Theory and Methods

The purpose of the Theory and Methods course is twofold. First, to acquaint students with bodies of theory, often elaborated in disciplines allied to history, on subjects such as power and social structure, intellectual history and material culture, gender and violence, subjectivity and memory, which provide historians with a critical framework for their own empirical research. Second, to introduce students to a variety of historical methods which inform the design of their research project, such as different levels of historical enquiry between the micro and macro, the use of images or of concepts of space. Students are required to write an essay on an aspect of the theory or methods covered in the course which has significance for their own research project.

This element of the methods course will be taught in eight weekly classes, of which there will be several running in parallel, each of which will mix students studying different periods and places. There will be some assigned reading, but there will also be opportunities for students to consider the application of particular theories and methods to topics of special interest to them. Great emphasis will be placed upon class discussion, and on the creation of an intellectual community among students. The current expectation is that the topics covered will be chosen from the following list: