21H.931 Seminar in Historical Methods

Spring 2004

Artist's rendering of a medieval aura.
Artist's rendering of a medieval aura, originally from NASA's Poker Flat Research Range in Fairbanks, Alaska. (Image courtesy of NASA.)

Course Highlights

This course features examples of student work and videos from two class sessions: one featuring a discussion of "The Middle Ages as Fantasy," and another on "The MIT Mix - or How Does a History Department Work?"

Course Description

This course is designed to acquaint students with a variety of approaches to the past used by historians writing in the twentieth century. The books we read have all made significant contributions to their respective sub-fields and have been selected to give as wide a coverage in both field and methodology as possible in one semester's worth of reading. We examine how historians conceive of their object of study, how they use primary sources as a basis for their accounts, how they structure the narrative and analytic discussion of their topic, and what are the advantages and drawbacks of their various approaches.

Special Features

Technical Requirements

RealOne™ Player software is required to run the .rm files found on this course site.

Donate Now


Prof. Anne McCants

Course Meeting Times

One session / week
2 hours / session