Historical Methods and Sources: Latin American History

Term: Spring 2009

Subject Code: GPOL

Course Number: 6134

Historical Methods and Sources consists of a pair of linked seminars designed to orient students to historical inquiry and equip them to undertake the writing of an MA thesis on a historical topic. Historical Methods and Sources I aims toward three specific learning outcomes: to develop fluency in several current models of historical practice; to develop the practical skills necessary for locating and interpreting primary historical sources; and to compose a proposal for an MA thesis that will be completed during the second semester of the two-semester sequence. With these goals in mind, the midterm assignment is a 10-page �document collection� essay requiring students to collect, paraphrase, and contextualize five historical documents gathered from New York City libraries or archives. The final paper is a thesis proposal�a 15-page document sketching out the student�s topic and preliminary hypothesis, as well as the student�s sources and their locations. Weekly readings from the instructor's area of expertise (Latin American history) are chosen to illustrate essential genres of historical writing (e.g. cultural, social, political, diplomatic, women's history) and theoretical perspectives (e.g. Habermasian histories of public spheres, Foucaultian histories of crime and punishment). The course is not intended to be a survey of the historiography of Latin America, but it will provide a sampling of important trends in the recent historiography of Latin America. Please note: the written work in this class will deal with topics from students' own areas of interest, and will not necessarily correspond to the course's thematic emphasis on Latin America. This course fulfils the qualitative methods requirement for an MA in political science. This course is the first of a pair of seminars (with a single course number) meant to be taken during a student�s second year in the Historical Studies MA program. This course is also a requirement for PhD students who enter the joint doctoral program in Historical Studies without having been in a master�s program at The New School for Social Research. Students register for the Fall and Spring sections of the course separately. The Fall section of the course is a prerequisite for the Spring section


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