Carnegie Mellon University & The University of Pittsburgh Graduate Studies in History

Schedule of Graduate Seminars in History
University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University
Academic year 2017-18

*** Fall 2017 ***

HIST 2000 (University of Pittsburgh)
Professionalization Seminar
Instructor: Michel Gobat
Tuesday, 5-5:50pm

This one hour one-credit course introduces graduate students to the discipline of history and to Pitt’s graduate program in history. In addition, the course will enable students to commence work on their MA essays. Our main goals are to gain a better understanding of: a) the principal intellectual strengths of the history department; b) degree requirements such as the MA thesis and the comprehensive exams; c) various methodological approaches, such as social and gender history; d) fundamental analytical skills, such as how to write a historiographical essay, how to use databases, and how to edit your own work; and e) professional issues, such as participation in conferences and academic associations.

HIST 2012 (University of Pittsburgh)
Graduate Writing Seminar
Instructor: Molly Warsh
Monday, 1-3:25pm

This course is designed for graduate students and Honors undergraduate students working on a major writing project, such as an M.A. paper, a dissertation chapter, a journal article, a grant proposal, or an Honors thesis. Class assignments are designed to guide students through the writing process so they can produce a draft of their respective project by the end of the semester, in consultation with their advisors. A key goal of the course is to enhance students’ capacity to edit their written work and that of others. In addition, students will learn about the process of publishing articles and books.

HIST 2736 (University of Pittsburgh)
World History Methods: Digital Methods for Spatial Analysis of the Past
Instructor: Ruth Mostern
Wednesday, 2:30-4:55pm

Transnational theme: World History

This seminar is an introduction to exemplary projects, applied methods, and techniques and tools for spatial analysis of the human past. At the same time, it is an effort to bring together several approaches that are not yet frequently joined. For instance, spatial history theory, method and exemplar are not well integrated, and we will approach the field from all three of these perspectives. Moreover, spatial history is seldom practiced at the global scale. World historians have not yet “put the world in world history.”

HIST 2739 (University of Pittsburgh)
City as Text: Reading Urban Landscapes
Instructor: Gregor Thum
Wednesday, 6-8:25pm

Transnational theme: Texts & Contexts
Regional field: Europe

Cities are among the most fascinating manifestations of human civilization. They are not just the places where most people live and work in modern times, but also highly symbolic spaces designed to express a given society’s aspired social and political order. This seminar seeks to enable graduate students to appreciate the ways in which urban landscapes can be understood as physical and symbolic manifestations of those political, social, economic, technological, or cultural forces that shaped a given (urban) society. While this course focuses on European cities, students with a research focus on other regions in the world are welcome and will be accommodated regarding the choice of paper topics.

79-700 (Carnegie Mellon University)
Method and Theory in Historical Studies
Instructor: Allyson Creasman
Monday 9:30am-12:20pm

The course will focus on the relationship between theory and method in the study of the past. We will explore key questions that have informed the production of history at specific political and social moments, and the theories emerging from such contexts. The course will include not only path-breaking historical monographs, but also pivotal work in cognate fields, such as anthropology, literary theory, and sociology.

79-702 (Carnegie Mellon University)
Graduate Research Seminar II
Instructor: Katherine Lynch
Tuesday 1:30-4:20pm

The goal of this semester's work is to revise and improve the paper you completed in 79-701 on the basis of summer research and work during the semester. The finished product should be either a revised journal-length article or a longer piece that might eventually serve as the foundation of one or more chapters of a dissertation. Students should plan to make the choice of which product they will work on in consultation with the course instructor and the advisor. By the end of the semester, students should have:

79-703 (Carnegie Mellon University)
Transnational Histories of the Americas
Instructor: John Soluri
Monday 4:30-7:20pm

This seminar will critically examine scholarship that attempts to write through and across boundaries of nation-states, geographical regions, and empires in the context of the Americas ca. 1750 to the present. We will read works that uses transnational frameworks and methodologies in the areas of cultural, environmental, labor, and geopolitical histories. We will consider how historians and other scholars using transnational frameworks shed new light (or not) on the movements of people, goods, ideas, capital, and non-humans across boundaries and the historical significance of these movements.

In addition to reading notable works in transnational histories, we will engage with scholarly debates regarding the scope, scale, methods and politics involved with doing border-crossing historical research. The seminar will be structured to provide opportunities for participants to practice articulating their ideas in both oral and written forms, formal and less formal. The seminar is intended to be useful to anyone interested in exploring paradigms for transnational research, in history or other disciplines.

