Spring 2016 Courses in History MA Program

HIST 605: Historiography: American Women’s History

Roberta Wollons, Mon 4pm-6:45pm

Focusing on the historiography of thinking and writing about American women, we will consider histories of women of various classes and ethnicities through the 19th and 20th centuries, the evolution of feminist theory, and the central women’s issues as they have been interpreted by historians over time. At each stage we will reflect on the relationship between the authors of women’s history and their own moments in time.

HIST 625: Interpreting History in Public Approaches to Public History Practice

Jane Becker, Weds 4pm-6:45pm

This course gives students an overview of the history, best practices, and cultural debates that provide the context for museum and historic site interpretation in the United States. Students will learn how versions of the past are created, communicated and institutionalized as history at historic sites, museums, historic houses, landscapes, and the web. They will explore successful models of interpretation in public venues and examine dilemmas in community collaboration and interpretation for and with the public. Students examine the roles of evidence, history and politics in interpretation; venues, cultures and histories that shape interpretation; interpretive methods and practices in using historical evidence in public history venues; and issues and practices that challenge the practice of public history now and into the future. The course offers students several opportunities to engage in this exploration through readings, assignments, class discussion, guest speakers, case studies, visits to actual and virtual sites, written and oral assignments, and practicum experiences with a community partner.

HIST 627: Archival Methods & Practices

Marilyn Morgan, Thurs 4pm-6:45pm

This hybrid seminar and practicum provides an advanced introduction to the fundamental principles of archival management and methods. As a group, students will learn current archival theory and apply professional standards while undertaking the work of processing and archival collections from the start (the point of acquisition) to the end (the point of providing access) by creating searchable finding aids. Each semester, course work will revolve around archival collections pertaining to Boston history, including Boston organizations, groups, families, or individuals who had a prominent role in Boston.

HIST 630: Transforming Archives and History in the Digital Era

Marilyn Morgan, Tues 4pm-6:45pm

This seminar uses the topic of de facto desegregation in Boston as a lens through which to explore the techniques and practices used by archivists and historians to create digital history. Students will conduct primary research in local archives and bring together materials that tell the history of Boston’s desegregation, asking how such documents have been preserved and presented to the public by different institutions. Students will learn preservation techniques for various types of digital media (textual, image, sound, moving images, and web sites); examine the unique challenges posed by electronic records, including copyright issues, and digital asset management; and create a collaborative digital archive and online exhibit using archival materials found atvarious Boston archives.

HIST 635: Internship in Archives and Information Management

Marilyn Morgan

HIST 681 (section 1): World War II  (NOTE: this course will have a new number)

Spencer Di Scala, Weds 7pm-9:45pm

This course will discuss the origins, course, and impact of World War II.  Is it true that Hitler was solely responsible for the conflict?  Is it true that and Allied victory was a foregone conclusion?  Follow the debates about these and other questions in this class.

HIST 681 (Section 2): Women’s Health and Healing (NOTE: this course will have a new number)

Olivia Weisser, Weds 4pm-6:45pm

This seminar investigates medicine for and by women spanning the 1600s-1900s in Europe and America. Course readings include primary and secondary sources that trace changing ideas about women’s health and bodies, as well as women’s roles as healers and patients. More specific topics include childbirth and motherhood, experiences of breast cancer, ideas about race, slavery, and women’s bodies, the history of birth control, and women’s roles in public health reform.

HIST 682: Place, Landscapes, and Historic Preservation

Monica Pelayo, Tue 7pm-9:45pm

This seminar course interrogates the connections between place-building and community identity. Students will come to understand how Americans create a sense of identity through scenic landscapes and the built environments and how this relationship between space and identity has evolved overtime.


Spring 2016 Courses in History Online MA

HIST 605: Introducing Historiography: The Example of Early Modern Europe

Elizabeth McCahill

This course explores what it means to be a historian in the 21st century. To do this, we will begin by considering some classics of 19th century historiography. We will look at the ways in which 20th century historians responded to these classics, sometimes by embracing their innovations, sometimes by rejecting their approach. We will discuss the rise of social history, women’s history, and, other subdisciplines which, beginning in the 1960s, attempted to give voices to those who were ignored or marginalized in traditional historiography. We will also discuss more recent developments, including the development of the history of science and medicine, the history of the body and gender, the history of material culture and of communication. Particular attention will be paid to cultural history and to the range of ways in which modern historians strive to incorporate the techniques and insights of other disciplines. While this section of History 605 will focus on the historiography of Early Modern Europe, it should also serve as a good general introduction to a range of historiographical methods. Students will be expected to complete several short reading responses, prepare an in-class presentation, and write two papers.

HIST 663: History of New York City

Vincent Cannato

The Big Apple.” “Gotham.” Whatever you choose to call it, New York City has played an outsized role in American history. The history of New York helps us understand many larger themes in American history, but New York as a global, cosmopolitan city has also stood apart from the rest of America. This reading-intensive, discussion-based seminar will explore that history, from the time of the Dutch colonists to the politics of urban renewal in the post-World-War-Two era. Through a variety of readings by historians and journalists, we will examine issues of race and ethnicity, capital and labor, culture and politics."

HIST 685: Indigenous Histories of the Americas

Benjamin Johnson

This class looks at the ways in which indigenous histories have been built, criticized, interpreted and reinterpreted over several hundred years of colonial experience in the Americas, ca. 1400-2000. Some of the interpretive problems we will address include the question of continuity and change within traditions of indigenous historical writing; the ways in which these narratives tie into networks of patronage and power; the different ways of communicating such narratives (oral performance, glyphs, Latinate alphabetic writing, transcriptions and interpretations, digital media); the wider issues of class, gender, and regionalism reflected in such histories; and the ways in which the destined audiences of these texts influence their varied interpretations.

Full Course Listing for History MA Program