Courses

The history department offers a variety of graduate courses in European, North American, and trans-Atlantic history, as well as courses in the field of Public history. Courses generally fall into three types: 1) readings, 2) research, and 3) methods or studies (including internships).

A list of history course offerings for the current semester can be found by consulting the VCU Schedule of Classes.


Fall 2019 Course Offerings:

HIST 601: Historiography and Methodology
John Herman, PhD
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:40 p.m.

A study of the development of history as a discipline from ancient times to the present. The course examines the evolution of historical theory and philosophy, great historians, schools of interpretation, and problems of historical methodology.

HIST 611: Readings in American History: Revolutionary America, 1760-1830
Carolyn Eastman, PhD
Tuesdays, 7:00-9:40 p.m.

The history of the revolutionary era has come a long way since this field focused exclusively on the Founding Fathers, military battles, and the making of the U.S. party system. The field has been deeply influenced by scholars in literature, anthropology, performance studies, material culture, ethnography, and many other fields, and has recently become even more diverse by its inclusion of many geographic areas outside of the British mainland colonies that ultimately became the United States. This course is designed to serve as an introduction to the field of the Revolution and early republic as it has thrived during the past fifty years. We will read a range of works on the subject, often juxtaposing older and newer interpretations of the era, which permits us to explore how the field remains in constant movement, and particularly as it has rendered the era less heroic, considerably more fractious, and the United States that resulted far less solid.

Whether or not you intend in the future to study early America extensively, the field has one particular benefit for all students: the scant original documents available to scholars have required them to glean all they can from limited archives—meaning that they have learned to be far more nuanced in their readings and interpretations as they try to make the best use of all sources, no matter how opaque.

Writing assignments will challenge students to explore further the class’s readings, and consider them as indicative of a larger field of study.

 

HIST 615: Readings in European History: Atlantic World, 1500-1800
Michael Dickinson, PhD
Thursdays, 4:00-6:40 p.m.

The course will examine the Atlantic as a geographic framework of analysis connecting Europe, Africa, and the Americas in the movement of peoples, commodities, ideas, and cultural traditions. This course will therefore explore one of the most vibrant fields of early modern scholarship, including work on cultural negotiation and identity, migrations of people covering four continents (Africa, South America, North America and Europe), various European empires (including the British, Spanish, and French empires), labor, trade, and persistently shifting cultures and ideologies, all of which blended in unforeseen ways through the Atlantic. Emphasis will be placed on tracing the theoretical foundations and developments of Atlantic World scholarship, as well as the content of scholars' findings.

HIST 631: Research in American History: 20th-Century America
Tim Thurber, PhD
Mondays, 7:00-9:40 p.m.

The primary task in this course is the research and writing of a 25-30 page paper on some aspect of twentieth century American history. Research must be heavily focused on primary source materials, as well as relevant secondary literature.  Additional assignments include peer review of another student's draft, and an oral presentation summarizing the most important conclusions in the paper.

HIST 654: Oral History*
Greg Smithers, PhD
Mondays, 4:00-6:40 p.m.

Oral history strives to incorporate stories from people who are often silent in written archival documents. As a methodology, oral history is usually thought of as history from the bottom up. It’s an approach to understanding the past that allows the historian to weave the stories of Indigenous people, African Americans, LGBTQ+ people, the working class, women, the disabled, and other historically marginalized peoples into deeper and more inclusive analyses of the past. This seminar introduces students to oral history. We begin with a basic question: what is oral history? From here students will be introduced to the place of oral history in the larger profession, consider the ethics and etiquette of conducting oral history interviews, explore the most effective ways to do oral history, address the editing of oral histories, and analyze a number of case studies.


And, as always, History 693 Internships are available at a wide variety of public history institutions in the area. See Brian Daugherity or Emilie Raymond for more information.

