Spring 2020 Graduate Courses


3 Cr. Hrs.

The Urbanization of African Americans

This course has two primary aims.  The first is to provide a basic factual understanding of the urbanization of African Americans from the mid-nineteenth through the late twentieth century.  The second is to provide an intensive reading experience in scholarly (primarily historical) literature that is aimed explicitly at historiographical development.

Specific topics we will explore include but are not limited to work, migration, urban geography (spatial relations), inter- and intra-racial relations, industrialization, community development and destruction.  We will explore the history of some of the most contentious characterization of these urban sites:  the idea of the ghetto, the nature of the underclass, the rise of “the welfare state,” “urban renewal,” and others.  Most important for this class regarding these and other issues is how and why the historians’ discussions and interpretations have developed, changed over time and why.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
12:45-3:30           Wednesday                        Shaw, Stephanie

Prerequisites and Special Comments:
This course is cross-listed with History 4085, 5080 is open to graduate students.


3 Cr. Hrs.

This course will introduce students to some of the major historiographic trends in the history of the United States since 1945.  We will read a selection of books that will include significant new monographs that have significantly impacted the field as well as classics that these newer studies rest upon.  A primary focus of the seminar will be to help students develop general exam lists.  Topics explored will include urban and environmental history, histories of sexuality, new histories of race and gender, and the history of postwar social movements.  Although it is not a prerequisite to take this class, this course is designed as a sequel to the first half of the modern historiography seminar taught by Prof. Joan Flores-Villalobos last semester.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
9:10-11:55            Wednesday                        Rivers, Daniel  


3 Cr. Hrs.

This graduate readings course in African American history will focus on the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. It begins by looking at black activism and black life during the Jim Crow era. It continues by examining the grassroots organizing campaigns led by the young radicals of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and by examining the civil rights roots of the Black Power Movement. It concludes by examining Black Power organizations, specifically the Black Panther Party, and Black Power struggles, primarily in the urban North. Broadly, this course aims to make clear the process of social movement formation. More specifically, it seeks to explicate the process by which seemingly powerless African Americans, in both the North and the South, organized to transform the society in which they lived, and the way white Americans, from rural hamlets in Mississippi to the halls of Congress, responded.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
11:10-1:55           Monday                               Jeffries, Hasan

Assigned Readings: TBA

3-5 book reviews
10-15 page historiographical essay on a Civil Rights/Black Power theme of the students choosing due at the end of the quarter.

Prerequisites and Special Comments:
Graduate students only


3 Cr. Hrs.
Latin American Environmental History
The field of Latin American history has a rich environmental history. From its colonial history to today, Latin America has experienced dramatic environmental change behind extractive export-commodity economies, like silver in Mexico, bananas in Central America to sugarcane and coffee in Brazil. Beyond commodity extraction, control of land has been an essential part of social and political conflict in the past and the present. The politicization of the environment in recent years is part of an important part of a broader approach to Latin American history as well. This course will introduce students to different methodological approaches to environmental history in Latin America and provides specific examples of the way environmental history has shaped Latin America today.
Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
2:15-5:00               Tuesday                            Eaglin, Jennifer
Assigned Readings: (tentative)
Elinor Melville, A Plague of Sheep: Environmental Consequences of the Conquest of Mexico (Cambridge, 1994)
Richard Tucker, Insatiable Appetite: The United States the Ecological Degradation of the Tropical World (2000)
John Soluri, Banana Cultures: Agriculture, Consumption, and Environmental Change in Honduras and the United States (Texas, 2005)
Myrna Santiago, The Ecology of Oil: Environment, Labor and the Mexican Revolution, 1900-1938 (Cambridge 2006)
Mark Carey, In the Shadow of Melting Glaciers: Climate Change and Andean Society (Oxford, 2010)
Eric Carter, Enemy in the Blood: Malaria, Environment, and Development in Argentina (Alabama 2012)
Mikael Wolfe, Watering the Revolution: An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico (Duke, 2017)
Antoine Acker, Volkswagen in the Amazon: The Tragedy of Global Development in Modern Brazil (Cambridge 2017)
Casey Lurtz, From the Grounds Up: Building an Export Economy in Southern Mexico (Stanford 2019)
Book Reviews, Weekly Response Papers, and a Final Historiography


