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Spring 2015

American History

Hist. 74300- Readings in 20th Century U.S. Women's History
GC: M, 6:30- 8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Kathy McCarthy

When women’s history emerged as a subfield in the 1960s, its initial goal was to write women into the historical record.  Since then, the analytical focus has shifted from an emphasis on “sisterhood” to class relations, political culture, the social construction of gender, transnationalism, and colonialism and empire.  Cultural analyses have also become increasingly important, illuminating the subtexts that shaped women’s lives in different regions and eras, while microhistories have excavated the lives of ordinary Americans in revealing ways.  This course will chart these historiographical shifts, as well as the ways in which women’s history has reshaped our understanding of American history for the period from 1900 to the late 20th century.
 
Within this framework a variety of topics will be explored, including (among others): 1) mainstreaming and microhistory; 2) gender and geography; 3) politics and political cultures; 4) transnationalism and empire; 5) labor; 6) popular culture; 7) feminism and its discontents;8) the New Deal; 9) family and domesticity;10) the women’s movement; 11) science, philanthropy and the politics of the body; 12) women and the welfare state.
 
The goal of this course is threefold: 1) to help students prepare for their written and oral examinations; 2) to deepen their knowledge of the ways in which women’s history has reshaped our understanding of American history; and 3) to bolster their research, writing and analytical skills.
 
Students will lead one to three discussion sessions, and have a choice of doing weekly abstracts on the assigned readings for the weeks in which they are not presenting, or developing a research proposal on a women’s history topic of their choice for the period between 1900 and the 1990s,

Hist. 75000- The Age of Empires: Colonial Americas, 1492-1776  
GC:  R, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. David Waldstreicher
If “colonial America” is not -- or not merely -- the prehistory of the United States, then what is it?  In recent decades there has been a turn away from approaching North American and Caribbean colonies as a series of emergent and distinct communities or societies, and toward seeing them, first as “contacts,” “contests” or “conquests," then an “Atlantic world”-in-formation. Most recently, these approaches seem to meld and, interestingly, return in part  to perhaps the oldest of approaches to early American history: a notion of the period as shaped fundamentally by the creation, entanglements, and  clashes of Spanish, British, Dutch, French, and Amerindian empires. Our readings will focus on attempts to use “empire” to understand both the big picture and the local lived realities, including work that takes a neo-imperial approach to the coming of the American Revolution. Among the key questions that will occupy us: does “empire” offer something analytically valuable that “atlantic” or “global” approaches do not? Do neo-imperial histories have a bias toward certain subjects, interpretations? Do they bring Africans and Native Americans into something like the prominence they actually had? Have correctives that emphasize transatlantic or imperial economies, politics, and wars come at the cost of the advances social historians made in delineating the making (and unmaking) of communities or the local experiences of natives, of settlers, of slaves? Where does “empire” leave seemingly separate subjects like religion and gender? In a historiographical moment in which cultural history seems to have triumphed, does a culturalist sensibility enable, or set appropriate limits to, a revised imperial approach?  

Hist. 75200- The Civil War, 1860-1865
GC: T, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. James Oakes
JOakes@gc.cuny.edu

Hist. 75700- U.S. Political Economy Since 1945 
GC: T, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Judith Stein

What historians call the “golden age of capitalism” and the “age of compression” in the United States began after World War II and ended in the mid-1970s..  This course will analyze the sources of the era’s shared prosperity in the U.S., the global changes that challenged it, the struggles during the 1970s to preserve it,  the triumph of new governing ideologies and practices in the 1980s and 1990s, and the causes of the recent Great Recession in the first decade of the 21st century. . We will examine both the economic ideas and practices of the eras and the changing politics and social composition of the Democratic and Republican parties.  In short, we shall consider economics and politics over time. The reading will include historical treatments as well as selected works from other disciplines, like Thomas Piketty’s recent offering.
 

European History

Hist. 70900- Modern France and its Empire
GC:  R, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Cliff Rosenberg

This course will survey the historiography of France and its empire since the conquest of Algeria in 1830. Examining a mix of classic and more recent works, we will pay special attention to two central themes that have preoccupied historians of the past generation: (1) immigration, anti-Semitism, and Vichy, and (2) controversies over the French empire and its relationship to the Republican tradition. 

