This course will provide you with opportunities to improve
in the following three areas of intellectual
In this course you will improve your knowledge of the events, historical actors, and transformative
trends in northern Europe from 1300-1800, particularly in the areas of state and society, social
structure; criminality, marginality, and society's attitudes towards them; warfare and state expansion; and economic change. You will gain information on these topics by reading, evalutating, discussing, and writing about the books and in-class readings assigned for the course.
Since this is a seminar in which our main goal will be to understand how different historians have
tried to understand complex historical phenomena, you will improve your ability to evaluate conflicting
interpretations of past events and issues. You will do this in two ways: 1) by contributing to discussions
in class, which is a major component of the course grade, and 2) by writing the working papers, reading quizzes, and
the historiographic paper that form the writing component of the course.
Historical Research Skills:
None of the writing in this course is research-oriented. Rather, the course is focused on how historians form, critique, and inter-relate historical interpretations (their own and those of their fellows). Thus, we will discuss how historians have tried to relate their work
to that of other historians (historiography); how they have used sources to explore the past (methodology); and how historians deal with the complex task of defining change, continuity, and the causes behind each. Thus, you will learn how to organize, synthesize, and present the complexities of a research field by examining and dicussing the work of a range of historians on several defined, major themes in the secondary literature on Northern Europe.
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