3 Cr. Hrs.

This course is a graduate colloquium on selected topics in Soviet history.  The purpose of the course is to introduce students to the most influential works and approaches in the field.  Each week we will discuss a major book on Soviet history with attention both to the historical events discussed and to the historiographical approach utilized by the author.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
9:10-11:55           Monday                               Hoffmann, David

Tentative list of readings:

  • The Soviet Tragedy by Martin Malia
  • Making War, Forging Revolution by Peter Holquist
  • Making Uzbekistan by Adeeb Khalid
  • Magnetic Mountain by Stephen Kotkin
  • Stalinism on the Frontier of Empire by Elena Shulman
  • Ivan’s War: Life and Death in the Red Army by Catherine Merridale
  • Myth Making in the Soviet Union and Modern Russia: Remembering World War II in Brezhnev’s Hero City by Vicky Davis
  • The Revenge of the Past by Ronald Grigor Suny
  • Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More by Alexei Yurchak

Students will be expected to complete all readings and participate in weekly discussions.  Class participation will account for 50% of the final grade.  The only written assignment for the course will be a take-home essay at the end of the quarter.  At the last class meeting, the instructor will give students several topics, and students should choose one as the basis of the essay.  Students will then have two weeks to write a 12-page (typed and double-spaced) essay based on the readings for the course.  No additional reading or research will be required.  This format is designed to encourage students to give maximum attention and thought to the assigned readings during the quarter.  Such attention will provide the best preparation for the final essay.

Prerequisites and Special Comments:  This course is open to all graduate students.



1 Cr. Hr.

This course will:

  1. Introduce students to key issues in the field of East Asian Studies as an area of study and research.
  2. Familiarize students with No. American museum collections related to East Asia
  3. Introduce students to some of the faculty and programs associated with the East Asian Studies M.A. program.
  4. Through required but individually chosen attendance at EA-related lectures and events, expose students to a broad array of research indicative of cutting-edge work in the field.
  5. Provide group guidance in developing your course of study in East Asian Studies here at OSU.

This graduate course counts toward the Interdisciplinary M.A. Program in East Asian Studies (China, Korea and Japan).  It is required during every regular semester when EAS MA students are in residence on the OSU campus.  Non-EAS MA students with an interest in East Asian Studies are also welcome to take it.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
1:50-2:50              Friday                                    Reed, Chris

*Limited meetings (explanation below)

Assigned Readings:
Karl Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac, The China Collectors: American’s Century-Long Hunt for Asian Art Treasures (Palgrave, 2015). Other short readings on the history of North American Japanese and Korean museum collections will also be introduced.

Short writing assignments; attendance at one Institute of Chinese Studies, one Institute of Japanese Studies, and one Institute of Korean Studies lecture.

Prerequisites and Special Requirements:
This is a one-credit course graded S/U. There are no prerequisites. Since we meet only a limited number of times (7-14, depending on enrollment) during the semester, regular attendance is required.


3 Cr. Hrs.

This readings and discussions course will examine the political, economic, diplomatic and military relations between and among the Great Powers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries through the lens of intelligence history.  As recently as the 1980s, intelligence was still considered to be the “missing dimension” of the study of international relations and diplomacy.  The role played by intelligence in the shaping and, in some cases, implementation of policy was largely ignored, generally misunderstood, and often barely acknowledged by scholars working on questions of force and statecraft in the international realm.  In the last four decades, however, the field of intelligence studies has developed to the point that no one would consider intelligence to be entirely absent from discussions of military and political policy decisions.  The body of scholarship on the role of intelligence past, present and future is constantly growing, and the field has been embraced by historians and political scientists alike.  This course will explore some of that literature.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
2:15-5:00              Tuesday                               Siegel, Jennifer

Assigned Readings: (tentative)
The reading list may include:

