Methods of Historical Research: Trauma, Archives, and Colonialism

  • Quarters: Spring

This seminar focuses on the intersection of history and theory through a critical investigation of the traumas of colonialism, constructions of identities and subjectivities, and the de-centering effects of postcolonial and psychoanalytical theories. Historiography is not only about the different methods of shaping historical narratives. Historiography is also about silences and the politics of location. How do postmodern and poststructural critical discourses affect historical studies? How does one interpret oral testimonies recorded after traumatic experiences? How do we account for beliefs in witchcraft or the supernatural in historical studies? By taking an interdisciplinary approach to “culture,” theory, and history, this course will cover anti-essentialist approaches to race, class, and gender, postcolonial Course offerings are subject to revisions. Please check the on-line Time Schedule for possible changes. theories, deconstruction, and trauma theories. The emphasis this quarter will be on different ways of constructing and situating historical archives and how interactions among testimony, memory, and trauma influence the construction and deconstruction of these archives. Students will gain familiarity with these critical approaches through readings, class discussion, and written work. In addition, students will learn how to situate their research interests within a specific theoretical discourse.