Hist. 71100- European Crime from the Middle Ages to the Present  
GC:  W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Mary Gibson

 
 This course will examine the development of law and crime in Europe, with an emphasis on France, Germany, England, and Italy. It will begin in the medieval and early modern periods with readings on canon law, witchcraft, and the development of royal courts. Focus will then shift to the Enlightenment, which laid the basis for a revolution in criminal law, the replacement of torture and bodily punishment with imprisonment, and the establishment of modern police forces. Changes in crime rates and public stereotypes of deviancy will be studied within the context of nation building, industrialization, urbanization, and the construction of the welfare state during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Other topics will include organized crime, the insanity plea, “female crimes” (prostitution abortion, infanticide), the birth of criminology, and totalitarian criminal justice systems. The course will emphasize current debates on methodology and historiography in the field of criminal justice history.
 
Class requirements include one-page book reviews of the assigned readings (30%); a historiographical paper of 10-12 pages (30%); and oral presentations and class participation (40%). Readings include primary sources, classic interpretations, and current research.
 
Hist. 72400- Adventures in Marxism: from the Communist Manifesto to Alain Badiou
GC: M, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Richard Wolin
In his “Theses on Feuerbach” (1846) Marx, seeking to free himself from Hegel’s tutelage, famously declared that, “Heretofore, philosophers have only interpreted the world; however, the point is to change it!” At the time, little did Marx realize the immense historical influence his ideas and doctrines would have. For decades to come, Marx’s theories would inspire intellectuals and political activists in Europe, Latin America, and Asia – although, often in ways that would have undoubtedly astonished Marx himself. After all, the first “successful” communist revolution occurred not in a highly industrialized society, as Marx had prophesied, but instead in Tsarist Russia: a nation that had only recently freed its serfs and that was still largely agrarian. Although as late as 1956, Jean-Paul Sartre could still refer to Marxism optimistically as, “The unsurpassable philosophy of our time,” following World War II, with the rising tide of decolonization, the torch of World Revolution had clearly passed (in the words of Franz Fanon) to the “wretched of the earth” – to the denizens of the so-called “Third World.” To add to this litany of well-known paradoxes: in contemporary China, one of the few remaining communist nations, Marxism has paradoxically become the reigning ideology of a society that is unabashedly oriented toward exponential economic growth and conspicuous consumption. (Or, as Deng Xiaoping proclaimed during the early 1980s: “To get rich is glorious!”) Looking back from 1989 – the watershed year in which the Marxist regimes of Eastern Europe unraveled with breathtaking rapidity – intellectuals and pundits openly wondered whether the time had finally come to write Marxism’s epitaph. However, in light of the rise of neo-liberalism and the prodigious rise of social inequality, forecasts concerning Marxism’s demise would seem premature.
Our primary focus will be the legacy of Marxist thought. As such, we will begin by examining the way in which Marx’s youthful confrontation with Hegel prepared the ground for the development of his notion of “historical materialism.” But very quickly, under the tutelage of the later Engels and the Second International, this conception congealed into a dogmatic body of received truths, precipitating what some have called the “crisis of Marxism.” At the time, one of the main responses to Marxism-in-crisis was “Leninism”: the idea that, since the European proletariat seemed increasingly lethargic, a vanguard party was required in order to focus its attention on the long-term goal of world revolution.
Under the guise of a “return to Hegel,” and as an antidote to Soviet Marxism, the interwar period witnessed an efflorescence of philosophical Marxism. Among the highlights of this movement were Lukács’ History and Class Consciousness as well as the work of Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt School – a renewal Marxist thought that has been largely responsible for the postwar renaissance of “critical Marxism.” More recently, in books such as Revolution at the Gates, Slavoj Zizek has encouraged a “return to Lenin.” Similarly, the French Maoist, Alain Badiou, in part inspired by Sartre, has sought to resurrect Marx’s theory of the “subject.” Insisting that, as a critique of capitalism, Marxism has lost none of its historical relevance, Badiou claims that, by learning from its past defeats, Marxism can be resurrected.

African History 

Hist. 72700- Atlantic Africa: Slavery, Politics & Difference
GC: T, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Herman Bennett

Please read the full syllabus below.
Bennett-Syllabus
 

Middle East History 


Hist. 78000- History and Theory of the Middle East: II
GC:  W, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Samira Haj
The question of the relationship of theory to history is laden with problems. While it is obvious that historians carry their research in archives, it is not obvious what analytical frameworks historians utilize to make sense of the past, its relationship to the present and its relevance to the future if any. The objective of the course is to explore some of the theoretical and methodological concerns that have haunted historians since history established itself as a modern discipline including questions relating to temporality, periodization, sovereignty and the rule of law among others. The course is de facto thematically-organized as well as interdisciplinary, which by implication means that it will be drawing on different bodies of knowledge, including philosophy, political theory, anthropology, religious, gender and legal studies with some recently written narratives and accounts drawn from the Middle East field. 

