Autumn 2019 Graduate Courses


3 Cr. Hrs.

The Progressive Era in American history, roughly 1890 to 1920, is generally characterized as a period of major changes in American social, political, and economic life.  Americans were becoming increasingly urban; urban areas became more industrial and more socio-culturally diverse; and politics became more complex.  The seemingly rapid and sometimes haphazard changes that accompanied (sometimes spawned and sometimes resulted from) this reorganization also led to major reform movements in many areas of life—in some ways, the most significant characteristic of the era.   Reformers believed that whether in politics, public health, child welfare, government, housing, urban development, work, or any other area of life, the problems generated by rapid urbanization, industrialization, and immigration could be addressed and corrected.  People from all walks of life went to work in ways they thought would improve society.  Implicit in the social/cultural construct of what scholars have labeled “the Progressive Era” is the idea of progress, modernization, and improvement. 

But the same period in African-American history has been labeled “the Nadir”—the lowest point in the history of American race relations.  It was a period of increasing segregation, discrimination and racial terror, symbolized most especially by lynching and race riots involving white attacks on black communities and individuals.  Despite those horrors, it was also a period of intense and successful organizing and advancements among black Americans:  black clubs, beneficial, and benevolent societies were formed; the NAACP, the Urban League, The Negro Business League, the National Association of Colored Women were a few of the national organizations that worked for the advancement of the race.  Major businesses were formed, some of which still survive.  And these institutions, along with black migration from the country to the city and from the South to the North and West contributed to the creation of a racial/cultural identity that would undergird the Harlem Renaissance and shape a black political consciousness that would lead to the beginning of the modern Civil Rights Movement.

This readings course is a study of the history of that rich, interesting, and complex period in African-American history.  It is designed to assist those preparing fields in African-American and American history, along with those who are simply intellectually curious. 

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
2:15-5:00              Thursday                             Shaw, Stephanie



3 Cr. Hrs.

In this reading and discussion course, students will explore the major issues and events in Native American history from c.1000 through the mid-19th century.  Indians were creators of change and shapers of modernity before the arrival of Europeans, and we will trace the forces transforming indigenous life in "medieval" North America.  We will assess Native Americans' cultural and strategic responses to English, Spanish, and French colonization: not only catastrophic effects like enslavement and displacement but also how Indians shaped, foiled, and sometimes flourished alongside the Euro-American presence.  We will engage with themes in recent literature, including the "Red Atlantic," the "Native New World," Indian mobility, settler colonialism, communication and social networks, ethnicity, empire, slavery, and indigenous alliance and nation-building, as well as methods and approaches to writing Native history. 

To protect their communities, Indians might choose migration, intercultural relations, resistance and rebellion, pan-Indian organization, and/or selective assimilation to aspects of Euro-American culture and economy.  Major benchmarks in American history, including the French and Indian War, the Revolution and Constitution, and the Civil War affected Indian country, and we will discuss the processes of removal and evolution of U.S. Indian policy while examining whether other benchmarks were more important for Native Americans.  Another theme will be ethnogenesis—the process by which groups create identities in the face of change.  What did it mean to be “Indian?” in different places and periods? What kinds of cultural, spatial, material, and ethnic change did Indians experience and yet remain Indians?  Did key social constructs, such as gender roles, kinship and collective ownership of resources, change or persist over time?

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
12:45-3:30           Friday                                    Newell, Margaret

Readings will include some of the following:

Andres Resendez, The Other Slavery
Jace Weaver, The Red Atlantic
Stephen Warren, The World the Shawnee Made
John Bowes, Land too Good for Indians: Northern Indian Removal
Christina Snyder, Great Crossings: Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in the Age of Jackson
Ned Blackhawk, Violence over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West
Michael Witgen, An Infinity of Nations
Daniel Richter, Before the Revolution: America's Ancient Paths
Elizabeth Fenn, Encounters at the Heart of the World: A History of the Mandan People
Pekka Hamalainen, Comanche Empire
Tiya Miles, Ties that Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family
Lisa Brooks, Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War
Alexandra Harmon, Rich Indians
Cathleen Cahill, Federal Fathers and Mothers: A Social History of the United States Indian Service
Gregory Dowd, A Spirited Resistance
Kathleen DuVal, Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge in the American Revolution
Theda Perdue, Cherokee Women
Claudio Saunt, A New Order of Things and West of the Revolution

Students will write three short papers on the books in discussion and prepare an in-class presentation, as well as a final historiographical paper on a topic of their choice.                                                                                                                  


3 Cr. Hrs.

This readings course introduces graduate students to the literature of modern U.S. history from the end of Reconstruction to the Second World War.  The readings include some classics in the field as well as new works that have pushed the boundaries of the field.  They span many different themes and methods; African American, immigration, transnational, political, social, intellectual, labor, women and gender, and history of capitalism.  Chronologically this course is the prequel to History 7012 that covers the literature of modern U.S. history from 1945 to the present.  Emphasis is on preparation for the Ph.D. general examinations.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
4:10-6:55              Thursday                             Flores-Villalobos, J.

