History 300A – Historical Thinking

The objective of this course is to introduce the students of history to theory and theoretical works in the field. The course is less chronological and more theoretical. Each week we are going to cover a period or a school of history which is relevant and current to our discipline. We will also study and try to define what is history, why is there a need for historians and how did the discipline come about.

I not only like to cover the modern European historical tradition, but also Classical and Islamic historiographical traditions to convey a better sense of what history means to different societies and civilizations. The course will cover the various schools of history and historians, such as Classical Historiography (example Herodotus, Xenophon, Tacitus, etc.); Islamic Historiography (Tabari, Bal’ami); Early German Historiography (Van Ranke); Early French Historiography (Michellet); Annales School (Febvre, Le Goff, Nora, etc.); Micro History (Ginzburg); Soviet / Marxist Historiography (Marx, Most of the Russian Historians of the twentieth century); New Historicism (Greenblat); Semiotics (Eco); American Progressive History (Robinson, Beard, Becker); World Historians (Hodgson, McNeill).

We will have 14 meetings and so you should be present at every one of them. You should have read the assignments before hand and ready to discuss them. Remember we have a three-hour class in which you need to participate substantially. You need to write 7 review essays on each of the books which are required for the class which will be 70% of your grade. The other 30% will be based on an essay and presentation in which you discuss the historiography of an event or topic in history such as the “Fall of the Roman Empire;” “The Causes of the Civil War;” “The Impact of Spanish invasion of the Mesoamerica;” or “The Assassins in the Muslim World.”

  1. M. Bentley, Companion to Historiography, 2004.
  2. P. Burke, French Historical Revolution: The Annales School 1929-89, 2002.
  3. E. Gelner, Postmodernism, Reason and Religon, Routledge, 1997.
  4. E.H. Carr, What is History?, Vintage Books, 1961.
  5. C. Ginzburg, The Cheese and the Worms, John Hopkins University Press, 1992.
  6. A. Momigliano, The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography, UC Press, 1990.
  7. Ch. F. Robinson, Islamic Historiography, Cambridge, 2003.
  8. K. Windschuttle, The Killing of History, The Free Press, 1996.
  9. M. Bloch, The Historian’s Craft, Vintage Books, 1996.
  10. F. Braudel, Memory and the Mediterranean, Chicago University Press, 1996.
  11. T. Daryaee, 300A Historical Thinking Reader, Little Professor Text Books, 2001.

Week 1: (Aug 25) An Introduction to History and Historical Thinking

Week 2: (Sep 1) Ancient Historiography (Greek, Roman, Persian) Readings: H.E. Barnes, “Historical Writing Among the Greeks,” J.-P. Vernant & J. Gernet “Social History;” J.-P. Vernant, “Myth and Though Among the Greeks,” T. Daryaee, “History and Memory: The Construction of the Past in Late Antique Persia,” A. Momigliano, The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography.

Week 3: (Sep 8) Islamic Historiography Readings: S. Humphreys, “Bayhaqi and Ibn Taghrribirdi,” M.G. Hodgson, “The Unity of Later Islamic History,” M.G. Hodgson, “The Role of Islam in World History.” Ibn Khaldum, “Introduction.” Ch. F. Robinson, Islamic Historiography, Cambridge, 2003.

Week 4: (Sep 15) Aspects of Medieval Historiography Readings: Bloch, “Feudal Society,” Oakley, “The Medieval Experience,” E.H. Carr, What is History?

Week 5: (Sep 22) German Historians and the Beginning of Modern Historiography Readings: L. von Ranke, “On the Epochs of Modern History,” F. Nietzche, “The Use and Abuse of History,” J. Burckhardt, “On Fortune and Misfortune in History,”

Week 6: (Sep 29) Marxist and Post Soviet Historiography Readings: K. Marx & F. Engels, “The German Ideology.” Bloch, The Historian’s Craft.

Week 7: Preparation of Papers and Presentation

Week 8: (Oct 13) The French Annales School Readings: J. le Goff, “Mentalities: A History of Ambiguities,” Le Goff & P. Nora, “Constructing the Past,” M. Bloch, “The Historian’s Craft,” F. Braudel, “The Mediterranean World.” P. Burke, French Historical Revolution: The Annales School 1929-89, 2002.

  • History 300A – Historical Thinking image

    Professor: Touraj Daryaee
    Class Time: W 4:00-6:45
    Office Hours: MW 12:30-2:30 & By Appointment
    Office: Humanities 720B
    E-Mail: tdaryaee@fullerton.edu
    Telephone: ext. 3673

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