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Mapping the Discipline, Seminar in Historical Analysis (405-0-26)


Laura E Hein
Harris Hall - Room 325
I am a professor of modern Japanese history at NU. I work on the 20th century: I’ve written two books on economic ideas and economic policy in postwar Japan (in Japanese: 理性ある人びと力ある言葉ーー大内兵衛グループと行動、東京: 岩波書店、2007年7月) and another on how Japanese recovered from fascism (their term) now being translated by Jinbun Shoin, and edited five books that compare war remembrance in Japan, including the distinctive memories of Okinawans, to remembrance in the United States, Germany, and elsewhere. I'm just finishing up a giant multi-volume editing project. More and more, my courses are about how to get a handle on really complicated problems with no moral clarity and no easy answers.

Meeting Info

Locy Hall 214: Thurs, 2:00PM - 4:50PM

Overview of class

Topic: Mapping the Discipline

The purpose of this course is to offer history students a guide to "professional literacy" by introducing them to some of the main approaches and themes of the academic study of history. Historians have a broad variety of strategies of investigation, interpretation, and explanation to choose from. Understanding those strategies requires articulating methods and theoretical perspectives and recognizing the implications when others do so. The course will orient students in some of the big debates in humanities and social-science scholarship—and their implications--with a specific focus on the contributions that historians are best equipped to make. This will involve learning read for deep comprehension. Topics to be considered in the course include: defining fields of history; problems of historical scale, spatiality, empire, and borderlands, the use of certain analytical categories such as social class, race, gender, and other forms of identity, and the implications and impact of organizing principles such as agency and networks. And, I should also say that, because we only have ten weeks, the course in no way claims to cover all major approaches to History.

Learning Objectives

Acquiring professional-level competency in many of the tools, vocabulary, reference points, and assumptions of the discipline

Evaluation Method

informed participation, three short written assignments, final assignment tied to 570 /580 project

Class Materials (Required)

All the assigned readings will be uploaded on Canvas

Class Notes

History Area(s) of Concentration: Americas, European, Asia/Middle East, Africa/Middle East

Class Attributes

Graduate Students Only