Capstone Research Seminar

How to Register

To register for HIST 498, email the instructor for permission (email addresses are indicated below for the instructor for each section). The instructor can then give permission by email to the academic advisor, Kathryn Gallien, to enroll you in the course.

Capstone Options for Fall 2023

HIST 498 (102/122/202): Popular Culture and Resistance

Prof. Tyina Steptoe ( 

Fully Online

This online capstone seminar will focus on the various ways that individuals, groups, and/or communities have used popular culture (e.g., music, sports, film, television, fashion) as a form of protest. We will begin the semester by examining common readings on cultural history before you begin your own project. You may choose a topic from any era or part of the world, as long as the topic relates to pop culture and resistance.

HIST 498 (001/021): American Foreign Relations

Prof. David Gibbs (

Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:30-4:45 p.m.

In Person

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to methods of historical research for recent and contemporary US foreign relations, with a special focus on the post-1898 period. The class will emphasize the following specifics: basic features of historical methodology, especially with regard to finding and interpreting primary source materials; how to use source materials to construct logical arguments; how to use theoretical perspectives (from both history and social science) to improve the quality of arguments; and the mechanics of designing a college-level research paper. We will focus on foreign policy decision making as it relates to war and security issues, as well as foreign economic policies and covert operations by intelligence agencies.

The main assignment will be a research paper of 15-20 double-spaced pages. It is important that you select a topic and begin at least preliminary work on their papers as early in the semester as possible. You will be expected to turn in a take-home midterm exam; a draft version of the research paper and a final version of the paper, all at intervals throughout the semester as indicated below. Students are expected to meet with me several times during the semester to discuss their progress in conceptualizing and writing the paper. Class attendance is required.

HIST 498 (002/003): Oral Histories and Letters

Prof. Jadwiga Pieper-Mooney (

Wednesdays 2:00-4:30 p.m. 

In Person

In this research seminar we will explore two types of historical sources: oral histories and letters. We will discuss methodologies, research strategies, and will use specific examples of published oral histories and historical research based on letters to help you on the path to completing your own research project. You should select the focus on your work inspired by your interests and by the type of sources you wish to explore. Your topic may refer to a significant legal change, to a political event of the past, to the impact of a specific new technology introduced in the past century, to a labor struggle, to the history of a social movement, or to an activist initiative. You may choose to conduct your own interviews. Alternatively, you may feel inspired to select a topic based on oral history collections or archived letters available on-line, accessible through Special Collections at the University of Arizona, or readily available at the Arizona Historical Society Archives in Tucson. We will explore these options in the first part of the semester. Once you selected a research focus, we will dedicate our class meetings to writing strategies, to peer-reviews, and to discussions of drafts – to make sure that your evidence supports your argument, and that you present your original research in a clear and convincing paper.