Autumn 2020 Graduate Courses


3 Cr. Hrs.

This course surveys the history and literature of ancient Christianity from its origins as a Jewish sect in Palestine to its establishment as the official religion of the Roman Empire in the fifth century. Topics include persecution and martyrdom, scripture, Gnosticism, theological controversies over the Trinity and the nature of Christ, Constantine and the establishment of catholic orthodoxy, the rise of monasticism, and important figures such as Origen and Augustine. The course will emphasize the diversity of early Christian groups and will provide a good foundation for the study of Christianity in any later period. Graduate students will attend the undergraduate meeting of 3229 and take the tests and final exam, but will also meet separately with the instructor about five times to discuss additional readings and will have the choice of writing either a short research paper or a couple essays.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
11:10-12:30         TR                                         Brakke, David

Assigned Readings:
Bart Ehrman, After the New Testament: A Reader in Early Christianity
Bart Ehrman and Andrew Jacobs, Christianity in Late Antiquity, 300 – 450 C.E.: A Reader
Plus readings from the New Testament
Additional readings for graduate students to be determined

Two hourly tests, final examination, book review, and a couple short essays or a research paper.

Prerequisites and Special Comments:
Graduate students and undergraduates with permission of the instructor.                                                                                                                                                                                                               


3 Cr.  Hrs.

Graduate/Honors Piggy-Back of HIST 3218.   Students will do all the readings and tests for the undergraduate syllabus––midterm and final exams––plus write a research essay of 20 pages.  The research essay can be on any topic, in consultation with the instructor.

An investigation of the Apostle Paul through a historical, critical study of his own letters and the later legends that grew up around the figure.  We look at the significance of Paul's life and the competing ways its story was retold, appropriated, or resisted in late antiquity.  How did Paul create a new religious and social world for his congregations?  What were the conflicts that he aimed to resolve in those nascent communities?  And what kinds of trouble did Paul create for his later interpreters (ancient, medieval, and modern)?  Asking such answers involves careful study of the past context of ancient Judaism, Hellenistic culture, and the Roman imperial society in which Paul lived and wrote.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
12:45-2:05           TR                                           Harrill, Bert

Assigned Readings:
1.   The Writings of St. Paul, 2nd ed., W. A. Meeks and J. T. Fitzgerald (W. W. Norton, 2007).
2.  W. A. Meeks, The First Urban Christians, 2d Edition (Yale University Press, 2003).
3.  J. A.Harrill, Paul the Apostle: His Life and Legacy in Their Roman Contexts (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
4.  M. M. Mitchell, Paul, the Corinthians and the Birth of Hermeneutics (Cambridge University Press, 2010)
5.  D. B. Martin, The Corinthian Body (Yale University Press, 1995)
6.  P. Fredriksen, Paul: The Pagans’ Apostle (Yale University Press, 2017).

1.  Research paper
2.  Midterm and Final examinations

Prerequisites and Special Comments:
Any 3000 level history course; Honors or Graduate standing or permission of the instructor.                                                                                                                                                                                                              


3 Cr. Hrs.

In this reading and discussion course, we will survey recent and classic literature on Early American history through the Age of Revolution.  Our topics will include the impact of studies on our understanding of race, class, gender, and political culture in early America; the “ecology” of empire, including environment, material culture, and religious impacts on the Americas and vice versa; the transnational #vastearlyAmerica turn, including Caribbean, Native American and Atlantic history and how these fields have or have not transformed U.S. historical studies; and, whether themes from the colonial era can and should be pushed into the early 19 th century. Renewed interest in the sociology of the American Revolution, including causes and popular experience, violence, history of emotion, and political organization has resulted in interesting new work, and we are already seeing some hints of the 250 th anniversary surge of revolutionary reappraisal. We will also discuss meta-issues of scholarly writing. 

