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 2024

HIST 498 (101/121/201): The Global Middle Ages

Prof. Paul Milliman (

Fully Online

In this course you will research a topic of your choice on some aspect of the history of the world during the Middle Ages (roughly 300-1600 CE).  The main assignment for this course is a substantial research project on your chosen topic using both primary and secondary sources.  The form in which you present your research is up to you.  You may write a traditional 20-page research paper, if you want.  But, I encourage you to be creative.  Think about alternative media (e.g. digital, gamer, maker, reenactment, etc.) and / or genres (e.g. lesson plans, historical fiction, cookbook, how-to manual, illustrated children’s book, graphic novel, etc.).  For example, in HIST 207 students present their research in the form of a choose-your-own-adventure game using Twine, and in 405B and 405C students use Adobe Express to create digital cabinets of curiosities and cookery books.  You will hone your research and writing skills throughout the semester by actively participating in online discussions, constructively critiquing your classmates’ work in peer review, producing short writing assignments, sharing your findings in presentations, and revising, revising, revising.  You will also have five individual meetings with me via Zoom. 

HIST 498 (001/002): History of Disaster

Prof. Gregory Cushman (

Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:45 p.m.

In Person

War, famine, and pandemic! Earthquakes and eruptions. Crash, collapse, and depression! When the slavers or colonists came. ‘Fear, fire, flood, and foes!’ The historical memory of societies is almost invariably structured at some level around catastrophic events. This capstone research seminar for history majors will investigate the history of disaster in any world region or time period before Y2K.

It will begin with a theoretical discussion of ‘natural hazards,’ technological ‘accidents,’ and the role of historical context, conjuncture, and individual agency in producing and mitigating extreme circumstances. It will then move on to a handful of historical case studies from the Americas and around the globe. Meanwhile, students will complete a series of training assignments to identify and interpret primary sources related to the history of disaster. The second half of the course will be focused on the development and presentation of original research focused on a specific historical disaster chosen by each student.  

HIST 498 (003/023): Histories of Colonialism

Prof. Kevin Gosner (

Mondays and Wednesdays 3:00-4:15 p.m. 

In Person

In this research seminar, you are invited to explore global histories of colonialism. We’ll take an expansive view, think beyond Europe, and push our time frames back into antiquity or forward into the 21st century.  Scholarship on colonialism in its many dimensions—war and trade, religion and conquest, immigration and settlement, ecology and disease, identity and culture, authority and resistance—cuts across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. You’ll have an opportunity to work with wildly different kinds of primary sources, focus on a time and place of your own choosing, and share your research in creative new formats or time-honored seminar papers.