Hist. 78110- Violence in Islamic History: Case Studies and Comparisons
GC: R, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Chase Robinson and Prof. Anna Akasoy

No auditors.
This course offers an introduction to practices and discourses of violence, mainly in the public sphere and as directed against non-Muslim actors, that took place in the pre-modern Islamic world.

Amongst the topics to be explored are the circumstances that lead to violence, patterns and forms of violence, rituals connected with the display of violence, and theories and modes of legitimating violence. Much of the course follows a chronological order, but we will be posing more or less consistently the thematic question of the relationship between religion and violence, especially the putative connection between monotheism and violence. We will be working with primary as well as secondary sources, focusing on textual traditions, but exploring visual culture as well.

We will begin by situating practices and views of violence in the Late Antiquity, especially but not exclusively as practiced by Christians, before examining the tribal violence of pre-Islamic Arabia. We will then focus on violence in the Qur’an and its early Christian reception, the early Islamic conquests (including a comparison with other conquest movements), and the emergence of the doctrines of Jihad and martyrdom during the 8th and 9th centuries. Against the background of this ‘classical’ history and doctrines, we shall explore selected topics such as the Crusades (including their Muslim responses), the rise of the Ottoman empire through conquest, warfare between the Ottomans and the Safavids, and recent cases of Islamist violence.

Latin American History


Hist. 77100- Media, Politics & the Public Sphere in Latin America
GC:  R, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Mary Roldan
"The transistor is a much more revolutionary factor than Karl Marx" - Eduardo Frei, Chile
 
This course examines the role of the media, particularly mass media technologies like radio, newspapers, television, documentary film, and the internet in shaping politics and the public sphere in Latin America.  The course takes a comparative, transnational, historical and theoretical perspective, exploring both the possibilities and limits in mass media technologies for the emergence of “counter-publics” and the expression of alternative or divergent points of view. The emphasis will be on 20th century Latin America – but our inquiry will be framed by a consideration of a centuries old oral poetry/troubadour tradition, broadsheets, caricature, theater and the penny press as both propagandistic and subversive technologies in shaping politics and public opinion. Particular attention will be paid to the emergence of photography, radio and documentary filmmaking as social and political commentary and to the rise of telenovelas, cronicas, indigenous and community radio, and digital blogs in recent decades.

Hist. 77200- Slavery and the Law in Latin America
GC:  W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Amy Chazkel

The recent wave of scholarship on the law and society on Latin America represents some of the most cutting-edge work on the region. Likewise, the study of slavery in Latin America, long a fundamental part of its historiography, is experiencing a boom and has innovatively reached into areas previously considered separate from it, such as urban and labor history. This course thus takes advantage of an especially vibrant and broadly relevant field of study, examining the history of enslavement throughout Latin America from the colonial era through the abolition process in the nineteenth century, as well as how the memory and legacies of slavery influenced the sociolegal history of the region in contemporary times. We will cover indigenous forced labor regimes, the transatlantic slave trade, the enslavement of Africans and people of African descent, and the fragile legal position of free persons of African descent, and we will delve into not just the study of slavery and its abolition but also of the nature of freedom within slave society. We will examine the legal history of slavery from a variety of different perspectives and on different scales, switching our focus throughout the semester between legal codes and practices at the municipal, national, colonial, and international levels. Some of the themes that we will cover include: how the discourse and codification of human rights came out of the experience of enslavement; methodological questions arising from the use of criminal records to reconstruct the history of slavery; international and national law and the slave trade; slave rebellions and their legal repercussions; runaway slave communities and the long shadow they cast over the political and legal history of Latin American countries; the historiography of comparative slavery and postabolition society in the Americas; the question of public order in a slave society; the legalities of manumission; the entwined questions of slavery, race, and the law; and legal practitioners’ involvement in the movement to end slavery.
 
Students of all geographic regions and from all disciplines are welcome. All required readings will be in English; students with interests in non-US fields (including but not limited to Latin America) will be given opportunities to develop and deepen their historiographical knowledge with suggested and optional readings drawn from the French-, Spanish- and Portuguese historiography on this topic.  