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




3 Cr. Hrs.             

Examination of the dispersal of Africans, mainly through the slave trade across the Sahara, the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic Ocean.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
1:30-4:15              Tuesday                               Sikainga, Ahmad 


3 Cr. Hrs.

Seminar on Islam and Modernity in post-independent Africa

What is Islam and what is modernity? Are the two incompatible? Is Islam threatened by modernity and secularism, and conversely, are secularism and modernity threatening Islamic cultures and practices? Considering Islam’s putative emphasis on the value of Traditions, is modernity threatening this worldview? In what fundamental ways have contemporary and past Islamic reform and revivalist movements shaped and continue to shape the discourse of modernity and traditions? This historiography course will explore how scholars who study Africa have attempted to answer these questions. In the past few decades, there has been a sturdy growth of research on Islam and Muslim societies in Africa, and most of them focus their analytical lenses on how African Muslims have engaged and continue to engage with the discourses of modernity and secularism inherited from their colonial past, and how these discourses shaped intellectual and doctrinal debates among diverse Muslim reformers and practitioners genuinely interested in safeguarding the purity of their faith within a new globalized world rooted in Western modernity and secularism.

By focusing on the various ways some African Muslim elites sought to include ideas of modernity into their reform agendas, we hope to carefully interrogate their understanding of the critical intersections of Western and Islamic discourses of religious reform, social and economic development, issues of gender and the empowerment or disempowerment of Muslim women, and the nature of colonial rule and its impacts on doctrinal debates among Muslims. Teasing out Muslim elites’ appropriation of European discourse of modernity to subvert colonial rule as well as traditional power structures will also lead us to pay attention to the transformation of African societies during colonial rule, intra-Muslim doctrinal conflicts and tensions; intra-Muslim cooperation and coexistence; changes in African Muslim political economy during colonial rule and during independence; changes in the configuration of Muslim leadership, etc. The focus on “modernity” will also allow us to engage in lively conversations about the historical and philosophical debates regarding the ambiguities of the Enlightenment discourse that shaped the reform agendas of some African Muslim reformers.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
5:00pm-7:45pm     Wednesday                      Kobo, Ousman

HISTORY 7410 Studies in Pre-Modern Chinese History

3 Cr. Hrs.

This course covers premodern periods of Chinese history, from ancient to early modern times (Han-Qing dynasty). We will read and discuss monographs and articles covering the fundamental historiographical and historical questions for the study of premodern Chinese history. In addition to political, cultural, and social institutions, we will also explore new scholarship on the frontier, religion, environment, economics, and global history. We will explore new methodologies, including interdisciplinary methods, employed by China historians in recent years.

The instructor will collect ideas and suggestions from the students in this class to make the course useful for them.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
3:30-6:15              Monday                               Zhang, Ying


3 Cr. Hrs.

This readings and discussions course will examine the political, economic, diplomatic and military relations between and among the Great Powers from the mid-nineteenth century up to the origins of the Second World War.  We will trace the development of the Great Power system within the context of the foundations of State power.  Over the course of the quarter, we will examine a number of broad topics, including:  (1) the diplomacy of the individual Great Powers; (2) imperialism and the "New Imperialism"; (3) the military strategies of the Great Powers in peacetime and war; (4) the relationship between continental commitments and world power; (5) the relationship between domestic politics and foreign affairs; (6) and the relationship between economic stability and diplomacy in the international system. 

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

Assigned Readings: (tentative)
The reading list may include:
Bell, P.M.H.  The Origins of the Second World War in Europe.
Cain and Hopkins.  British Imperialism. (excerpts)
Hobson, Imperialism: A Study.
Iriye, Akira.  The Origins of the Second World War in Asia and the Pacific.
Joll, James.  The Origins of the First World War.
Kennedy, Paul.  The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers.
Lenin, V. I.  Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism.
Levy, Jack S. and John A. Vasquez, eds.  The Outbreak of the First World War:
Miller, Steven E.  (Editor), Sean M. Lynn-Jones (Editor), and Stephen Van Evera (Editor).  Military Strategy and the Origins of the First World War.
Mommsen, W.J.  Theories of Imperialism.
Robinson and Gallagher.  Africa and the Victorians. (excerpts)
Schroeder, Paul W.  The Transformation of European Politics, 1763-1848,
Steiner, Zara.  The Lights that Failed.
Taylor, A.J.P.  The Struggle for Mastery in Europe.
Tooze, Adam.  The Deluge
Wehler,  H.U.  "Bismarck's Imperialism."