  • Andrew, Christopher M.  Secret Service: the Making of the British Intelligence Community.  London: Heinemann, 1985.
  • Black, Ian and Benny Morris.  Israel’s Secret Wars.  A History of Israel’s Intelligence Services.
  • The Butler Report and The 9/11 Commission Report.  (Excerpts)
  • Goodman, Michael S. The Official History of the Joint Intelligence Committee. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY : Routledge, 2014.
  • Gustafson, Kristian C. and Philip H.J. Davies, eds.  Intelligence Elsewhere: Spies and Espionage Outside the Anglosphere.  Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2013.
  • Haslam, Jonathan.  Near and Distant Neighbors:  A New History of Soviet Intelligence.  New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.
  • Immerman, Richard H.  The Hidden Hand: A Brief History of the CIA.  Chichester, West Sussex : Malden, MA : John Wiley & Sons, 2014.
  • Kotani, Ken and Chiharu Kotani. Japanese Intelligence in World War II.  Oxford, U.K: Osprey, 2009.
  • Macintyre, Ben. Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies. New York: Crown, 2012.
  • Talty, Stephan. Agent Garbo The Brilliant, Eccentric Secret Agent Who Tricked Hitler and Saved D-Day. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
  • Warner, Michael.  The Rise and Fall of IntelligenceAn International Security History. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2014.

Weekly readings and class discussions
One historiographical paper.


3 Cr. Hr.s

Technology is implicated in almost every conceivable historical event, trend or process: industrial, economic, sexual, military, architectural, biological and cultural. But technology itself often remains an underanalyzed and rather mysterious (or “blackboxed”) entity. Its precise function is often simplified and undertheorized. This course is designed to provide a methodological toolkit for students wishing to analyze technology and explore the historical role of technology through a series of different historical case studies.

These case studies are largely drawn from the modern west, but these approaches to technology could be applied to almost any technological phenomenon in history. They are designed to illuminate the way in which technology has been implicated in numerous historical phenomena: state-formation, war, gender relations, agriculture, ecology, health and so on. The books themselves are drawn from the eclectic, interdisciplinary field of “technology studies,” which brings together sociology, science studies, history, philosophy, communications and urban studies.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
11:10-1:55           Tuesday                               Otter, Chris


3 Cr. Hrs.              

The course is an advanced critical introduction to the thought and practice of history at the professional level.  Its primary aim is to provide students with a functional literacy in the various bodies of theory which have formed the ways historians try to cover and represent past experiences.  Following a broadly chronological scheme, it traces the evolution of history as a discipline, from its formation as a professional field in the early nineteenth century up to the present day.  Course readings (both theoretical and applied) will focus in particular on methodological developments since World War II, exploring the nature and influence of e.g., Marxist historiography, the various Annales paradigms, and approaches informed by anthropology, postmodernist critical theory, and postcolonial theory.  Along the way, important questions raised include: Why does the past matter? How do societies use history? Is it possible to write a truly objective historical account? Does history need to be "relevant" to present-day concerns?

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
2:15-5:00              Thursday                             Anderson, Greg

Preparation of readings; classroom participation; final paper.


3 Cr. Hrs.

This seminar is dedicated to researching and writing your dissertation prospectus. Throughout the semester we will focus on the craft of historical writing, strategies, and the practicalities of launching a research project. As we move through the class, you will analyze various issues, including your topic/questions/significance; your argument/thesis; historiography; method and theory; primary (including archival) and secondary sources; organization; time table; research plan; funding; and your bibliography. We also will consider such matters as grammar and style. By the end of this course you will have produced a dissertation prospectus that you will present to your committee members.

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

In preparing your prospectus, you will draw particularly on three areas of support:

  • First, your fellow students are a valuable source for feedback. In this course you will help each other launch your projects.
  • Second, I will read your drafts and offer advice.
  • Third, your advisor and members of your dissertation committee are the experts to whom you will turn for substantive advice about archives, resources, and the feasibility of your project.

Assigned Readings: TBA

Assignments: TBA

Prerequisites:  Graduate Standing


3 Cr. Hrs.
History 8801 will be a research and writing seminar, open to students in all fields.  The goal of the course will be for each participant write a significant piece of scholarship, something like a 25-page research paper or chapter, based on primary sources, with notes and a bibliography. We will form a writing community where participants will read and critique each other's writing.  The seminar will also afford participants the chance to develop and enhance their writing skills and academic voice.   
Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
2:30-5:15              Monday                               Staley, Dave
Prerequisites:  Graduate Standing

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