This course is intended for anyone who would like to fulfill their capstone requirements interested in war or violence in the modern era in the United States, Europe and/or Eurasia. We will read a common set of texts covering different topics in military history and approaches to the historical study of war and violence. These texts will be examined both for their content and what they can teach us about writing.
Before the first day of class, please send me a one page summary of one or more topics that you might be interested in exploring and any sources that you have identified to pursue them. The work you will do in this course is in many ways the culmination of your academic experience at NYU and should be an exciting exploration. You will be concentrating on your topic for a whole semester, so make sure that you have enough sources to tackle it and that it is interesting enough to keep you passionate about it for the duration. Constant effort is key to this endeavor. This paper will require steady work from the beginning of the semester. No matter how smart you are, you cannot pull an all-nighter and write a passing thesis.
Doing original research and writing a large, well argued paper is a big part of what professional historians do. This can be thrilling, but it can also be very isolating. I aim to provide a structure and training that will make this process run more smoothly, and you should support each other and share your ideas. While any historical work usually only has one author, what ends up on the page is often the result not only of their research and thoughts, but also of countless conversations with their colleagues and friends as well as the submission of drafts to their scrutiny.