Transnational/Comparative/Methodological

Hist. 72600- Deviance & Colonialism
GC: M, 6:30- 8:30 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Satadru Sen

A signature characteristic of the modern world is the concern with normalcy and deviance, or rather, the accelerated production of norms and deviations, their diffusion through society, and their policing by a growing network of disciplining institutions. The concept of privacy was invented only to be made public immediately, as Foucault suggested. In this course we shall examine how these processes were affected by the simultaneous encounter between Europe and the colonized world, where the private and the public were both shaken by the intrusion of colonizers, but the universality of Foucauldian modernity broke down.
We shall proceed from the understanding that there were, broadly speaking, three dimensions to deviance in colonialism. In one, the colonized world was a treasure-house of deviance, undergoing discovery. In another, the norms of the colonizers showed themselves to be highly unstable, as Europeans were compelled to negotiate culturally, politically and sexually with their new subjects, and discovered in their new tropical settings unforeseen  fears and possibilities of falling out of race, class and gender. In the third, the indigenous elites of colonized societies hijacked the categories of normalcy and deviance, used them to articulate their own visions of modernity, authority, resistance and hegemony, and argued fiercely amongst themselves – and with Europeans – about the nature of the Self that might inherit the postcolonial world. The particular focus of the class will be the phenomena of racial degeneracy and regeneration, from mid-nineteenth-century ideas of collective depravity, through their partial replacement by scientific and aesthetic visions of ‘individual’ delinquency, to anti-colonial schemes of national health that intersected with European fascism. Following preliminary readings, students will be encouraged to identity and explore their own areas of deviance.
 
Hist. 72800- Introduction to the History of the Emotions
GC: W, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 3 credits, Prof. Megan Vaughan

This course is designed to introduce students to what is now a large  (and in some instances well funded) ‘sub-field’. We’ll begin by tracing the development of the historiography and mapping the dominant theoretical approaches to the historical study of the emotions. We will then look at how these approaches have been applied to specific historical events and processes and with what results. The second half of the course will include the use of source materials which we will examine and analyse together. Students will be encouraged to find their own source materials for this purpose. We’ll ask how far the ‘history of the emotions’ has been genuinely innovative and whether we think it will have a lasting impact.  Where does the field go from here? Though focused on historical debates, by its nature this course is interdisciplinary.
 
Introductory reading:
 
‘AHR Conversation: The Historical Study of Emotions’, American Historical Review (December 2012): 1486-1531
 
Dixon, Thomas, ‘Emotion: History of a Keyword in Crisis’, Emotion Review, 4,4 (2012), 338-344
 
Frevert, Ute, Emotions in History: Lost and Found (Budapest, 2011)
 
Susan Matt and Peter Stearns eds, Doing Emotions History  (University of Illinois, 2014)
 
Barbara Rosenwein, Emotional Communities In the Middle Ages (Ithaca, 2006)
 
William Reddy, The Navigation of Feeling: a Framework for the History of the Emotions (Cambridge, 2001)
 
Peter Stearns and Carol Stearns, ‘Emotionology: Clarifying the History of Emotions and Emotional Standards’, AHR, 90 (1985), 813-36
 
Catherine Lutz and Geoffrey White, ‘The Anthropology of the Emotions’, Annual Review of Anthropology, 15 (1986), 405-36

 

Research and Writing Seminars

Hist. 84900- Seminar in American History II
GC:  W, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 5 credits, Prof. Andy Robertson

ARobertson@gc.cuny.edu 

Hist. 84900- Seminar in Non-American History II
GC: M, 4:15-6:15 p.m., 5 credits, Prof. Helena Rosenblatt

This course is a continuation of History 80900 (Seminar in European and Non-American History I). Students will complete the research project developed in the fall, turning their prospectuses into 30-page papers of a publishable quality. The papers should be based on primary sources and should situate their topic within the appropriate historiographical context. During the semester, the class will read and discuss examples of model articles and, most importantly, offer constructive critiques of each other’s papers. Open only to PhD Program in History students
 
Hist. 80020- Literature Survey- European History
GC: T, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 5 credits, Prof. Steven Remy

SRemy@brooklyn.cuny.edu
 
Hist. 80010- Literature Survey – American History
GC: M, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 5 credits, Prof. David Nasaw

You will be doing a lot of reading this semester.   Do it carefully.  This course, if it works, will serve several purposes.  It will prepare you for your written and orals examinations, but, more importantly, it will give you the basis to put together your first syllabi.  Please read the full syllabus below.
Nasaw-Syllabus

Hist. 89900- Dissertation Seminar
GC: M, 2:00-4:00 p.m., 0 credits, Prof. Thomas Kessner

This Seminar is a dissertation writing workshop guided by the professor. It is open to students who are actively researching and writing their dissertations.  Seminar participants discuss problems with their ongoing work and collectively develop strategies for addressing them. They submit selections from their work in progress for critique and comment by the rest of the seminar and read/critique the work-in-progress of the others. 
 
The discussions focus on research, structure, methodology and writing issues and offer advice for improving style and substance in the submitted drafts. An ancillary benefit is that participants are pressed to meet submission deadlines and complete drafts more swiftly. 
 