Assigned Readings:

Possible texts include:

Mae M. Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton University Press, 2004).
Margo Canaday, The Straight State: Sexuality and Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America  (Princeton University Press, 2010).



3 Cr. Hrs.

“Environment, Health, Technology, and Science in Tsarist and Soviet History” will be the theme for this graduate seminar.

This intensive reading course is designed to offer an in-depth overview of the human-nature relationship in the tsarist/Soviet past and showcase the wave of field-changing research currently being written on Eurasian environmental history. We will explore a series of interconnected and reinforcing books that place the human experience within the larger environmental context of flora, fauna, geology, water, and climate. Through these readings, we will challenge ourselves 1) to reconsider some of the prevailing understandings of Russian/Soviet/Eurasian history and 2) to contribute to the larger approaches and frameworks of global environmental history.  Throughout, we will place the history of Eurasia in a trans-chronological, comparative context, seamlessly linking the local and the global. We will root the books in the ecological and geological specificities of place and community while unveiling the cross-planetary patterns of human-nature relationships.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
12:45-3:30           Monday                               Breyfogle, Nicholas

Assigned Readings:

This is a very tentative list and specific books will change. Do not purchase any books until you see the final syllabus.

Ryan Tucker Jones, Empire of Extinction: Russians and the North Pacific’s Strange Beasts of the Sea, 1741–1867 (Oxford University Press, 2014);
David Moon, The Plough that Broke the Steppes: Agriculture and Environment on Russia’s Grasslands, 1700–1914 (Oxford University Press, 2012)
Jane T. Costlow, Heart-Pine Russia: Walking and Writing the Nineteenth-Century Forest (Cornell University Press, 2013);
Charlotte E. Henze, Disease, Health Care and Government in Late Imperial Russia: Life and Death on the Volga, 1823–1914 (Routledge, 2011);
Mark Sokolsky  (Phd Diss, Ohio State University, 2016), “Taming Tiger Country: Colonization and Environment in Primor’e, 1860-1940”
Maya Peterson, Pipe Dreams: Water and Empire in Central Asia's Aral Sea Basin (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
Bathsheba Demuth, Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait (Norton, 2019)
Stephen Brain, Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalinist Environmentalism, 1905–1953 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011);
Andy Bruno, The Nature of Soviet Power: An Arctic Environmental History (Cambridge University Press, 2016)
Pey-Yi Chu, The Life of Permafrost: A History of Frozen Earth in Russian and Soviet Science (University of Toronto Press, 2019)
Sarah Cameron, The hungry steppe: famine, violence, and the making of Soviet Kazakhstan (Cornell University Press, 2018)
Sonja Schmid, Producing Power: The Pre-Chernobyl History of the Soviet Nuclear Industry (MIT Press, 2015)
Douglas Weiner, Models of Nature: Ecology, Conservation, and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000)
Kate Brown, Plutopia: Nuclear Families, Atomic Cities, and the Great Soviet and American Plutonium Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2013)
Paul Josephson, Industrialized Nature: Brute Force Technology and the Transformation of the Natural World (Island Press, 2002)


Reading: 1 book per week
Informed and intelligent in-class discussion
4 or so four-page reviews of books
Final Historiographical, analytical, 15-20-page essay

Prerequisites and Special Comments:

Designed for graduate students in History or Environmental Studies. Advanced undergraduates with a background in these topics are welcome with instructor’s permission.  Previous knowledge of Russian history is helpful, but by no means necessary.  Previous knowledge of Environmental history is helpful, but by no means necessary.  We will learn together and from each other.



3 Cr. Hrs.

The seminar introduces students to historical methods, focusing on the techniques used by historians to reconstruct the histories of African societies.  Our goals will be to understand not only the validity of these sources but also the debates surrounding their peculiar utility and validity in African historiography.  We will explore debates about the complexities and controversies of archival, oral, archeological and ethnographic sources and some of the ways these sources are collected, interpreted and utilized by a number of fields related to history.  While the main focus will be on African materials, the techniques to be emphasized in the course are applicable to other fields and peoples, and you are encouraged to range broadly in your reading.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
5:00-8:00              Monday                               Kobo, Ousman



3 Cr. Hrs.

Imperialism, Anti-imperialism, and War in Modern East Asia

History 7401 is a graduate "topics" course aimed at all who are interested in modern, as defined by historians, East Asia regardless of their particular field of expertise. For fall 2019, the topic will be "Imperialism, Anti-Imperialism, and War in Modern East Asia." We will focus on geographical, administrative, economic, and military expansion (and resistance) in modern East Asia from the early and middle Qing (1644-1911) periods down to the mid-20th century. We give consideration to Manchu incursions into Inner & Central Asia; to European wars of aggression and empire-building in China, Korea, and Japan, along with the responses of those affected; as well as to Japan's continental imperialism after 1894 and the responses of those in East Asia influenced by it. 

