Graduate Course Descriptions

Current and Previous Courses

Graduate courses in the Master of Arts in History and Master of Arts in Teaching are offered on both the Rutgers-Newark and NJIT campuses.  Offerings change each semester to provide a varied and interesting slate of courses for each of the three concentrations.  All courses are scheduled in the evening to accommodate students' professional careers.

FALL 2018

Rutgers Students wishing to register for the following course, fimply fill out the NJIT Cross Registration Application( and return it to

Neil Maher

NJIT Course Identifier HIST 654; Rutgers Cource Identifer 48:510:654 Topics in American Intellectual and Cultural History;The 1960's -1980's

307 Cullimore Hall, NJIT Campus

Wednesdays 6:00-9:05pm


Spring 2018

Rutgers Students wishing to register for the following course, simply fill out the NJIT Cross Registration Application ( and return it to

Neil Maher
NJIT Course Identifier HIST 657;  Rutgers Course Identifier 48:510:657 Topics in Environmental History: Power, inequality and Nature in the United States

307 Cullimore Hall, NJIT Campus
Thursdays, 6:00-9:05 pm

Fall 2017

Elizabeth Petrick

NJIT Course Identifier HIST 632;  Rutgers Course Identifier 48:510:632 Technology, Culture, and History 

This course concerns the relationship between technology and culture, and how it has been studied over time. We will examine how each has shaped the other in various historical contexts. We will analyze methods of researching and understanding technology and culture through key texts in the historiography, as well as new approaches. Themes include: the use of technology; gender, race, and technology; technological determinism; labor and technology; imperialism and technology.

Key texts include:

Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America. (Oxford: Oxford University Press), 1964.
Francesca Bray, Technology and Gender: Fabrics of Power in Late Imperial China. (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press), 1997.
Gregory J. Downey, Telegraph Messenger Boys: Labor, Technology, and Geography, 1850-1950. (New York: Routledge), 2002.
Eden Medina, Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile. (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press), 2014.

26:510:521 Topics in South Asian History: “Islam: New Thinking and New Directions”
Audrey Truschke

Thursdays, 5:30-8:10 pm

Islam is the second largest religious tradition in the world, and a growing topic on the daily news cycle. Yet the average American knows precious little about Islamic traditions, beliefs, practices, and history. In this class, we explore recent scholarly work on Islam and in so doing engage with major debates within Islamic studies and learn about Islam from a historical perspective. We also devote significant attention to modern biases concerning the interpretation of Islam and the challenges associated with teaching about Islam in the United States.

26:510:533 Topics in American History: “United States and Empire”
Kornel Chang
Wednesdays 5:00-7:40 pm

This reading-intensive seminar focuses on U.S. empire-building, examining how it evolved from a white settler society to a global hegemon in the twentieth century. Drawing on both canonical and more recent scholarship, the course pays close attention to the ideals, rationales, and policies that animated and justified American imperialism over the course of two centuries. Students will track the evolution of American power, comprehending its shifting logic and contradictions, and examining how it has changed over time and space. This will involve studying the American Empire from the vantage point of class and political economy, race and gender, policing, public health, development, and the environment.

26:510:551 American Intellectual and Cultural History: “Introduction to American Studies”
Ruth Feldstein
Tuesdays, 5:30-8:10 pm

This graduate seminar will introduce students to scholarship in American Studies, as we explore together where the field has been and where it is going. We will be reading influential older articles and books; theoretical work that has had a particularly significant impact on American Studies; and newer studies which suggest the issues with which scholars of American Studies are currently engaged.

