History 5580 Social History Workshop: Great Books in Global Social History

Open to all entering MA students, this course reads and discusses some great books in social history about a wide range of times and places. It is an opportunity to think big and to compare unfamiliar histories with more familiar ones. We will debate such questions as 'who gets a history?' and 'how do concepts like imperialism or marginalization clarify and obscure the past?' The course also provides a chance to step back from a focus on specialized "information" and to look at how historians put their works together.
Oral work and written assignments aim to cultivate skills useful for graduate studies in history. These include historiographical synopses (how to get a handle on a big book quickly?), setting-up for primary source analysis, and writing funding applications; they culminate in developing a proto-proposal for the required major research paper (MRP).
Reading list will include: B. Bradbury, Working Families (about 19th c Canada); L. Cohen (not me!), A Consumer's Republic (20th c. US); N.Z. Davis, a sampler of essays (early modern Europe, Surinam); C. Ginzburg, Cheese and the Worms (16th c Italy); G. Hershatter, Gender of Memory (20th c China); C. Howell, Northern Sandlots (20th c. Canada); J. Keagan, The Face of Battle (14th, 19th, 20th c Europe, compared); S. Lauderdale Graham, Caetana Says No (19th c. Brazil); B. Moore and M. Johnson, Neither Led Nor Driven (19th-20th c Jamaica); L. T. Ulrich, A Midwife's Tale (18th c. US).