Fall 2015 Courses for Graduate Students

This is the University's main listing of all courses presented at UW–Madison. It is an online, searchable catalog of courses providing a broad spectrum of course information, including the ability to browse course sections offered each term. It is updated six times per day.

Class Search is the real-time, online listing of course sections offered each term. Students can click on course sections to add them to their enrollment shopping cart.

Current and past syllabi, arranged by course number, can be found in the History Syllabi Library.

Graduate Courses

History 701 - History in a Global Perpective

History in a Global Perspective (UW Course Guide)

Introduction to the ways of thinking characteristic of historical study and to the questions and methods that motivate the research fields in which department faculty work. Required of all graduate students in their first year.

M 11:00 AM to 11:50 AM | Instructor: Colleen Dunlavy

History 704 - Topics in Contemporary History

Topics in Contemporary History (UW Course Guide)

This seminar studies two or more nations or defined regions through a comparison of a single theme or set of themes in their history.

F 3:30 PM to 5:25 PM | Instructor: Viren Murthy

History 705 - Space, Nature, History

Space, Nature, History (UW Course Guide)

The world is a big place. Photographed from outer space, Earth appears whole, a discrete unit. But viewed from the grounded perspectives of historians, geographers, and anthropologists (among others), it is almost unfathomably large, complex, differentiated. This seminar uses recent work on space, nature, and time to ask how we, as scholars trained in fields that emphasize the particularities of life, can make sense of the world. It asks this not only to help us place our own work in broader perspectives, but also with an eye toward teaching. How might we teach world history, world regional geography, or an introduction to global studies? Historians and other scholars will increasingly be asked to teach outside of the periods and regions of our expertise, particularly as very narrow scholarly specialties broaden and become less common. World history can thus be highly useful by providing the largest possible frame for understanding our more specialized work, no matter what that might be.

This seminar will explore a balanced mixture of theoretical readings and focused case studies that exemplify different ways of approaching global environmental history. We will consider work on space and scale, commodification, imperialism, water, food, and even big ideas such as evolution as threads to follow as we trace our way through world history. Although focused on questions about how the environment has shaped (and been shaped by) patterns of world history, the seminar assumes no prior environmental history training and should have much to offer students who do not define themselves as environmental historians.

F 9:55 AM to 12:55 PM | Instructor: Elizabeth Hennessy

History 706 - Topics in Transnational History

Topics in Transnational History  (UW Course Guide)

This seminar examines the significance of a particular event, phenomenon or question across national borders and in terms of the history of nation-state formation.

M 3:30 PM to 5:25 PM | Instructor: Shelly Chan

History 755 - Empire & Revolution: U.S. & European Colonial Rule in Southeast Asia

Empire & Revolution: U.S. & European Colonial Rule in Southeast Asia (UW Course Guide)

The course explores the nature of “empire” in an age of America’s global dominion, starting with the rise of European empires during the “high colonialism” in the late 19th century and ending with U.S. global hegemony in the early 21st century. After reviewing the literature on the rise of modern empires, the course will explore both the expansion of European colonialism into Southeast Asia and the region’s response. With the world’s most diverse array of imperial powers and its longest, most intense colonization, Southeast Asia is the ideal region for a close, comparative study of imperialism.
In this survey of European empires, the seminar will focus closely on U.S. colonial rule in the Philippines from 1898-1946, an important but forgotten chapter in American history. Indeed, in two centuries of American history, the U.S. conquest and colonization of the Philippines is the only experience comparable to our current involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. By exploring this juxtaposition of past and present in the history of America’s foreign adventures, the seminar will, in its opening and closing sessions, explore the way the past bears upon the present.

More broadly, the course will explore issues central to the character of global empires--the causes of imperial expansion, the drive for military security, the psychology of colonial dominion, ecological and economic transformations, the rise of nationalist resistance, and the dynamics of imperial decline.
Instead of transferring a fund of facts about European empires and anti-colonial revolutions, the seminar seeks to understand the dynamics of global dominion. Hopefully, students will emerge from the course with a better understanding of the nature of empire, the lasting legacy of colonialism, and the future of U.S. global power.

