Ari and I are teaching the methods and philosophy seminar for incoming graduate students, all fields of history. If you’re interested, please have a look below the fold to see what we’ve assigned.

This seminar covers the history, philosophy and methods of the historical profession. We are concerned in approximately equal measure with reading and considering the mainstream descriptive and prescriptive work on academic inquiry in general and historical inquiry in particular, and with considering the limit cases where norms have clearly broken down.

What it is that we do.

Novick, Peter. That Noble Dream: The “Objectivity Question” and the American Historical Profession.

Framing a question.

Ferguson, Niall, ed. Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals.

Thinking as a group activity.

Kuhn, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Popper, Karl. The Poverty of Historicism.

Big history, small history.

Ginzburg, Carlo. The Cheese and the Worms.

Landes, David S. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations.


The editors of Lingua Franca, eds. The Sokal Hoax: The Sham that Shook the Academy.

Comparative and transnational.

Fredrickson, George M. White Supremacy: A Comparative Study in American and South African History.

Linebaugh, Peter and Marcus Rediker. The Many-headed Hydra: The History of the Revolutionary Atlantic.

Hill, Alette Olin and Boyd H. Hill, Jr. “Marc Bloch and Comparative History.” American Historical Review 85, no. 4 (October 1980): 828-846.

Dealing with deceivers.

Evans, Richard J. Telling Lies about Hitler: The Holocaust, History, and the David Irving Trial.

NOVA. “Holocaust on Trial.” Video will be made available.

Historians behaving well and badly.

Bloch, Marc. The Historian’s Craft.

Hoffer, Peter. Past Imperfect.