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 Spring 2022

HIST 498 (001): Global Perspectives on Local Histories

Prof. Kevin Gosner (

Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:15 p.m.

This capstone seminar is an opportunity for History majors to design and complete a research project on a topic of their own choosing, drawing on interests and skills that have been nurtured in your other classes. Though students will be developing individual projects, together we’ll be sharing ideas about concepts and methods, and we’ll workshop research proposals and historiography together. We’ll also work collectively at each stage of the process of writing, editing, and resubmitting. The common theme will be to explore global perspectives on local histories. Though your projects will differ, everyone will engage the comparative implications of their research, drawing on theoretical frameworks that inform historical scholarship as well as empirical studies of comparable cases in the world history historiography. To that end, we’ll begin the semester with a set of common readings that offer models for scholarship of this kind. 

HIST 498 (002): Recent U.S. Foreign Relations

Prof. David Gibbs (

Wednesdays 6:30-9:00 p.m.

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 (103/203): Popular Culture and Resistance

Prof. Tyina Steptoe (

Fully Online

This online seminar will focus on the various ways that individuals, groups, and/or communities have used popular culture as a form of protest. We will begin the semester by examining common readings on various pop culture products (i.e., music, film, television, sports, etc.) and individual culture producers, before students begin their own projects. Students can choose a topic from any era or part of the world.

The capstone seminar is the culmination of the history major at the University of Arizona; therefore, you will be called upon to use skills and knowledge you have developed throughout your time here. The course requires critical reading, reports on secondary and primary sources, and completion of a final paper. Although you will produce an individual final paper, you will engage with other students via online discussions of readings and by providing feedback on essay drafts.

HIST 496H (001): Seeing History

Prof. Susan Crane (

Tuesdays, 2:00-4:30 p.m.

The past is what happened.  History is what we write about.  Scholars who are enabled with sight have used that sensory tool to investigate the past, whether in order to read primary sources or to write about them.  This seminar will focus on the experience of vision and how it shapes our historical consciousness.  How have visual sources served to illuminate our understanding of the past?  How can scholars responsibly use visual historical evidence as more than illustration for interpretations of the past?  Students will choose which types of visual sources (i.e. photography, film, video, art, advertising, propaganda, or material culture objects) and forms of visual culture from any era (i.e. print media, museums, world’s fairs, ruins, quilts, photo albums…the list is virtually endless and open to creative interpretation, with the approval of the instructor) that they want to conduct research on.  Final projects may take the form of writing or alternative modes of production, with content forming approximately 25 pages of scholarship based on research.

 496H is the Honors section of the required senior research capstone (HIST 498).  Honors students may take any section of the capstone to fulfill major requirements, but this section earns three units of Honors credit. Priority enrollment will be given to Honors students who may be completing a thesis the following year, but other students may enroll as space allows, and the instructor will keep a wait list for non-Honors history majors who wish to enroll in this section.