26:510:553 American Political and Legal History: “Radical Politics in U.S. History” (RESEARCH SEMINAR)
Whitney Strub
Mondays, 5:30-8:10 pm

This course is a research seminar that will begin with readings offering a basic overview of U.S. radical politics, with an emphasis on Left radicalism. Among possible topics will be early populism, free love, the labor movement, communists, socialists, Black Power, the antiwar movement and 1960s student left, feminism, gay liberation, revolutionary groups of the 1970s, anti-nuclear activism, AIDS activism, anti-globalization efforts, environmentalism, and such recent movements as Occupy Wall Street and #BlackLivesMatter. We will spend the first half of the semester in focused readings, and then in the second half students will pursue individual research projects related to their particular interests from this history.

26:510:565 Public History: “Place, Community and Public Humanities”
Mary Rizzo
Thursdays, 5:30-8:10 pm

In this public humanities/history graduate seminar, students will work with a community partner on a project about local history for the public. The class will ground students in the history, theory, and methods of place-based public history and community engagement. Students will also engage in original research, using archival collections, digitized materials, and/or oral history, over the semester to develop the class' public project.

Spring 2017

NJIT Identifier HIST 622; Rutgers Identifier  48:510:622 Culture and Science in the History of American Medicine  Rutgers students wishing to register for this course, simply fill out the NJIT Cross Registration Application ( and return it to
Stephen Pemberton
307 Cullimore Hall, NJIT Campus

Thursdays 5:30-8:10 pm

This seminar provides an overview of U.S. medical history from the 1880 to 2010, and introduces the student to various approaches that historians and other historical thinkers have used to understand the complex relationships between medicine, science and culture. Of particular focus will be the extent to which medicine is or has been scientific; the ways science became vital to the medical and health professions; and the degrees to which medicine’s professional culture both mirrors and informs American society and popular culture. Our readings will allow us to link interactions between medicine, science and culture to the changing moral and political economies of health in the U.S. and analyze a variety of issues, including the growing role of technology in medicine, the roles of business and government in managing health, and the historical effects of specific disease problems, including polio and cancer. Students will also have the opportunity to explore how issues of class, race, gender and sexuality have impacted cultural interactions between medical professionals, scientists, patients, and the public.

Readings will include ten books, including:
Anne Fadiman. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
Siddhartha Mukherjee. The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
Leslie Reagan. Dangerous Pregnancies: Mothers, Disabilities, and Abortion in Modern America
David Oshinsky. Polio: An American Story
Nancy Tomes. The Gospel of Germs: Men, Women, and the Microbe in American Life
Rebecca Skloot. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Keith Wailoo. Pain: A Political History

26:510:505 History in Fiction and Fact
James Goodman
Wednesdays, 5:30-8:10pm

Workshop in the art and craft of non-fiction writing. Students working in the widest variety of forms--essay and personal essay; creative non-fiction; narrative and other literary forms of academic history; popular history; literary journalism; biography; memoir; and more--will present work-in-progress for discussion and criticism. Every student will present work at least twice a term and shortly after each presentation meet independently with their instructor. We shall also read a wide range of non-fiction, but not an enormous number of pages per week.  I do not want your reading to interfere with the writing you are doing for this workshop or for the poetry or fiction workshop you may be taking at the same time. Permission of the instructor is required for registration (

26:510:526 Readings in African American History
Melissa Cooper
Mondays 5:30-8:10pm

This course explores foundational and groundbreaking historical monographs in African American history. Paying close attention to methodological approaches and strategies, this course examines both African American history and the making of historical monographs about the black past.

26:510:533 Introduction to Digital Public Humanities
Mary Rizzo

Tuesdays, 5:30-8:10pm

What happens when we make digital humanities public? What about when we take the public humanities and make them digital? This course will explore the history, theory and methods of the digital humanities and the public humanities and, especially, their intersection. We will use and critically examine digital tools like Omeka, mapping software, content management systems, and social media to put theory into practice. By the end of the semester, students will have conceptualized a digital public humanities project, written a grant application for potential funding, and built a prototype.

