Welcome to Fall 2013!

August 28, 2013 § Leave a comment

We are happy to announce there will once again be two sections offered this semester!

Section 1: Wednesday 10 – 12 AM, 204 Dwinelle

Camille Villa, History 2014
Office Hours: TBA

Pedro Hernandez, History 2014
Office Hours: TBA

Section 2: Monday 2 – 4 PM, 80 Barrows

Jonathan Scott, History 2015
Office Hours: TBA

Michelle Min, History 2014
Office Hours: TBA

To Apply :

1. Submit an online application here.
2. Attend one of the enrollment classes, 9/9 or 9/11.

We will send out CCNs on a rolling basis after enrollment classes.  You will be notified if the class is full.

This 2 unit class is a supportive community open to all levels of research experience.  Furthermore, the class is open to all majors, though do keep in mind that research topics must be historical in scope.  If you have any questions, about the class or would like to begin discussing your research topic, you can reach all the facilitators at historicalresearchworkshop@gmail.com.


You can also talk to us in person this Friday at the DeCal Expo on Upper Sproul from 5:00 – 7:00 PM!


Reading: “Film and Television: The moving Image”, Jeffery Richards

April 6, 2013 § 12 Comments

For historians, the study of the feature film became inescapable as from World War I until the late 1950s cinema-going was the principle leisure activity of the masses…” ~Jeffery Richards

This week’s reading comes from Sarah Barber and Corinna Peniston Bird’s, “History Beyond the Text”. Piggy-backing off of the importance of Material Resources and Culture, we move into Visual Resources. In his piece, Richards discusses much about the history and development of film and art as an emerging historical piece, what were some ways that historians have used and learned from film?


Reading: “The Truth of Material Culture: History or Fiction?”, Jules David Prown

April 2, 2013 § 9 Comments

This last week’s reading came from History from Things: Essays on Material Culture, edited by Steven Lubar and W. David Kingrey.  What challenges and opportunities does working with material culture present?

Monday section: after participating in Luke Habberstad’s  analysis of a Chinese vessel, what did you learn about working with material culture?  How does Prown’s notion of “material as reflection of culture” compare and contrast with what Luke’s idea of “material making culture”?


history from things

Guest Speakers for Visual Resources & Material Culture Week

April 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

This week we are fortunate to have two excellent graduate students introduce us to the opportunities and challenges presented by visual analysis. We spend much of our time working with textual sources and the power of language, but a vast wealth of visual sources are also available to us. Aside from resources that explicitly use visual mediums to communicate ideas and information, such as drawings, paintings, photographs, cartoons and maps, there are also material artifacts which subtly tell us about the people that made them and used them. How would you write a history if you only had visual materials to work with?

Monday: Luke Habberstad

Luke Habberstad is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History completing a dissertation on the development of imperial court institutions during the Western Han dynasty in China (206 BCE-9 CE). His interests are wide ranging, and he feels fortunate to be studying both a topic and a period that require asking big questions and employing a wide range of sources.

Wednesday: Sarah Gold McBride

Sarah Gold McBride is a third year PhD student in UC Berkeley’s Department of History. She also attended Berkeley for her undergraduate degree, where she wrote her senior thesis with Professor Waldo Martin. Her current research explores how nineteenth-century Americans used popular culture — including popular entertainment and scientific knowledge — to understand racial and gender difference.
An example of her work with visual resources can be found at US History Scene: “Power is on the Side of the Beard”: Masculinity and Facial Hair in Nineteenth Century America.

Students are welcome to attend both sections if they desire.  Please e-mail the other section’s facilitators if you will be attending.  

Reading: Learning From Strangers

March 4, 2013 § 14 Comments

Learning from strangersThis week’s reading comes from Learning From Strangers by Robert Weiss. Using case studies and examples, it deals with methods and tactics for conducting in-depth interviews. The first part deals with the work before an interview, the second chapter discusses strategies for during an interview, and the third chapter addresses certain issues that may arise. Primarily a manual for sociological research, it does provide useful tools for conducting oral histories.

What are some questions that came up while reading this?

Reading: Exploring the Bancroft

February 19, 2013 § 14 Comments

Next week we’ll be making our first forays into the Bancroft Library, one of the great (but somewhat hidden) treasures here at Cal.  The Bancroft is especially notable for how accessible its collections are to undergraduates and the general public, so be sure to take advantage of it during your time at Berkeley.


We’ll be visiting the Bancroft in this week’s sections, but we thought it would be good to give you guys a head start.  Exploring the Bancroft is a wonderful book produced in celebration of the Bancroft Library’s centennial, highlighting the variety of books, papers, manuscripts, photographs, and other materials housed at the Bancroft.  While the excerpts we included cover  a pretty wide swath of the Bancroft’s collections (Western Americana, Latin Americana, the Pictorial Collection, Rare Books and Literary Manscripts, History of Science and Technology, University Archives, Center for the Tebtunis Papyri, the Mark Twain Papers, and the Regional Oral History Office), it’s important to know that these are only highlights and the list is not exhaustive.

To get more ideas of what’s available, you can browse the Bancroft’s website to find more collections, both physical and digital.  You can also do keyword searches at the Online Archive of California’s Bancroft page to try and find specific collection items related to your topic.

What items are you interested in at the Bancroft?


If you’re interested in perusing this book and its wonderful photographs, you can find copies of it at Main Stacks, Doe’s Reference section,  and at the Bancroft itself.

Reading: The Footnote

February 13, 2013 § 17 Comments

The first chapter of Anthony T. Grafton’s The Footnote: A Curious History traces the development and importance of this oft-overlooked, yet critical piece of hardware in the toolkit of historians and researchers. Raising it above its position at the bottom of the page, Grafton notes its development from annotation and citation in texts from the early Middle Ages as well as its critical role in the professionalization of scholarship. 

          Anthony T. Grafton. The Footnote: A Curious History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997. 

What comes to light is that importance of the footnote, which is often perceived as cumbersome and annoying by undergraduates (myself included just a couple years ago), lies in the need for historians to build their arguments on source material whose location and identity is apparent for their colleagues. In some ways, this reading connects to Booth in that both address the importance of writing for a scholarly community, and being aware of the needs of one’s reader. 

In reading this chapter, note the different developments in the historical profession, as well as the ways in which citation changed. 

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