We will also be doing weekly readings and discussions of articles or chapters dealing with the approaches and methodologies of political science and history in the study of international relations.

Weekly readings and class discussions
One historiographical paper.                                                                                                                                                                                                               


3 Cr. Hrs.

This course focuses on the development of military history as a field of academic study from 1960 to the present.  Emphasis is placed on preparation for the Ph.D. general examination.

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

Assigned Readings:
Students will read a number of articles totaling the equivalent of about ten books.

Class participation.  Each student will be responsible for leading at least one class discussion.
Book Review
Critical Essay

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


3 Cr. Hrs.

Gender, Class and Politics: European Women’s History, 18 th-20 th Centuries

This intensive reading course is designed to provide graduate students from a range of academic disciplines with a broad introduction to the history of women and gender in Modern Europe, and to the theoretical approaches and methodologies employed by scholars working in this field.  Our readings will be clustered around a number of topics including cultural constructions of women and gender; female sexuality and life course options; labor and consumption; social movements; and feminism.  Additional topics will be determined by the specific interests of seminar participants. 

Students are encouraged to contact Professor Søland no later than July 1, 2020, for a conversation about their specific area(s) of interest in order to ensure that the course incorporates these interests.  Paper assignments will also be determined by the needs and interests of seminar participants. 

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
7:00-9:45 p.m.   Thursday                             Søland, Birgitte

Assigned Readings: TBA

All students are expected to produce written work in order to complete the course.  The format of the written work is flexible and can be completed in a variety of formats, including weekly response papers, a historiographical essay, a research-based paper, a conference paper, or a chapter of a master’s thesis or dissertation.  The specific format for each student will be determined after individual consultations during the first week of the semester. 

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


3 Cr. Hrs.

History 7725 will track the second year of the 2019-21 Center for Historical Research program of lectures and seminars on the topic of “Democracy in a Time of Change and Challenges.

This colloquium will focus on the question whether democracy is dying or simply evolving in response to new social conditions.  Democracy takes many forms in the world today, and there is no widespread agreement as to what it really means.  The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines democracy as “a system of government by the whole population, usually through elected representatives.” However, an alternative definition might use the plural, i.e., systems of government.  Therein lies a great contemporary debate.  Democracy in China appears to mean something very different from what it does in the United States, and that is only one example of the need to see the word as describing more than one kind of political system.  Despite that ambiguity, there is a growing consensus that democracy, whatever is meant by it, is under stress around the globe.  This proposed CHR series seeks to increase our understanding of what is meant by democracy in various regions and countries, the extent to which it is changing and/or under sustained and serious attack.  Is democracy evolving, and if so, how and why?  Or is the story really more one of democracy – whatever one’s definition – as something that is increasingly endangered?  If it’s the latter, what are the most important causes of that situation and what, if anything, can be done about it?

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
2:15-5:00              Friday                                    Stebenne, David

This year-long course will be taught by David Stebenne.

The historians who have committed to present in 2020-21 include:

“The Current State of Democracy in Israel”
Shira Robinson, History and International Affairs, George Washington University

“The Current State of Democracy in Turkey”
Asli Bali, Law, UCLA

“The Current State of Democracy in Russia”
Gerald Easter, Political Science, Boston College

“The Current State of Democracy in Europe”
Warren Rosenblum, History, Webster College

History 7725 meets half-time throughout the year.  [See below for credit details.]  The students in History 7725 meet with the presenters in the CHR State Formations series in a brown-bag lunch colloquium, usually for an hour and fifteen minutes at midday on a Friday, and then attend the seminar that afternoon from 3:30-5:00 p.m.  If there is no outside speaker, the session meets at the listed time of 2:15-5:00 p.m. on Fridays.  This course will meet roughly every other week for two semesters; these meetings will include the roughly six CHR Friday events and at least two opening and concluding colloquia meetings. 

Requirements for enrolled students [tentative]:
·  Readings: To be assigned by the instructor (in consultation with each student and tailored to his or her specific interests) and the CHR State Formations presenters.

