Introduction to Historical
| Fall 2005
Room 121, North
This writing-intensive course introduces students to historical thinking and
writing in the humanities and social sciences and explores the emergence of
Classics, History, and Religion as fields of academic inquiry.
Writing is an integral component of critical historical thinking skills. Both
historical description and historical explanation involve the interrelated tasks
of learning to write and writing to learn. Critical evaluation of historical
writing is likewise intimately related to the ability to write critically and
historically, skills that could be acquired only in a writing intensive course.
By learning to reason and to write historically in Introduction to Historical
Studies, students will acquire the foundational skills that are essential for
their educational success in higher level courses in the Classical
Civilizations, History of Religions, Womenís/Gender Studies, and History
To enhance the utility of Introduction to Historical Studies as a writing
intensive course each class session will be organized around fundamental issues
as: "what is history and historicity," "what is time and time-distancing," "what
is historical reasoning," "what is historical evidence," "what is historical
description and explanation," and "how does one write historically?"
Additionally students will learn about the significance of gender as a
historical category and the importance of the "historical turn" in various
disciplines in the humanities. By learning the significance of historical
reasoning in other disciplines, students in this course will acquire skills that
can be easily applied to courses in other disciplines.
In this writing-intensive course, prior to each class session students will
be required to write a micro-essay of approximately 500 words on the central
question of the week. These micro-essays will be critical summaries/reflections
on the assigned readings, which will introduce students to the works of
prominent historiographers and philosophers. For instance, the assigned readings
on "what is history" will include passages from Immanuel Kant, Georg W.F. Hegel,
Karl Marx, Edward Carr, and R. G. Collingwood. Through such assignments students
will learn about both the diversity of perspectives on the explored questions
and the significance of their prominent authors. Students will be required to
post their micro-essays on the course website at least 48 hours prior to the
class meeting. These postings will be accessible to other students and to the
writing associate for responses and feedback.
To create a collaborative learning environment, students in this course will
be divided into online writing communities of approximately 7 individuals. In
addition to writing a micro-essay on the critical question of the week, each
student will be required to write a brief 100-word critical reflection on
micro-essays written by other students in their writing community. In this
assignment students are asked to treat their peers as scholars and to ascertain
how their perspectives relate to the views of the authors of the assigned
readings. These critical comments will be also posted online and will be
available to all students and to the writing associate for the course.
To contribute to the development of an active intellectual community on
campus, students in this course will be also required to attend at least 4
out-of-classroom lectures and/or conferences. They will be asked to write a
brief summary of no more than 100 words describing the fundamental argument of
each speaker. In addition to engagement in campus-wide intellectual activities,
this assignment will enable students to learn how to summarize elaborate
arguments, skills that are essential to historical writing.
At the end of the semester each student is required to write a coherent final
essay of approximately 5000 words addressing all the questions that were
explored during the semester. In this assignment each student will be able to
revisit her/his own weekly postings and to rewrite them into a coherent
historigraphical essay embodying the scholarly tools of historical objectivity
and evidentiary support. For their final grade, students will be asked to
compile all of their written assignments into electronic portfolios.
1. Biweekly summaries/analyses for a total of 6 one-page papers (approx. 500
words each). These analyses should be made available to other students via the
Internet at least 24 hours prior to each class meeting.
2. Biweekly critiques of your peers' position papers for a total of 6
one-page papers (approx. 100 words each). Your critiques should be made
available to other students via our discussion list.
3. Small groups will lead online discussions on assigned readings. All
students are expected to participate regularly and actively in these
discussions. Failure to do so will have a detrimental effect on your grade!
4. Students registered for this course are also required to participate in at
least 4 sessions of university-wide seminars and/or public lectures related to
Historical Studies. A short report (approx. 400-500 words) of these sessions
should be sent to the Teaching Assistant assigned to your group.
5. A final take home essay exam (approximately 2500 words) on key
Historiographical concepts, due 6 December 2005.
6. A weblog consisting of your weekly summaries, critiques, lecture reports,
and the final take-home exam.
