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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Robert T Mckenzie
HIST 395
Seattle Campus

Modern Historical Writing, Honors Seminar

New types of problems examined by historians and new techniques that have evolved for solution. Brief historiographical introduction, reaching back to the "scientific" historians of the mid-nineteenth century, then continues by examining the impact on historians of new disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and economics, and of new techniques such as statistics and prosopography. Readings are in the theorists and in those who followed their lead. Admission by departmental invitation only.

Class description

HIST 395 is a seminar for honors students in history. It introduces students to historiography, the “study of the study of history.” The goal of the seminar is three-fold: 1) to acquaint students with the variety of ways in which historians have defined their craft; 2) to provide insight into the numerous factors that influence historians’ perceptions of the past; and 3) to introduce a broad range of approaches to historical analysis. We will begin with several general discussions (why should we study the past at all? what do historians do? what is their purpose in doing it? can they be objective? can one truly “know” the past? Is there a place for moral judgments in “scholarly” history?) and then move on to more focused discussions of specific topics drawn from U. S. history.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Small-group discussion facilitated by professor.

Recommended preparation

This course is restricted to students in the History department honors program.

Class assignments and grading

Class meetings center on group discussion of a wide range of articles and book chapters spanning the last century. Course grades will be based upon four short essays (5-6pp.) and regular participation in class discussions.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Robert T Mckenzie
Date: 01/29/2010