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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

George K Behlmer
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 goals of this seminar are threefold: 1) to acquaint students with the numerous ways in which historians have defined their craft; 2) to provide insight into the many theoretical, cultural, and personal factors that shape historians' perceptions of the past; and 3) to introduce a broad range of approaches to historical analysis.

Student learning goals

Goal #1: To become more discerning about the social, political, cultural, and economic forces that have shaped how historians view the past.

Goal #2: To grapple with the issue of what constitutes "progress" in historical research and writing.

Goal #3: To become a more persuasive writer.

General method of instruction

This course will use a seminar format--meaning that substantial responsibility will rest with students for initiating and sustaining class discussions.

Recommended preparation

This seminar is limited to undergraduates who either already have enrolled in the Honors Program in History or will be doing so in the very near future.

Class assignments and grading

This is a reading and discussion course. The instructor will not lecture; instead, students will assume much of the responsibility for organizing and sustaining the weekly two-hour discussions. The instructor will, however, offer detailed critiques of all written work.

Approximately 25% of the course grade will hinge on the quality of a student's seminar participation. The remaining 75% of the course grade will be derived from three analytical essays, two of them short papers (roughly 5 pages) and one a longer book review (roughly 10 pages).


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 George K Behlmer
Date: 04/10/2008