READINGS IN VISUAL CULTURE
TH 6:00 PM – 8:50 PM
In this course we will study the history of American visual culture, focusing primarily on the 19th century. Among other topics, we will explore technological innovations, the rise of mass entertainment spectacles, the growing sophistication of print culture, the impact of advertising, and the increasing importance of appearance in everyday life. Students will not only learn how to identify different visual media (and why discerning them is important), but also will come to better understand how visual culture operates as a language. By “reading” various images and placing them into larger historical contexts, the class will come to better see the impact of visual images at the time. As important, students will become familiar with how to use visual culture as primary evidence in historical study.
We will interrogate many things during the semester, including the concept of visual culture itself. What, exactly, is visual culture and why are historians only now turning to images as important source material? What are the promises and limitations of using images as historical evidence? We will consider many different theories, including those devoted to semiotics, simulation and imitation, and visual perception.
“Observing the Interior of the Eye,” Popular Science Monthly, Oct. 1, 1876.
READINGS IN EARLY AMERICA, 1763 – 1820
W 6:00 PM – 8:50 PM
This course offers a broad and advanced survey of the historiography of the American Revolutionary and Early National periods. Principal issues addressed are: the origins and development of the independence movement and American federalism, the problem of slavery in an age of revolution, the emergence of a democratic and capitalist economy and society, and changing relations and attitudes within the domestic and private sphere.
TOPICS IN HISTORIC PRESERVATION
This course combines independent directed readings with a ten-week historic preservation course offered on campus by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH). Two course options are available for Fall 2017:
- Introduction to Historic Preservation (Tuesday evenings beginning September 5).
- Archaeology and Historic Preservation (Thursday evenings beginning September 14).
Separate registration for the MARCH course is required and should be arranged by graduate students by contacting Dr. Tamara Gaskell at firstname.lastname@example.org. (No additional charge is involved for students seeking to fulfill public history requirements.) Independent readings will be supervised by Dr. Charlene Mires.
MARCH courses may also be taken on a non-credit basis, with an option of earning a continuing education certificate in historic preservation. For further information about the program and next semester’s offerings, go to: https://preservation.rutgers.edu.
ISSUES IN PUBLIC HISTORY
CROSS-LISTED W/50:512:382:01, 56:606:672:01
M 6:00 PM – 8:50 PM
This seminar will go behind the scenes of the production and communication of history in settings such as museums, historic sites, and archives, and in the digital realm. We will examine issues in public history through controversies such as the display of the Enola Gay at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., and the creation of the President’s House site exhibit in Philadelphia. Readings and discussion also will examine how civic engagement techniques and the interpretation of diverse, multiple narratives of history have come to the forefront of public history practice. (This seminar meets concurrently with the undergraduate course Introduction to Public History. Graduate students will gain familiarity with the literature of the field by developing a paper about a selected public history issue; the seminar also will offer a realistic examination of the job market and opportunities to begin to create a professional network.) A reading list will be posted during the summer at https://charlenemires.camden.rutgers.edu.
THE CRAFT OF HISTORY
T 6:00 PM – 8:50 PM
The Craft of History (aka Craft) is unique in the master’s program. Rather than a readings or research course in a particular sub-field of history, Craft is designed to familiarize students with major problems, questions, and methods that touch the field of history as a whole.
In the late nineteenth century, the study of history was conceived of as being “objective”: the historian could observe the past accurately, without affecting or being affected by the process of observation. Over the course of the 20th century, this faith in the objectivity of historians came under repeated assault. Historians were recast not as objective observers of history but as subjective participants in history, who interpreted the past through their own biases. Their claims to have “knowledge” of the past were suspected of being claims to power. New understandings of how to study the past came to challenge traditional approaches, leading to an expansion of historical study but also to a collapse of consensus.
The course is divided into three parts. In Part I, we will historicize the study of history. In Part II, we will cover a variety of major historiographical approaches. In Part III, we will examine cases of historiographical debate, discuss the politics of history, and consider the boundaries between scholarship and fraud.
RESEARCH COLLOQUIUM,WOMEN AND GENDER
M 6:00 PM – 8:50 PM
In this research seminar graduate students will produce an original research paper on the topic of women or gender in United States history.