Thematic Minor Fields

A thematic minor field should be defined by the student in consultation with both the major and the minor field advisor.  For their departmental minor field some students may choose to pursue one of the following established thematic fields that crosses geographic areas and sectional lines.  All minor fields require a minimum of 9 credits of relevant course work.  In addition, some thematic minors have “gateway” courses or additional seminar requirements.

Atlantic History / Gender History / Legal History / Religious History / World History

Atlantic History

Both Ph.D. and M.A. students have the option of completing a comparative field in Atlantic history. For Ph.D. students this field constitutes the Inside Minor Field. For the purposes of these minor fields, “Atlantic History” is defined as the study of the interactions and interrelations between peoples and cultures around the Atlantic rim (including South America and the Caribbean, North America, Africa, Europe, and the islands of the Atlantic Ocean).

Course Requirements for the Inside Minor Field in Atlantic History
Ph.D. students must complete the normal departmental requirements for a Ph.D. in History, with these specific provisions:
• 12-18 hours in major field (AFH, AMH, EUH, or LAH).
• 12 hours in approved Atlantic courses including “Readings in Atlantic History” and courses in at least two of the following areas: AFH, AMH, EUH, LAH.

If a seminar is not focused exclusively on Atlantic history, a student may still include it toward the required course work for the minor field provided that the final paper for the seminar focuses on a topic in Atlantic history.


Gender History

As is the case with the other minor fields, students select a faculty member to represent the minor field and serve on the student’s supervisory committee.  The chair of the supervisory committee (i.e. the student’s dissertation director) may not serve in the additional role of supervisor of the minor field.

In preparation for the qualifying examination, the student should meet with the minor field advisor to prepare a reading list, upon which s/he will be examined.   That list, which is generally organized in four or five topical sections, usually consists of roughly 50 to 60 titles.  The reading lists are tailored to the student’s individual interests while also ensuring a breadth of reading beyond the student’s more narrowly defined research field.  As with all Departmental Minor Fields, at least half of the titles must focus on a geographic area outside of the student’s major field (these could include theoretical works that do not have a clear geographic focus).
Legal History

The Department of History and the College of Law offer a program in legal history leading to either the M.A. in legal history, a Minor Field in Legal History (for Ph.D. students), or a joint Ph.D. degree in history and the J.D. in law. For a more detailed description of the Legal History Program see Dr. Dale’s web page.

The PhD minor requires three (3) seminar cycle in legal history. This cycle has three components:

1. Law in history seminar: This seminar is intended to expose students to the fundamental principle of modern legal history: that law and legal systems exist in a particular historical context. Seminars that fulfill this requirement may be nationally based or focused on a particular, suitably broad historical topic that traces out over time how different laws shaped and reflected society and society shaped and reflected laws.

2. Theory/methods seminar: This seminar is intended to expose students to the different theoretical and methodological approaches brought to bear on modern legal history. This seminar is intended to provide the methodological foundation for the work students do in their other legal history seminars, and for their thesis work in legal history, but it need not be taken first in the sequence.

3. Comparative legal history: This seminar is intended to expose students to comparative/ transnational legal study, an area that is firmly rooted in the history of legal.

Students may take the seminars listed above in any sequence. An independent study or trailer may be substituted with the approval of the grad coordinator and legal history coordinator.

Students taking legal history as their departmental inside minor field must also take a written examination in the field. It will be administered as a 24-hour take-home exam that will be given by an examining committee composed of two professors from the legal- history group, one of whom will be the student’s departmental inside minor-field advisor. In the event that the student took legal history seminars from only one professor in the legal-history group, a second member of the legal-history group will be chosen by the grad coordinator and legal-history coordinator to serve as the second reader. One of the two legal-history faculty members who conducted the student’s departmental inside minor-field examination will serve as the departmental inside minor-field member on the student’s dissertation committee.

Students who have questions about specific requirements should contact the legal-history coordinator.

Religious History

Drawing from the department’s strengths in religious history, students may construct a minor field that complements their dissertation research and/or supports undergraduate teaching.  A minor field in religious history requires a minimum of 9 credits of relevant course work.  3 credits must be taken outside the student’s major field, and no more than 3 credits may be taken as an independent study.  As is the case with the other minor fields, students select a faculty member to represent the minor field and serve on the student’s supervisory committee.  The chair of the supervisory committee (i.e. the student’s dissertation director) may not serve in the additional role of supervisor of the minor field.

In preparation for the qualifying examination, the student should meet with the minor field advisor to prepare a reading list, upon which s/he will be examined.   That list, which is generally organized in four or five topical sections, usually consists of roughly 50 to 60 titles.  The reading lists are tailored to the student’s individual interests while also ensuring a breadth of reading beyond the student’s more narrowly defined research field.  To qualify as a minor field at least half of the titles must focus on a chronological period and/or geographic area outside of the student’s major field.  (These could include theoretical works that do not have a clear geographic focus.)

Recent thematic minor fields in religious history have included:  Religion in Late Antiquity, Twentieth-Century African Religion, Medieval Religion, Historiography of Race and Religion, Modern Jewish History, the Reformation.  See the department’s Religion cluster page for more information about faculty and seminars in this area. If a seminar is not focused exclusively on religious history, a student may still include it toward the required course work for the minor field provided that the final paper for the seminar focuses on a topic in religious history.

 

World History

World history is a thriving field in our profession. Evidence of its growing significance and widespread popularity comes from all quarters. A growing number of job ads seek candidates who are qualified to teach world history. Academic publishers are looking for books with comparative and global approaches, new journals have been established, and the most established journals – such as the American Historical Review and the Journal of American History – increasingly feature work with a transnational focus.

To earn a minor field in World history, students must complete 9 hours in approved World history courses.

They must take at least one “gateway” course that may be topical but must also include readings on and discussions of the theory and practice of world history. If an appropriate seminar is not being offered, they must arrange to complete an independent study with a faculty member working in world history (Campos, Caputo, Dale, Esenwein, Finkel, Harland-Jacobs, Jacobs, Newman, White).

They may also the following automatically approved courses:

AMH 6516 Readings in International History, M. Jacobs
EUH 5934 Atlantic History and Beyond, J. Harland-Jacobs
EUH 5934 Empires, J. Harland-Jacobs
EUH 5934 Europe and the World, 1350-1750
HIS 6416: Problems in Comparative Legal History, E. Dale

Undergraduate courses to which graduate trailers may be added:

ASH 3931 Introduction to Islamic Civilization, M. Campos
MEM 3003 The Medieval World
WOH 3043 The World Since 1945
WOH 3203 Africans in World History
WOH 3205 History of Human Rights
WOH 3242 The United States and the Contemporary World
WOH 4204 Modern Masculinities in Global Perspective
WOH 4243 The Cold War and Decolonization
WOH 4254 Nations and Nationalism
WOH 4264 Empires and Imperialism

Or they may take courses approved by the WOH section on a semester-by-semester basis, depending on:
-instructor’s interest
-a minimum of two books written from a world historical perspective
-a requirement that the student writes a major paper (historiographical or research) on a world historical topic
Students minoring in world history will, where possible, be placed in Teaching Assistantships in the field of WOH and/or outside the student’s major field (e.g. ASH, AFH, EUH, LAH).