21H.931 | Spring 2003 | Undergraduate

Seminar in Historical Methods


The following texts are required for the course. Additional readings are listed by week in the table below.

Hegel, G. W. F., George W. F. Reason in History. Prentice Hall, 1953.

Braudel, Fernand. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II. University of California Press, 1996. [The book was originally published in French in 1949; the 1996 version is an English language reprint.]

Foucault, Michel. Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. [The book was initially published in French in 1975; the 1995 version is an English language reprint.]

1 Introduction Ash, Timothy Garton. “On the Frontier.” New York Review of Books (7 November 2002): 60-1.
2 What is an Archive? A Visit to the MIT Archives and Special Collections

Davis, Natalie Zemon. “Introduction.” In Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and Their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France. Stanford: 1987, pp. 1-6. (To be distributed in class.)

Starn, Randolph. “Truths in the Archives.” Common Knowledge 8 (Spring 2002): 387-401.

MIT Archives and Special Collections website.

Visit the websites for the Boston Athenaeum, the Massachusetts Historical Society, and the Massachusetts State Archives.

3   None
4 Presentation of Assembled Archive on MIT Student Life MIT DSpace Project
5 A Philosophy of History

Brief online biography of Hegel.

Hegel, G. W. F. Reason in History, pp. 3-95.

6 The Storming of the Bastille and the History of Republican France

Ch. 4: “Paris and the Politics of Rebellion.” On the website Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution. Read the text on the first page, and click on all texts and images in the left margin. On page 2, review all 10 images linked to the left-hand image icon entitled “Destroying a Hated Symbol of Oppression.”

Carlyle, Thomas. The French Revolution, pp. 195-209. [First published in 1837]

Michelet, Jules. History of the French Revolution. Translated by Charles Cocks, pp. 161-80. [First published in French in 1847]

Rudé, Georges. The Crowd in the French Revolution, pp. 45-60. [First published in 1959]

Amalvi, Christian. “Bastille Day: From Dies Irae to Holiday.” In Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past. Vol 3. Under the direction of Pierre Nora. English language edition edited and with a foreword by Lawrence D. Kritzman. Translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Edited by Pierre Nora, pp. 117-59. [First published in Frenchca. 1990]

7 The Turner Thesis and United States History

Turner, Frederick Jackson. “The Significance of the Frontier in American History.” 1891.

Smith, Henry Nash. “The Myth of the Garden and Turner’s Frontier Hypotheses.” In Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth. 1950, pp. 291-305.

Hofstadter, Richard. “The Frontier as an Explanation.” In The Progressive Historians: Turner, Beard, Parrington. 1968, pp. 118-64.

Limerick, Patricia Nelson. “Introduction.” In The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West. 1987, pp. 17-32.

8 Writing Workshop Strunk & White, The Elements of Style
9 The Longue Durée. Braudel, Fernand. The Mediterranean. Vol. I, pp. 13-53, 168-230, 295-312, 394-418. (and skim the rest!)
10 Micro-Technologies of Power Foucault, Michel. Discipline & Punish, pp. 3-228, 293-308.
11   None
12 A Return to the Anecdote?

Darnton, Robert. “The Great Cat Massacre.” In The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History.

Mah, Harold. “Suppressing the Text: The Metaphysics of Ethnographic History in Darnton’s Great Cat Massacre.” History Workshop 31 (Spring 1991): 1-20.

Two French documents in translation:

  1. The Coachman’s Bare Rump, Archives nationales, Paris, Y13772, papers of the commissaires de Paris, Procs-verbal dated 22 January 1763 (PDF).
  2. The Coachman’s Bare Rump, Archives Nationales, Paris, Y13772, Papers of the commissaries de Paris, Follow-up investigations by Commissioner Thiot, 10-17 February 1763 (PDF).

13 Individual Consultations w/Instructor  
14 Oral Presentations  

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2003
Learning Resource Types
Written Assignments