I’m currently enrolled in three classes this semester. Here they are as a breakdown and how good they are:
American Ways of War: Sorry, Kevin, no Victor Davis Hansen*. In actuality, mentioning Hansen’s name generates a violent, unpleasant reaction to most historians. Part of this is due to the instantaneous and unavoidable hatred of any and all authors who actually make money at writing history; most of the time that’s legitimate, as popular history = bad history. Charitably Hansen is characterized as best a huge over-generalization, at worst he’s directly blamed for some of the deaths in Iraq and other places (not entirely without justice, but a bit over-the-top, all the same).
So what is the class actually about? The tradition of irregulars in the American military, by which the course appears to focus on rangers, special forces, and Indian fighters. It’s designed as a counterpoint to Russ Weigley’s The American Way of War*, who essentially states that all American military development prior to the Mexican War was bunk. (More on bunk later.)
*For the record, I haven’t read either book. Hansen I’ll think about, Weigley probably not. But we’ll see.
Historiography — Ah, yes. The history of history writing. (Even better, a text for another course is the history of historians writing about history.) This course is essentially designed to teach one about the various approaches to history and how to be good at it. It’s necessary and surprisingly not dry. It helps my advisor is teaching the course, but he’s the most engaging of the three teachers.
Approaches to Security Studies writing — See above, but with less day to day work (hurray!) but a more involved final assignment (boo!).
I’m also putting together my committee for my PhD… even though I have to pass the coursework first… and the preliminary exams. But I’ve got two of the four I need (I’m sure about one, 90% about the other).