The instructor, John Soluri, specializes in the social and environmental histories of commodity production in 19 and 20 century Latin America. A reading list should be assembled by mid-summer. If you have questions, please email him at:

79-742 (Carnegie Mellon University)
Comparative Approaches to Sovereignty, 1500-1800
Instructor: Scott Sandage
Thursday 1:30-4:20pm

This course, which fulfills the CMU requirement as a cluster course in the “Culture and Power” theme, will consider European, American, and Canadian approaches to sovereignty, 1500-1800. Readings will begin with Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, and include scholarship on Atlantic slavery, Indian relations, and constitutionalism. All of these are power topics that recent scholars have examined via themes of culture and identity. Instructor: Scott Sandage.

*** Spring 2018 ***

HIST 2704 – (University of Pittsburgh)
Approaches to Global History and Research
Instructor: Mari Webel

+++ may count as Methodology +++

Working beyond and around traditional units of analysis – most characteristically departing from a focus on the nation-state – has opened up diverse possibilities for innovative research in history. But new frameworks also require new strategies for research and storytelling, in addition to the practical challenges of dealing with multiple languages, extended time periods, or highly mobile subjects and commodities. This course will explore the diverse strategies and methods for conducting historical research in global perspective. Providing students with a toolkit to pursue the development and execution of their own research projects, this seminar will introduce the different methodological approaches and central interventions of transnational/comparative, international, global, and world history, among others. Students from diverse disciplines are welcome; this course fulfills the Capstone requirement for the Global Studies certificate.

HIST 2505 (University of Pittsburgh)
Race, Gender and Violence in Latin American History
Instructor: Laura Gotkowitz

Regional field: Latin America

This course explores the trajectory and meanings of struggles for equality, citizenship, and sovereignty in local contexts of Central America, Mexico, Cuba, the Andes, and the Southern Cone. Paying close attention to the legacies of colonialism and slavery, we will explore such themes as the changing meanings of race; myths of racial democracy; race, gender, and national identity; the politics of honor, sexuality, and race; race and everyday life; racism and state violence. Readings consider the experience and representation of indigenous and African-descendent peoples as well as Europeans and their descendants. We will commence with the colonial period, but our primary focus will be the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Students will have the opportunity to link their own research interests with themes, questions, and debates addressed in class readings. The course welcomes students from diverse disciplines as well as those whose work focuses on other parts of the world.

HIST 2699 (University of Pittsburgh)
Power and Inequality in American History
Instructor: Marcus Rediker

Transnational theme: Power & Inequality
Regional field: US

This readings course covers the full sweep of American history from early Native America to the near-present. The course will concentrate on four themes within the broader rubric of power and inequality: race, class, gender, and capitalism. We will pay special attention to transnational approaches and to the ever-shifting politics of American historical writing. We will read classic and newer works to demonstrate how historical practice has changed over time. The course will serve as a broad survey for graduate students in any department or discipline who study any period or theme in American history.

HIST 2729 (University of Pittsburgh)
Seas, Peoples, and Empires
Instructor: Pernille Røge

Transnational theme: Atlantic History

This course focuses on interactions between seas, peoples, and empires in historical and comparative contexts. Using maritime history as its point of departure, the course explores the multiple ways in which contact with the sea shaped the lives of peoples and empires across the world. Beginning with Braudel’s pioneering regional study of the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World, the course moves into the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. In each of these contexts, students will consider how the lives of people across social hierarchies were mediated through the interpenetration of empires and maritime regions. The course also considers the extent to which enclosed maritime worlds make sense historically – as the voluminous literature on specific basins suggest that they do – and if so, what distinguished one such world from that of another? Students will explore these lines of inquiry through readings that concentrate predominantly, though not exclusively, on the early modern and modern periods.

79-775 (Carnegie Mellon University)
Doing Digital History
Instructor: Jessica Otis
Monday 1:30-4:30pm

Digital history encompasses a wide variety of computationally-assisted historical scholarship methods, tools, and publications. As with the larger digital humanities community of practice, it is often--but not always--associated with an ethos of collaborative, iterative, open, and/or public-facing scholarship. This course will introduce the rapidly evolving field of digital history with the practical goal of enabling students to incorporate digital history into both their current research agendas and their future teaching experiences. Students will learn how to use and critique digital methods; assess and employ digital tools; evaluate the merits and pitfalls of digitally publishing various forms of scholarship; and generally navigate this digital research environment.

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