READINGS IN U.S. HISTORY:  1820 to 1898
TH 6:00 pm – 8:50 pm
Course section being taught by remote instructions.  Will be using zoom.
Professor Shankman

History 506 offers an extensive and advanced introduction to the historiography of the nineteenth century from the Panic of 1819 and the Missouri Crisis through the 1890s.  It is intended to prepare graduate students for examinations in the field and to serve as a foundation of knowledge for those who will teach and research in the period.  Principal themes addressed are: the development of American capitalism and its relations with free and slave labor, the democratization of American society, culture, and politics, the conflict to control the North American Continent, the rise of sectional conflict and violence, and the remaking of economic, racial, gender, social, political, and cultural relations as the United States emerged as an industrial and nascent world power.

READINGS IN U.S. HISTORY:  1898 to 1945
M 6:00 pm – 8:50 pm
Professor Epstein

This is a research seminar in US History, 1898–1945.  It follows from the Fall 2019 readings seminar in US History, 1898–1945.


W 6:00 pm – 8:50 pm
Professor Kapur

This course will broadly introduce advanced graduate students to the people, events, and trends that transformed modern Japan from approximately 1850 to the present, as well as some of the most recent, cutting-edge historiography on this time period. Topics covered include Japan’s re-emergence on the world stage after centuries of self-imposed seclusion in the Meiji Restoration, Japan’s drive to catch up to the West economically and militarily, the invention of Japanese culture and traditions as part of this modernizing process, the emergence of mass consumer culture, Japan’s ill-fated drive for empire and the disastrous Asia-Pacific War, postwar settlements and war memory, women’s’ and environmental movements, and more recent events from the 1960s to the present.

T 6:00 pm – 8:50 pm
Professor Marker

This graduate readings course will introduce students to the study of empire and decolonization. Empires have played an important part in the grand sweep of human history, but they have been particularly important in shaping the modern world. In this course, we will examine how different empires emerged, competed, governed, dissolved, and often enough, re-formed, from the early modern period to the present day. In a different vein, we will also think about what it was like to live in empires, and how different groups experienced empire differently. We will focus particularly on the rise and fall of European colonial empires in the Americas, Africa and Asia, but we will also consider the imperial adventures of the United States, Russia, and Japan. The course will conclude with more theoretical explorations of non-territorial forms of empire.

W 6:00 pm – 8:50 pm
Professor Woloson

In this course, we will take a closer look at the physical world that surrounds us, studying things that seem, by turns, trivial and significant, whether George Washington’s false teeth, beaded pillows from Niagara Falls, or limited edition Beanie Babies. What kinds of interpretive lenses should we use when trying to understand material artifacts as primary source evidence, and what can we learn from examining objects over time and their place in our society today?

We will place American material culture in a broader historical context, discussing the role of objects in the history of cultural, economic, and political life. And we will also talk about the intersection of material culture and capitalism, including the nature of commodities and the impact of commodity culture. In addition, we will explore and develop innovative frameworks that will help us better understand material culture today.

Reading assignments will consist of case studies underpinned by relevant theories. Topics will include, among others things: trash, garbage, and reuse; souvenirs and nostalgia; the nature of value; rituals of collecting; objects and identity creation; kitsch, taste, and culture; hoarding and asceticism; and commodification.

Students will have the opportunity to design their own semester-long major project, centered on some aspect of material/commodity culture. This might include, for example, crafting an article-length work of original research, revisiting your previous scholarship to include a substantial material culture component, writing an extensive literature review, or curating an exhibition.