History 395: Senior Seminars

The History 395 teaches skills in developing and executing an independent research project.  Most 395s are thematic in nature (for example, Nationalism, Colonialism, or The Progressive Era) and have as their central focus the development of a research essay (25-30 pages) on a topic of the student’s choice within the thematic area. In addition to relevant content and theoretical perspectives, students will learn how to find and use primary sources and secondary scholarship, structure a sustained historical argument, engage in peer-critique, and draft and revise a complex piece of research and writing.

The History 395 is a required course for the major. It can also contribute to the courses in an Interest Field. Please consult with the instructor to determine the appropriate field to which the course may be applied.

If you have any questions about the History 395 Senior Seminars that are offered this year, or if you would like to suggest a theme, please contact the Chair of History (sottaway@carleton.edu) or members of the Department Curriculum Committee.

History 395s offered in 2013-14

Fall
Conflict, Polemic and Persuasion: Controversial Histories, William North
This seminar explores the histories of how people in diverse times and places discussed, debated and decided the issues and ideals that shaped their lives, communities, and world. Particular attention will be paid to the role of institutions and individuals, networks, the forms and functions of polemical discourse, and the dynamics of group formation and stigmatization in the historical unfolding of conflict and consensus. Theoretical readings and select case studies from different historical contexts will provide the common readings for the seminar. Possible extra time required for end of term "mini-conference."

Spring
The Progressive Era?, Annette Igra
Was the Progressive Era progressive? It was a period of social reform, labor activism, and woman suffrage, but also of Jim Crow, corporate capitalism, and U.S. imperialism. These are among the topics that can be explored in research papers on this contradictory era. We will begin by reading a brief text that surveys the major subject areas and relevant historiography of the period. The course will center on the writing of a 25-30 page based on primary research, which will be read and critiqued by members of the seminar.

**Crime Punishment: American Legal History, 1607-1865** NEW OFFERING, Serena Zabin
Legal documents such as depositions, file papers, complaints, accusations, confessions, and laws themselves offer a fascinating window into American history. Such documents lend themselves to the study of Indian history, capitalism, family relationships, and slavery, to name only a few possible topics.  This is an advanced research seminar in which students will write a 25-30 page paper based on original research.  Participation in the seminar will also include some common readings that use a variety of approaches to legal history, and extensive peer reviews of research papers.