HIST 2291: The Historians’s Craft

The Historian’s Craft examines the evolution of history as a scholarly discipline, as well as questions surrounding its process and the analysis and application of historical source material and its interpretation. Topics include historiography, historical theory, concepts, methodology, fields, research skills, controversy and the overall history of historical thinking and writing.

The course guides students to competency in a variety of skills, which they gain by undertaking the following:

  • Read reflectively on the nature of historical inquiry and gain practice in critical evaluation of a variety of secondary source historical literature;
  • Understand and learn to identify and apply basic historical and history-related social science concepts;
  • Become broadly familiar with main stages of the history of historical thinking, research and writing, and with modern historical schools, movements, and fields;
  • Extend their information literacy by learning to use the tools of historical research available in libraries, archives, and online;
  • Gain experience in evaluating and interpreting various types of primary sources and other literary and physical historical materials;
  • Gain experience in organizing and presenting their findings in well-written, appropriately-cited response papers and in oral presentations;
  • Understand the nature and range of history as a profession and the training and activities of academic and other historians;
  • Understand the role and significance of history to current political dialogue and as an important component of cultural identity in a broader global context.

Collaborative Research Projects

Under the professor’s direction and supervision, each student contributes to the course’s Collaborative Research Project. This project requires students to select an individual aspect of the chosen subject, research it independently, and prepare an 800-word micro-history that will be digitally published. Guided research is undertaken in the Oboler Library and its Special Collections Department, where students receive first-hand primary source research experience!