Please note that students intending to write a senior thesis are strongly encouraged to enroll in a seminar for which they will write a substantial research paper during their junior year. Students should confirm with the seminar instructor that they will be asked to write a research paper. Please see pages 6 and 14-15 in the Undergraduate Handbook for more information.

Spring 2017 Seminar Enrollment Procedures

Undergraduate seminars that originate from the Department of History (at Columbia or Barnard) are grouped in three categories:

  • Seminars which do not require instructor's permission. Students may freely enroll until the course fills, or add themselves to a waitlist (most seminars are capped at 15).
  • Seminars which require instructor's written or verbal permission (or an instructor-managed application). Students must email the instructor or visit their office hours to request permission. For HIST UN3xxx and HIST GU4xxx courses: after obtaining instructor's permission, students should join the course waitlist in SSOL or myBarnard. The instructor will then approve you in the course. (If you do not obtain permission for the BC, UN, and GU seminars which require it, you may be removed from the waitlist or roster.)
  • Seminars which require a departmental application. Students must file a seminar application with the department during the seminar application window. For spring 2017, the early registration application period was open from Monday, October 17th-November 4th. Please inquire with the Undergraduate Administrator about open spots.

Please note that graduate students may enroll in any 4000-level or above seminar, as well as a few 3000-level seminars with instructor's permission.

Last Updated: November 15th, 2016
  • HIST UN3120 Censorship and Freedom of Expression in Early Modern Europe: Elisheva Carlebach, M 10:10-12:00P
  • HIST UN3189 Composing the Self in Early Modern Europe: Charly Coleman, T 2:10-4:00P   
  • HIST UN3213 The Russian Revolution: 100 Years Later: Catherine Evtuhov, M 4:10-6:00P      
  • HIST UN3225 Asiatic Russia: Empire, State, Society: Gulnar Kendirbai, M 2:10-4:00P
  • HIST UN3305 The European Enlightenment: Charly Coleman, R 10:10-12:00P
  • HIST UN3518 Columbia University & Slavery: Karl Jacoby, R 12:10-2:00P       
  • HIST UN3595 American Consumer Culture: Meg Jacobs, R 2:10-4:00P
  • HIST UN3687 Fascism, Post-Fascism, Neo-fascism: the Latin American Right in the Cold War: Daniel Kressel, W 12:10-2:00P  
  • HIST UN3779 Africa and France: Gregory Mann, R 10:10-12:00P                
  • HIST UN3962 Technology, Work, and Capitalism: A History: Whitney Laemmli, M 10:10-12:00P    
  • HIST GU4040 Biohistory of the Ancient Mediterranean: Bodies, Disease and Population: Nathan Pilkington, T 4:10-6:00P
  • HIST UN4234 Genocides and Holocaust: Laszlo Karsai, R 2:10-4:00P    
  • HIST GU4253 Ukraine in New York: Alexander Motyl, W 12:10-2:00P  
  • HIST GU4367 Cities in Britain, its Empire and the World: Sam Wetherell, R 12:10-2:00P      
  • HIST GU4531 Labor, Nature and Capital in the Archives: Thai Jones, W 10:10-12:00P
  • HIST GU4696 The Social Question in Latin America: Global Trends and Local Responses in the Age of Modernization 1890s-1950s: Eduardo Zimmerman, T 6:10-8:00P        
  • HIST GU4769 History of Health and Healing in Africa: Rhiannon Stephens, W 10:10-12:00P (First year students are not permitted; sophomores and above, please join the course wait list in SSOL or MyBarnard and the instructor will approve you in the course. Priority will be given to upperclassmen. Email if you need help registering.)
  • HIST GU4984 Hacking the Archive: Matthew Connelly, M 10:10-12P


Last Updated: November 15th, 2016

Please email professors or visit during their office hours to request permission. After receiving permission, you may enroll yourself during your next registration period (or join the course wait list in SSOL or myBarnard, if applicable; the instructor will then approve you). Note that if you do not secure permission from the instructor, you may be removed from the course.

