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Historical Investigations: Methods and Skills


About the Course:

Through studying a particular topic in history, students gain insight into historical methods and skills. Course designed for freshmen and sophomore history majors or prospective majors. Others may enroll by permission of instructor. Topics vary by quarter and instructor.

Winter 2019:

Do the things we own have histories? If they do, how are they different from the histories of people who make or use those things? Using these two related questions, this course will introduce students to primary and secondary sources from South Asia that follow histories of three different commodities – an agricultural, industrial, and a digital one. We will use newspapers, poetry, photographs, and government reports to learn how we can use a commodity to talk about larger global histories beyond the thing itself. To that end, we will also learn two historical concepts, namely value and violence. Studying how a commodity is valued by different people will help students see the role commodities play in society, just as studying violence behind commodities will help students see what is hidden within commodities. The final project will ask students to research the history of a particular commodity, not necessarily just from South Asia, using the concepts learnt in the course.


No pre-requisites have been entered for this course.


View the course’s Canvas page or the instructor’s page for documents: Utathya Chattopadhyaya   

Schedule of Courses

Go to the Schedule of Courses on the Registrar's website to register or view scheduling information on all courses.