Fall, 1999

GRC 301 (34620) = HIS 306N (35705):

Making History: How German Scholars Invented History

Instructor: Katherine Arens


Office: E. P. Schoch 3.128

There have always been histories -- stories told to keep a record of what happened to people, nations, and rulers. Yet those stories have not always been told "scientifically," with claims at representing a historical era to readers or viewers. It was, in fact, German scholars who initiated today's scientific study of history (including art history, philology, archaeology, and history proper).

This course will introduce you to the problem of history and history-writing: what kinds of histories are possible, what purpses histories can be used for, histories preserved in monuments, paintings, and landscapes, and how history is reconstructed (especially in philology and archaeology).

Readings for the course will come from several sources: writings from the founders of German history-writing (e.g. Ranke), current essays discussing history, and some case studies on historical representations (memorials [Schama], museums, and history-painting from Germany).

The approximate sequence of topics and partial lists of readings are:

Memorials and Memory History-Writing Reconstructions and Museums Imag(in)ed History: Paintings et al.


This course will fulfill the University's requirements for a course with a Significant Writing Component.