Research Colloquia

Focus deeply on a topic and write an original piece of scholarship.

HIST 29632  The CIA and American Democracy  (B. Cumings)  This colloquium will examine all aspects of American intelligence and its influence on history, politics, society, and academe since the inception of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Particular attention will be paid to how intelligence is gathered and interpreted, intelligence failures and why they happened, the close association between top Ivy League universities and origins of US intelligence, the penetration of the early Central Intelligence Agency by British individuals spying for the Soviets, the wide influence of the CIA in the 1950s and 1960s on major aspects of American life, the crisis of US intelligence in the late 1960s and through the 1970s, the revival of intelligence vigor in the 1980s, and the uses and misuses of intelligence in the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assignments: Six or seven books during the course of the colloquium, a few films outside of class time, a paper of roughly fifteen pages in the seventh week of the term, and a final exam, which mixes essay questions with questions on the reading. Outstanding participation in colloquium will merit an increment in the final grade, which otherwise will be determined equally by the outside paper and final exam.

HIST 29656  Urban Histories: Experiencing, Using, and Representing the City  (L. Auslander)  This course will provide an analysis of the changing forms, meanings, and representations of urban life in Europe from the medieval period to the present. To that end, each session will pair secondary readings with a wide range of primary sources, including maps, municipal and legal records, newspapers, novels, prints, songs, paintings, films, planning treatises, tourist guides, memoirs, architectural drawings, photographs, and advertisements. We will address the histories of building, zoning, transportation, planning, ghettoization, segregation, and gentrification. We will consider cities as destinations for migrants, refugees, pilgrims, and tourists, as well as sites of political, social and cultural experimentation, unrest and upheaval. At the end of the term, you will have learned how cities have been shaped by their role as centers of economic, political, and cultural life, as well as how those who inhabit them have sometimes been able to use urban space to their own ends. This will be a small discussion-based course in which each student will write a fifteen-page research paper. Our work with primary sources will provide the tools you need to pursue your research project, while our close readings of both classic and experimental historiography will assure that your final paper contributes to an ongoing scholarly conversation. The material will be drawn from (imperial) Europe, but students interested in urbanism in all parts of the world are very welcome.