University of Florida Homepage

Undergraduate Practicums (3942s) & Seminars (4930s)

Spring 2021

Click here for the History Practicums (3942s)

History Practicums (3942s)

Students must register for a History Practicum as early as possible in their program of study. Contact Professor Heather Vrana ( or Professor Harland-Jacobs ( if you have questions or concerns.

Professor Anton Matytsin
Tuesdays 11:45-1:40 pm / Thursdays 12:50-1:40 pm
Class Numbers: face-to-face 13913 or online 28382
The Age of Revolutions

This course will introduce students to the basic goals of historical study and help them develop skills necessary to become productive researchers, critical readers, and effective writers. It will operate on two levels. First, as other history courses, it will be organized a central theme. This semester, we will be exploring a period known as the Age of Revolutions, stretching from the 1770s to 1840s. It was a period during which radical citizens and reforming governments transformed social orders, reshaped ruling structures, and rethought the very foundations of political power. We will focus in particular on the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, and the Revolutions of 1848 around Europe. The turbulent nature of these events provides us with a broad range of primary sources and a variety of historical interpretations, making it a particularly fascinating and fruitful period to study. Second, while students examine these events, they will also develop skills that will make them successful history majors. These include identifying relevant primary sources; critically evaluating evidence; understanding different historical interpretations and historiographical debates; posing productive research questions; and perfecting research and writing skills. Students will thus come away from the course with an improved understand of the Age of Revolutions the tools necessary to excel in other history classes they will take in the department.


Professor Louise Newman
Mondays / Wednesdays / Fridays 1:55-2:45 pm
Class Numbers: face-to-face 13939 or online 28385
U.S. Contemporary Crises

The course traces continuities in political, economic and cultural events that have garnered headlines over the last ten years, posing a basic question: how can past events help us understand present-day events?  Topics will be drawn from the following list:  the nation’s role in global affairs, political scandals, economic crises, environmental and health concerns, racial/class inequities and Covid-19 pandemic.


Professor Max Deardorff
Mondays/ Wednesdays / Fridays 12:50-1:40 pm
Class Numbers: face-to-face 13938 or online 28387
Conquest of Mexico

In 1521, the great imperial city of Tenochtitlan fell to a small group of Spanish conquistadors, ending Aztec rule in Mesoamerica.  But how did so few men bring down such a great empire? In this course, students will engage with the tools of the historian as they dig for truth. Who was responsible for the Aztecs’ defeat? What factors – military, social, environmental, and cultural—played a role in the outcome? Did all parties involved tell the same story of the event?

Click here for the History Research Seminars (4930s)

Research Seminars (4930s)

Please note that most of the SP21 seminars can meet multiple areas of the geographic distribution requirement, including some for which the seminar is not officially listed. Contact Professor Heather Vrana ( or Professor Harland-Jacobs ( if you have questions or concerns.



Professor Ben Wise
Mondays 1:55-4:55 pm
Class Numbers:  face-to-face 22787 or online 28293
The Making of Modern American

This course is an in-depth exploration of the emergence of modern America in the late 19thand early 20thcenturies. Situated between Reconstruction and the Great Depression, how might we best understand this period?  The period witnessed both radical experimentation and conservative retrenchment; an enormous accumulation of wealth and grinding poverty; hopes for peaceful democracy and political violence, racial violence, and world war.   While complex historical developments have been reduced to labels such as “The Gilded Age,” “The Jim Crow Era,” or even “Modern America,” we will seek to develop a more nuanced portrait of American life in this time.

Looking at historical literature written about the United States during this period, this senior seminar will closely explore what historians have argued about the central developments of the era—in culture, society, and politics—to better understand the emergence of “modern America.” The course will focus on several animating questions: What exactly is “modernity” in the context of American history? In what ways did individuals seek to make meaning, find moral guidance, and maintain cultural traditions in an age of increasing secularization, mobility, urbanization, and pluralization? What was the role of violence in social change?  How did the relationship between the individual and society change in this period? The readings in the course will expose to students to the main themes of the period, and students will develop a final research paper using original, primary sources.


