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HIST 496H / HIST 498: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, to enroll you in the course.
Capstone Options for Fall 2020
HIST 498 (001): Riots and Social Uprisings in the U.S.
Prof. Erika Pérez (email@example.com)
Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:15 p.m.
In this course students will examine examples of social uprisings (also referred to as revolts, riots, rebellions, mobs, disturbances, civil unrest and civil disorder) spanning from the colonial period to the present. The study of social uprisings can reveal underlying social, political, and economic tensions within communities or a nation. As students read about and then pursue independent research on a particular event, we will discuss precursors or preconditions to uprisings and mob violence, participants’ motivations, whether uprisings were organized or spontaneous, and the role of the media in crafting narratives of victimhood, aggressor, in fueling rumors, and reinforcing stereotypes about participants. We will evaluate also the responses of colonial, state, and federal authorities, such as the police, military, and appointed and elected officials, to civil disturbances and rebellions. As students engage in independent research and pursue their topic, they should consider the legacies of social uprisings and rebellions and what change, if any, resulted from them.
HIST 498 (102/202): The 1970s or National Parks in History
Prof. Jeremy Vetter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The culmination of the history major, History 498 allows students to pursue in depth the research interests and skills they have developed in other history classes. This research seminar for majors teaches students to organize, research, and write a substantial paper (20-25 pages). This project should base its argument substantially on a critical evaluation of primary sources. It should also actively engage secondary scholarship, contextualizing its argument in relation to important scholarship in the field, noting where scholars disagree. Ideally, the final seminar paper will add something new to these debates, including formulating a research question, reading and analysis of secondary sources for historical background and so that you can situate your research in the scholarly debates, your research proposal and annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources, partial draft, full draft with peer review, and final revised version.
Option #1: The first option for this section of History 498 will focus on the pivotal decade of the 1970s—an era of great transformation in the political economy of the U.S. and other industrialized countries, economic turmoil, acute challenges faced by working-class people, oil shocks and energy crisis, environmental problems, the continuation and end of the Vietnam War, and Watergate, but also an era of further organizing by social movements for equality and justice regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation, and distinctive cultural developments in popular music, cinema, and television. Overall, at least in the political and economic spheres, the U.S. and many other industrialized countries shifted in a conservative direction during the 1970s, although not always uniformly. We will start off with readings about the United States in the 1970s in global context. However, you may work on any part of the world that you wish, including inside the United States, or in other places, or even the connections and relationships between them, as long as you are able to find and read appropriate primary source materials for addressing your research question. You may work on any aspect of history in the 1970s—politics, the economy, culture, society, religion, war, diplomacy, science, environment, technology, health, or anything else, as long as you can pose a great historical question and find the primary sources to address it. Chronologically, we will consider the “long 1970s” which includes from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, and students may, with the instructor’s permission, have the option of extending further forward or backward in time, as long as the 1970s is still a major part of your analysis and narrative. Regardless of what topic you choose, you will be expected to explain the larger historical significance for the 1970s as a whole.
Option #2: The second option for this section of History 498 is the history of national parks and this opens up possibilities not only for research on individual sites operated by the U.S. National Park Service—including those places labeled national parks as well as national monuments, national historical parks, and other units of the system—but also for questions that link together several parks or address issues pertaining to the national park system as a whole. It is even possible to study national parks or other conservation reserves outside the United States, if source availability and language capabilities allow. Potential topics range widely and include policy debates over park management, the role of science in the national parks, environmental issues, development of tourism, technological change, social conflict over land use with local people, economic pressures, political controversies, shifting representations of the parks in popular culture, and changing historical experiences of visitors to the parks.