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 13-14 in the Undergraduate Handbook for more information.

Spring 2016 Seminar Enrollment Procedures

There are three approved ways in which students may enroll in undergraduate seminars that originate from the Department of History (at Columbia or Barnard):

  • For "Category A" seminars that do not require instructor's permission, students may freely enroll until the enrollment cap is met, or add themselves to a wait list (for most seminars, the cap is 15 students).
  • For "Category B" seminars that require instructor's permission (but not an application), students may email the professor prior to the start of classes, then enroll themselves during their registration period (note that if you do not obtain permission, the instructor may ask for you to be removed from the course).
  • For "Category C" seminars that require permission via an application, students must file a seminar application with the department during the seminar application window. (UPDATE: The spring 2016 application deadline has passed. To inquire about open slots or to be added to a wait list, please contact the Undergraduate Administrator at

A note to graduate students: A few of the seminars listed below are also open to graduate students; the Directory of Classes will list which ones in the "open to" course rules. In the event that a seminar is not normally open to graduate students, you may still contact the professor for possible inclusion. If permission is granted, you will need to fill out an add/drop form.

Last Updated: November 13th, 2015

HIST W4081 – Building Forever: Rome through its Monuments, Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Maya Maskarinec
Thursdays 2:10-4 PM

HIST W4110 – French America, 1534-1804
Pierre Force
Tuesdays 2:10-4 PM

HIST W4155 – Christian Missions in the Early Modern World
Bronwen McShea
Tuesdays 10:10-12 PM

HIST W4250 – The Other Global Village: Cinema Under State Socialism
Tarik Amar
Thursdays 10:10-12 PM

HIST W4271 – Rock-n-Roll, Western Films and a Crisis of Soviet Identity: Problems of Cultural Consumption in Ukraine after Stalin
Sergei Zhuk
Tuesdays 4:10-6 PM

HIST W4396 – Britain in the Age of Revolutions: Radicalism, Repression and Reform
Matthew Wyman-McCarthy
Tuesdays 12:10-2 PM

HIST W4437 – Poisoned Worlds: Corporate Behavior and Public Health
David Rosner
Wednesdays 8:10-10 AM

HIST W4617 – Jews in Muslim Lands in the Middle Ages
Mark Cohen
Wednesdays 4:10-6 PM

HIST W4641 –The Holocaust & Genocide in American Culture
Rebecca Kobrin and Daniel Press
Thursdays 2:10-4 PM

HIST W4751 – The Ottomans and the West, 1700-1900
Edhem Eldem
Wednesdays 10:10-12 PM

HIST W4789 – Poverty in Africa: Historical Perspectives
Rhiannon Stephens
Thursdays 2:10-4 PM

HIST W4922 – The Engineering and Ownership of Life
Daniel Kevles
Mondays 2:10-4 PM


Last Updated: November 24th, 2015

Instructions: Please email professors or visit during their office hours to ask for permission to enroll. After receiving permission, please enroll yourself during your next registration period. Note that if you do not secure permission from the instructor, you run the risk of being removed from the course.

HIST BC4064 – Medieval Science and Society
Joel Kaye (
Thursdays 4:10-6 PM

HIST BC4119 – Capitalism and Enlightenment
Carl Wennerlind (
Tuesdays 2:10-4 PM

HIST W4223 – Personality and Society in 19th Century Russia
Richard Wortman (UNI: rsw3)
Mondays 4:10-6 PM

HIST W4281 – Culture in Polish Lands
Malgorzata Mazurek (UNI: mm4293)
Tuesdays 10:10-12 PM

HIST W4288 – Russia at War, 1462-1945
Sergei Antonov (UNI: saa2111)
Wednesdays 2:10-4 PM

HIST W4331 – Modern Germany, 1900-2000
Volker Berghahn (UNI: vrb7)
Tuesdays 4:10-6 PM

HIST W4347 – Europe and Islam in the Modern Period, 1798-Present
Sarah Ghabrial (UNI: sjg2180)
Thursdays 4:10-6 PM

HIST BC4428 – Representing the Past
Mark Carnes (UNI: mc422)
Mondays 2:10-4 PM

HIST W4470 – Cold War Power: "Hot," "Soft," and "Hard" Diplomacy
Victoria Phillips (UNI: lvb3)
Wednesdays 6:10-8 PM