Professor Sean Adams
Tuesdays 1:55-4:55 pm
Class Numbers: face-to-face 10520 or online 29057
Railroads in American Life

This research seminar explores the role that railroads played in the economic, social, and cultural development of the United States. From their origins in the early 19th century through their decline during the era of the automobile, the railroad served as an engine of development, a symbol of mobility, an agent of colonialism, and much more.  Railroads could knit the nation together and conquer time and space; they also could provoke violent strikes, inspire anger among farmers, and serve as a magnet for criminals, hucksters, and unsavory elements looking for a fast getaway.   The railroad therefore was much more than a transport device, it was an American icon.



 Professor James Gerien-Chen
Wednesdays 12:50-3:50 pm
Class Number: online 28295
Pacific Empires & Migrations

This Research Seminar will examine the role that empires, migrations, and race played in shaping the Pacific and modern worlds. We will trace how networks of people, ideas, and institutions linked different parts of the Pacific world in the 19th and 20th centuries through comparative, transnational, and global history approaches. Readings and research will draw on primary archival materials and secondary scholarship from North American, Latin American, and Asian history and indigenous, ethnic, and cultural studies, and students will be encouraged to develop new paradigms for understanding the Pacific world beyond those offered by national or imperial histories. Themes covered include nature and the environment, migration and diaspora, race, settler colonialism and indigeneity, and war and militarism.


Professor Jessica Harland-Jacobs
Wednesdays 1:55-4:55 pm
EUH Class Number: online 28365
WOH Class Number: online 29206
Colony, Empire, World: British East Florida, 1760s-1780s

At the conclusion of the Seven Years’ War in 1763, Spain ceded the vast, sparsely settled territory of Florida to George III of Britain. The king’s advisors immediately set up two colonies, British East Florida and British West Florida, dispatched governors to rule them, and engaged in a multi-pronged program of colonization. EUH/WOH4930 will explore this fascinating colonial project using two perspectives. First we will home in on a specific colony, East Florida, during a limited chronological time frame. Second we will position British East Florida’s history within the broader context of imperial and world history. Doing so will allow students to pursue manageable research projects that engage with questions of broad significance. The primary source base for British East Florida in this period is rich and accessible, including the Lockey Florida History Collection in Smathers Library, extensive 18th-century published materials, and digital archives such as Florida History Online. Potential topics include (but are not limited to): transitioning from Spanish to British rule; engaging with Native Americans; East Florida’s natural history and “economic botany”; the settlement at New Smyrna and other “peopling” projects; East Florida and Atlantic slavery; East Florida and commercial networks of the 18th-century empire; and East Florida’s role in and experience of the American War of Independence. Feel free to contact me ( if you have any questions.


Professor Sheryl Kroen
Thursdays 3:00-6:00 pm
EUH Class Number: online 28371
WOH Class Number: online 29211
Un-Silencing the Past: Biography, Commemoration, and History

Monuments to slave traders and confederate soldiers are tumbling.  Curators at Britain’s National Portrait Gallery are revamping its collection. Universities are renaming their buildings. Whole cities are transforming themselves into history lessons about slavery (Montgomery, Alabama) and the Holocaust (Munich, Berlin, Vienna).  The title of this seminar is a play on Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History, which we will read to open our seminar. If Trouillot explored the many ways in which the past has been silenced, our common seminar readings and your individual research projects will examine specific efforts in recent decades by governments, scholars, activists, and artists working in many media in Britain, France, Germany, and the American South to un-silence the past with regard to Colonialism, Slavery, and the Holocaust.


Professor Fernanda Bretones-Lane
Mondays 12:50-3:50 pm
EUH Class Number: online 28400
WOH Class Number: online 28415
Atlantic Revolutions

This research seminar will introduce students to concepts and methods of Atlantic history, with a focus on Latin America and the Caribbean during the Age of Revolutions. During the first half of the semester, we will examine the Haitian (1791-1804) and Spanish American (1808-1823) Revolutions through an Atlantic perspective, exploring the relevant scholarship and critically analyzing primary sources. In the process, we will consider the following questions: What makes an event “Atlantic” in scope? Why do historians think of the Age of Revolutions as a discrete, unique historical period? What were the local and international dimensions of these political events? In the second half of the semester, students will research and write an original, substantial research paper on a topic related to one of the themes of the course, developed out of primary sources.