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        212.229.5600 or 800.523.5411

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        Andrew Kuech

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

        Oz Frankel

        Senior Secretary
        Annie Huaraca

        Student Advisor
        Çagla Orpen

        Historical Studies Student Handbook (PDF)


    • 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 2019 courses include:

      • Violence/Repression/Revolution, GHIS 5177
        Federico Finchelstein, Professor of History

        This graduate course focuses on recent historical approaches to violence, repression, and revolution in modern and contemporary history, with special reference to recent developments in political history, dictatorship, fascism, and the politics of memory. The course approaches these topics from the perspective of Latin American and European history. The seminar also examines the contextual role of symbolic and explicit violence in critical theory and historiography.

      • The Death of Everything: The Postmodern Condition Revisited, GHIS 5232
        Jeremy Varon, Professor of History

        In the last decades of the 20th century, a specter haunted the intellectual and cultural life of the developed West: postmodernism. Adherents of a new, postmodern sensibility declared the project of Occidental modernity dead, with its great pillars lying in ruins: reason, rationality, the self, the author, ideologies of emancipation, all myths of progress, and the very idea of truth. The question burned: How were we to make sense and make the most of this brave new world? Could the postmodern condition be grasped as a “system”? Could it ever be transcended, whether by force of its own logic or by collective political will? Never fully answered, such questions faded from view. Interest in postmodernism has roared back to life with the characterization of Trump and other strongmen as “postmodern” leaders, reveling in a “post-truth” world. Left-wing intellectuals who promoted the postmodern turn are made to wonder if they had a hidden hand in today’s authoritarian condition. This indictment raises the questions: Just what was postmodernism? What have its effects and legacy been? How might a past bear responsibility for a future? This seminar approaches these questions by reconstructing postmodernism at its moment of inception. We examine seminal postmodern texts that set the terms of debate; look at exemplary instances of postmodern culture drawn from film, TV, media, art, and architecture; ask if postmodernism had, or implied, a “politics”; blend “deep play” with rigorous inquiry; and consider both negative and positive ways of understanding the legacy of postmodernism.

      • Gender, Politics, and History, GHIS 5233
        Elaine Abelson, Associate Professor of History

        This seminar explores various aspects of women's history and the history of gender in the United States over the past two centuries. The course stresses the themes of difference among women and between women and men as a means of examining the social construction of gender and the logic of feminist analysis and activity. Students discuss the major themes in gender history, develop critical and analytical skills, and become familiar with current and ongoing theoretical debates. The course analyzes such key conceptual and methodological frameworks as gender, class, sexuality, power, and race. Thematically organized, readings include both primary and secondary material. Students complete two papers and participate in student-led discussions. Cross-listed with Lang; open to juniors and seniors only.

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

        This course focuses on U.S. history as a means of exploring current permutations of historiographical interests, practices, and methodologies. Over the last few decades, U.S. history has been a particularly fertile ground for rethinking the historical, although many of the topics and themes explored have shaped the study of other nations and societies. U.S. history has been largely rewritten by a generation of scholars who lived through the 1960s and its aftermath and 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 U.S. historiography with unprecedented public resonance in a culture that had been notoriously amnesiac. We examine major trends and controversies in U.S. 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, and 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.

      • Nationalisms in the Middle East and South Asia, GHIS 6138
        Aaron Jakes, Assistant Professor of History

        This reading-intensive course will offer an introduction to the vast and ever-growing scholarly literatures on nationalism in the Middle East and South Asia. The course will cover both key theoretical works that have helped to shape this body of historical writing and important monographs that exemplify particular approaches to the topic. This is also a course about comparison, both as a historical practice and as a method of social-scientific inquiry. As we will see, the histories of colonial rule and of anticolonial nationalism in the two regions were at times closely intertwined. More recently, scholars studying the two regions have frequently drawn on insights from each other’s work. Our study of the global emergence of multiple nationalisms in the late 19th century will therefore allow us to think more broadly about what it means to study historical transformations in a comparative framework. Open to university graduate students; those outside of the major should seek permission from their program and the department offering the course.
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