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.


Spring 2020 Course Offerings:

HIST 611: Readings in American History: Civil Rights
Brian Daugherity, Ph.D.
Wednesdays, 4:00-6:40 p.m.

This course examines the historiography of the Civil Rights Movement, mainly in the American South, between World War II and the 1970s. It will do so in the wider context of the “black freedom movement” stretching back to the colonial era. The course blends U.S., southern, and African American history, primarily. It also includes significant elements of social, political, and legal history. In assignments and discussions, we will examine and analyze a variety of historical accounts of this era—examining the methodologies and archival sources used to narrate the history of the civil rights era, and reflecting on how historians have represented this period. The goal is to obtain a better understanding of both the Civil Rights Movement and the historical profession more broadly.

HIST 615:  Readings in European History: World War II
Joe Bendersky, PhD
Wednesdays, 7:00-9:40 p.m.

Through readings, discussions, and research, this course examines the origins, nature, and consequences of the twentieth century's second "Total War." Key subjects will include: diplomatic relations; military strategy; the nature of total war as actually experienced by soldiers on the battlefield; the role of ideology; total mobilization of the home front; race and women in war. Although focusing on Europe, this course will also cover the extensive and decisive U.S. role in the war.

 

HIST 631: Research in American History: The Art of the Article
Carolyn Eastman, PhD
Mondays, 4:00-6:40 p.m.

The aim of “The Art of the Article” is to explore precisely how a good article is constructed, and to allow you ample opportunities to construct one of your own. During the early weeks of the semester as you find a research topic, we will meet to discuss at length a series of articles in order to deconstruct what makes them so effective: How are introductions designed? Do you begin with your strongest evidence or build to it over the course of the essay? How do you work with weaker evidence, or discuss more speculative interpretations? Reading these essays will offer you the means to conceive, structure, and elaborate your own original ideas and research and think about the many ways of developing strong analyses. Students focusing on any area of history are welcome, though the course readings will be drawn primarily from American history.

Two of our class meetings during these early weeks of the semester will be slightly different. On one night, Dr. Joshua Piker will join us to talk about editing the William and Mary Quarterly, probably one of the top three journals in history overall: what he looks for in a good article, what the process of publishing looks like, and related subjects. On a second night, we will meet at the Library of Virginia for a tour of some of their historic resources with an archivist.

HIST 691 - 902: Museums, Cultures, and Communities: Historical Perspectives*
Karen Rader, PhD
Thursdays, 4:00-6:40 p.m.

This class will focus on the changing theory and practice of museum and public display work within cultures and communities (primarily from the US but some internationally) from the late 1800s forward. Themes/topics covered will include: origins of museums and the leaders who helped shape the field of  museology, roles of history and memory in museums, surviving controversies, the changing community and social roles of museums, creating museums exhibitions and learning, the future of museums (including digital and on-line presences). Ultimately, students will be able to use the museum history to provide them with broader understanding of the numerous historical and contemporary challenges facing museums as well as give them an introduction to the process of proposing, researching, and executing an exhibit, or a museum education or community engagement project.  Students would be expected to read and discuss multiple articles or one book per week (with one student acting as the discussion leader for part of each class, except for on the 3 sessions when we have guest speakers).  Midway through, students will write a 2-3 page historical exhibit review (from a local museum). For their larger final project, students have a choice: to prepare a 10-15 page research paper expanding on their earlier exhibition proposal or to write a similar length grant proposal for a museum exhibit, or a proposal for a museum education or community engagement project.

HIST 691 - 901: Controversy in Public History*
Emilie Raymond, PhD
Mondays, 7:00-9:40 p.m.

Feeling comfortable addressing controversial or difficult topics is important for the professional practice of history, whether in teaching, writing, or developing public history products. This seminar helps public history and traditional history students understand and appreciate the profoundly political nature of public history. Students learn how to consider how stakeholders compete for control over historical narratives. Besides engaging in readings, discussions, and written work, students will hold mock debates and town hall meetings in order to practice accommodating multiple and often conflicting perspectives and viewpoints while developing projects.  We will focus on museums and historic sites, public history programming, the media, and education, and have the opportunity to discuss these issues with professionals working in the field.


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