Course Description

This course introduces students to fundamental questions about the nature of history and to the varieties of history that different answers to these questions have inspired.  Students will investigate the kinds of questions historians ask about the past, the relationship between theory and evidence in historical writing, and the varieties of evidence historians use to reconstruct the past.


At the end of this course, successful students will have the following knowledge and skills:

  • Knowledge:
    • philosophical issues related to the nature of history
    • contemporary approaches to history
    • recent historiographical controversies
  • Skills:
    • ability to write a critical review
    • ability to research and discuss historiographical issues
    • ability to use the Internet to research historiographical debates

Teaching Strategies

This class is taught as a seminar. Students should be prepared to discuss assigned readings weekly, to lead discussions as assigned, and to present the results of their own research in class.  Students should also be prepared to discuss the works and presentations of guest speakers.