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        The New School for Social Research
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        79 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
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        212.229.5600 or 800.523.5411

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        Rylee Carillo-Waggoner

        Committee on Historical Studies
        80 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor
        New York, NY 10011
        Tel: 212.229.5100 x3385
        Fax: 212.229.5929

        Oz Frankel

        Department Contact

        Student Advisor
        Julián Gómez-Delgado

        Historical Studies Student Handbook


    • Courses in the Department of Historical Studies explore what happened in the past to understand what's happening now. Students study the most important theories of the discipline and learn to rethink accepted foundations through a modern lens. Ideas are explored through research, reading, writing, and discussion.

      Please consult the New School Course Catalog for a full list of courses. Fall 2021 courses include:

      • Peripheries, Frontier, and the Outsides of Historical Capitalism, GHIS 5240
        Aaron Jakes, Assistant Professor of History

        Any argument that capitalism is historically specific implies that this complex object—whether construed as a mode of production, a form of life, or an institutionalized social order—has some kind of boundaries in both time and space. Ever since social theorists began to suggest that capitalism “has a history,” they have been arguing about when it began and about what lies beyond the edges of the capitalist world. Those debates about its historical and geographic “outsides” have, in turn, proven crucial to critical analysis of capitalism itself. This reading-intensive course will cover a range of classic works that represent distinctive positions on these questions of periodization, transition, and bounding as well as more recent scholarship that seeks to reframe these questions from the standpoint of our own crisis-ridden historical present. Readings will include texts by Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Leon Trotsky, Paul Baran, Paul Sweezy, Robert Brenner, Immanuel Wallerstein, Frank Perlin, Giovanni Arrighi, Robert Brenner, David Harvey, Maria Mies, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Vinay Gidwani, Timothy Mitchell, Nancy Fraser, and Jason Moore.

      • Women's Intellectual History, GHIS 5313
        Gina Walker, Professor of Women's Studies

        Women’s Intellectual History complements and corrects the traditional narrative of Western thought by and about mainly men. We ask, what are the historical assumptions about the connections between women’s sexuality and their learning, beginning with the Ancients? What role did religion and “Natural Philosophy” play in facilitating or limiting women’s access to education? How did continuing debate over whether the mind “has sex” influence the cultural roles for which women should be educated? Was there a causal relation between la querelle des femmes and the diffusion of l’égalité des sexes, first proposed by Cartisian Poullain de la Barre? We examine the texts, contexts, and new information about earlier “learned ladies” that feminist scholarship has recovered over the past forty years: Enheduanna, Sappho, Diotima, Aspasia, Hypatia, early Christian martyr Vibia Perpetua, Hildegard of Bingen and her 12th century contemporary, Heloise, the erotic trobaritz, and Christine de Pizan’s political visions of a “City of Ladies.” We ask, did women have the same “Renaissance” as men? We read Tullia d’Aragona, Veronica Franco, and Gaspara Stampa, female humanists, “honorable courtesans,” and poets in 16th-century Venice who develop Neo-Platonist ideas of their own. We consider Elizabeth I of England as an Early Modern humanist “prince,” one of “the monstrous regiment of women rulers" in Europe, and a beacon of clusters of Early Modern women thinkers. We scrutinize new critical perspectives, for example, an enlightened “republic of women,” to elucidate disputes in current theory and historiography about a lineage of earlier “feminists” and what we have inherited from them.

      • The Politics and Poetics of Infrastructures, GHIS 5520
        Emma Park, Assistant Professor of History

        From roads networks to electricity grids, infrastructures are often taken to be the invisible background of social life. On this framing, networked infrastructures are the apolitical substratum of modernity itself. In this course, by contrast, we will explore infrastructures as complex assemblages of power and politics. In the first half of the course, we will begin by reviewing the now-classic texts on infrastructures coming out of the humanities and social sciences. The second half of the course will be devoted to setting these ideas and theorizations in motion by tracking the infrastructural politics that have animated social, political, and economic life in the global south. Drawing these literatures together, we will query how starting a discussion of infrastructures from these other geographies has opened up new questions about the materiality of politics, power, and the making of subjectivities. Drawing on literature in history, Science and Technology Studies (STS), anthropology, and geography, we will analyze the complex and unexpected ways that infrastructures have been mobilized as vectors of power, objects of political concern, and networks of poetic meaning-making.

      • Historiography and Historical Practice, GHIS 6133
        Oz Frankel, Associate Professor and Chair of History

        This course focuses on US history to explore current permutations of historiographical interests, practices, and methodologies. Over the last few decades, US history has been a particularly fertile ground for rethinking the historical although many of these topics and themes have shaped the study of other nations and societies. American history has been largely rewritten by a generation of scholars who experienced the 1960s and its aftermath and have viewed America's past as a field of inquiry and contestation of great political urgency. Identity politics, the culture wars, and other forms of organization and debate have also endowed US historiography with unprecedented public resonance in a culture that had been notoriously amnesic. We examine major trends and controversies in American historiography, the history of the historical profession, the emergence of race and gender as cardinal categories of historical analysis, popular culture as history, the impact of memory studies on historical thinking, the recurrent agonizing over American exceptionalism, as well as the current efforts to break the nation-state mold and to globalize American history. Another focus will be the intersection of analytical strategies borrowed from the social sciences and literary studies with methods of historicization that originated from the historical profession. This course should be taken during a student's first year in the Historical Studies program.

      • Documentalities: The Politics of Proof, GHIS 6232
        Ann Stoler, Willy Brandt Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and History 

        Documents are cultural artifacts with lives and itineraries of their own. While historians treat documents as the grist of their historiographic labors, they have often neglected to reflect on the content lodged in particular documentary forms. Anthropologists, on the other hand, once steered clear of documents altogether, passively, sometimes aggressively sharing Claude Levi-Strauss contention that ethnology defines itself by the study of “what is not written.” Neither of these postures and approaches holds today. Over the last decade there has been an explosion in attention both to visual and written archives, to “paper trails,” to “paper empires” and to the Latin root of documentation, docere, to the coercive and curative “teaching” task that documents and new forms of documentation perform that in turn challenge the criteria of credibility, evidence, and proof. In this seminar, we will look at the wide-range of fields and disciplines in which the nature of documentation has come into analytic focus and creative question. Our focus will be in part on what constitutes a document and the varied “hierarchies of credibility” to which different kinds of documentation are subject and dismissed or valorized as reliable proof. Not least, we’ll address how documents create the realities which they only ostensibly describe. Principles of organization, visual vs. written vs. verbal vs. digital forms of documentation are assigned different values, degrees of proof under specific conditions and at different times. Under the assault of the coronavirus, the graphic has been a crucial form of fact production, proof, dissemination of knowledge and site where the political is being played out and inequities of right and resource are fought over and challenged. Systems of storage and retrieval, forms of reproduction, technological innovation -- all shape the political forces to which they rise. Documentation can be vital technologies of rule in themselves, the apparatus that shape and permeate our lives.

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