Fall 2008

Experimental History

Listed in: History, as HIST-71


Hilary J. Moss (Section 01)
Martha A. Sandweiss (Section 01)


(US) This course focuses on the craft of historical writing. It asks students to consider how people write about the past and to experiment with different narrative strategies themselves. By reading, discussing, and critiquing recent works of experimental history, we will explore, for example, the boundaries between fact and fiction, and ask how historians can best make use of historical speculation, particularly when telling stories from multiple, and often conflicting, points of view. Through a wide range of historical readings, primarily though not entirely American, we will explore various authorial strategies that journalists, novelists, filmmakers, and professional historians employ to recover the past, and focus on how we might write better history ourselves. Above all, this course places an emphasis on doing. Through a series of structured writing assignments, students will experiment with different ways of writing about the past. One class meeting per week. Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Moss. Professor Sandweiss.