Dr. Bernard Cook

Bobet 427

Spring 2005




Office Hours:

MWF   10:30-11:15

MWF   12:30-1:15

MW     2:00-3:30

You are welcome to come by at other times as well.


The purpose of this course is to enable the student to develop a critical understanding of the nature of history and historical knowledge. The student will critically evaluate various approaches to the discipline and various theories concerning the meaning of history. This is a capstone course. It will measure the student's ability to understand critical material and draw on his/her historical knowledge when assessing theories of or about history. It will also give the student ample opportunity to express herself/himself cogently in discussion, in a formal presentation, and in a major research paper.


Required Reading:



Green, William A., History, Historians, and the Dynamics of Change

Jordanova, Ludmilla, History in Practice

Munslow, Alun. The Routledge Companion to Historical Studies [On reserve in the library].

Southgate, Beverley, History: What and Why?


You will be assigned topics from Munslow, Alun. The Routledge Companion to Historical Studies, which you will have to summarize clearly and succinctly for the class and dealing with which you will be expected to field questions. All others are expected to be prepared to ask questions and discuss.


This is a senior seminar. It will of its nature be demanding. You will be given a reading assignment for each class. It must be read, and you must be able to demonstrate your familiarity with and understanding of the assignment by asking and answering questions, pointing out pertinent examples and selections from the texts. You will be graded after each class on the basis of your preparation and participation.


Attendance at each class is required. Anyone not present for a class will receive a zero for that day regardless of the reason. The three lowest discussion grades including zeroes for lack of attendance will be dropped, but all absences will be counted. After four absences your final grade will be lowered six points for each additional unexcused absence.




Failure to attend=F

Failure to Participate=D

Inability to answer questions or make meaningful comments=F


Tentative Schedule:




10   Introduction

12   Read Southgate preface and ch 1.

14   Film: A two to three page typed reaction due January 19

17   Holiday.

19    From Munslow: All read Historiography. Read Southgate ch. 2.

21    From Munslow: Historical Imagination. Read Southgate ch. 3.        24    From Munslow: Historical Explanation. Read Southgate ch. 4.

26    From Munslow: Postmodernism. Read Southgate ch. 5.

28    From Munslow: Constructionist History. Read Southgate ch. 6.

31    From Munslow: Deconstructionist History. Read Jordanova Introduction.


2    From Munslow: Continental Philosophy. Read Jordanova ch. I

4    From Munslow: Author. Read Jordanova ch. 2.

7   Holiday.

9   Holiday.

11   Holiday   

14    From Munslow: Emplotment. Read Jordanova ch. 3.

16    From Munslow: Event. Read Jordanova ch. 4.

18   Film: A two to three page typed reaction due February 21

21    From Munslow: Evidence. Read Jordanova ch. 5.   

23    From Munslow: Facts. Read Jordanova ch. 6.

25    From Munslow: Linguistic Turn. Read Jordanova ch. 7.

28   From Munslow: Metanarrative and Narrative. Read Jordanova Postscript.


2    From Munslow: All read “History Today,” 1-20.

4    From Munslow: Roland Barthes and Hayden White. Read Green 1.

7    From Munslow: Jacques Derrida and Foucault. Read Green 2.

9   From Munslow: Enlightenment, Liberal Humanism, Vico . Read Green 3.

11    From Munslow: Teleology, Trope, Truth. Read Green 4

14   From Munslow: Hegel. Read Green 5

16   From Munslow: Kant. Read Green 6.

18   Read Green 7

21   Holiday

23   Holiday

25   Holiday

28   Holiday

30   Read Green 8 and 9


1   Film: A two to three page typed reaction due April 4

4   Presentations

6   Presentations

8   Presentations

11   Presentations

13   Presentations

15   Presentations

18   Presentations

20   Film: A two to three page typed reaction due April 23.

22   Film: A two to three page typed reaction due April 23.

23   Presentations

25   Presentations

27   Presentations

30   Presentations


2   Wrap-up

4   Wrap-up




You will be required to write a major research paper. I will provide you with a list of topics. No more than one person will be allowed to write on a particular topic. You are to delineate the main components of a person's philosophy of history or approach to/use of history. Some biography and historical context will be necessary to explain the background of the individual's thought. In a paper on an individual, there should be some critical analysis of the thinker and an assessment of the consequences of the thinker's philosophy or outlook. Quote from the thinker's works rather than draw quotes from secondary sources. (This means that you must utilize primary sources.)


