AMS 390 • The Practice of History
9:00 AM-12:00 PM
This course intends to give students who think and work interdisciplinarily a broad sense of the problems and issues involved in doing historical research. We will review a number of historiographical approaches, debating their relative merits and pitfalls. Each week, we will broach such topics as Marxist social history; history vs. memory; genealogy as history; narrative and history; and New Historicism among others. The course is also interested in the mechanics of writing history and thinking historically and will cover theoretical and practical problems in making evidentiary claims; in conducting oral history; and in reconciling material culture to historical narrative. The course will be concerned primarily with theoretical concerns; however, we will always have an eye on the ways in which each of these trends and issues surfaces in American Studies scholarship. To this end, students will discuss recent work by American Studies scholars and their own works-in-progress.
Reading list will include the following authors among others: Karl Marx; Walter Benjamin; WEB DuBois; Michel Foucault; Carlo Ginzburg; Stephen Greenblatt; Hayden White; Pierre Nora; Joan Scott; David Bradley