藝術家筆下一幅描寫中古時代異象的畫作，出自美國太空總署位於阿拉斯加費爾班(Fairbanks)的極光與電離層觀測站(Poker Flat Research Range)。 (圖片提供：美國太空總署) Artist's rendering of a medieval aura, originally from NASA's Poker Flat Research Range in Fairbanks, Alaska. (Image courtesy of NASA.)
This course features examples of student work and videos from two class sessions: one featuring a discussion of "The Middle Ages as Fantasy," and another on "The MIT Mix - or How Does a History Department Work?"
This course is designed to acquaint students with a variety of approaches to the past used by historians writing in the twentieth century. The books we read have all made significant contributions to their respective sub-fields and have been selected to give as wide a coverage in both field and methodology as possible in one semester's worth of reading. We examine how historians conceive of their object of study, how they use primary sources as a basis for their accounts, how they structure the narrative and analytic discussion of their topic, and what are the advantages and drawbacks of their various approaches.