Jeremy S. Roethler
Introduction to the discipline of history for new or prospective majors. Emphasizes the basic skills of reading, analysis, and communication (both verbal and written) that are central to the historian's craft. Each seminar discusses a different subject or problem.
HISTORY AND NARRATIVE: GERMAN JEWS, CATHOLICS AND PROTESTANTS, 1800-1945
This course is designed as an intensive introduction to the study of history for students who have recently declared their intent to be history majors. Broadly, the course will study how historians, such as scholars, artists and filmmakers, narrate and represent history, surveying specifically relations between Jews, Catholics and Protestants in Germany from roughly 1800 to 1945, with sustained focus on the early decades of the 20th Century. Our course materials will include: an investigative study of a ritual murder charge leveled against a Jewish butcher in a small eastern German town at the turn of the 20th Century; a classic scholarly survey of the German Catholic Church and its role during the Hitler era; a film dealing with the frustrated efforts of one German Catholic (and Nazi officer) to alert the Vatican to the extermination of Jews during the Holocaust; a comic strip, narrating the story of the Holocaust and relations between Jews and Christians in Germany and by ordering areas; several short scholarly articles investigating relations between Jews, Catholics and Protestants both at the local (rural) and German national levels. While sampling different forms of narration and representation deployed by historians to engage complex and controversial subject matter, we will consider questions such as: (1) what questions do historians ask; (2) what forms of narration and representation are conducive to relating particular kinds of stories or engaging particular kinds of questions; (3) how do historians frame the geographic and chronological scope of their intended investigations; (4) what sources do historians use and how do they interrogate and manage these sources; (5) what do historians tell and what do they purposefully omit; (6) how do historians relate and speak to the work of other historians? In addition to focusing on historical and narrative method, the course will examine issues such as racial, national and religious identity and how they intersected during the Holocaust and its pre-history in Germany.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This is the junior-level methodology course for history majors.
Class assignments and grading
3 medium-length (3-5 pages) papers (60%). 1 collaborative student presentation (20%). Participation (20%).