University of Mississippi

Graduate Course Descriptions-Fall 2012

His 505                                 Historiography: US through Reconstruction
4-6:30 T
Bishop 333
Professor Deirdre Cooper Owens

Course Overview:

The objective of this course is to introduce graduate students interested in American history to many of the main themes, methodological approaches and techniques, questions, and importantly, the historical interpretations of the place that became the United States, focusing on the years from the first European contact through Reconstruction.  The course will provide students with an analytical vocabulary to carry on to more advanced work in American history.  In essence, you will acquire the skills to critique various research methodologies and situate a text within its broader historiographies.  You will develop this knowledge through weekly reading assignments and the submission of your historiographic writing.


His 550                                 Methods, Theories, and Practices of History
1-3:30 M
Bishop 333
Professor Lester Field

Course Description and Pedagogical Objectives:

Is historical knowledge possible? If so, how? Is history a past truth? If so, how is it (still) true? How does it survive?  Is it a present truth about the past? If so, what validates the present truth as anything more than an ulterior interpretation? These questions–or the emergence of their changing answers–within history as a narrative and as a discipline provide the focus of this course.

This seminar examines the methods employed by historians as they practice their craft. In other words, this seminar examines how historians do history and how their techniques vary or coalesce over a wide variety of fields. In this seminar, these “fields” receive temporal, spatial, or topical definition as periods, regions, or genres, but this heuristic arrangement crosshatches the theoretical foundations as well as practical applications that variously shape all historiography. The theories and the practices that have historically defined or qualified one another across chronological or regional spectra receive special attention.

In most meetings, a guest historian will either analyze methodological issues especially pertinent to his or her field or will apply methodologies in a way that will prompt examination and discussion by the seminar.  All guest historians have assigned readings incorporated into the course syllabus, and, with each historian’s presentation, these readings will provide the basis for the seminar’s discussion.  For each session, students should have prepared questions on their readings and should be prepared to engage each guest-historian’s presentation with more questions and discussion. The instructor of record may also assign students special topics for short presentation in the next class.

This course and the research that accompanies it should instill a sense of the diverse methodologies that now define history as a science, discipline, and profession. Since these methodologies themselves emerged in history and so, even now,  remain functions of the past that produced them, the course should also sensitize students to the possibilities and limitations of all historical enquiry.

Research and Paper:

The course culminates in a research paper that treats the theory or practice of a particular method employed by historians, whether past or present.  By the third week, students should have started the prospectus of this paper or should have come with questions concerning their methodological interests and emerging topic. The paper prospectus is due on the sixth week. The instructor of record will therefore guide and grade the progress of the research as formulated in many redactions, from prospectus through final paper, which is due the last day of the seminar.

His 605                                 Readings in American Slavery
4-6:30 M
Bishop 326
Professor Anne Twitty

This graduate reading course will provide students with an intensive introduction to the history and historiography of slavery in colonial America and the United States with an eye toward placing the institution in a broader Atlantic context when possible.

Potential readings include:

Eric Foner, Nothing but Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy
Eugene Genovese, From Rebellion to Revolution: Afro-American Slave Revolts in the Making of the Modern World
Eugene Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made
Michael Gomez, Exchanging Our Country Marks: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South
Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market
Winthrop Jordan, White Over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro, 1550-1812
Joanne Pope Melish, Disowning Slavery: Gradual Emancipation and “Race” in New England, 1780-1860
Philip Morgan, Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcounty
James Oakes, The Ruling Race: A History of American Slaveholders
Dylan Penningroth, The Claims of Kinfolk: African American Property and Community in the Nineteenth-Century South
Stephanie Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora

His 606                                 Graduate Readings in Native American History
4-6:30 W
Bishop 326
Professor Mikaëla Adams

This seminar will introduce graduate students to the field of Native American history and to the methodology of ethnohistory.  For every meeting, students will read the articles assigned for that week, read a book selected from a topical list, review the book, and discuss both the book and the articles in the seminar. Book reviews should be 3-5 pages, critical, analytical, and thoughtful.  The reviews must assess the book as a work of individual scholarship and locate it in the larger body of literature. The reviews must also consider and cite at least three published reviews of the book. Students must attend all meetings of the seminar and participate actively in discussion.  Participation counts in the final grade. Students must also submit a 10 page historiographical essay that analyzes and compares three books on a topic of their choice that relates to the course material.

