History | Space, Place and History
H650 | 8631 | Sandweiss

A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to graduates only
Above class meets with AMST-G620

Where does history take place?

Armed with insight from geographers, ecologists, social theorists,
architects, and anthropologists, historians have returned with new
vigor to an assumption that many in our field once took for
granted:  that "place" (with its more elusive companion, "space")
not only reflects but also actively structures human experience.

Given that starting place, this course is designed for students
interested in exploring where--and how--history “takes place.”
While our readings will draw generally on the study of modern North
America and Europe, the class is designed to serve students in any
temporal-geographic field—up to half of the semester’s readings will
be selected by you and related to your particular areas of
historical study.

More specifically, the class aims, 1) to familiarize you with the
range of the literature of space and place, and 2) to help you
integrate that literature into your own studies.  We do so by
breaking the field down into five broad themes:  geography and
ecology, cartography and imagery, architecture and built form,
urbanization, and social theory.  We then consider some historical
applications of these themes to American and European topics.

In addition to reading one book weekly, your class assignments will
include a field study, brief review essays, oral presentations, and
a research proposal applying course themes to a subject of your

Required Reading:

Alexander Von Humboldt, Cosmos, v. 2 (selections) (1850, Cambridge
University Press, 2010);  J.B. Harley, "The New Nature of Maps:
Essays in the History of Cartography" (Johns Hopkins University
Press, 2002); Siegfried Giedion, "Space, Time, and Architecture"
(1941; Harvard University Press, 2009);  David Harvey, "The Urban
Experience" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994);  Edward
Soja, "Postmodern Geographies" (Verso, 2011); Simon
Schama, "Landscape and Memory" (A.A. Knopf, 1995); John
Stilgoe, "Common Landscape of America, 1580-1845" (Yale University
Press, 1983).

Additional readings will be drawn from a list which is available
from the instructor.  Alternative selections are allowed with my
prior approval.