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Approaching the Past: Varieties of Historical Thinking
This course is designed to acquaint students with some of the ways historians have thought about the past. Beginning with Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War, the work of twelve historians will be studied closely and critically over the course of the semester. In the process, students not only will become familiar with various important historical approaches but will also be encouraged to examine their own assumptions about the past and about how and why–or even if–we know it. We will meet weekly to define, understand, and assess the different ways historians considered in the course have thought about the past.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
in preparation for class discussion, students are required to produce a one-page critical response to the assigned reading each week, which will form the basis for class discussion; in addition to writing ten critical responses, students are also required to make an oral presentation of approximately twenty minutes on a professor they have had in a history course at Williams College
restricted to History majors and sophomores planning to major in History
senior, then junior, History majors