History 501


Advanced History Methods


Instructor: Zuoyue Wang                                           Office: Building 94, Room 335

Fall Quarter 2013                                                       Office Hours: MW 11am-12pm and appointment

Class Time: W 6:15-10:05pm                                    Phone: 909-869-3872

Classroom: 9-217                                                       Email: zywang at csupomona.edu

Course website: www.csupomona.edu/~zywang/hst501-f2013.html



This course is required for all History graduate students. The contents of the course may be adjusted to suit the interests of students enrolled in the course.


During this course you will:

  • Learn about the entire process of writing and presenting a historical research paper.
  • Explore research strategies, using both conventional library resources as well as electronic databases and internet resources.
  • Identify relevant primary sources and learn appropriate methodology for their analysis.
  • Read and discuss recent journal articles as models of historical scholarship.
  • Explore the historiography of your areas of concentration, building a comprehensive bibliography of secondary sources and reference works, in preparation for MA exams.
  • Learn correct note-taking, techniques of written organization and presentation, and scholarly citation of primary and secondary sources.


Book Required:

Jacques Barzun and Henry F. Graff, The Modern Researcher 6th ed. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson, 2004).



Anthony Brundage, Going to the Sources: A Guide to Historical Research and Writing, 4th edition (Wheeling, Illinois: Harland Davidson Inc., 2008).

Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers, 7th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007).

There will be additional reading materials to be assigned in class.

Course Requirements:

  • Historiographical essay: Due week 6, the 5-8 page historiographical essay will synthesize and critically evaluate, in mostly chronological order, at least three recent books and three recent articles that cover your topic, plus a bibliography. 
  • Research prospectus (see below): Due during finals week.
  • Oral presentation of research prospectus and participation in evaluation of classmates’ work.
  • Weekly, 1-2 page written summary and commentary on assigned readings in Barzun and Graff and journal articles.


Research Prospectus:

You will choose a topic for a historical research paper and complete a 8-12 page research prospectus, including the following component:


Paper Title (can be revised with consent of major advisor);

Summary of Project (background and significance of topic and your working thesis statement; 1-2 double-spaced pages);

Historiography on Your Topic (what have been the major secondary works—books and articles—on your topic broadly defined and what are the most interesting questions scholars in this area are debating currently; 2-3 pages);

Narrative of Your Proposed Project (events, people, institutions you plan to cover; 2-3 pages);

Research Methodology (archival research and oral history interviews, etc; 1-2 pages);

Primary Sources (archival collections, interviews, newspaper and magazine articles, etc; 1 page);

Annotated Bibliography of Secondary Sources (major scholarly books and articles related to your topic).  


Grading: Grade for the class will be based on participation in discussion, weekly written commentaries, historiographical essay, research prospectus (including bibliography), and oral presentation.


Classroom Ground Rules and Useful Information:

1.      Unauthorized absences will considerably lower your grade.  Email me if there is an emergency. 

2.      Late works will be penalized by 1/3 letter grade per day, e.g. B+ to B if one day late.

3.      Please turn off cell phones during class period; Laptop used only with instructor’s permission.

4.      Plagiarism--copying other people’s writings or ideas as one’s own without proper acknowledgment or citation—is against university policy and strictly prohibited.  Please check with the instructor if you have any question on this matter.  Also see Cal Poly Pomona Catalog for 2003-2005 (pp. 52-53) regarding university policy against plagiarism.

5.      You can purchase Microsoft Windows and Office, including MS Word, at a greatly discounted price at Bronco Bookstore.

6.      If you do not use your Cal Poly Pomona email account regularly, please set it up so any email sent to your CPP account will be forwarded to an email address you do use.


Schedule (subject to change; you may need to go to log-in to CPP Library’s remote access to read some of these articles):


Week 1 (10/2) Introduction to History and Its Current Challenges


Prof. Wang discusses his own teaching and research experiences

History journals: AHR; JAH; Isis; T&C; Diplomatic History; etc.

Primary sources: National Archives: DC and regional; Library of Congress Manuscript Division; Presidential Libraries; US State Department; University Special Collections; Oral histories: National Air and Space Museum, NASA, IEEE; History of science: AIP, National Labs; Foreign policy: FRUS, DDRS; Southern CA: UCLA Special Collections; Caltech; UCSD; UCSB-CEMA; Pomona Library; regional National Archives; FOIA.

Students discuss own research topics and should later email Prof. Wang one on-line article related to your own topic of interest.



Brazun and Graff, chapters 1-2

Anthony Grafton, “History under Attack,” Perspectives on History 49, no. 1 (January 2011): 5-7.

William Cronon, “Storytelling,” American Historical Review 118, no. 1 (February 2013): 1-19.

Optional: Roy Rosenzweig, “Can History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past,” Journal of American History 93, no. 1 (June 2006): 117-146.  Also this link.


Due: Reading response next session.


Week 2 (10/9) Historical Thinking; Rethinking European/Global History


Barzun and Graff, chapters 3-5;

Choose one of the following articles:

Lynn Hunt, “The World We Have Gained: The Future of the French Revolution,” American Historical Reiew 108, no. 1 (February 2003): 1-19.

