Fall 2017 Graduate Course Descriptions

April 24, 2017

FALL 2017

Graduate Course Descriptions 

Below you will find descriptions for the graduate courses which we are offering in Fall semester. All graduate classes are restricted and you must contact the instructor for admission to the course and a permission number. It is important to meet regularly (once a semester) with the graduate coordinator to discuss your program and to make sure that you are taking a mix of courses that will lead to graduation.  You can make an appointment with Dr. Oliver by calling the History department office (818) 677-3566.  

History 596EG   The Enlightenment          Dr. Erik Goldner    Thursdays 1900-2145                   SH 268

In this course, advanced undergraduate and graduate students will explore a range of questions about the Enlightenment that historians over the past century have debated. Is the Enlightenment best understood as an intellectual movement, one that advocated solutions to social ills or aimed to accomplish some “project”? Or is it better framed as a series of debates, in which the questions were just as if not more important than the varying answers? How and to what degree was the Enlightenment, as an intellectual phenomenon, shaped by its social and political context? Should one refer to the Enlightenment? Or is it better to speak of Enlightenments in the plural? Last but not least, why does the Enlightenment matter today, if it matters at all? Students will grapple with these and other questions through intensive reading and discussion, weekly response assignments, and a final paper that analyzes an important aspect of Enlightenment historiography.

History 596G   Colloquium in Colonial and Modern North American Borderlands        Dr. John Paul Nuno              Mondays 1900-2145                     SH288

This course will survey recent scholarship that utilizes borderlands frameworks in order to gain new understandings of colonial and modern North American history. The emerging field of Borderlands History challenges and complicates nationalistic narratives that narrow intellectual queries to topics that ultimately buttress and explain the existence of the nation-state. Conversely, borderlands frameworks explore geopolitical and socio-cultural spaces where power is contested and negotiated. Specifically, this class will explore colonial spaces where indigenous, African, and European peoples engaged in economic, political, and social relationships while creating societies that experienced both change and continuity. In the nineteenth century, we will examine how borderland areas were affected by the emergence of strong nation-states and physical borders. Our twentieth century studies will focus on urban borderlands and transnational movements associated with immigration, flows of capital, and cross-cultural influence. 

History 630: Seminar in World History, Wednesday 4-6:45 pm: Chronicles in Pre-Modern World History   Dr. Rachel Howes    Wednesdays  4pm-6:45pm   SH 184

Thucydides, Livy, Sima Qian, Procopius, Tabari, William of Tyre, Chrónica General, Venerable Bede, Ibn Khaldun, al-Juvaini, Akhbarnama, Nihon Shoki, de Las Casas: these are just a very few examples of authors and titles of chronicles.  Chronicles or annals are historical works that tell history in a detailed and chronological fashion.  Although by no means the only sources for pre-modern history, they are often the starting place for historical research.  Chronicles provide the warp and weft for understanding the history of many pre-modern people.  From the brief, unordered, incomplete list, we can see the variety of civilizations that produced chronicles.  Chronicles can be studied as material artifacts, cultural products, religious books, literary texts, political commentary, social criticism, or from many other angles.  They can also be mined for facts.  Given their pervasiveness and the scope of their content and use, chronicles are a logical place for pre-modern world historians to begin to do comparative and cross-cultural historical research. 

This class will ask students to do research focused on one or more chronicles.  Students may pursue research on a region and time period of their choosing but are encouraged to also use this opportunity to engage in research that looks at issues that arise in other regions and/or times periods as well.  Any student who does not have an immediate expressed interest will be directed towards the chronicles of the Middle East as a starting point since that is Dr. Howes’ specialty.   The class will begin with two weeks’ worth of reading on the subject of chronicles as sources for and objects of history.  Students will then be asked to focus on one chronicle and the secondary material surrounding it, and write their own analysis of it.  From that point forward, students may pursue their own line of research which should depend on the chronicle literature. Students will be asked to produce a preliminary topic and bibliography, a paper sketch, a rough draft, and a final draft of 20 to 30 pages.  For more information and permission numbers contact Dr. Howes Rachel.howes@csun.edu.   

History 660:  Cold War “Developments” in Latin America:  USAID Gender, Race, Post-Coloniality         Dr. Susan Fitzpatrick Behrens       Tuesdays   1600-1845      SH184 

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued Executive Order 10973, creating the  United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which built upon the work of existing agencies.  USAID became, in effect, a planning agency for development in Latin America, which orchestrated and directly- and indirectly-funded, a plethora of programs ranging from road construction, to health initiatives, to education, to women’s “empowerment”.  Often these efforts were coordinated with and meant to reinforce U.S. counter-insurgency strategies.  

USAID has made a plethora of Latin American project reports available on its website.  The reports provide insight into U.S. ideas about “development” in Latin America – how did the U.S. view what it described as “the Third World”?  At the same time, they provide indirect evidence of how these ideals were being transformed or in some cases subverted by Latin American “beneficiaries” of aid who sought to use assistance to meet their needs, conform to their cultural and social practices, and fulfill their goals of promoting social transformation. 

This class will take these reports as a point-of-departure for understanding the U.S. concept of “development” and Latin Americans’ responses to it from the 1960s through the 1980s.  While we will be concerned with the content of the reports, the greater emphasis will be on perceptions.  We will thus review the reports through three theoretical lenses:  Gender, Race/Ethnicity, and Post-Coloniality.  The first five weeks of the class will be devoted to reading secondary sources in history and theory.  The remainder of the class will be dedicated to a series of projects designed around the USAID reports that will culminate in an original primary-source based research paper.