History 433 (001) Fourth year seminar: Narrative, History, Memory



full year

Course Level





If you tell the truth, you dont have to remember anything.

apocryphal; attributed to Mark Twain

This course, which is mandatory for all fourth-year Honours students, has two primary objectives. The first is to introduce students to some fundamental issues of historical representation, specifically the history of memoryan area of history that examines how people remember, forget, and restructure the past as an ongoing part of the construction of themselves and their worlds. Because I am a medieval historian, some of the secondary readings will come from scholars working on pre-modern Europe. However, the issues they raise are not limited to any particular time period. The second goal of the course is to help students to conceptualize and write their Honours graduating essays.

We will read a range of texts selected both for their thematic content and for their utility as models of historical writing. In the first semester, we will explore the nuts and bolts of how writers ask historical questions, find and use sources, make their arguments, and situate their work in relation to relevant historiographies. The second semester will focus closely on students own theses in progress. The core of these class meetings will be critical (but supportive and constructive) engagement with one anothers writing. Course evaluations will be based on participation in discussion and various writing assignments.