History 502 (10295)

Thursday 3:00-6:00 pm

Merrifield 217


Bill Caraher

Merrifield 209

Office Hours: 3:30-5:00 Tuesday and by appointment

william.caraher (at) und.edu


(701) 777-6379



The goal of this class is to introduce students to historiography at the graduate level.  This is admittedly a fairly ambiguous goal.  Historiography as a subject often includes such diverse topics as the philosophy of history, the history of historical thought, historical methodology, social and literary theory, and the future of historical study to name just a few.  Moreover, each student in this room, myself included, has particular, specific interests and priorities relevant to their particular time period of study, theoretical orientation, and area of interest. 



1)  To develop some familiarity with the historiographic discourse.

2)  To develop a more sophisticated understanding of historical method.

3)  To develop a better awareness of current trends in historical interpretation.



Each of us will approach this class with different expectations and backgrounds.  One of history’s strengths is the great diversity of skills and approaches juxtaposed and arranged within the discipline. Some students might find it helpful to have an introductory text available in order to become familiar with the sometimes intricate language of the historiographic discourse.  I recommend:


J. Tosh with S. Land, The Pursuit of History. 4th edition (London 2006)

A. Munslow, The Routledge Companion to Historical Studies. (London 2000).




Comparative Book Review (7-10 pages): Due September 11th 

Historiography has long existed as a field in its own right – with well-established classics and innovations of its own – although it has rarely been treated as such.  From the list of books assigned for Week 2 select 3-5 books and consider the “Historiographer’s Craft” in a comparative context.  While the assignment is an open ended review, you should focus on interpretation and analysis over description.  The goal is to demonstrate an understanding of the diversity within the field of historiography and to recognize the different explanations for change within the discipline.



Topical Review (10-12 pages): Due October 30th

Each week the class will approach a broad topic in the historiographic discourse.  This paper will ask you to delve more deeply into a particular approach to the past and evaluate the most significant contributions to its development.  In general, this should involve you reviewing 4-6 additional books that either consider broad trends in historiography or serve as examples to a particular approach and as many articles as possible.  This assignment will place a premium on your ability to read and critique works efficiently.  You are encouraged to go beyond the superficial bibliography provided for each week in this syllabus. 


30% (12-15 pages): Due December 10th

Historiographic Synthesis

It is my hope that some topic discussed in class this semester will seem particularly applicable to your specific area of study within the field of history.  This paper provides an opportunity to consider your own research in light of the material that you have read this semester.  The goal of this assignment is to integrate a broadly based historiographic discussion with the review of a specific subject area in history.  Many students will find it useful to draw upon research for their thesis topic or a major research paper for material characteristic of a specific topic of study; the material discussed in this seminar can form part of the basis for the historiographic discussion.  The result of this exercise should be an improved appreciation for how broad historiographic (and intellectual) trends influence the way that historians approach specific narratives and arguments.



Peer Review Essays: Due with Each Paper

Peer review is one of the key aspects of being a professional historian, and it will be central to this class.  Each paper that you write must have a two peer review essays attached.  One will be from a peer reviewer and the other will be a response for the author.  The suggested format for these peer review essays is a short but detailed list of critiques not to exceed 300-500 words provided by the peer reviewer.  The author of the paper must then respond, again in 300-500 words, to the critiques noting how these critiques were incorporated into the final draft of the paper (or not as the case may be).  The tone of these critiques should be critical, but fair with particular emphasis placed on clarity of expression and argument. 


The Reading List

Each week has two assigned books (the first two books on the list), except the first two weeks.  This is done because there is a good chance that some of the class will have read at least one of the two books assigned.  Students who have read one of the books for the week will be expected to read the other book.  Ideally, you will read both books.  In addition to the assigned books there is some supplementary bibliography.  This should not be treated as exhaustive or definitive.  The supplementary materials presented here are profoundly incomplete.  Recommendations, suggestions, or corrections are encouraged!


Nota Bene

You are responsible for acquiring and reading all the assigned texts prior to class.  Most of these books are readily available either in the library, through interlibrary loan, or through online book sellers.  Since there will always be more students than available copies of a book in the library there must be some accommodation.  A few of the reading will be made available as PDFs online. 


Week 1: August 28th




Week 2: September 4th

Introduction to Historiography

R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History. (Oxford 1946)


J. Appleby, L. Hunt, and M. Jacob, Telling the Truth about History.  (London 1997)

M. Bentley, Modern Historiography: An Introduction. (London 1999)

M. Bloch, The Historians Craft. (Manchester 1954)

E. H. Carr, What is History? (London 1961)

G. R. Elton, The Practice of History. (London 1967)

G. R. Elton, Return to Essentials. (Cambridge 1991).

M. Gaddis, The Landscape of History How Historians Map the Past. (Oxford 2002).

M. T. Gilderhus, History and Historians. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ 1987).

K. Jenkins, On ‘What is History?’ (London 1995)

G. G. Iggers, Historiography in the Twentieth Century. (Middletown, Conn. 1997)

P. Lambert and P. Schofield eds. Making History: An Introduction to the history and practices of a discipline. (London 2004).