Complete Graduate History Course Descriptions

HIST 511 Studies in American History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Study of a selected topic in American history, primarily through lectures and readings. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 515 Studies in European History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Study of a selected topic in European history, primarily through lectures and readings. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 519 Studies in Ethnic and Social History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Study of a selected topic in ethnic or social history, primarily through lectures and readings. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 523 Studies in Virginia and Southern History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Study of a selected topic in Virginia or Southern history, primarily through lectures and readings. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 527 Studies in African-American History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Study of a selected topic in African-American history, primarily through lectures and readings. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 591 Special Topics in History
Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated with different topics for a maximum of 9 credits. An intensive study of a selected topic in history.

HIST 601 Historiography and Methodology
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. A study of the development of history as a discipline from ancient times to the present. The course examines the evolution of historical theory and philosophy, great historians, schools of interpretation, and problems of historical methodology. This course is a prerequisite for research seminars.

HIST 611 Readings in American History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Analysis of major studies and interpretative trends in a particular area of American history through readings and class discussions. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 615 Readings in European History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Analysis of major studies and interpretative trends in a particular area of European history through readings and class discussions. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 619 Readings in Ethnic and Social History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Analysis of major studies and interpretative trends in a particular area of ethnic or social history through readings and class discussions. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 623 Readings in Virginia and Southern History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Analysis of major studies and interpretative trends in a particular area of Virginia or Southern history through readings and class discussions. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 627 Readings in African-American History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Analysis of major studies and interpretative trends in a particular area of African-American history through readings and class discussions. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 631 Research in American History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Analysis of significant problems in a particular field of American history through research, writing, in-class presentations and discussions. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 635 Research in European History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Analysis of significant problems in a particular field of European history through research, writing, in-class presentations and discussions. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST638 Research in Transatlantic History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Analysis of significant problems in a particular field of transatlantic history through research, writing, in-class presentations and discussions. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 639 Research in Ethnic and Social History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Analysis of significant problems in a particular field of ethnic or social history through research, writing, in-class presentations and discussions. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 643 Research in Virginia and Southern History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Analysis of significant problems in a particular field of Virginia or Southern history through research, writing, in-class presentations and discussions. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 647 Research in African-American History
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 12 credits. Analysis of significant problems in a particular field of African-American history through research, writing, in-class presentations and discussions. See the Schedule of Classes for specific topics to be offered each semester.

HIST 651 Public History: Theory and Practice
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An overview of the field of public history, intended to introduce students to the range of professional historical activities practiced outside the classroom. Explores methods and skills including archival work, documentary editing, historic preservation, museum studies, and oral history. The course also involves a sustained consideration of the theoretical issues that arise from public history work, defined as history of, for, by, and/or with the public.

HIST 652 Documentary Editing and Scholarly Publishing
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An overview of the processes by which historical scholarship is disseminated by publication. Students will practice editing scholarly editions of historic documents and reviewing manuscripts for publication in academic media. Special consideration will be given to the digital humanities and new technology's relation to the traditional publishing trade.

HIST 653 American Material Culture
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. Material culture is a term encompassing all things created or modified by people - such as clothing, tools, furniture, works of art, buildings, and even landscapes. This course introduces students to the field of material culture studies and challenges them to study the American past through examination of its artifacts and architecture. Students will explore a range of disciplinary approaches and time periods, as well as the role of politics in the preservation and exhibition of material culture.

HIST 654 Oral History: Theory and Practice
Semester course; 3 lecture hours. 3 credits. An introduction to the practice and theories of oral history, a method employing interviews or sound recordings of people with personal knowledge of past events. Students will consider the benefits and limitations of the method as well as learn the general legal issues involved. Students will conduct their own interviews and practice the transcription of oral history.

HIST 691 Special Topics in History
Semester course; 1-3 lecture hours. 1-3 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 9 credits. An intensive study of a selected topic in history.

HIST 692 Independent Study
Semester course; 1-3 credits. Maximum of 6 credits. Prerequisite: Permission of department chair. Requires an analysis of a historical problem or topic in depth under faculty supervision.

HIST 693 Internship in History
Semester course; variable hours. 2-4 credits per semester. Maximum of 6 credits. Determination of the amount of credit and permission of departmental internship coordinator must be procured prior to registration for this course. Students receive credit for work on historical projects with approved agencies.

HIST 698 M.A. Thesis
1-6 credits. May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credits.