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    Ethan Dunn

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

    Jeremy Varon (fall 2022)

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    Tahera Tajbhai

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    Julián Gómez-Delgado

    Historical Studies Student Handbook

  • Admission

  • 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. Spring 2023 courses include:  

    The Worlds Money Makes, GHIS 5003
    Emma Park, Assistant Professor of History 

    Despite claims to the contrary, money has never functioned merely as a means of exchange, unit of account, or store of value. This course begins by exploring theories of money—we dive into various approaches to understanding not only what money is but why money exists and what money does. The second half of the course sets these theories in motion. We explore historical case studies across time that are global in scope, investigating the relationship between money and power by homing in on the role of money in consolidating and and contesting imperial formations and in enacting and reproducing relations of inequality along the intersecting lines of class, gender, race, and ethnicity.

    20th-Century World History, GHIS 5004
    Eli Zaretsky, Professor of History

    In this coursem we explore the broad outlines of the history of the 20th century, which Eric Hobsbawm termed “the age of extremes.” Our main theme is the interplay of war and revolution. World War I (1914–1919) released unprecedented mass political forms including fascism, communism, ultra-nationalism, and movements for national independence. World War II (1939–1945) and the Cold War (1945–1989) produced an era of tenuous American hegemony that barely contained the revolutionary forces released by World War I. Throughout the entire era, the center of gravity of the world economy and politics shifted gradually toward Asia and especially China, to which we devote special attention. Works to be studied include those of Mark Mazower, Adam Tooze, Giovanni Arrighi, John Dower, Timothy Snyder, and Masao Maruyama. 

    Donald Trump as History, GHIS 5005
    Oz Frankel, Associate Professor of History

    Donald Trump’s improbable journey from the Trump Tower to the White House is often described as without precedent. Yet Trump’s campaign and presidency have reworked familiar themes in U.S. history: nativism, populism, the politics of nostalgia, politics as spectacle, and the recurrent efforts to rejuvenate or re-masculinize American society. The seminar revisits these topics in some detail as it critically explores diverse historical frameworks and perspectives available for understanding the Trump phenomenon. Conversely, we ask in what way Trump’s presidency alters our view of history and requires new historical thinking about the American political system, public sphere, and ideology and the relationship between process and individual actors in history. 

    Dictatorship in History and Theory, GHIS 5304
    Federico Finchelstein, Professor of History, and Andreas Kalyvas, Associate Professor of Politics

    This seminar examines the conceptual and political history of dictatorship. It traces its origins in antiquity but is especially focused on modern notions and historical cases of dictatorship, from Bonapartism to fascism and Cold War dictatorships in Latin America and Europe. We treat dictatorship as a central yet evolving borderline concept through which we can explore and interrogate the themes of emergency rule, state of exception, revolution, and the making of the modern state by emphasizing the relationship between power, sovereignty, law, sedition, war, and violence. The seminar also focuses on the justifications that have informed theories of dictatorship in an attempt to elucidate and reconstruct the broader paradigm of politics that became associated with this concept. We also critically investigate the historical impact of the concept and the practice of dictatorship in terms of violence and its antagonistic relation to democracy. 

    Historical Methods and Sources, GHIS 6134
    Natalia Mehlman-Petrzela, Associate Professor of History

    Historical Methods and Sources offers theoretical perspectives on and practical training in historical research, writing, and representation. We begin by exploring debates surrounding what history is: a mode of narrative, a form of textuality, and a set of relationships to the past. The remainder of the course provides hands-on training in what historians do: identify archives; locate, choose, and interpret primary sources; place research in its relevant intellectual and scholarly contexts; assess the existing literature; review books; design research; and intervene in historiographic debates by crafting original arguments. Individual projects are tailored to students' research interests, building toward (or expanding on) work on their MA theses. This course is mandatory for all Historical Studies master's students and all PhD students doing joint programs in history, but it is open to all NSSR graduate students who are interested in historical research and methodology. 

    Master's Thesis Seminar, GHIS 6500 
    Claire Potter, Professor of History

    This course is mandatory for second-year graduate students in history and is designed to help prepare them for writing their theses. Students are expected to have already prepared materials for their thesis before taking the class and should be on course for completing their thesis by the end of the semester.

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