  • Week 1: Ethnohistory and Policy History
  • Week 2: Ethnogenesis
  • Week 3: War and Empire
  • Week 4: European Settlement
  • Week 5: Trade and Economics
  • Week 6: Women and Gender
  • Week 7: Indians, Race & Slavery
  • Week 8: United States: Establishment and Expansion
  • Week 9: Religion and Resistance
  • Week 10: Education & Missionaries
  • Week 11: Removal, Indian Territory, and Reservations
  • Week 12: Law and Politics
  • Week 13: Identity & Modernity
  • Week 14: Allotment, Indian New Deal, and Self-Determination
  • Week 15: The State of the Field


His 652                                 Paris • London • Berlin • St. Petersburg: Capital Cities in Europe’s Long Nineteenth Century
4-6:30 T
Bishop 326
Professor John Ondrovcik

The nineteenth century in Europe was, in many ways, the era of the capital city. Nationalists, businessmen, intellectuals, and government officials reimagined the continent’s principal cities as hubs of cultural, political, and economic modernity; regular citizens saw them as spaces of great opportunity and misery, and as emblems of moral practices both suspect and liberating. This course examines the notion of the “city as emblem” by investigating the ways in which literary and historical representations of the urban experience have shaped our understanding of life on the continent. To this end, we will trace developments in literature about the city, and examine different ways of “reading” the city itself. Moving chronologically from Paris in 1789 to St. Petersburg in 1917, we will read a wide variety of texts, from novels, poetry, memoirs, and travel writing to political tracts, contemporary sociological works, and excellent secondary works.


His 661                                 Readings:  Europe and the Atlantic World                                           
Professor Marc Lerner


His 685                                  Readings:  Middle East History
4-6:30 M
Bishop 324
Professor Vivian Ibrahim

HIS 691                                 Topics in 19th and 20th Century Brazilian History
4-6:30 TH
Bishop 333
Professor Oliver Dinius

After decades of neglect, Brazil is finally receiving the scholarly attention a country of its size deserves. We will read recent English-language scholarship on Brazil’s 19th and 20th century history with a thematic focus on (1) African slavery; (2) race and ethnicity; (3) economic development and the politics of class. An underlying question is what it has meant for Brazil and Brazilians to be (or become) ‘modern.’

The course has three objectives: familiarize students with the basic outline of Brazil’s history through the English-speaking historiography, have students think critically about the differences and similarities with the historiography on these themes for their respective major fields, and prepare students for minor field comps in Latin American history or comparative fields.

Requirements include regular response papers, two 8-10 page historiographical essays, class presentation(s) on readings, and regular class participation. Readings will all be in English.

Assigned Books will likely include:
Stanley J. Stein. Vassouras: A Brazilian Coffee County, 1850-1900: The Roles of Planter and Slave in a Plantation Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986 (first edition 1958).
Richard Graham. Feeding the City: From Street Market to Liberal Reform in Salvador, Brazil, 1780-1860. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010.
Herbert S. Klein and Francisco Vidal Luna. Slavery in Brazil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Zephyr Frank. Dutra’s World: Wealth and Family in Nineteenth-Century Rio de Janeiro. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2004.
Brodwyn Fischer. A Poverty of Rights: Citizenship and Inequality in Twentieth-Century Rio de Janeiro.  Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008.
Oliver J. Dinius. Brazil’s Steel City: Developmentalism, Strategic Power, and Industrial Relations in Volta Redonda, 1941-1964. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011.
Thomas D. Rogers. The Deepest Wounds: A Labor and Environmental History of Sugar in Northeastern Brazil. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
James P. Woodard. A Place in Politics: São Paulo, Brazil, from Seigneurial Republicanism to Regionalist Revolt. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009.
Jerry Dávila. Hotel Trópico: Brazil and he Challenge of African Decolonization, 1950-1980. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010.
Joseph L. Love. The Revolt of the Whip. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012.
Paulina L. Alberto. Terms of Inclusion: Black Intellectuals in Twentieth-Century Brazil. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.
Jan Hoffman French. Legalizing Identities: Becoming Black or Indian in Brazil’s Northeast. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.
Micol Seigel. Uneven Encounters: Making Race and Nation in Brazil and the United States. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009.

His 701                                 The Civil War Century
Research Seminar in United States History through Reconstruction
Professor April Holm

Historians often cast the American Civil War as the beginning or end point of a narrative, or they study the war as a self-contained event.  This seminar examines the the Civil War not as an anomaly or as a watershed, but as part of the narrative of the entire 19th century.  We will consider how the war can be integrated into the trends of the early decades of the century, as well as how its effects can be ties to national developments during the latter half of the century.  In short, we will study the war in the context of its century.

The seminar will consist of two parts: an initial series of readings in the history of the Civil War era, and two months of self-directed research on a topic related to the course theme.  We will also review methods in research and writing history.  Students will produce a final research paper of approximately 30 pages in the style of an academic journal article.