26:510:534 Sexuality and Sexual Politics (Research Seminar)
Timothy Stewart-Winter
Wednesdays, 5:30-8:10pm

This graduate research seminar will examine classic and more recent texts dealing with sexuality and power, primarily in the U.S. but with attention to transnational phenomena and experiences. Readings will be drawn from a variety of disciplines and will attend closely to the intersections of sexuality with gender and gender identity, science, race, class, social movements, literature, and urban and suburban cultures and politics. Students will also gain experience analyzing primary documents related to histories of sexuality and gender.

26:510:543 Topics in World History: Global Africa
Habtamu Tegegne
Tuesdays, 5:30-8:10pm

This graduate seminar encourages students to (re)conceptualize and (re)think world history as global. It is a course organized around themes, topics, and processes that transcend national and cultural specificity and boundary and lend themselves to global history method. As such, going beyond a focus on discrete nations/regions, its main concerns is with human interconnections from the 1300 through the present, focusing on vast networks and system(s) that bound different regions and distant peoples together. The course’s geographic focus is Africa. It requires students to engage world/global history in its interaction with Africa. The continent lies within the locus of global historical processes: Africa has always been closely linked to the wider world and participated, sometime directly, other time indirectly, in broader historical developments and changes affecting the global world. The transformative political, economic, and social institutions, ideas, and processes underlying global history were shaped through Africa’s various encounter with the rest of the world. The literature that will be explored places African historical developments in global and transnational context and traces the broader implications of Africa’s history on global history. Topics that the course will cover include travel, migration and cross-cultural encounters, slavery and the slave trade, global capitalism and trade flows, empire, expansion and transnationalism, economic dependency, and globalization, among others.

26:510:564 History of Urban Education
Steven Diner
Tuesdays, 2:30-5:20pm

This course examines the history of urban education in the United States. It provides an historical foundation for understanding urban educational policy today. Assigned readings explore the development of urban school systems in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the rise of school reform movements and the development of urban educational policies designed to improve urban schools; the recruitment and training of urban school teachers; the role of race, immigration, ethnicity and class in educational performance; the rise of bureaucracy and scientific management; suburbanization and its effects on urban schools; desegregation and its impact; the effect of deindustrialization on urban schools; and the debate over  equity versus excellence. The course is taught as a colloquium. Each week we will discuss an assigned book. Class attendance and active participation in discussions is required of all students. Students must prepare a research paper based on some aspect of history of public education in Newark or some other local community, and present the findings in class during the last two weeks.

Fall 2016 on NJIT Campus.

26:510:657 Global Environmental History: Food and Society in America

Thursdays 6:00-9:00 p.m.; 307 Cullimore Hall
Neil Maher

We often think of food as simply something we eat. Yet in recent years scholars in the growing field of environmental history have challenged this view, arguing instead that food forges and dramatically alters relationships between people and nature. These relationships can be biological, economic, political, cultural, and deeply personal. Moreover, while we may believe that we lose some of these connections to the environment soon after we grow and harvest our food, process and package it, ship it to cities, and then consume either at home or in restaurants, in undertaking those actions we are actually connecting ourselves to nature, and other people, in new and interesting ways. Food, in other words, is much more than about what we put into our mouths. This reading course will serve as an introduction to food history within the field of environmental history. Over the course of the semester students will explore such topics as the rise of agribusiness, the links between rural farming and urban culture, our increasing dependence on processed food and its health implication, the birth of the organic food movement, and the role of food in forging identity in cities, suburbs, and beyond. We will also analyze food through the broader historical the themes of labor, gender, ethnicity, politics, cultural identity, and urbanization.


Fall 2016 on the Rutgers Campus

510:533 Topics in American History: Race and Labor in the Americas (Research Seminar) Wednesdays, 5:30-8:10pm Kornel Chang The spread of capitalist relations introduced a spectrum of "free" and "unfree labor" in the Americas beginning with the seventeenth century. The different labor systems--slavery, indentured, wage labor, guest worker programs--produced, and were produced by, racial knowledge and systems of meaning. This research seminar will focus on how race and class were co-constituted in the Americas and how they evolved with changing modes of production. The first half of the course will be spent familiarizing ourselves with the established scholarly literature (i.e. the historiography). Students will devote the second half of the semester conducting independent research and writing (and re-writing). Students are expected to produce a research paper that combines primary and secondary sources on topics related to the main themes of the course.

