This seminar will explore how societies and individuals across a large span of time and space constructed boundaries and what meanings they attached to them. VHS will pursue the study of boundaries in their various realms: politics, culture, and society. The seminar will look for fresh approaches to political and legal history, as it studies the ways in which societies have set territorial borders, surveyed land, and settled disputes over property. It will also explore topics in cultural and intellectual history, with an emphasis on the ways that people sought to demarcate different realms of existence (heaven and earth, mind and body, public and private), distinguish between the human and the nonhuman, and among the various dimensions of the human mind (rational and the irrational, sane and insane, the conscious and the unconscious). The boundaries of the disciplines, especially as they have shaped the writing of history, will draw the seminar's interest. So, too, will the ways in which individuals, groups, and knowledge have crossed boundaries, and the moments at which boundaries have weakened, collapsed, and reformed.
*Because they are unpublished, VHS papers on Boundaries are distributed in hardcopy form only at Vanderbilt. Please contact the authors for more information on papers. You may link to their faculty page or individual seminar posters below.
Vanderbilt History Seminar 2010–2011 participants:
Richard White, Stanford University
Spatial History and the Boundaries of Historical Practice
January 24, 2011, Sarratt 216/220, 4:10 PM
Michael Geyer, University of Chicago
The Europe of Republics, 1970–2000: Deterritorialization and Reterritorialization in Contemporary History
March 14, 2011