S. Schama, Dead Certainties (Unwarranted Speculations).  (New York 1991)

B. Southgate, History: What and Why? (London 2004)

Week 3: September 11th

The Ancient Roots of the Historical Tradition

A. Momigliano, The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography. (Berkeley 1990).

I will provide online texts (hopefully) of the following:

Herodotus, Book 1

Thucydides, Book 1

Livy, Book 1

Tacitus, Agricola


Week 4: September 18th

History and Memory

J. Le Goff, History and Memory.  Trans. S. Rendall and E. Claman. New York 1992. 1-98.

M. Carruthers,  The Book of Memory.  Cambridge 1990.  1-45.

P. Geary, Phantoms of Remembrance.  Princeton 1994. 1-22.


M. Halbwachs, On Collective Memory.  L.A. Coser ed. and trans.  (Chicago 1992);

P. Connerton, How Societies Remember. (Cambridge 1989).

P. Nora, “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de MemoireRepresentations 26 (1989), 7-24.

K. L. Klein, “On the Emergence of Memory in the Historical Discourse,” Representations 69 (2000), 127-150.

T. Laqueur, “Introduction,” Representations 69 (2000), 1-8.

S. Schama, Landscape and Memory. (London 1995).

D. Thelen, “Memory and American History,” JAH 75 (1989), 1117-1129.

A. Confino, “Collective Memory and Cultural History: Problems of Method,” AHR 102 (1997), 1386-1403.


Week 5: September 25th 

History and the Nation

B. Anderson, Imagined Communities.(London 1991)

E. Hobsbawm and T. Ranger eds., The Invention of Tradition. (Cambridge 1983)


S. Berger ed., Writing National Histories.  (London 1998)

David Bell, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being French" AHR 106 (2001), 1215-35

E. Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780 (Cambridge 1990).

E. Gellner, Nations and Nationalism.  (Ithaca, NY 1983).

J. Kristeva, Nations without Nationalism. translated by Leon S. Roudiez.. (New York 1993).

D. Potter, “The Historian’s Use or Nationalism and Vice Versa,” AHR 67 (1962), 924-950.

E. J. Palti, “The Nation as a Problem: Historians and the ‘National Question’,” History and Theory 40 (2001), 1324-346.

Chatterjee, Partha. The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories. (Princeton 1993).

Week 6: October 2nd

History and Marx

E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class. (New York 1966).

K. Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon.


C. Hill, The World Turned Upside Down. (New York 1972)

E. P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline and Industrial Capitalism,” Past and Present 38 (1967), 56-97.

E. P. Thompson, “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century,” Past and Present 50 (1971), 76-136.

M. Perry, Marxism and History. (Palgrave 2002)

E. Hobsbawm, “What do historians owe to Karl Marx?”, “Marx and History”, and “All Peoples Have a History” in his On History (London 1997).

S. H. Rigby, Marxism and History: A Critical Introduction.  (Manchester 1987).

H. Kaye, The British Marxist Historians. (Oxford 1984).

H. Kaye, The Education of Desire : Marxists and the writing of history. (New York 1992).


Week 7: October 9h

Freud and History

S. Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams.

P. Gay, Freud for Historians. (New York 1985)


R. H. Armstrong, A Compulsion for Antiquity. (Ithaca 2005).

P. Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.  (New York 1988).

E. R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational. (Berkeley 1951).

E. H. Erikson, Young Man Luther: A Study in Psychoanalysis and History (New York 1958).

S. Freud and W. C. Bullitt, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, twenty-eighth President of the United States; a psychological study. (Boston 1967)

R. A. Johnson, Psychohistory and Religion: The Case of Young Man Luther. (Philadelphia 1977).

W. Langer, “The Next Assignment” AHR 63 (1958), 283-304.

B. Mazlish, “What is Psycho-History?” Royal Historical Society Transactions 21 (1971), 79-100.

G. Izenberg, “Psychohistory and Intellectual History,” History and Theory 14 (1971), 139-155.

G. Cocks and T. K. Crosby, Pycho/History: Readings in the Method of Psychoanalysis and History (New Haven 1987).

D. E. Stannard, Shrinking History: On Freud and the Failure of Psychohistory. (New York 1980).

F. Weinstein, “Psychohistory and the Crisis of the Social Sciences,” History and Theory 34 (1995), 299-319.

Week 8: October 16th

Annales School

F. Braudel, The Mediterranean World in the Age of Phillip II.  Trans. by S. Reynolds based upon 2nd ed. 1966 (London 1972).

