History 298: Junior Colloquium

In 2014-15 History 298 will be offered during fall and winter terms.

All History Majors must take History 298, a six-credit reading and discussion course. The general purpose of History 298 is to help you reach a more sophisticated understanding of the methods of historians. The course will culminate in the visit to Carleton of a major historian whose work you will have read during the term.

If you will be off-campus during fall and winter term of your junior year, you can take History 298 in your senior year. 

History 298 is designed to provide students with an introduction to how historians view the nature of their discipline. To that end, several fundamental and interrelated questions are addressed throughout the term:

  • How do historians aim to reconstruct the lives and events of the past?
  • To what extent is the past knowable?
  • What is the role of "truth" in the writing of history?
  • Who writes history and for whom is it written?
  • What constitutes an appropriate object or subject of historical inquiry?
  • What is the relationship between the historian and the past?
  • What is the relationship between the discipline of history and politics, or morality? 

Since the course is interested primarily in epistemological concerns, its purpose is not for students to gain an extensive mastery in the historical content of any specific geographical area or time period. The idea, rather, is for the student to come away with a clearer idea of how different sorts of historians approach the study of the past.

Associated with this course is the Herbert P. Lefler Lectureship, which allows the History 298 instructor to bring prominent working historians to campus who have recently raised important conceptual questions relevant to the entire discipline of history.

History 298 Faculty Recommended Books

History 298 Faculty Recommended Articles