Trends, Debates, Historians I (HIST 511)

2021 Fall
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Ayşe Ozil,
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Doctoral, Master
Interactive lecture,Seminar
Interactive,Communicative,Discussion based learning,Task based learning
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The Historiography sequence of HIST 511-512 is required of all PhD students in History, and while it may also be taken by MA students, in all cases it should be taken after HIST 501-502 or some other, comparable survey of world or at least European history. This is necessary because ''Trends, Debates, Historians'' adopts an approach to the study of Historiography that is historical in more than one sense. It proposes to study methodology not in the abstract but in the concrete, as embodied in the output of a number of great historians living and working in the 20th century; naturally it strives to relate each such historian to his/her context and preferred paradigm; but it also situates each such contribution within the framework of the period problematic and literature to which it pertains. This means that works studied are taken up in the chronological order of their subject matter, i.e. of the historical period to which they refer (rather than by reference to their authors in chronological sequence). Furthermore, as a side objective of the course is to study problems of overall organization and sustained consistency in writing synthetic books (as opposed to research articles), in both semesters the emphasis is on reading complete books by leading- edge historians. Thus after opening with a few introductory texts of a general nature plus an initial set of readings on historians' own views of their profession, HIST 511 quickly moves into sampling works by historians of Antiquity, followed by close readings of some leading Medievalists. These and others are also scrutinized for the methodological insights they might shed into Ottoman historical studies. Controversies among Turkish as well as European scholars on the nature of serfdom, feudalism, or the feudal mode of production, as well as the more recent ''feudal revolution'' debate, are treated through special files interpolated where necessary. Throughout, two basic questions are repeatedly posed : From Herodotos and Thucydides, through the 19th century, down to the present, what has changed and what has not changed in the practice of historians ?


The first of a two-semester sequence on Historiography, required for all PhD students, and optional for MA students after their first year. Designed to provide a solid grounding in historical thought and method, mostly through a study of methodology in the concrete, i.e. through close readings in the practice of leading historians.


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to

* describe and criticize the main trends and debates in the history-writing on the ancient and medieval periods and gain a deeper understanding of historiography by preparing a research paper on a specific historian;
* identify the paradigmatic shifts and the methodological evolution of history-writing in the course of the twentieht century and relate them to an overall conception of the subject matter;
* think and write on selected topics in historiography;
* develop the ability to criticize historiographic methodologies and interpretations;
Individual key skills:
* develop independent study capability, the ability to produce a coherent and well-argued research paper by a deadline.


  Percentage (%)
Final 30
Term-Paper 35
Participation 15
Presentation 20



see course outline below