Courses

Curriculum

This page lists the courses currently offered by the Archives and Public History program. Students typically register for eight credits per semester and complete the program in four semesters (i.e. two academic years).  Students may also elect to take courses in the NYU History department or other related departments throughout the university. In the past, students have elected to take courses in the Moving Image Archiving & Preservation program at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, or in the Museum Studies Department.

  • Advanced Archival Description
  • This course is designed to provide students with a deeper understanding of archival representation and descriptive methods.  It focuses on the development and use of bibliographic standards and best practices to create and exchange data concerning archival materials and manuscripts.  Emphases include the MARC 21 format, web-compatible mark-up technologies, the history and development of Encoded Archival Description, digital reformatting, and content management systems.
  • Approaches to Public History
  • This course reviews major methodological issues involving the practice of public history, including teaching and learning, curriculum development, oral history interviewing, curation, film and media, digital history, public funding, and grant writing.
  • Creating Digital History
  • This course offers a basic grounding in the technological skills needed to conduct online historical research and to present historical projects in a web-based environment.  Students craft a research project, create an online archive, and develop a web-based exhibit.  This course focuses on intellectual property, digital history theories and methods, and web analytics.
  • Digital Methods in Historical Inquiry
  • This course explores the use of digital tools and methods in historical inquiry, with an emphasis on building the technical skills necessary to create, organize, and analyze datasets.  Students apply statistical, visual, and spatial forms of analysis to draw meaning from historical data.  Assignments rely on a hands-on, lab-based approach.
  • Historical Editing Seminar
  • Students learn the theories, practices, and problems involved with editing and publishing historical documents, both in traditional print and electronic editions.  Students develop their own edited collections complete with prefatory material, transcriptions, annotations, calendars, and indices.
  • Institutional Archives
  • This course traces the rise of modern organizations and institutions, relating them to issues involving the creation and use of the documentary record.  Focuses on public, corporate, and nonprofit organizations, as well as such unique archival environments as historical societies.  Topics include the history of recordkeeping, records and information needs of organizations, records management theory and practice, and the challenges and opportunities presented by electronic records.
  • Internship Seminar
  • Students enrolled in this course complete a 120-hour practicum at a selected archival repository or public history site.
  • Introduction to Archives
  • This course introduces students to the theory and practice of managing public and institutional archives, as well as manuscript repositories, in the United States.  It includes an historical overview of recordkeeping and archives, an introduction to bibliographic resources, and a consideration of such archival functions as selection and appraisal, arrangement and description, reference, and legal and ethical issues.
  • Introduction to Preservation and Reformatting
  • Overview of principles and practices of archives preservation. Examines the physical composition of archival materials in all formats, causal agents that contribute to archival deterioration, the application of appropriate preservation and conservation methods, and various reformatting and rehousing techniques, including digitization. Explores the ways in which archivists select material for preservation, perform condition surveys, develop environmental controls, and formulate disaster planning and recovery programs. Use and access considerations are addressed, as are the technical aspects and limitations of various preservation options.
  • Introduction to Public History
  • This course reviews the history and theory of the practice of public history, from the nineteenth-century origins of the creation of the historical profession through the present.  Focuses especially on such topics as historic sites and monuments, historic houses, memorialization, commemoration, exhibits, historic preservation, and heritage, and community.
  • Mapping Archives
  • Drawing on materials at NYU Libraries, this course introduces students to concepts, methods, and tools for spatial analysis of the archival record. Exploring digital tools, resources, and research practices for mapping and visualization, the course will focus on interpreting and representing diverse forms of evidence: textual and nontextual, scribal and printed, qualitative and quantitative, institutional and personal. Applying critical and theoretical perspectives, students will participate in a lab component for the course, designed to build competencies in the use of computational methods for understanding and manipulating data in the humanities.
  •  Oral History, Labors of Waste, and the Value of Knowledge
  • This class uses oral history to consider the role of unappreciated labor and invisible knowledge in an urban setting.  Working in collaboration with current and former members of New York City’s Department of Sanitation, we will explore the dynamics of a historically significant work force to consider overlooked elements of the city’s past, to become acquainted with the complexities of a vital but largely hidden infrastructure, and to uncover narratives that reveal a dynamic , culturally rich, and often unseen community.  This class is run through the Draper Program and is not cross-listed with Archives and Public History.
  • Readings in Archives and Public History (independent study)
  • Directed individual or small-group readings concerning a selected topic involving public history or archival theory and practice, developed in conjunction with the course instructor.
  • Research in Archives and Public History (independent study)
  • Directed individual or small-group readings, research, and writing concerning a selected topic involving public history or archival theory and practice, developed in conjunction with the course instructor.
  • Research Seminar (capstone)
  • Students enrolled in this course will complete their capstone requirement or thesis.  They are expected to conceive and complete an original research project in the archives or public history field.  The final product may take the form of an article-length academic thesis, a collaborative project with a partner institution, or an online project that contextualizes a body of historical source material and brings it to the attention of a broader public.
  • The Historian and the Visual Record
  • This course is an historical survey of the techniques of visual representation with an emphasis on the direct engagement with physical objects.  Traces the history of visual formats from the fifth century through the digital revolution, considering such issues as technical and technological innovations, the unique aspect of particular visual forms, and methods of historical analysis.  Curatorial and archival methodologies for preserving and representing visual forms will be emphasized.
  • Topics in Archives and Public History
  • In-depth reading, discussion, exercises, and assignments on one important aspect of archives or public history. Examples include the historian and the visual record, material culture, history and public policy, oral history, historical documentaries, archival systems, archiving and preserving digital media, archiving and preserving photographic collections, and archives in the age of Web 2.0.

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