Fall, 2005: CL 382 (31365)
Course Title: (Hi)Story: Telling Stories of Culture
Faculty: Katherine Arens
As the number of scholars in "cultural studies" increases both within traditional departments and as part of "interdisciplinary studies," it is becoming every more crucial to be aware of the "stakes" of credibility and standards of argument and evidence tacitly or overtly encompassed in history-writing and histories. To introduce students interested in such interdisciplinary work that is called cultural studies today, this course is designed to present some traditional approached to and recent work in historiography and cultural history.
As a benchmark, the course will begin by introducing in brief the great nineteenth-century movements in historiography, including especially positivism, Geistesgeschichte (often ill-translated as "intellectual history"), and general marxist historiography.
The course will then move to significant twentieth-century developments that outline new ways of telling (hi)stories beyond the largely nationalist or large-group paradigms that characterized the nineteenth century.
The outlines of what I will treat run approximately as follows.
The goal in splitting up national historiographies in this way is to show their very clear preferences in defining what historical "data" is, and the ideological bases of their respective story-tellings.
Class discussions will focus on what kind of cultural entity is defined by each school as being historical or having a history, and on the strengths and weaknesses of the kind of history defied by each. Students will have the opportunity to apply and practice various historiographical approaches by developing interdisciplinary courses/grant proposals that aim for the kind of intellectual credibility all-too-often lacking in a rush to "cultural studies."