Teaching

USW 42 | The Democracy Project

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2019

A fast-paced and sweeping introduction to American political history, from past to present, structured around one of the most important democratic institutions: debate. Class debates wrestle with questions like citizenship, rights, and race, using readings from primary documents chronicling pivotal struggles over ongoing issues. No formal debating experience required or expected! 

 

 

 

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Historical Methods | History 97i | What is Biography?

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2019

History 97 is a team-taught introduction to the discipline of history. It is required for all sophomore History concentrators. Six different seminars are offered. In each, over the course of the term, you will explore the historian’s craft by studying and practicing a particular method. In my seminar, we will consider the methods used by biographers. Biographers write histories of lives. Their storytelling is often novelistic but their standards of evidence are those of the historian. They confront distinctive questions: What lives are worth writing? What is the relationship between the...

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Dickens in America | Freshman Seminar 64h

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2019

What happened when Britain’s most celebrated novelist visited the world’s most celebrated experiment in democracy? This course will reconstruct Charles Dickens’ travels through the United States in 1842. We’ll read his travel narrative, the novel he wrote about the United States, and critical responses. We’ll visit some of the place he visited.  And we’ll produce our own responses to Dickens’s work, including in the twenty-first century’s favorite serial form: the podcast.

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Freshman Seminar 62G | The Rise and Fall of the Machine

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2018

This freshman seminar investigates the history of six modern machines—the train, the camera, the radio, the mainframe computer, the personal computer, and the Internet—to trace shifting ideas about the relationship between technology and progress. Machines like these do a lot of things: they document the world; they advance scientific research; they make goods cheaper; they accelerate transportation and communication; they produce knowledge and diffuse information. Do they make the world a better place? Boosters and critics have debated this question since the Enlightenment. This hands-...

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The History of Evidence | History 1916 | Harvard Law School 2694

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2018

This course, offered at the Harvard Law School and jointly in the college (open to advanced undergraduates), will examine and compare the rules and standards of evidence in law, history, science, and journalism. What counts as proof in these fields varies and has changed over time, often wildly. Emphasis will be on the histories of Western Europe and the United States, from the middle ages to the present, with an eye toward understanding how ideas about evidence shape criminal law and with special attention to the rise of empiricism in the nineteenth century, the questioning of truth in...

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The Dickens Log | History 92r

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2015

This class, which was offered in Spring 2015, is directed research. As a final project, the students in the class together wrote and performed a podcast, chronicling Charles Dickens's travels to the United States in 1842. You can listen to their podcast here, via SoundCloud. Copyright in this podcast is held by the students who created it; it is not to be reproduced.

How to Read a Book | History 84e

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2015

This hands-on interdisciplinary undergraduate seminar is for students who want to think about what a book is and how to read one. Readings include historical and literary narratives of reading by Cervantes, Richardson, Franklin, Sterne, Ellison, and Bradbury, together with paper-making, printing, and research exercises in Harvard library and museum collections.  Jointly taught by Jill Lepore (History) and Leah Price (English).

Major Works in American Studies | Am Stud 200

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2014

A survey of the field, with an emphasis on the range of interdisciplinary methods in the humanities, history, and social sciences.  Required of first and second-year graduate students in American Studies and open to others by permission of the instructor.

Introduction to American Studies | History 1400

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2014

The course is designed primarily for students interested in further study in the field, but all students are welcome. We cover topics, from the seventeenth- to the twenty-first century, in political, social, intellectual, and cultural history. Students read both primary and secondary materials, and receive intensive guidance for their writing. Taught jointly by Jill Lepore (History) and Louis Menand (English). Note: Ninety-minute lecture-discussion, plus one-hour section led by the instructors. 

Dissertations

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2014

Allison, Christopher. “Protestant Relics: The Sacred Body in Early America.” American Studies. In progress.

Bell, Richard. "Do Not Despair: The Cultural Significance of Suicide in America, 1780-1840," History. 2006.

Carter, Sarah.  "Object Lessons in American Culture," History of American Civilization. 2010.

Cevasco, Carla. “Feast, Fast, and Flesh: Hunger and Violence in New England, 1688-1748," American Studies. In progress.

Chiriguayo, William. "The Almighty Dollar: American Currency in the Age of Empire." History. In progress.

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The American Revolution | History 1404

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2012

This hands-on research seminar and conference course will take you out of the classroom and into the archives. An intensive study of the political, cultural, literary, and social history of the American Revolution, with an emphasis on Boston from the Writs of Assistance, in 1761 to the British evacuation of the city, in 1776. The class includes field trips to Boston and Cambridge historic sites, archives, museums, and graveyards.

Historical Writing | History 2616

Semester: 

An intensive writing workshop for history graduate students across field groups.  Readings consist of essays on historical writing and samples of particularly effective prose.  The purpose of the readings is to help you think about how and maybe even why you want to write about the past.  The work of the course consists of weekly writing assignments that we will together critique in class, paying special attention not only to standards of evidence and modes of argument but also to plot, character, and storytelling.  

Early American History | History 2600

Semester: 

This graduate seminar explores the historiography of early America.  Readings proceed chronologically, from 1492 to 1800.  But since what constitutes “early America” is in dispute, we begin with that debate. While the emphasis in this course is on historiographical development over the course of the twentieth century, rather than on the most dazzling work of the past few years, certain recent trends emerge on this syllabus:  the interest on global or at least transatlantic approaches and the rise of both cultural history and what some scholars call the “new political history...

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