the past few decades. The cultural turn in historiography since the 1980s has resulted in a dramatic reordering of “legitimate” scholarly topics, and hence a markedly different scholarly landscape, including some works that seek to narrate the history of the culture in its own right (Kasson’s history of the amusement park, for instance), and others that resort to cultural forms and artifacts to answer questions regarding politics, nationalism, and power relations (Melani McAlister’s Epic Encounters). In addition to providing a background in U.S. culture, then, this seminar seeks to trace these developments within the discipline, to understand their basis, to sample the means and methods of “the cultural turn,” and to assess the strengths and shortcomings of culture-based historiography as it is now constituted.
HIST 748a, American Conservatism in the Twentieth Century Beverly Gage
An examination of historical and historiographical problems in the study of American conservatism. Topics include electoral and institutional politics, social movements, business and labor, mass politics, free-market ideology, neoconservatism, anticommunism, and the Christian right.
HIST 749a / AMST 838a / HSHM 753a, Research in Modern U.S. History and Environmental History Paul Sabin
Students conduct advanced research in primary sources and write original essays over the course of the term. Topics are particularly encouraged in twentieth-century environmental history (broadly defined, no specified geography) as well as in U.S. history, with a focus on politics, law, and economic development. Readings and library activities inform students’ research projects. Interested graduate students should contact the instructor with proposed research topics.
HIST 752b / AMST 741b, Indians and Empires Ned Blackhawk
This course explores recent scholarship on Indian-imperial relations throughout North American colonial spheres from roughly 1500 to 1900. It examines indigenous responses to Spanish, Dutch, French, English, and lastly American and Canadian colonialism and interrogates commonplace periodization and geographic and conceptual approaches to American historiography. It concludes with an examination of American Indian political history, contextualizing it within larger assessments of Indian-imperial and Indian-state relations.
HIST 757a, Advanced Property: History, Laws, Institutions, and Development Claire Priest
This course emphasizes new work exploring the intersection of property law and economic development. The course explores the role of property in the foundations of the American legal, political, and economic order. It surveys recent literature on institutions and economic development with an international perspective. Students develop independent research projects and write a paper.
HIST 764a / AFAM 716a / AMST 910a, Working Group on Latina/o Studies I Alicia Camacho and Stephen Pitti
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 email@example.com.
HIST 765b / AFAM 718b / AMST 911b, Working Group on Latina/o Studies II Stephen Pitti
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
HIST 767a / AMST 777a, Histories of Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the United States Stephen Pitti
This course introduces select scholarship on ethnic Mexicans in the United States. Key themes include conquest and colonialism; labor and sexuality; patterns of immigration; the changing face of border enforcement, U.S. naturalization policy, and U.S. citizenship; transborder politics; the development of urban enclaves; postwar youth cultures and student politics; and movements for civil and human rights.
HIST 768b / AMST 768b, Asian American History and Historiography Mary Lui
This reading and discussion seminar examines Asian American history through a selection of recently published texts and established works that have significantly shaped the field. Major topics include the racial formation of Asian Americans in U.S. culture, politics, and law; U.S. imperialism; U.S. capitalist development and Asian labor migration; and transnational and local ethnic community formations. The class considers both the political and academic roots of the field as well as its evolving relationship to “mainstream” American history.
HIST 769b / AFAM 605b / AMST 686b, Introduction to Documentary Studies Zareena Grewal
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.
TTh 4pm-5:15pm, M 7pm-9pm
HIST 781a, Global Legal History Rohit De and Sergei Antonov
This seminar has three goals and components. The first is to offer students an opportunity to think broadly about the place of law in society by examining how societies throughout history have engaged with law, rules, and legal institutions, and to engage with the growing body of literature on global and comparative history. Secondly, this is a course on methodology that introduces students to the major approaches to legal history and trains them to read and locate legal sources in their historical context. Finally, the seminar serves as an introduction to the craft of legal history.
HIST 784b, Internationalizing U.S. History David Engerman
This reading seminar exposes students to a range of approaches to transnational history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is intended not just for students specializing in international history but also those hoping to use the insights of transnational and international history in national histories.
HIST 786a, Special Topics in International History Staff
Research and writing on students’ individual topics in international history. Permission of the instructor required.
HIST 791a, Cities of Empire Paul Kennedy and Jay Gitlin
A study of the relationship between imperialism and urbanism from the early modern period to the twentieth century. Topics include Roman medieval precedents; the uses and meanings of walls; merchant colonies and Latin Quarters; modernist urban planning and the International Style in Africa and the Middle East; comparative metro system in Paris, Algiers, and Montreal; decolonization and imperial nostalgia. Cities to be discussed include Delhi/New Delhi, New Orleans, Dublin, Cape Town, Tel Aviv, Addis Ababa, and many others. Undergraduates require permission of the instructors.
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 810a, Introduction to Brazilian History Stuart Schwartz
An introduction to the historical problems and historiography of Brazil. Readings of basic books in the field and discussion of the historiographical traditions. Basic readings are in English but students are encouraged to use Portuguese.
HIST 813a, The Liberation Theology Movement in Latin America: History and Sources Erika Helgen
This course explores the history of liberation theology and liberationist Christian movements in Latin America, paying particular attention to the political, economic, social, and cultural ramifications of the emergence of the “Church(es) of the People.” The majority of the assigned readings are primary sources that document a wide variety of liberationist experiences and actors. Students read about activists in peasant leagues, priests resisting authoritarian regimes, bishops coming together to outline new paths for the Latin American Catholic Church, women promoting feminist liberation theologies, laypeople leading ecclesial base communities, and more. The seminar examines and discusses a number of questions, including: How did the liberation theology movement change over time? What was the relationship between religion and politics in Latin America during times of war and dictatorship? How did the liberation theology movement subvert traditional notions of political and religious authority? What does it mean to build a “Church of the People,” and how did the liberation theology movement succeed and/or fail to build such a church?
