HIST 5003F: Historical Theory and Method
Fall 2020-Winter 2021

InstructorProfessor Paul Nelles

Course Description: This course offers a thematic exploration of approaches to the past. The course is intended to help students transition to graduate school by focusing on both ways of thinking about history and on the everyday practices of doing history. Thinking and doing history means being engaged in a range of scholarly and public conversations about the past, about how we know what we know about the past, and what it means to do historical research. Themes include the history and theory of archives, approaches to visual and material culture, micro-history and global history, and post-colonialism and decolonization. The purpose of this seminar is not to be comprehensive but to acquaint students with the ideas that inspire historians and explore how theory can contribute to our understanding of the past. In thinking about approaches to doing history, students are invited to reflect on their own assumptions and methods. The course should serve as a launching pad for a deeper engagement with critical thinking about the discipline of history and with contemporary currents of historical scholarship.

Like all Carleton classes in Fall Term 2020, this course will be delivered on-line. This is a 0.5 credit course that will meet every other week for the duration of the 2020-21 academic year. More details about the on-line format will be available later in the summer. The ‘whole-class’ synchronous on-line segment of the class will be around an hour every other week early Monday afternoon, with asynchronous group project work and tutorials conducted at other times.