New Graduate Courses

Spring 2019: (HI 792) Comparative Slavery and Emancipation with Ebony Jones

Using a comparative approach, this course explores the history of slavery and emancipation across the Atlantic world. Beginning with captivity on the West Coast of Africa in the 15th century, the course works through major historical moments such as the trans-Atlantic slave trade, the Middle Passage, the “Age of Revolutions,” and the abolition movement. It culminates with the development of emancipation(s) during the 19th century. In so doing, the course examines the emergence of the plantation complex across the Americas while also paying particular attention to the ways in which the enslaved cultivated kinship and community, resistance and agency, as well as an internal slave economy within and outside the parameters of bondage. Through course readings we will also explore the varied conditions of emancipation throughout the Atlantic world and how formerly enslaved people gave meaning to their freedom. Lastly, we will pay particular attention to the historiography of Atlantic world slavery and emancipation by considering how scholars and “the public” have viewed the institution over time.

Spring 2019: (HI 792) The Holocaust in Global Perspective with Noah Strote

This seminar will consist of a series of readings that examine the history of the genocide perpetrated against Jews and other groups during the Second World War in global context. We will consider different, and often competing, interpretations of the Holocaust: as a product of racist ideology developed during the era of European imperialism, as a consequence of industrial modernity, as a source of generational trauma for the affected groups, as a preventable tragedy, as a lesson for national and international policy makers, and as a teaching tool for young people around the globe.

Spring 2019: Thinking About World History in the Early-Modern Period (HI 792) with Keith Luria

In this class we will be talking about how to conceptualize and how to teach the history of the world in the early-modern period. World history seems an almost impossible topic to get a handle on. How can we examine the history of the entire world when so much of our research and teaching is focused on much smaller entities, such as regions, nations, or localities? Yet world history has gained academic acceptance in recent decades, as it has become the subject of new research, and it has become an important part of history department course offerings. Those of us who teach or who are headed into teaching careers can benefit from a background in world history, since history departments are more and more often looking for people who can teach it. Public historians are increasingly realizing the potential of presenting historical topics in ways that place them in wider transnational contexts. So this course will set out to think both about how we can get our minds around the topic along with how we can teach it to our students and present it to the public.

The conceptual issues we will discuss include the question of periodization. We will be looking at the early-modern period (very loosely defined) because that is the time during which the world truly became global, the first moment when commercial, political, and cultural connections included both hemispheres. But can we apply the label “early modern,” which comes from European history to the rest of the world? Historians have split on this question. We will also discuss some of the key topics that have marked discussions of world history, such as the construction of “world systems,” “convergence”, and “divergence.” We will also look at concrete issues central to early-modern world history, such as the spread of “global religions,” or new global commodities like chocolate, or disease. Students will be asked to produce papers – either historiographical or based on primary-source research – that connect to their dissertation, theses, or public history projects, even if that takes them out of the early-modern period. But since this also is a course about pedagogy, they will be asked to examine world-history textbooks and design a world-history course syllabus or a museum exhibit.

Spring 2019: New Voyages to Carolina: Reinterpreting North Carolina History (HI 595-001) with Dr. J. Crow & Dr. E. Tise

Over the last thirty years a growing number of scholars have challenged crucial aspects of traditional narratives of North Carolina’s history—ranging from the first encounters of native Indians with European colonists, from experiences of the American Revolution and the Civil War, from the evolution of the state from an agrarian to an industrial economy, and what is the meaning of “progressive” as it applies to North Carolina.  These illuminating researches have virtually demanded that historians and educators articulate a new narrative for explaining and teaching North Carolina’s history.  A concerted effort to develop a new and perhaps more accurate narrative resulted in the publication of a book setting forth some benchmarks for reinterpreting North Carolina’s history.  The purpose of this course will be to explore this new narrative in comparison with older renditions and test its viability for rising generations of researchers, teachers, and students.

Texts:  The basic text for this course will be New Voyages to Carolina: Reinterpreting North Carolina History, edited by Larry E. Tise and Jeffrey J. Crow (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017).  Students will also be required to read pertinent segments from existing texts for teaching North Carolina history and other pertinent articles as assigned. 

Fall 2018: Readings in 20th Century U.S. History (HI 792) with Katherine Mellen Charron

This readings and discussion seminar offers a one-semester introduction to twentieth century U.S. history that will familiarize students with the historiography of its major periods. Students will also examine certain issues in depth as they follow one of four sub-fields throughout the semester: the U.S. & the World; Economics & Labor; Race & Ethnicity; and Gender & Culture. Additionally, students will explore one period in more depth by identifying the relevant historiographical literature, making a presentation on it for the class, and leading discussion. Overall, this course intends to assist students in mastering a body of scholarly works that will enable them: to write a MA thesis, to supplement their Public History work in other classes, to teach a class in twentieth century U.S. history, and to help Ph.D. students prepare for preliminary exams.

Fall 2018: Rivers in History (HI 792) with David Gilmartin

Rivers have had a huge impact on human history.  And humans have had a huge impact on rivers.  This course will explore the historiography of rivers across time periods and across regions of the world.  In doing so, we will use the stories of rivers to explore the intersections between different approaches to river history, from social and environmental history, to the history of politics and nation-building, to the history of agriculture and irrigation, to the history of cities, to the history of technology, to the history of ideas about nature.  We will also use rivers to think about the way history has constructed time, a process in which river metaphors have figured prominently.

The course will be based on readings and discussions. Students will be expected to make oral presentations, lead occasional class discussions, write short essays on the readings, and submit an end-of-course term paper based on some aspect of river history linked to each student’s own research interests and drawing on approaches to rivers and their histories discussed in class.