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The Historian as Detective
HIST 200
Spring 2025
Section: 01  

Whodunnit? In many ways, the craft of history is much like the art of detection. Historians arrive on the scene after the "crime" was committed. We look for traces, or clues, left behind. We try not to contaminate the crime scene. We pore over the evidence. We consider both motive and opportunity. We take note of silences. We keep an open mind. We seek the truth. And, as it happens, the professional historian and the professional detective--in fact as well as fiction--emerged roughly around the same time. We are like twins separated at birth. Perhaps if we are reunited, we might learn something new about each other, and ourselves. This course will draw upon classic (and not-so-classic) works of history, criminal detection, and detective fiction to better understand the importance of forensics and method in the discipline of history, as well as the importance of history in the art of detection. Each week will pair a work of literature with a work of history, supplemented by key essays in historical methodology.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS HIST
Course Format: DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUL-14-2024
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