Fall 2016 Courses in History MA Program

HIST 600: Research Methods

This introductory course in historical research methods is required for all tracks in the History MA program. The course will focus on archival research skills, analysis of primary sources, and the development of critical writing skills. Among the assignments, all students will complete a 20-25 page research paper in which students will utilize primary sources in order to develop an historical argument. Specific topics will vary from semester to semester based on the expertise and interests of the instructor.

Dorchester History, Vincent Cannato, Mon 4pm-6:45pm

Dorchester is the largest neighborhood in Boston and home to the University of Massachusetts Boston. It was founded before the city of Boston and remained an independent town until it was annexed by Boston in 1870. The neighborhood possesses a rich history from the colonial period down to the present that has not been adequately studied by historians. By focusing on the history of Dorchester, this course will help train students in the important skills that all historians must possess: archival research, analysis of primary sources, and the development of critical writing. Students will visit various Boston archives and hear from people engaged in researching Boston history. Among the assignments, students will complete a 20-25 page research paper on some aspect of Dorchester history in which they will utilize primary sources in order to develop an historical argument. 

HIST 620: Introduction to Public History and Popular Memory

Monia Pelayo, Weds 4pm-6:45pm

This course will introduce students to the historical origins of the public history field, the historiography and major paradigms in the field, and the debates that have emerged surrounding the public role of historians. Students will be required to engage in seminar discussions, evaluate two current public history artifacts (i.e. exhibitions, walking tours, oral history program, digital project, etc.), and complete a project proposal where students discuss the theoretical and practical aspects of public history work and locate themselves in the larger paradigms of the field. By the end of the course, students are expected to understand the following: the evolution of the public history field; historians' engagement with various publics, and more specifically historians' involvement in the public constructions of history; major theoretical constructs such as memory, heritage, community, commemoration; and current issues, trends, and theories that continue to change within the public history field.

HIST 626: Introduction to Archives and Information Management

Marilyn Morgan, Tue 4pm-6:45pm

This seminar provides an introduction overview to managing archival resources, the essential principles of the profession, and the core work archivists do, including appraisal, acquisitions, preservation, arrangement, description, providing access, research services, and outreach. The course explores the history of manuscript collection in the United States; discusses current issues and new technologies int he field; explores trends in archival processing and access; and discusses theories that shape the nature of archival management. Students may gain some hands-on experience with manuscript processing, open source collection management software, and digital methodologies.

HIST 635: Internship in Archives and Information Management

Marilyn Morgan

The internship provides students with an opportunity to acquire direct practical experience. Students enrolled in this course will complete 120 hours of work at an approved institution (either a traditional archive, special collections library, or museum, or a repository specializing in electronic records), under the supervision of a professional archivist or information manager. Enrolled students will complete an approved project and meet regularly with the Program Director, periodically submit written reports, and, at the end of the semester, submit a final project report and assessment.

HIST 681: Holocaust as Public Memory

Paul Bookbinder, Thurs 4pm-6:45pm

Our course will explore the background, and the causes of the events of the Holocaust and of genocide in general.    We will look at the victims, the perpetrators and other contemporary actors in this period. We will consider the major historical interpretations and the current controversies about Holocaust  and genocide research, writing and commemoration. We will look at documents from the period; interrogation reports, memoirs, correspondence and  survivor testimony
We will concentrate on how the Holocaust and Genocide are presented to the public using the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Facing History Educational Foundation, the Armenian Museum in Watertown and the Boston Holocaust memorial as study resources.

HIST 682: The Progressive Era

Roberta Wollons, Tue 4pm-6:45pm

This course seeks to provide students with an intimate knowledge of a volatile historical period (roughly 1890 to 1920) in which Americans in varied ways came to grips with the social and political consequences of industrial and urban transformation.  Alongside the glorious futures presented at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, a generation of reformers and political activists turned their attention to reorganizing cities, modernizing state governance, confronting issues of poverty and dangerous working conditions, and using government at the federal level to regulate the unbridled power of large corporations.  Artists challenged European traditions in art, music and literature. The period also brought other challenges in the form of racial polarization and a new, rights-oriented African American movement; it witnessed unprecedented immigration and the massive influx of “new immigrants” from southern and eastern Europe that stirred nativist and racial exclusionist sentiment, even among would-be reformers. However imperfectly, “progressives” laid the foundations for confronting the complexities of the twentieth-century city and forged a new American identity. 

HIST 690 Thesis Preparation

Elizabeth McCahill, Mon 7pm-9:45pm

This is a one-semester supervised individual course to help students develop a viable thesis topic. Subjects will vary according to the student's interest and will include extensive guided reading.

HIST 698 Internship in Public History

Jane Becker

In order to gain direct experience with the problems and applied solutions in the field, students in the Public History Track will conduct tan Internship of at least one semester in length in which they will be asked to participate in a project or activity with a public history group or institution. The students will be given close supervision by a UMass Boston History Department faculty member and will be required to meet the same requirement as graduate students meet in laboratories. In other words, the three-credit internship will require 2.5 hours of work per week, per credit, or a total of 7.5 hours of intern work per week. In the process of the internship, students will learn from public history practitioners such as museum professionals, tour guides, re-enactors, documentary film makers as well as from scholars of history. These practitioners will guide students through the problems and solutions involved in planning and funding public history projects as well as the problems in selecting, conducting and oral and community history projects and interpreting and presenting historical information in various venues in order to engage and educate public audiences.

HIST 699 Thesis

Vincent Cannato

Under the supervision of the appointed advisor. All topics must be previously approved by the program's graduate committee. The thesis will be defended before a committee of three faculty members who will also judge its suitability as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master of arts degree.


Fall 2016 Courses in History Online MA

HIST 600: Research Methods: Local History

Monica Pelayo

This introductory online course in historical research methods is required for students in the online History MA program. The course will focus on archival research skills, analysis of primary sources, and the development of critical writing skills. Students will be expected to engage in online discussions and produce a 20-25 page research paper. A successful research paper will develop a historical argument utilizing primary and secondary source materials. For this particular course, students will conduct research about their local communities and produce historical research that is based on the primary source materials available at a local basis. 

HIST 642 Theory and Practice of European Fascism

Spencer Di Scala

Fascism is almost universally condemned, but few people are informed about its complex ideology and the reasons for its rise after World War I. Marxists argue that fascism did not have an ideology and was simply a right-wing grab for power to repress the working class, but is this accurate? Our readings will examine Marxist along with current interpretations that view fascism as having its roots on the left and as a cultural revolution. The course will also examine the practice of fascism under Mussolini in Italy, where fascism first took power, under Hitler in Germany, and Fascist movements in other countries—their similarities and differences.  Given the recent rise of groups some observers consider Fascist in both Western and Eastern Europe, this class aims at giving students an in-depth understanding of historical fascism and will help them put current events into an informed context. 

HIST 644 Topics in the History of the American Revolution

Jonathan Chu

This seminar will focus upon a specific question, theme, or emphasis on the history of the American Revolution. It may engage a historiographic problem--Beard's economic interpretation of the Constitution; a thematic question--the economic or social consequences of the Revolution; or a single event--The Stamp Act Riots or the Boston Tea Party, as vehicles for a deeper understanding of the causes and consequences of American independence.

Full Course Listing for History MA Program