Open only to Level 3 PhD Program in History students who have defended their dissertation prospectus.
 

See Also

ART 86020 -  No Man’s Land: Art and World War I.
GC: M, 2:00-4:00 p.m., Prof. Romy Golan
World War I was—ironically and tragically--the historical avant-gardes’ “great muse.” Whether they celebrated the Great War (Futurism) or abhorred it (dada/Surrealism) all early 20th-century avant-gardes were energized by the conflict
On its one hundred year’s commemoration this seminar will assess past and present interpretations of the visual and to some extent literary culture of the war. The older scholarship was concerned with an art of retrenchments and retreats (the neo-classical body and the Call to Order), the war monument as lieux de mémoire, the link between painting and the miasma of the trench. The more recent scholarship emphasizes the link between new media, shell-shock, and WWI as the first global event (i.e. the photomontage, the Calligramme poem, Aby Warburg’s Picture Atlas), the link between automatism, the “talking cure” and bureaucracy; prosthetics as a form of Readymade, distancing as “cool conduct;” the anachronism of the last war panoramas versus cinema; poetry as performance-score; the manifesto as and antidote to the specter of boredom.
 
Readings will include: Guillaume Apollinaire, André Breton, Philippe Soupault, Robert Graves, F.T. Marinetti, Ernst Jünger, Georges Didi-Huberman, Paul Fussel, Ian Hacking, Friedrick Kittler, Helmut Lethen, Pierre Nora, Edoardo Sanguineti, Peter Sloterdijk, Klaus Theweleit, Paul Virilio.


MALS 71200 NEW YORK, FASHION CAPITAL: Art, Gender, Labor
GC: M, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Prof. Eugenia Paulicelli
The course studies fashion in New York. Its power and intersections with art and design, the museum, retailing, fashion week, media, tourism and the cultural economy. Fashion as an industry, an economic force, a complex technology of bodies and identities has a profound impact in the creative economy of a global city such as New York. This relationship, however, has a long history. In the course, we will examine crucial moments and junctures in which fashion helped to shape the culture, identity and economy of the city.


IDS 70200Mapping the Futures of Higher Education
GC: T, 4:15-6:15
p.m., Professors Cathy N. Davidson and William Kelly
The course is designed for second, third, or fourth year graduate students who are teaching during S 2015 at one of CUNY¹s colleges or community colleges.  Like the larger Futures Initiative, this course looks in two directions at once.  First, it examines and then puts into practice a range of new peer-driven innovative pedagogies across disciplines that will serve graduate students who are committed to exploring a range of new teaching skills and objectives.  The assumption here is that most of the methods, assessment tools, and the general apparatus of higher education were developed in the Industrial Age (roughly 1865-1925) and it is imperative that we design new cross-disciplinary methods and structures to rethink education for the new arrangements and informal learning styles of the Internet Age.  Second, ³Mapping the Futures of Higher Education² focuses on the role and requirements of public education in the U.S. in a stressed time where, nationally, we have seen several decades of defunding public education, leading both to a student debt crisis and a professorial crisis of adjunct or contingent labor practices.  What are the costs of public education? Who bears them? What are the collective investments society makes in public education and what are the rewards?
 
In this course, we will design collaborative online tools, including a number of public ones, to include the students taught at the CUNY colleges in a semester-long inquiry and practicum into better ways of thinking, knowing, creating, and transforming institutional structures, both across fields and within them.  One collective project we will develop in this course is a public, online ³CUNY Map of New York² to represent the goals and the collective contribution of public higher education in a democracy.
 We¹ll focus on public engagement and presentation of work; visual, digital, and data literacies; quantitative, qualitative, and performative thinking; translation of specialized doctoral research for a generalist audience (of peers, students, and the public); new forms of qualitative and quantitative assessment across all fields and levels; and analysis of the importance of access, diversity, quality, and equality for higher education and the collective good in a democratic society.
 
All of this will be driven by a student-designed syllabus that embodies the course¹s core peer-learning collaborative methods.


PHIL 76400 - Augustine's Confessions
GC: R, 11:45 AM - 1:45 PM, 4 credits, Prof. Stephen Grover

 This course has one obvious goal: familiarity with a fascinating and fundamental text. Its other goals include giving students confidence in approaching Latin texts of which there are already good translations; turning their attention to Augustine, one of the greatest arguers ever, so often lopped off Ancient but too early to be Medieval; relating the text to its context, North Africa in the late Roman Empire, now in the grip of the Church; examining Augustine's views on mind and language, and comparing them to the 'traps in thinking' of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations; testing Augustine's solution to the problem of evil.

Enquiries to: stephen.grover@qc.cuny.edu