T 4:00 PM to 5:55 PM | Instructor: Alfred McCoy

History 800 - Research Seminar in History

Research Seminar in History (UW Course guide)

This seminar offers students the opportunity to write their master’s thesis or a chapter of their Dissertation with the support of Dr. Neville and fellow history Graduate Students. The class is designed to benefit students at all stages in the writing process. We will create a work schedule that priorities the individuals progress while demythologizing and streamlining the writing process. Students will learn to turn their explorations into research results and subsequently into solid chapters. This seminar is founded strongly on the notions of getting things done, and getting them done well.

W 3:30 PM to 5:25 PM | 5245 Humanities | Instructor: Leonora Neville

History 805 - Medieval History

Medieval History (UW Course Guide)

W 3:30 PM to 5:25 PM | Instructor: Karl Shoemaker

History 829 - Research Seminar in Latin American History

Research Seminar in Latin American History (UW Course Guide)

The purpose of this seminar is to provide a forum where students at different stages in their research careers can learn more, as well as share their knowledge, about the process of research in Latin America. We will start from three assumptions. First, that the process of research is a human and personal one, and that knowledge and self-knowledge about the human dimension of research can help us be better researchers as well as better analysts of others' research. Second, that the process of research is itself a political and historical one, and that applying our analytical skills to an understanding of research and writing situations helps us successfully to negotiate the challenges and pitfalls we face. Third, that we gain a better understanding of the research process when we also understand that the archive is itself a historical and human construction, in which the documents we are able to read have already been "selected" through processes of social conflict. This process of selection becomes, in effect, a part of our research process. And fourth, that the analysis of documents and other sources is both a search for information, and an exercise in textual criticism.

During the first 4 weeks of the course we will meet weekly to discuss common readings and establish a community of conversation. Weeks 5-11 will be set aside for independent work, but I will hold office hours exclusively for 829 students during the usual seminar hours. Weeks 12-15 will be set aside for paper/research presentations, and for any additional revisions that emerge from our conversations. 

W 1:20 PM to 3:15 PM | Instructor: Florencia Mallon

History 850 - History of Soviet Union & Modern History of East-Central Europe

History of Soviet Union & Modern History of East-Central Europe (UW Course Guide)

Development of the Soviet Union since 1917 and the political and diplomatic history of the nations lying between Russia and Germany.

F 11:00 AM to 12:55 PM | Instructor: Francine Hirsch

History 861 - History of Africa

History of Africa (UW Course Guide)

Research studies in aspects of African history with emphasis on field research techniques and interpretation of non-archival data.

T 11:00 AM to 12:55 PM | Instructor: James Sweet

History 891 - Gender and War in the Twentieth Century

Gender and War in the Twentieth Century (UW Course Guide)

This graduate seminar will explore how gender shapes and is shaped by the experience of the two world wars of the twentieth century. We will read both primary and secondary sources. While the geographical emphasis will be on Europe, we will also examine the encounter with total war in the United States and Southeast Asia. Our approach throughout will be transnational and comparative. Some questions we will ask are: How do cultural notions of masculinity figure in the recruitment of soldiers and the construction of military “comradeship”? How does “wounded” masculinity become a trope of war’s effects? How did women in the United States and Russia adapt to military life and combat? What role did women play in resistance movements? What did “survival” mean for women—on the homefront, in concentration camps? How does the procuration and preparation of food—a traditionally female task—assume new meaning during wartime? Finally, we will devote an entire section of the course to the role of sexuality in war, including prostitution and sexual violence. What is the “body” of war? How does the possession of women’s bodies delineate spheres of power in the male contest for territory?

T 3:50 PM to 5:25 PM | Instructor: Mary Louise Roberts

History 901 - Comparative Cold War Immigration and Racial Formations in the U.S.

Comparative Cold War Immigration and Racial Formations in the U.S. (UW Course Guide)

This course examines U.S. Cold War immigration policies as examples of governmentality that work to promote the U.S. as qualitatively distinct from other nations in its commitment to freedom, democracy, and equality. The Communist takeover of China, the Korean War, the Southeast Asian Wars, the Cuban Revolution, the CIA Tibetan Program, and the U.S. intervention in the affairs of El Salvador and Guatemala set the stage to chart the movement and displacement of people to the U.S. These events also show the way state interests manifest in the regulation and assignment of immigration statuses such that what separates a Vietnamese refugee from an undocumented Salvadoran is not the condition of their displacement but how these designations work to advance the superiority of the U.S. over communism. Outside of revealing state interests, this class examines the way immigration statuses shape racial formations in the U.S., deepening our understanding of social divisions as well as possibilities for collective political action in U.S. society. 

