HIST 301
Approaching the Past: Practices of Modern History Fall 2019
Division II

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What is history? What is it that historians do? In this course, students will explore how and why we historians practice our craft. The first section of the course will examine how historians think about and come to know the past. Issues of the nature of historical truth, objectivity and bias, and the uses of different types of evidence will be discussed. Next, we will explore how historians attempt to make sense of the past. We will consider the perspectives, scale, and categories of analysis that historians can bring to bear on the past, and how history can be told. Finally, the third section of the course will pose questions about the purposes, uses, and misuses of history. And we will ask what the moral, political, and historical responsibilities of historians may be. The class will meet once a week, and each session will focus on some theoretical material as well as readings on a broad range of topics that concretely illustrate the methodological issues at stake.
The Class: Type: discussion
Limit: 19
Expected: 15-19
Class#: 1226
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on class participation, response papers, short essays, and a final paper
Prerequisites: restricted to HIST majors and sophomores planning to major in HIST
Enrollment Preferences: senior, then junior, History majors
Distributions: Division II

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