HISTORY 774 / 874: HISTORIOGRAPHY
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the tradition of historical writing in the West from the ancients to the present day. Our aim is to explore the ways in which historians have grappled with issues of style and method, and how their work has shaped history both as a literary genre and as a set of approaches to understanding the past. We shall study some of the most influential trends in historical thought and consider how authors dealt with such fundamental issues as the causes of events, the kinds of evidence historians need, and their moral responsibilities. Our discussions will unfold against the background of recent challenges to traditional assumptions about how historians should write and what they can claim to know about the past. The goal is to improve our own work as historians by learning how others have confronted the problems of writing and thinking about history.
Instructor: Professor Jan Golinski Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office: Horton 404 Phone: 862-3789
Classes: M 4.10-6.00 p.m. Horton 445
Office hours: M 3.00-4.00, T 11.00-12.00, and by appointment.
Instructor’s web page: http://www.unh.edu/history/golinski/index.html
Assigned Books (available from UNH Bookstore and Durham Book Exchange):
Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt, and Margaret Jacob, Telling the Truth About History (Norton, 1995, ISBN: 0393312860).
M. I. Finley, ed., The Portable Greek Historians (Penguin, 1977, ISBN: 014015065X).
Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome (Penguin, 1956, ISBN: 0140440607).
Niccolò Machiavelli, The Discourses (Penguin, 1985, ISBN: 0140444289).
Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (abridged, edited by David Womersley, Penguin, 2001, ISBN: 0140437649).
Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre (Random House, 1985, ISBN: 0394729277).
Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol. 1: Introduction (Vintage Books, 1990, ISBN: 0679724699).
Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (3rd ed., University of Chicago Press, 1996, ISBN: 0226458083).
Donald J. Wilcox, The Measure of Times Past: Pre-Newtonian Chronologies and the Rhetoric of Relative Time (University of Chicago Press, 1990, ISBN: 0226897222).
Additional required readings will be posted on blackboard.
This class will make use of Blackboard to circulate essential documents for reading and discussion. This is a required, not optional, part of the class. You should make sure you can access the class pages on the Blackboard system as soon as possible, and check them regularly. If you want email to go to another address than your UNH account, please change the email address on the Blackboard system. If you have not used Blackboard before, start with the help page: http://cis.unh.edu/index.cfm?ID=D1E8E400-D185-710C-9D77DA25E639708C, or you can get help from the CIS Helpdesk in the MUB, or from a reference librarian.
Some of the documents will be Adobe Acrobat documents. To read these, if you don’t have the program on your computer, you can download a viewer (instructions are available on the Blackboard help page).
This is a seminar class, so you must be properly prepared for every class and participate actively. You will be asked to write five short reports on the assigned reading, to be handed in at the end of each class. This is to help you focus your thoughts and contribute to the discussion. The reports should be 2-4 paragraphs in length, not more than one page. You should aim to make an analytical point about the text under discussion, not to describe its contents. Find an “angle” on the reading and develop it briefly. Then, reflect after the class discussion to see how your thoughts might be developed further. The reports will not be graded when handed in, but will be revised and resubmitted later in the semester for a grade. These reports will count for 50% of the grade for 774 and 874.
You will also write a short (about 5-6 pages) paper, due before Spring Break on 13 March. The short paper will take the form of an essay review of a book to be agreed with me. This paper will count for 20% of the grade for 774 and 874.
The remaining 30% of the grade will be assigned for the final paper, due on 19 May (one week after the last class). I expect final papers to be about 6-8 pages for students in 774, and 10-12 pages for those in 874. You will have the freedom to develop your own ideas for paper topics, consistent with the broad aims of the course. I shall discuss your ideas with you and also make suggestions for possible topics in the course of the semester. There will be no exams.
28 Jan Introduction to the course.
4 Feb The crisis of history?
Reading: Appleby, Hunt, and Jacob, Telling the Truth About History.
11 Feb Roald Hoffmann lecture: “Returning, Remembering, Forgiving: Poland 1941—Ukraine 2006.”
(Class convenes at normal time, then reconvenes for lecture at 7.30 p.m. in Richards Auditorium, Murkland Hall.)
18 Feb The “father of history.”
Reading: Herodotus, from The Portable Greek Historians [extracts].
25 Feb “A work for the ages.”
Reading: Thucydides, from The Portable Greek Historians [extracts].
3 Mar “A meanly obsequious age”: Roman historiography.
Reading: Tacitus, Annals of Imperial Rome [extracts].
10 Mar The break with providential history.
Reading: Machiavelli, Discourses [extracts].
13 Mar BOOK REVIEW DUE (4.00 p.m. Thursday).
17 Mar NO CLASS: SPRING BREAK at UNH.
24 Mar Enlightenment historiography.
Reading: Gibbon, Decline and Fall [extracts].
31 Mar The influence of Romanticism.
Reading: Vico and Carlyle on BLACKBOARD.
7 Apr The Marxist theory of history.
Reading: Marx and Engels; E. P. Thompson on BLACKBOARD.
14 Apr NO CLASS: Scheduled meetings on final paper topics.
REPORTS DUE FOR GRADING.
21 Apr Varieties of cultural history.
Reading: Darnton, Great Cat Massacre; Geertz on BLACKBOARD.
28 Apr Intellectual history and history of science.
Reading: Kuhn, Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
5 May Historiography of gender and sexuality.
Reading: Foucault, History of Sexuality, vol. 1; Scott on BLACKBOARD.
12 May Time and History.
Reading: Wilcox, Measure of Times Past [extracts].
19 May FINAL PAPER DUE (4.00 p.m. Monday).