  • HIST UN3104 Family, Sex and Marriage in Pre-Modern Europe: Martha Howell, R 4:10-6:00P (to request permission, please email
  • HIST UN3152 Byzantine Encounters: Alexandre Roberts, T 12:10-2:00P (to request permission, please fill out the instructor managed seminar app linked here)
  • HIST BC3368 History of the Senses in England and France: Deborah Valenze, W 12:10-2P (to request permission, please email
  • HIST UN3437 Corporate Behavior and Public Health: David Rosner, T 8:10-10:00A (to request permission, please email
  • HIST UN3553 Slavery and Finance in 19th Century America: Manuel Gonzalez, R 4:10-6:00P (to request permission, please email
  • HIST BC3909 History of Environmental Thinking: Deborah Coen, F 10:10-12:00P (to request permission, please email
  • HIST UN3938 America & The Natural World Since 1800: William Leach, W 2:10-4:00P 
    (to request permission, please email
  • HIST GU4223 Personality and Society in 19th Century Russian Thought: Richard Wortman, T 4:10-6:00P (to request permission, please email
  • HIST GU4240 Cultures of the Cold War: Tarik Amar, W 10:10-12:00P (to request permission, please email
  • HIST GU4331 Modern Germany, 1900-2000: Volker Berghahn, W 4:10-6:00P (to request permission, please email
  • HIST GU4470 Cold War Power: Culture as a Weapon: Victoria Phillips, R 4:10-6:00P (to request permission, please email

Last Updated: October 14th, 2016

The departmental seminar application period for the following spring 2017 seminars will be open from October 17th-November 4th at 2:00pm. To apply, please visit this link.

HIST UN3021 The Greek Invention of History: Richard Billows, F 10:10-12:00P
The western tradition of rational, analytical history writing began in classical Greece in the 5th century BCE, with the famed historians Herodotos and Thucydides. This class will examine the precedents to history writing before Herodotos; the aims and methods of Herodotos and Thucydides, including how they came to take such different approaches to history writing; the work of the key successor historians Xenophon and Polybios; and Greek thought about historiography in general. A key focus of the class will be putting Greek history writing into its social and cultural context.

HIST UN3942 Democracy in the Middle East: Rashid Khalidi, T 10:10-12:00P
Where the establishment of sustainable democracies is concerned, the Middle East has perhaps the poorest record of all regions of the world since World War II. This is in spite of the fact that two of the first constitutions in the non-Western world were established in this region, in the Ottoman Empire in 1876 and in Iran in 1906. Notwithstanding these and other subsequent democratic and constitutional experiments, Middle Eastern countries have been ruled over the past century by some of the world's last absolute monarchies, as well as a variety of other autocratic, military-dominated and dictatorial regimes. This course, intended primarily for advanced undergraduates, explores this paradox. It will examine the evolution of constitutional thought and practice, and how it was embodied in parliamentary and other democratic systems in the Middle East.

HIST GU4811 Environment and Health in South Asia: Kavita Sivaramakrishnan, W 2:10-4:00P       
In 1940, Minoo Masani, a liberal politician and writer published a best selling book titled, “My India,” and listed India’s most precious possessions- its sun, lands, rivers and its women, children and men. Masani observed that one could not “eat the sun nor drink the rivers [or]… live in the high mountains” but these ‘elemental things’ were shaping the people, their health, and in turn, were being used, exploited or conserved by Indians. Masani’s book was written at the eve of colonial rule on the sub-continent and its popularity grew in the years after Indian independence (1947) as it enumerated the nation’s human and natural resources, and the promise and allure of national development and social progress. In the same vein, this course is set at the cusp of colonial and post-colonial pasts and futures. Masani underscored the potential to harness harmonious interactions with a stable and homogenous natural world and invoked the future promise of development. Instead, we will trace a history of the present in South Asia that is overcast, complex, precarious, and has been termed as an environmental “basket case” by a noted environmental historians writing about India (Guha, 2013). This course will focus on the fluid and contentious interactions between the natural world (environment, pathogens and disease) and South Asian states (colonization, their modernizing, economic impetus and ideologies), scientific experts, intellectuals, missionaries, medical practitioners and citizens and NGOs who have been asserting rights over the environment and health.

Cross-listed Spring 2017 Seminars

Last Updated: 11/22/16

The following courses were approved to count towards the history major and concentration but do not originate from the department. Please consult the Directory of Classes for enrollment instructions.

  • CSER UN3928 Colonization/Decolonization (Karl Jacoby)
  • AMST UN3931 (sec. 003) American Legal History (Michael Hindus)
  • AMST UN3931 (sec. 006) The American City Reimagined (Casey Blake)
  • AFAS UN3936 Black Intellectuals (Frank Guridy)
  • AFAS GU4035 Criminal Justice/Carceral State un 20th c. U.S. (Samuel Roberts)
  • AFAS GU4080 (sec. 001) Topics in the Black Experience: Black New York (Frank Guridy)