Current Courses

The Department of History is conducting these courses for graduate students during Fall 2017.

This list is subject to change. All courses are restricted to History graduate students during registration. If you are from outside the department and wish to register in a course, please contact for further information.

Graduate Courses for Fall 2017

HIS 201I: Latin America

The Shining Path in Peru


R 4:10-7:00, 4202 SSH

Counts towards the Human Rights Designated Emphasis. 

This course will be a research seminar focused on the Shining Path insurgency in Peru. We will begin by reading some of the major works on the Shining Path, its emergence, repression, and aftermath. We will pose the classic questions--Why and how did it develop? Why Maoism? Why did it expand but fail? What was its impact on Peru? We will also probe the brutality of state repression, the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR), and different forms of memory. We will examine how authors understood the Shining Path in its early years and the development of "Senderology." 

In the final five classes, students will develop research projects. We will meet in workshop mode, presenting our progress and collaborating. Topics for the final paper should include original research. I would expect the topics to vary greatly. Some examples include comparative Maoism; a certain region and the insurgency (the CVR findings will be key); literature and the Shining Path; the development of human rights communities; how the media covered the rebellion; and more. Spanish is not mandatory. For example, someone could examine the New York Times' coverage or use material from WikiLeaks to study the role of the United States. I will help students' develop feasible research topics.

The grading will be based on a final paper. I will ask for and evaluate a review of one key source (3rd week) as well as a draft (8th) and short writing on selected readings. Participation will be fundamental.  

Reading List

  • Carlos Iván Degregori, How Difficult it is to be God

  • Lurgio Gavilán, When Rains become Floods

  • Jaymie Heilman, Before the Shining Path

  • Steve Stern, ed. Shining and Other Paths

  • CVR, Final Report/Informe Final

  • Santiago Roncagliolo, Red April

HIS 201X-001: World History

Religion and Ethnography in the Early Modern World


M 2:10-5:00, 2202 SSH

Cross-listed with RST 200A.

This seminar will explore the intertwined roots of the study of religion and ethnography in the early modern world (c. 1500-1800). Reading a combination of primary and secondary sources, we will examine how the concept of "religion" was redefined and new ideas about human nature and human difference were forged in the often violent context of the fragmentation of Western Christianity and encounters between Europeans and other peoples. Topics include early modern writing about Amerindians, missionary writing from India and China, European literature on Islam and Judaism, narratives of travelers and slave-raiders in Africa, the historicization of Christianity and the Bible, the emergence of cultural relativism, and Enlightenment debates about the nature of religion and the origins of civilization. The class will provide a historical foundation for understanding current debates about religion—is it a universal, transhistorical category or a distinctly modern and Western one?—and offer insight into the origins of some of the major theories and practices that have defined religious studies, anthropology, and sociology in modern times. 

History students can count this course toward most graduate fields upon approval of the instructor. This course is cross-listed with RST 200A, Historical Roots of the Study of Religion. For further information, please contact

HIS 202H-001: United States

The Forest: History, Literature, and the Environmental Humanities

Professor (co-taught with Prof. Michael Ziser, English)

M 9:00-11:50, 4202 SSH

Interdisciplinary seminar, team taught by faculty from History and English. Our aim is to introduce students to the methods of environmental history and literature with a set of readings about forests, primarily (but not exclusively) in North America. We will explore changing connections between people and the forest from a variety of perspectives, including not only history and literature, but the arts, philosophy, anthropology, geography, ecology, and the social sciences. Using the forest biome as a unifying focus, this seminar will take an environmental humanities approach to a range of key subjects in environmental history and representation: e.g. the archetypal symbolism of forests in hunter-gatherer and early agricultural societies, indigenous visions of the forest and the politics of indigenous dispossession, the European investment in the wood economy and the crises this engendered, the early development of the timber industry for imperial purposes, the meaning of the forest in early North American settlement cultures, the rise of professional forestry and the preservationist backlash against it, modern forestry and fire suppression in the US and abroad, the phenomenon of industrial tree farms and localized reforestation, environmental justice and the forest, among other topics.

Note: Open to graduate students from any UCD program.  Cross-listed as ENL 233; students may enroll through either department for credit.  Students should sign up for whichever version works best with the requirements of their particular program.  For English graduate students, the course fulfills the method requirement (historicism, environmental humanities) and may fulfill either the early or later national requirement, depending on the subject of the final paper.  For History students, the course fulfills American history seminar requirements. Seminar paper instructions will be tailored to the home discipline of the student, and participants from all programs on campus are welcome! 

HIS 204: Historiography


T 4:10-7:00, 4202 SSH

Seminar for first year students.