E. LeRoy Ladurie, Montaillou: The Promised Land of Error. B. Bray trans.  (New York 1978)


F. Braudel, On History. Trans. S. Matthews. (Chicago 1980).

P. Nerke, The French Historical Revolution: The Annales School 1929-89.  (Paolo Alto 1990).

L. Febvre, A New Kind of History. trans. By K. Folca and ed. by Peter Burke.  (New York 1973)

L. Hunt, “Introduction: History, Culture, Text,” in The New Cultural History. (Berkeley 1989).

E. LeRoy Ladurie, “Motionless History,” Social Science History 1 (1977), 115-136.

Various Authors, Journal of Modern History 44 (1972), passim. Esp.:  J. H. Hexter, “Fernand Braudel and the Monde Braudellien…”

Editors of the Annales, “History and Social Science: A Critical Turning Point,” Annales ESC 43 (1988), 291-293.

Editors of the Annales, “Let’s Try the Experiment,” Annales ESC 44 (1989), 1217-1323.


Week 9: October 23rd 

Microhistory and Anthropology

N. Z. Daivs, The Return of Martin Guerre. (Cambridge, MA 1983)

C. Ginsburg, The Cheese and the Worms. translated by John and Anne Tedeschi. (Baltimore 1980)


C. Geertz, “Thick Description” Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture,” in The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays.  (New York 2000), 3-32.

C. Geertz, “Deep Play: Notes on the Balinese Cockfight,” in The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays.  (New York 2000), 412-454.

Jill Lepore, “Historians Who Love Too Much” JAH 88 (2001), 129-144.


R. Darnton, “The Symbolic Element in History,” Journal of Modern History 58 (1986), 218-234.

R. Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre. (New York 1984).

R. Finlay, “The Refashioning of Martin Guerre,” AHR 93 (1988), 553-571.

A. Biersack, “Local Knowledge, Local History: Geertz and Beyond,” in The New Cultural History. 72-96.

N.Z. Davis, “On the Lame,” AHR 93 (1988), 572-603.

D. LaCapra, “The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Twentieth Century Historian,” in History and Criticism. (Ithaca, NY 1985), 45-70.

T.Kuehn, “Reading Microhistory: The Example of Giovanni and Lusanna,” Journal of Modern History 61 (1989), 512-534.

B. Gregory, “Is Small Beautiful? Micohistory and the history of everyday life,” History and Theory 38 (1999), 100-110.

Various Authors, Representations 59 (1997).

Week 10: October 30th 

History and Literature

H. White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation. (Baltimore 1990)

D. LaCapra, History and Criticism. (Ithaca, NY 1985)


A. Munslow, Deconstructing History.  (New York 1998)

H. White, Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism. (Baltimore 1978).

H. White, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination of Nineteenth Century Europe. (Baltimore 1973).

L. Kramer, “Literature, Criticism, and Historical Imagination: The Literary Challenge of Hayden White and Dominick LaCapra,” in The New Cultural History. 97-130.

L. Stone, “The Revival of Narrative: Reflections on the New Old History,” Past and Present 85 (1979), x-x.

A. Munslow, “Hadyen White and deconstructing history” in Deconstructing History. 140-162.

S. P. Mohanty, Literary Theory and the Claims of History: Postmodernism, Objectivity, Multicultural Politics, Cornell, 1997.

A. Marwick, “Two Approaches to Historical Study: The Metaphysical (Including Post-Modernism) and the Historical,” Journal of Contemporary History 30 (1995), 5-36. (and White’s response: H. White, “Response to Arthur Marwick,” Journal of Contemporary History 30 (1995), 233-246.)

W. Kansteiner, “Hayden White’s Critique of the Writing of History,” History and Theory 32 (1993), 273-295.

P. A. Roth, “Hayden White and the Aesthetics of Historiography,” History of the Human Sciences 5 (1992), 17-35.

H. Kellner, “White’s Linguistic Humanism,” History and Theory 19 (1980), 1-29.

K. Jenkins, “On Hayden White” in his On ‘What is History’?  (London 1995), 134-179.

Various Authors, “Hayden White: 25 Years On,” History and Theory 37 (1998), 143-193.

P. Zagorin, “History, the Referent, and Narrative: Reflections on Postmodernism Now,” History and Theory 38 (1999), 1-24. (and replies by K. Jenkins, “A Postmodern Reply to Perez Zagorin,” History and Theory 39 (2000), 181-200; and P. Zagoirn, “Rejoinder to a Postmodernist,” History and Theory 39 (2000), 201-209.)