510:543 Topics in World History: World War II in Asia Wednesdays, 5:30-8:10pm Daniel Asen World War II (1939-1945) was unprecedented in its global scope, its mobilization of and impact on civilians, and its destructiveness. This conflict transformed the technologies and organization of warfare and ushered in a new era of international politics defined by powerful ideological rifts and the threat of nuclear war. From the perspective of many in Asia, the outbreak of WWII was inseparable from earlier trends surrounding Japan’s stunningly successful industrialization and the country’s expanding political and economic influence over other societies in East Asia and Southeast Asia. For Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, and others, WWII was thus connected to deeper conflicts and tensions of modernity, colonialism, race, and pan-Asian ideology. In this graduate reading seminar, we will read journal articles and books that have transformed scholarly understandings of the contexts, meaning, and consequences of WWII as it unfolded in Asia and globally. Some of the themes that we will explore include the rise and decline of empires, the relationship between national, regional, and global scales of human activity, the social, political, and ideological dimensions of war, and critical approaches to the study of race, ethnicity, and identity.

510:551 American Intellectual and Cultural History: Introduction to American Studies Tuesdays, 5:30-8:10pm Ruth Feldstein This graduate seminar will introduce students to scholarship in American Studies, as we explore together where the field has been and where it is going. We will be reading influential older articles and books; theoretical work that has had a particularly significant impact on American Studies; and newer studies which suggest the issues with which scholars of American Studies are currently engaged.

510:552 American Intellectual and Cultural History: American Art and Its Publics Thursdays, 5:30-8:10pm Mark Krasovic This graduate reading course will meet regularly at the Newark Museum and use its artistic and archival collections as a launching pad to an exploration of a broad, oftentimes contentious, debate over the role of art in American society. We will begin with a consideration of museum and library pioneer John Cotton Dana’s arguments for art’s crucial place in the early-twentieth-century modern city and watch as such ideas are spun out, expanded, and contested over the next hundred years. Topics will likely include the introduction of modern art to America; state funding for the arts during the New Deal and Great Society eras; art’s uses during the Cold War; debates over artistic representation, especially as informed by racial, gender, and sexual politics; and the commercial market’s role in shaping American art in an era of increasing economic inequality. Throughout, our discussions will be informed by specific artists and exhibitions (the 1913 Armory exhibition, Harlem on My Mind (1969), Robert Mapplethorpe, e.g.) as they both shape and are shaped by key developments in twentieth-century American history.

510:565 Public History: Community, Place and Public Humanities Mondays, 5:30-8:10pm Mary Rizzo In this public humanities/history graduate seminar, students will work with a community partner on a project about local history for the public. The class will ground students in the history, theory, and methods of place-based public history and community engagement. Students will also engage in original research, using archival collections, digitized materials, and/or oral history, over the semester to develop the class' public project.

510:586 Immigration in the United States Tuesdays, 2:30-5:20pm Steven Diner This course examines the history of immigration to cities and urban areas of the United States since the nineteenth century. It will consider the causes of immigration, the social, cultural and economic adaptation of various groups, return migration, the significance of race, the varied experience of different immigrant groups, the development of ethnic group identities, changing American policy and attitudes towards immigrants and ethnic groups , and the impact of immigration and ethnicity on American society and culture. Class will consist of weekly discussions of assigned books. Class members will take turns leading these discussions. Students will be required to write an essay on the historiography of a particular immigrant group, a specific time period, some aspect of the immigrant experience, the impact of immigration on a particular city or how immigration has shaped America’s economy, political system, social institutions or culture. A final essay discussing the broad issues considered in class is also required.