HIST 814a, Law and Politics in the Iberian Atlantic Marcela Echeverri Munoz
A review of recent historiography on Latin America that recovered the importance of law and justice for colonial political culture. The course explores the intersection between imperial legal frameworks and traditions of political participation in the Iberian Atlantic societies, asking how monarchical subjects’ interpretation of law shaped local politics. It concludes with the study of the rise of constitutionalism in the nineteenth century.
HIST 832a / AFST 832a, Methods and Practices in African History Daniel Magaziner
This course provides a survey of African historical methods, considering topics from the use of historical linguistics and oral tradition to creative archival and narrative methodologies. We read monographs and other scholarly works, including classics in the discipline and new methodologically innovative studies. Students produce a substantive historiographical essay as well as a detailed analysis of a primary source of their choosing.
HIST 839a / AFST 839a, Environmental History of Africa Robert Harms
An examination of the interaction between people and their environment in Africa and the ways in which this interaction has affected or shaped the course of African history.
HIST 840b, Colonialism in Africa Robert Harms
Discussion of the theory and practices of colonialism in Africa. Topics include the motives for European expansion, the scramble for Africa, early colonialism, direct and indirect rule, “colonization of the mind,” the colonial state, the developmental state, late colonialism, and paths to decolonization.
HIST 861b, Research in Ottoman History Alan Mikhail
Research seminar focused on methods, sources, and problems in the field of Ottoman history. The overall goal is for students to produce a publishable article based on primary materials. Topics may come from any period of Ottoman history.
HIST 873a / EALL 873a / EAST 573a, China and the World circa 1900 Peter Perdue and Jing Tsu
Reading and discussion of significant themes in China and world history in the first decade of the twentieth century. We concentrate on topics that contain international, transnational, and comparative implications, and include discussion of literary and historical material. Most readings are in English, but selected primary sources in Asian languages may be used. Open to all History, East Asian Studies, and East Asian Languages and Literatures students, and others by request. Includes research paper and weekly writing exercises. Prerequisite: knowledge of one foreign language, European or Asian.
HIST 884a, Readings in the History of Modern Japan Daniel Botsman
This course offers students an opportunity to explore recent English-language scholarship on the history of modern Japan (post-1868).
HIST 888b / RLST 592b, Society and Religion on the Silk Road Eric Greene and Valerie Hansen
An introduction to artifacts and documents pertaining to social history and religion from the most important sites on the Northern and Southern Silk Roads in China, including Niya, Kizil, Turfan, and Dunhuang. Assigned readings are in English. Readers of Chinese also participate in a separate section reading documents in classical Chinese from Turfan and Dunhuang.
HIST 921b / HSHM 710b, Problems in Science Studies Lisa Messeri
Exploration of the methods and debates in the social studies of science, technology, and medicine. This course covers the history of the field and its current intellectual, social, and political positioning. It provides critical tools—including feminist, postcolonial, and new materialist perspectives—to address the relationships among science, technology, medicine, and society.
HIST 930a / AMST 878a / HSHM 701a, Problems in the History of Medicine and Public Health John Warner
An examination of the variety of approaches to the social, cultural, and intellectual history of medicine, focusing on the United States. Reading and discussion of the recent scholarly literature on medical cultures, public health, and illness experiences from the early national period through the present. Topics include the role of gender, class, ethnicity, race, religion, and region in the experience of health care and sickness and in the construction of medical knowledge; the interplay between vernacular and professional understandings of the body; the role of the marketplace in shaping professional identities and patient expectations; health activism and social justice; citizenship, nationalism, and imperialism; and the visual cultures of medicine.
HIST 936a / HSHM 716a, Early Modern Science and Medicine Paola Bertucci
The course focuses on recent works in the history of science and medicine in the early modern world. We discuss how interdisciplinary approaches—including economic and urban history, sociology and anthropology of science, gender studies, art and colonial history—have challenged the classic historiographical category of “the Scientific Revolution.” We also discuss the avenues for research that new approaches to early modern science and medicine have opened up, placing special emphasis on the circulation of knowledge, practices of collecting, and visual and material culture.
HIST 937b / AFAM 752b / HSHM 761b, Medicine and Empire Carolyn Roberts
A reading course that explores medicine in the context of early modern empires with a focus on Africa, India, and the Americas. Topics include race, gender, and the body; medicine and the environment; itineraries of scientific knowledge; enslaved, indigenous, and creole medical and botanical knowledge and practice; colonial contests over medical authority and power; indigenous and enslaved epistemologies of the natural world; medicine and religion.
HIST 940b / HSHM 770b / WGSS 782b, Disability Histories: Research Seminar Naomi Rogers
This course introduces students to the major issues in current disability history as well as theoretical debates in disability studies. We discuss cultural, social, and political meanings of citizenship; efforts to define and classify disabled bodies; contested notions of bodily difference; and the ways disability has and continues to be used as a metaphor for socially defined inferiority like gender, race, or sexuality. By the fourth week students have identified the topic for their research papers and discussed them in class. The next month is devoted to research and writing. We start meeting again after spring break to read and discuss a draft of each paper.
HIST 980a, Genocide in History and Theory Benedict Kiernan
Comparative research and analysis of genocidal occurrences around the world from ancient times to the present; theories and case studies; an interregional, interdisciplinary perspective. Readings and discussion, guest speakers, research paper.
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.