Sebastian Conrad, “Enlightenment in Global History: A Historiographical Critique,” American Historical Review 117, no. 4 (October 2012): 999-1027.


Due: Reading responses for both week 1 and 2.


Week 3 (10/16) Organizing History; Rethinking American History


No Class Meeting, but complete the following readings and bring the reading response to class during the next session.


Barzun and Graff, chapters 6-8;

Choose one of the following articles:

James McPherson, “No Peace without Victory, 1861–1865,” American Historical Review 109, no. 1 (February 2004): 1-18.

Beverly Gage, Terrorism and the American Experience: A State of the Field,” Journal of American History 98: no. 1 (June 2011): 73-94.


Additional articles related to students’ historiographical papers


Due: reading response next session.


Week 4 (10/23) Working on History; Rethinking Chinese History


Barzun and Graff, chapters 9-11

Choose one of the following articles:

Joan Judge, “Talent, Virtue, and the Nation:  Chinese Nationalisms and Female Subjectivities in the Early Twentieth Century,” American Historical Review 106, no. 3 (June 2001): 765-803.

Austin Jersild, “The Soviet State as Imperial Scavenger: "Catch Up and Surpass” in the Transnational Socialist Bloc, 1950-1960,” American Historical Review. Feb2011, Vol. 116 Issue 1, p109-132


Additional articles related to students’ historiographical papers


Due: reading responses from week 3 and 4.


Week 5 (10/30) Finishing History; Remapping American History


Barzun and Graff, chapters 12-14

Choose one of the following articles:

Mae M. Ngai, “The Architecture of Race in American Immigration Law: A Reexamination of the Immigration Act of 1924,” Journal of American History 86, no. 1 (June 1999): 67-92.

Pekka Hämäläinen and Samuel Truett, “On Borderlands,” Journal of American History 98, no. 2 (September 2011): 338-361.


Additional articles related to students’ historiographical papers


Due: reading response


Week 6 (11/6) Rethinking Modernity


Choose three of the following articles from the “AHR Roundtable: Historians and the Question of “Modernity,” American Historical Review 116, no. 3 (June 2011): 631-75.


“Introduction” Full Text (PDF)

Zvi Ben-Dor Benite, “AHR Forum: Modernity: The Sphinx and the Historian” Full Text (PDF)

Gurminder K. Bhambra, “Historical Sociology, Modernity, and Postcolonial Critique”  Full Text (PDF)

Dipesh Chakrabarty, “The Muddle of Modernity”  Full Text (PDF)

Carol Gluck, “The End of Elsewhere: Writing Modernity Now” Full Text (PDF)

Mark Roseman, “National Socialism and the End of Modernity” Full Text (PDF)

Dorothy Ross, “American Modernities, Past and Present” Full Text (PDF)

Carol Symes, “When We Talk about Modernity” Full Text (PDF)

Lynn M. Thomas, “Modernity’s Failings, Political Claims, and Intermediate Concepts” Full Text (PDF)

Richard Wolin, “‘Modernity’: The Peregrinations of a Contested Historiographical Concept” Full Text (PDF)


Due: Reading response

Due: 5 page historiographical essay draft for review and discussion.


Week 7 (11/13) What Is Transnational History


Gabrielle M. Spiegel, “The Task of the Historian,” The American Historical Review 114, no. 1 (February 2009): 1-15.


Choose two of the following articles:

David Thelen, “The Nation and Beyond: Transnational Perspectives on United States History,” Journal of American History 86, no. 3 (December 1999): 965-975.

Haiming Liu, Transnational Historiography: Chinese American Studies Reconsidered,Journal of the History of Ideas 65, no. 1 (January 2004): 135-153.

Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Crossroads of Cultures: The Transnational Turn in American Studies—Presidential Address to the American Studies Association,” American Quarterly 57, no. 1 (March 2005): 17-57.

AHR Conversation on Transnational History,” American Historical Review 111, no. 5 (December 2006): 1440-1464.

Erik van der Vleuten, “Toward a Transnational History of Technology: Meanings, Promises, Pitfalls,” Technology and Culture 49, no. 4 (October 2008): 974-994.


Due: Reading response

Due: Historiographical essay


Week 8 (11/20) Sampling History of Science


Audra J. Wolfe, “Germs in Space: Joshua Lederberg, Exobiology, and the Public Imagination, 1958-1964,” Isis 93, no. 2 (June 2002):183-205.

Peter Neushul and Zuoyue Wang, "Between the Devil and the Deep Sea: C. K. Tseng, Mariculture, and the Politics of Science in Modern China," Isis 91, no. 1 (March 2000): 59-88.  

Zuoyue Wang, “Transnational Science during the Cold War: The Case of Chinese/American Scientists,” Isis 101, no. 2 (June 2010): 367-377.

Due: Reading response


Week 9 (11/27) Research Prospectus

No Class; Work on your research prospectus


Week 10 (12/4) Presentations


Presentation and critiquing of research prospectuses


Monday December 11, 2013: Due the Research Prospectus via Email