Topics in Global History: Intensive Research Seminar in Historical Biography [AD-S format] (HIST*6500) | College of Arts

Topics in Global History: Intensive Research Seminar in Historical Biography [AD-S format] (HIST*6500)

Code and section: HIST*6500*01

Term: Winter 2022

Instructor: Karen Racine


Winter Semester 2022, Wednesdays 2:30-5:00
Method of Delivery: ZOOM / online format
Dr. Karen Racine

We do not reflect that it is perhaps as difficult to write a life, as it is to live a good one. -Lytton Strachey 

The famous nineteenth century British historian Thomas Carlyle championed the “great man” theory of history; he once observed that all history can be reduced to the biography of great persons.  In contrast, Karl Marx believed that deep structural economic change was the actual motor force of history; in his view, the lives of individual people do not matter much.  This course will examine the theory and practice of the genre of life writing, including: its evolution over time, psychobiography, biography and national identity, issues of language and cross-cultural comprehension, sources and methods.
Students may choose any subject for the biography, with a few restrictions: must have been dead for 20 years, must be able to locate and use multiple relevant primary sources, and should not be too ambitious for a single semester project. Highly recommended that MA students choose a subject related to their thesis/MRP work so they can broaden and deepen the source base they will use for that project as well. 


Description of topic and initial annotated bibliography    10 %
Journal article worksheet responses  5 %
First Draft of 8-10 pages 10 %
Peer Edit #1 and 2 10 %
In-class presentation; participation and preparedness 10 %
Final Research Paper 55 %


Hermione Lee, Biography: A Very Short Introduction.
plus a selection of articles and books from University of Guelph Library

**Please note: This is a preliminary website description only. The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description. The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.**