  • Attendance and participation at each Colloquium and Seminar. 

·  Preparation of a set of 3 to 5 questions on the background reading, to be emailed to the instructor by noon on the Thursday before the paper is presented.
·  A 2-page critique of EITHER the background reading AND/OR the talk delivered by the speaker on the Wednesday following the Friday colloquium.
·  A roughly 20 page double-spaced analytical paper on a topic, chosen in consultation with the instructor that in some clearly identifiable way draws on the lectures and themes of the series and the required reading. This could be a bibliographic essay dealing with relevant works of particular interest to each student; it could involve the application of the concepts and themes developed in the colloquium that are of particular relevance to your own research. This must be submitted in hard copy (sending by email is optional). This analytical paper will be due in class for our last meeting .

Credits and Grade: This is a year-long course meeting half-time each semester, counting for four graduate credits. Due to restrictions in the OSU Registration system, you will have to register for these four credits in the Autumn Semester; the course will not appear on your spring transcript.  A provisional letter grade will be awarded at the end of Autumn Semester and made permanent at the end of the Spring Semester.  This grade will appear as an autumn 2020 grade on your transcript.                                                                                                                                                                                                               


3 Cr. Hrs.                                              

This course will introduce students to themes in the history of race and the application of these ideas in Western Europe and European empires in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.  Themes to be investigated include race and the abolition of slavery;  the development of scientific racism;  notions of race degeneration and the birth of eugenics;  anti-Semitism before 1914;  race, science and imperial power;  Orientalism, Otherness and empire;  racial science in Europe from World War I to 1945;  and anti-racism in the postwar era.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
12:45-3:30           Monday                               Conklin, Alice

Assigned Readings (still tentative):
Robert Bernasconi and Tommy Lott (eds.), The Idea of Race
Michael Burleigh and Wolfgang Wippermann, The Racial State:  Germany 1933-1945
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks
Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man
Neil McMaster, Racism in Europe
George Mosse, Towards the Final Solution
Matti Bunzl, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: Hatreds Old and New in Europe
Andrew Zimmerma, Alabama in Africa: Booker T. Washington, the German Empire, and the Globalization of the New South
Marilyn Lake and Edward Reynolds, Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men's Countries and the International Challenge of Racial Equality

Regular attendance and participation in class; two papers (10-12 pages each).                                                                                                                                                                                                              


3 Cr. Hrs.             

This is a readings course that introduces the many ways that digital technologies are impacting the discipline of history and changing our practices: from the collection and preservation of primary sources, to the analysis of those documents with the aid of algorithms, to the representation of the past through digital means.  The seminar will be focused on data/text analytics, mapping, network analysis and visualization.  Most weeks, we’ll read important foundational texts and examine significant digital history projects, but in some weeks we’ll also learn to work with actual programs/applications, such as the Voyant Tools text analysis application.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
2:15-5:00              Monday                               Staley, Dave 



3 Cr. Hrs.

This research/writing seminar provides an opportunity to undertake an original research project that could serve as a thesis chapter or, perhaps, be revised for publication in a refereed journal, related to the field of military history, broadly defined. 

Our course will begin by discussing how to

1) conceptualize a viable research topic;
2) identify appropriate sources; and
3) develop the practical skills, methodological approaches, and interpretive frameworks required to deploy these materials to optimal effect. 

The remainder of the course will allow time for research, writing, and rewriting.  Seminarians will also receive regular constructive feedback from both the course instructor and each other.

Time                      Meeting Days                    Instructor
5:30-8:15              Wednesday                        Parker, Geoffrey

Assigned Readings:
Common readings will reflect the research interests of those who enroll.

Assignments :

  • Attend and participate in all group discussions;
  • Read and discuss all assigned readings;
  • Submit a research-based paper of between 25 and 50 pages by December 9, 2020.

Prerequisites and Special Comments:
Completion of a 7000 course (preferably but not necessarily in military history) is required, unless exempted by the course instructor.  Those who enroll are strongly encouraged to discuss their research topic with the course instructor before the end of spring semester, 2020, so that they can carry out some research over the summer.



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