History 298: Junior Colloquium

In 2017-18 History 298 will be offered twice:
Fall term, Professor Serena Zabin
Winter term, Professor Adeeb Khalid

All History Majors must take History 298, a six-credit reading and discussion course.

An essential part of this course is the visit to Carleton of a major historian as our Distinguished Herbert P. Lefler Lecturer. The History 298 seminar group will read and discuss the visiting historian’s work in the context of the visit and are required to attend the public lecture that is presented: two opportunities to work with a prominent historian that provide students additional understanding of the process of doing history. All  Carleton students and members of the wider community are invited to the public lecture. Interested students are invited to meet the historian for lunch, as well.

History 298 is designed to help majors reach a more sophisticated understanding of the methods of historians. To that end, several fundamental and interrelated questions are addressed throughout the term:

  • How do historians investigate and reconstruct the lives, institutions, and events of the past?
  • To what extent is the past knowable?
  • What does the concept of "truth" mean 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 history and the public sphere? How do politics and morality play roles in History? 

Since the course is interested primarily in epistemological concerns (that is, how historians come to know and to think what they do about the past), it is not focused on any one period, place or approach. Rathr, the student should come away with a clearer idea of the different methods, questions, theoretical frameworks, and considerations that historians have as they approach the study of the past.

If you will be off-campus during fall and winter term of your junior year, please speak with the Chair of the Department about the timing of your History 298.