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
12:45-3:30           Wednesday                        Reed, Chris

Assigned Readings:
To be decided, but graduate students with specific suggestions are encouraged to contact the instructor well before books have to be ordered; the instructor will make efforts to accommodate all reasonable suggestions

Readings, discussions, attendance, discussion-leading, and written work TBD

Prerequisites and Special Comments:
Apart from graduate standing or permission of the instructor, there are no prerequisites except student interest & motivation. Knowledge of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, etc. is not required. All readings will be in English.



3 Cr. Hrs.

This graduate readings course focuses on major themes in the formulation and implementation of national strategy, as well as basic issues that underpin the making of strategy; e.g., the causes of war, war termination, and the problem of moral judgment in war.  Emphasis is on preparation for the Ph.D. general examination.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
12:45-3:30           Wednesday                        Grimsley, Mark

Assigned Readings (tentative)
In addition to articles totaling about 75,000 words, the following books are required:
Robert B. Strassler (ed.), The Landmark Thucydides: A Comprehensive Guide to the Peloponnesian War.  New York:  Free Press, 1998.
Geoffrey Blainey, The Causes of War. 3rd Edition. New York: Free Press, 1988.
Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument With Historical Illustrations. New York:  Basic Books, 2006.
Fred Charles Iklé, Every War Must End. Revised Edition.  New York:  Columbia University Press, 2005.
Peter Paret, Felix Gilbert, and Gordon A. Craig (eds.) Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1986.
Carl von Clausewitz, On War. Michael Howard, Peter Paret, and Bernard Brodie, eds. Indexed Edition. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1989.
Williamson Murray, Alvin Bernstein, and MacGregor Knox (eds.), The Making of Strategy: Rulers, States, and War. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

1.  Attendance (10 percent of course grade).
2.  Participation (40 percent).  Students must participate fully in all discussions.  In addition, each student will be tasked to lead one of the sessions, and will be evaluated on their effectiveness in doing so.
3.  Critical Essay (50 percent).  Students will write a 3,000-word analytical response to a course-related question of the sort given in Ph.D. general examinations.

Prerequisites and Special Comments:
Graduate students only.



3 Cr. Hrs.

This course offers graduate students an entry point into scholarship that fuses environmental history with the new history of capitalism. Global in scope, the class largely focuses on the history of American firms but traces corporate ecological effects beyond US borders. Commodities such as bananas, coffee, and Coca-Cola are all part of the conversation, as are industrial powerhouses, such as the Ford Motor Company and Standard Oil. By the end of the course, students should have a sound understanding of the ecological consequences wrought by major transformations in America’s corporate economy from the Gilded Age to today.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
12:45-3:30           Tuesday                               Elmore, Bart

Assigned Readings:
John Soluri’s Banana Cultures: Agriculture, Consumption, and Environmental Change in Honduras and the United States
Richard Tucker’s Insatiable Appetite: The United States and the Ecological Degradation of the Tropical World
Greg Grandin’s Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City
Ed Russell’s War and Nature: Fighting Humans and Insects with Chemicals from World War I to Silent Spring
More TBD…

Professional book reviews and op-ed assignments. 


3 Cr. Hrs.

History 7905 is the first of two required courses in professional development for graduate students in history (the other is 7910).  It introduces students to various objectives, strategies, and techniques for the teaching of college history and readies them for teaching their own independent classes after passing general examinations.  The course also helps students acclimate to the professional culture of academe and provides them with the tools for successful grant writing.  First year graduate students are strongly encouraged to take 7905 during their first semester.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
2:15-5:00              Thursday                             Judd, Robin

Research database, CV, syllabus, short teaching exercise, budget, abstract, and project narrative (if relevant).   



3 Cr. Hrs.

The goal in this course is to write up a significant piece of scholarship grounded in primary sources that is, with further revision, publishable as an article or chapter.  I’ve arranged the course so that you have as much time as possible to focus on your work.  We’ll spend a few weeks learning about your topics.  All periods and topics are welcome.   I plan to use the articles/chapters you contribute to both familiarize everyone with your interests and to discuss research and writing strategies.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
Tuesday               3:55-7:15                              Baker, Paula

Assigned readings:
TBD, articles or chapters assigned by members of the seminar.

One research paper, with steps (precis, bibliography, outlines/introduction) on the way.


Up to 6 Cr. Hrs.

The investigation of particular problems in various fields of history through graduate doctoral-level individual studies.

Anderson, Greg

Graduate standing. Repeatable to a maximum of 15 cr hrs or 5 completions.


3 Cr. Hrs.

Medieval Emotions

The history of emotions, love, hatred, envy, fear, despair, and so on! – is a new and expanding field of enquiry within medieval studies.  This graduate research seminar invites students from various disciplines to come together to investigate both pre-modern and contemporary approaches to emotions.  Although this course is housed in the history department, students from all departments are welcome to participate in this exploration of the “emotional turn” in medieval studies.  In addition to close readings of a variety of primary sources – Latin and vernacular, religious and secular – there will be readings from the work of Barbara Rosenwein, William Reddy, Daniel Smail, and others.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
9:35-12:20             Wednesdays                     Beach, Alison





To find course availability and times, please visit the Ohio State Course Catalog and Master Schedule.