R 11:00 AM to 12:55 PM | Instructor: Cindy I-Fen Cheng

History 906 - Proseminar in the History of Education: School Reform

Proseminar in the History of Education: School Reform (UW Course Guide)

In this seminar, we will explore the history of school reform. We’ll first study the creation of public schools in the nineteenth century, pedagogical theory and classroom practices, and ongoing attempts to improve the system. As we consider the twentieth century, we’ll examine the changing nature of the curriculum, the expansion of high schools, and the role of public schools in the long struggle for civil rights. The course will then examine the influence of the Great Society upon public education and recent market-based school reforms. We’ll conclude with an appraisal of federal initiatives such as “No Child Left Behind” and the “Race to the Top.”

M 2:25 to 5:25 PM | Instructor: William Reese

History 925 - Slavery and Freedom in North America, 1491-1900

Slavery and Freedom in North America, 1491-1900 (UW Course Guide)

This seminar investigates how systems of bondage and movements for freedom shaped life in North America from the eve of European colonization to the early twentieth century. We will consider Native forms of bondage, the rise and development of African slavery and the plantation complex, movements for emancipation and abolition, Civil War slave emancipation, Reconstruction, and the late-nineteenth century political, social, and economic struggles that flowed from these histories. We will read classic works (e.g., Steven Hahn's A Nation Under Our Feet; Jennifer Morgan's Laboring Women; Amy Dru Stanley's From Bondage to Contract) as well as the latest scholarship in these and other fields, including Native American and Western history. Reading these histories through and against one another, we will develop a fuller sense of the ways that bound people and forced labor have shaped individual, family, and community life; political institutions, ideologies, and transformations; and the economic and social assumptions that continue to shape American society.

W 11:00 to 12:55 PM | Instructor: Stephen Kantrowitz

History 900 - Intro to History for U.S. Historians

Intro to History for U.S. Historians (UW Course Guide)

A survey of U.S. history by period and field, designed to introduce new graduate students to U.S. history faculty members and each other. Extensive discussion of how to plan a successful career as a historian.

W 8:50 AM to 10:45 AM | Instructor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

History 932 - American Environmental History

American Environmental History  (UW Course Guide)

Surveys recent and classic works on American environmental history to introduce students to the methods and historiography of the field. 

T 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM | Instructor: William Cronon

History 982 - Human Rights in Latin America

Human Rights in Latin America  (UW Course Guide)

Latin America is arguably the world’s leading region of human rights culture, in the sense of an imperative to insist on truth reckonings and accountability after times of state terror and mass atrocity. Since the 1990s, more perpetrators including former high-level officials have been exposed to truth-and-justice reckonings and convicted in court in Latin America than elsewhere. In addition to formal institutional advances, cultural and artistic work is vibrant – in film, television and street video, in literature, theater and the visual arts, in song, community art and street performance, in museums, memorials and street protest.

At the same time, however, the region continues to witness notorious human rights failures, and continues to breed fierce internal criticism. Some critics and activists argue that the human rights agenda has become a discursive smokescreen, rather than a pathway to social justice, accountability, and progress. If everybody ostensibly favors human rights, does this mean it no longer carries much bite, and that it has become marginal to the public agenda of the future?

How did this contradictory and perhaps paradoxical situation – world leadership alongside scandalous failures, wide support alongside risk of marginality, notable accountability alongside continuing impunity – come about?

In this course, a historical and interdisciplinary graduate seminar, we will address such issues together. We will study how the human rights question turned into a great moral and political struggle, both conflictive and urgent, in Latin America during the last half-century. We will consider grass roots, national, and transnational social actors, and the troubled legacies they created together, in conflict and collaboration, both within and beyond Latin America. This interdisciplinary course is cross-listed and may be taken for credit in various departments.

Our work together will unfold in three modules. In the first, we will build a language of discussion by analyzing and debating leading scholarship on human rights in Latin America. We will emphasize in-depth case studies, while bringing them into dialogue with theory and world-historical currents. In the second module, we will focus on expressive and artistic culture, with emphasis on film. As corollary, we will also consider how the “intangibles” of social climate may influence “tangible” institutional and political outcomes. The third module is the exciting capstone of our work. We will hold a small conference based on student research.

T 6:00 - 8:30 PM | Instructor: Steve Stern