The research paper should be no less than eighteen no more than twenty-two pages in length (18 to 22 pages of text exclusive of bibliography).


This paper must be done on a computer. This will enable you to incorporate the suggestions and corrections, which I will indicate on your first draft. The first draft will be graded, and a grade will be assigned to the second draft as well. No one will receive a passing grade for this course unless I have received both drafts of this paper and the first draft is returned with the revised revision.


The papers must be typed, and neatly done. Penciled or penned-in corrections are completely unacceptable. I will not accept anything less than a finished product. Any unacceptable paper will be penalized and returned for corrections, which must be done within 24 hours. Proper academic form (including end or footnotes) must be followed. Do not use in text notes; use full citations. (If you have any doubt about proper form consult the History Department's Style Sheet, available at the History Department and it's web site. This style sheet must be followed in every detail.) Correct spelling and grammar are expected. You will be graded on these as well as content and development. The papers are to be clear, coherent, well thought-out, and well developed. Needless to say, a research paper without end or footnotes is unacceptable. Plagiarism will result in an F for the course. Sequences of more than four words drawn from elsewhere or paraphrasing without footnotes indicating the source constitute plagiarism.


The research paper is due March 18. There will be no extensions; do not bother to ask. Treat your March 18 version as a finished final work. When your original paper is returned, you will be then required to give me both your corrected paper and the original by May 5 . You will be assigned a grade for each version. The first grade will weigh more heavily. You may be required to bring me copies of all the sources, which you use. Xerox the title page of each book and the first page of each article you cite and attach these to your first version when you hand it in.


You are to indicate to me your choice of a topic for the major paper by February 4. Only one person will be allowed to work on a topic, therefore make your choice early. You are to provide me with a typed tentative bibliography in proper bibliographical form and a typed paragraph indicating your proposed approach by February 16. There will be penalties for missing these deadlines.


Approximate Value of Work:



    First draft......……..67%

    Second draft...…….33%


Paper Presentation.................……10%

Munslow Presentation…………….5%


Paper Topics:

The Greek Concept of History         Reinhold Niebuhr and History     

Nicholas Berdyaev and History         Fernand Braudel and History   

Oswald Spengler and History         Wallerstein's World System Theory     

Roman Historiography         Will Durant and History       

De Gobineau, Chamberlain and History       The Annales School

von Ranke and History         Freud and History       

Carl Becker and History         Nietzsche and History

Michelet and History           The Historikerstreit

Macaulay and History           The Place of the Holocaust in History   

Henry Adams and History         Buttersworth and History       

Herder and History           Augustine and History

Collingwood and History         E.P. Thompson

Charles and Mary Beard and History       Edward Gibbon and History     

Fukuyama and "The End of History" Controversy   Carlyle and History     

The Peculiarity of German History: Sonderweg     

Immanuel Wallerstein's World System Theory




  “ Plagiarism—the use of another person's ideas or wording without giving proper credit—results from the failure to document fully and accurately. Ideas and expressions of them are considered to belong to the individual who first puts them forward. Therefore, when you incorporate ideas or phrasing from any other author in your paper, whether you quote them directly or indirectly, you need to be honest and complete about indicating the source to avoid plagiarism. Whether intentional or unintentional, plagiarism can bring serious consequences, both academic, in the form of failure or expulsion, and legal, in the form of lawsuits. Plagiarism is a violation of the ethics of the academic community.”


William G. Campbell, Stephen V. Ballou, and Carole Slade, Form and Style: Thesis, Reports, Term Papers , 6 th Edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1982), p. 52.


For more information on plagiarism and how to avoid it, go to :