HIST W4483 – Military History and Policy
Kenneth Jackson (UNI: ktj1)
Tuesdays 2:10-4 PM

HIST BC4491 – Making Barnard History
Robert McCaughey (UNI: ram31)
Mondays 2:10-4 PM

HIST W4509 – Problems in International History
Anders Stephanson (UNI: ags8)
Tuesdays 6:10-8 PM

HIST W4518 – Columbia University and Slavery
Thai Jones (
Wednesdays 10:10-12 PM

HIST W4588 – Social History of Drugs and Drug Policy
Samuel Roberts (
Tuesdays 2:10-4 PM

HIST W4596 – Consumer Culture in the U.S.
Meg Jacobs (UNI: mj2737)
Thursdays 2:10-4 PM

**newly added course** HIST W4934 – Poisons in World History
Benjamin Breen (UNI: bpb2121)
Wednesdays 2:10-4 PM

HIST W4993 – Histories of Cold
Rebecca Woods (UNI: rw2543)
Thursdays 10:10-12 PM

HIST BC4999 – Transnational Feminism
Premilla Nadasen
Wednesdays 2:10-4 PM

The following graduate courses are open to select undergraduates with instructor's permission. After obtaining permission, an add/drop form MUST be filled out:

HIST G8233 – Nomads of the Eurasian Steppes: From Chingiz Khan to Stalin and Beyond
Gulnar Kendirbai (UNI: gk2020)
Wednesdays 12:10-2 PM

HIST G8906 – Craft & Science in the Early Modern World
Pamela Smith (UNI: ps2270)
Mondays 10:10-2 PM

Last Updated: November 17th, 2015

Instructions: The spring 2016 application deadline has passed. To inquire about open slots or to be added to a wait list, please contact the Undergraduate Administrator at

HIST W4713 – Orientalism and the Historiography of the Other
Rashid Khalidi
Tuesdays 2:10-4 PM

This course will examine some of the problems inherent in Western historical writing on non-European cultures, as well as broad questions of what it means to write history across cultures. The course will touch on the relationship between knowledge and power, given that much of the knowledge we will be considering was produced at a time of the expansion of Western power over the rest of the world. By comparing some of the "others" which European historians constructed in the different non-western societies they depicted, and the ways other societies dealt with alterity and self, we may be able to derive a better sense of how the Western sense of self was constructed.

HIST W4357 – History of the Self: Rousseau
Mark Lilla
Mondays 2:10-4 PM

This course is one of a series I am developing on the history of the modern self. In recent years I have offered seminars centering on Montaigne and on Pascal (along with Kierkegaard). This course continues the investigation by focusing on Rousseau’s Emile, which is both a treatise on education and profound work of human psychology. We begin by looking at the educational writings of Rousseau’s predecessors and adversaries – Montaigne and Locke – as well as a less known precursor, Giambattista Vico. The remaining weeks will be devoted to a careful reading of Emile and the posthumously published fragment, “Les solitaires: Emile et Sophie.”

Other Spring 2016 Seminars

Last Updated: 11/13/15

The following seminars 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.

WGST W3509 – Gender and Knowledge in Modern European History
Deborah Coen
Fridays 11-12:50 PM

WMST W3880 – History of Sex in the 'West,' 1789-1967
Hilary Hallett
Thursdays 10:10-12:00 PM

CSER W3928 – Colonization and Decolonization
Mae Ngai
Tuesdays 11-12:50 PM

HSEA W4027 – Issues in Early Chinese Civilization
Feng Li
Tuesdays 2:10-4 PM

AFAS W4035 – Criminal Justice and the Carceral State in the 20th Century United States
Samuel Roberts
Wednesdays 10:10-12 PM

HSGM G4550 – The Future in History
Ioanna Laliotou
Wednesdays 2:10-4 PM

MDES G4652 – Mughal India
Allison Busch
Wednesdays 4:10-6 PM

HSEA W4927 – Unequal Geographies: Asia and the Making of an Inter-Regional World
Steffen Rimner
Mondays 2:10-4 PM