Students will be evaluated by attendance, quality participation in the
course, and by the quality of their written works. Percentages will be assigned
on this following basis:
1. Biweekly summaries/analyses, 20%
2. Biweekly critiques, 20%
3. Online group discussions and discussions with TAs and or instructors: 10%
4. Participation in university-wide seminars and public lectures: 10%
5. Substantive revision of writing assignments, 5%
6. Final take-home exam: 25%
7. Writing portfolio/weblog, 10%
Introduction to Historical Studies
Tuesday, September 13
Samuel Merrill, Basic Rules For Writing Narrative History
Rael, Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Students
History, Historiography, and Historicity
Tuesday, September 20
Newall, Philosophy of History
Allan Megill, Relativism, or the different senses of objectivity, Academic
Questions, Vol. 8 (06-01-1995), pp 33.
Theron F. Schlabach,
Commandments of Good Historical Writing
Tuesday, September 27
Immanuel Kant, "Idea for
a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Purpose," in Kant: Political
Writings, ed. Hans Reiss (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 41-53.
An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment? In Practical Philosophy
(Cambridge University Press, trans. and ed. Mary J. Gregor, 1996)
Hegelís Philosophy of History
Tuesday, October 4
G. W. F. Hegel,
THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY, trans. J. Sibree (New York: Prometheus Books,
Some books and
hints on Hegel's Philosophy of History
Marxist Philosophy of History
Tuesday, October 11
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, trans.
Samuel Moore (London: 1888; Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia
Chapter 1: Bourgeois and Proletarians
Karl Marx, Introduction to A Contribution to A Critique of Political Economy
Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon
Tuesday, October 18
Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the
Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (London: John Murray,
Albemarle Street, 1859).
Recapitulation and Conclusion
Young, Darwinian Evolution and Human History
The Decline of the West
Tuesday, October 25
Oswald Spengler, The Decline
of the West" An abridged edition by Helmut Werner. English abridged edition
prepared by Arthur Helps from the translation by Charles Francis Atkinson. (New
York: oxford University Press c199 [1926, 1928, 1932]).
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Tuesday, November 1
Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) publ. University of
Chicago Press, 1962.
in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Pajares, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: Outline and Study Guide
Malcolm R. Forster,
Guide to Thomas Kuhnís The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, March 19,
Gender and History
Tuesday, November 8
Joan W. Scott, "Gender:
A Useful Category of Historical Analysis," The American Historical Review,
Vol. 91, No. 5. (Dec., 1986), pp. 1053-1075.
Louise A. Tilly, "Gender,
Women's History, and Social History," Social Science History, Vol. 13, No. 4
(Winter, 1989), pp. 439-462
Emily S. Rosenberg, "Gender,"
The Journal of American History, Vol. 77, No. 1 (Jun., 1990), pp. 116-124
Ann-Louise Shapiro, "Introduction:
History and Feminist Theory, or Talking Back to the Beadle," History and
Theory, Vol. 31, No. 4, Beiheft 31: History and Feminist Theory (Dec., 1992),
Tuesday, November 15
Classical Studies Programs as a Paradigm for the Humanities and Social Sciences
James J. O'Donnell,
Antiquity: Before and After
Steven J Willett, "Postmodernist
Classics," Academic Questions (Spring 2004), 59-66
History of Religions
Tuesday, November 22
Robert D. Baird, "Interpretative
Categories and the History of Religions," History and Theory, Vol. 8, Beiheft 8: On Method in the History of Religions. (1968), pp. 17-30.
Sam Gill, "The
Academic Study of Religion," Journal of the American Academy of Religion >
Vol. 62, No. 4, Settled Issues and Neglected Questions in the Study of Religion
(Winter, 1994), pp. 965-975
Tuesday, November 29
Graham McFee, "The
Historicity of Art," The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 38,
No. 3. (Spring, 1980), pp. 307-324.
When Pictures Are Present: Arthur Danto and the Historicity of the Eye
The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Winter, 2001), pp.
Tuesday, December 6