New Graduate Courses

Spring 2022: (HI 792) The History of Voting:  Global and American Perspectives with Professor David Gilmartin

While the history of democracy has been the subject of a large, global historical literature, the history of voting as a specific type of political practice has received less attention.  Few, of course, would reduce the meaning of democracy entirely to voting, but there are, by the same token, few conceptions of democracy that do not rely ultimately on voting as a practice.  Yet recent events in the United States and elsewhere have alerted us to the complex and ambiguous meanings that have been attached to voting, which is commonly imagined as the most political (and thus divisive) of acts and yet, at the very same time, as the embodiment of a collective (and unitary) “will of the people,” transcending politics.  This course will survey some of the key issues that historians have grappled with in analyzing the contradictory character of voting, both in terms of the history of the franchise (i.e.  who can claim the right to vote), and in terms of the history of voting as a process (as, for example, in the history of the secret ballot).  After a brief discussion of the course’s key themes -- and of some premodern practices and conceptions of voting -- the course will focus primarily on the history of voting in the 19th and 20th centuries, with an emphasis largely on Europe, Asia and the United States.  The course will require a final research paper that may focus on any time period or any part of the world.

Spring 2022: (HI 792) Histories of Death with Professor Craig Friend

An interdisciplinary investigation of the history of death from pre-colonial America through the modern-day United States. We will investigate how people have dealt with and thought about death throughout American history, and how historians and other scholars have interpreted death and peoples' reactions to it. Topics include Western and non-Western contexts, material cultures, mourning practices, mass death, intersections of death and race, epidemics, rise of the funerary industry, and ideas about mortality and the afterlife.