Week 11: November 6th 


M. Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge and the Discourse on Language. Trans. A.M.S. Smith.  (New York 1972)

M. Foucault, History of Sexuality. Vol. 1 Trans. R. Hurley.  (New York 1980).


M. Foucault, Madness and Civilization. Trans. R. Howard. (New York 1965)

M. Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison.  Trans A. Sheridan. (New York 1977)

M. Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. (New York 1971)

J. Weeks, “Foucault for Historians,” History Workshop Journal 14 (1982), 106-119.

G. Noiriel, “Foucault and history: the lessons of a disillusion,” Journal of Modern History 66 (1994), 547-568.

A. Munslow, “Michel Foucault and history,” in Deconstructing History. 120-140.

A. Cameron, “Redrawing the Map: Early Christian Territory After Foucault,” JRS 76 (1986), 266-271.

A. Megill, “The Reception of Foucault by Historians,” The Journal of the History of Ideas 48 (1987), 117-141.’

H. White, “Structuralism and Popular Culture,” Journal of Popular Culture 7 (1974), 759-775.

H. White, “Foucault Decoded: Notes from the Underground,” History and Theory 12 (1973), 23-54.

R. Koshar, “Foucault and Social History: Comments on Combined Underdevelopment,  AHR 98 (1993)

M. Poster, Foucault, Marxism, and History. (London 1984)

L. McNay, Foucault: A Critical Introduction. (New York 1994)

M. S. Roth, The ironist's cage : memory, trauma, and the construction of history. (New York 1995), 71-136.


Week 12: November 13th 

Women and Gender

J. Scott, Gender and the Politics of History. Revised Edition (New York 1999).

B. G. Smith, The Gender of History: Men, Women, and the Historical Practice.  (Cambridge, MA 1998).


C. Bock, “Women’s History and Gender History: Aspects of an International Debate, Gender and History 1 (1989), 7-30.

J. Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. (London 1990).

J. Scott, “Gender a Useful Category for Analysis,” AHR 91 (1986), 1053-1075.

J. Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex”.  (New York 1993).


Week 13: November 20th

Post Colonialism

E. Said, Orientalism.

D. Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. (Princeton 2000).


B. Ashcroft, G. Griffiths, and H. Tiffin eds., Post Colonial Studies Reader, 2nd Edition (Oxford 1995).

A. McClintock, Imperial Leather, Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Context.  New York 1995.

B. Ashcroft, G. Griffiths, H. Tiffin, The empire writes back : theory and practice in post-colonial literature. (London 2002).

R. Young, An Introduction to Post-Colonialism.  (Oxford 2001). 

H. Bhabha, The Location of Culture.  New York 1994.

F. Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. C. Farrington. (New York 1968).

F. Fanon, Black skin, white masks. Translated by Charles Lam Markmann. (New York 1967).


Week 14: December 4th 

Professional History

P. Novick, That Noble Dream: Objectivity question and the American historical profession.  (Cambridge 1988)

E. Foner, Who Owns History? Rethinking the Past in a Changing World.  (New York 2002).


Various Authors, “the Objectivity Question and the Future of the Historical Profession” AHR 96 (1991), 675-708.

A. Molho and G. Wood, Imagined Histories: American Historians Interpret the Past.  Princeton 1998.

S. Marchand, Down From Olympus. Archaeology and Philhellenism in Germany, 1750-1970. New Ed. (Princeton 2003).

V. Hanson and J. Heath, Who Killed Homer? The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom.  (New York 2001)

S. Conn, Museums and American Intellectual Life 1876-1926.  (Chicago 1998).

Various Authors, “AHA Presidential Addresses,” see: http://www.historians.org/info/AHA_History/pres_index.htm

J. Higham, History: Professional Scholarship in America. (Baltimore 1965).

E. Breisach, On the Future of History: The Postmodernist Challenge and its Aftermath. (Chicago 2003).


Week 14: December 11th 

Teaching History

S. Weinberg, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts.  (Philadelphia 2001).

J. W. Loewen, The Lies My History Teach Taught Me. (New York 1996)


Review The History Teacher 1996-2006.

T. Cripps, “Historical Truth: An Interview with Ken Burns,” American Historical Review 100 (1995), 741-764.

J. J. O’Donnell, Avatars of the word : from papyrus to cyberspace. (Cambridge 2000)

Various Authors, “Textbooks and Teaching” JAH 78 (1992), 1337-1400.

G. Kornblith and C. Lasser, “Teaching the American History Survey at the Opening of the Twenty-First Century: A Round Table DiscussionJAH 87 (2001), 1409-1440.

Various Authors, “Teaching Digital History” Center for History and the New Media (http://chnm.gmu.edu/resources/essays/)