Spring 2017 Courses for Graduate Students

Graduate courses at UW-Madison are numbered 700 and above, and History graduate students typically take courses at the 700 or higher level. Subject to program restrictions and by prior arrangement with the instructor, however, students may take 300-600 level course that carry the graduate attribute for graduate credit. For details, see the Graduate Handbook – Registration - Level of Course Credits.

The Course Guide lists all courses offered at UW-Madison. It is an online, searchable catalog that provides a broad spectrum of course information and enables browsing the course sections offered each term. It is updated six times per day. You may reach the Course Guide in two ways:

For graduate students, there is no practical difference between the two points of entry. (The only difference that the My UW version enables undergraduates to use the Degree Planner tool.)

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 710 - Digital History

Digital History (UW Course Guide)

The term “digital history” has become ubiquitous, but what does it mean and what all does it encompass? This seminar is designed to give graduate students what you might think of as “digital literacy”— a basic grounding in the range of forms that digital history currently encompasses, the debates among historians that they have stimulated, and (at least some of) the underlying technologies.

In scope, the seminar will aim for broad rather than deep learning. The goal is not to make you a digital historian (though that might happen), but to expose you to methods and tools that might be useful for your own research and teaching and to give you the knowledge and confidence to speak intelligently on the subject, should you have occasion do so (e.g., in a job interview).

We will begin by exploring the controversies among historians that digitization in historical scholarship has generated in recent years. The bulk of the semester will be divided into modules that survey digital methods and tools for conducting historical research, for analyzing and interpreting historical sources, and for presenting the results of research to academic audiences as well as to the broader public.

Pre-requisites: NONE; the seminar will be designed to accommodate students at all skill levels.

M 2:25 - 4:55 PM | 2252B Helen C. White Hall | Instructor: Colleen Dunlavy

History 710 - On the Job Market

On the Job Market (UW Course Guide)

This class will help students develop their dossiers, primarily but not exclusively for the academic job market. Students will draft and polish job letters for a range of kinds of position, CVs in the plural, teaching and research statements, writing samples, as well as other sorts of documents, depending on other possible careers. It will also help students prepare for phone, Skype, AHA and on campus interviews. We shall explore other possible careers and the ways in which a History Ph.D. can be translated. Each member of the class will leave it with a support group, a polished dossier, and knowledge how better to navigate the current job markets.

R 1:20 - 3:15 PM | 2125 Humanities | Instructor: Lee Palmer Wandel

History 710 - Dissertation Chapter Writing Seminar

Dissertation Chapter Writing Seminar (UW Course Guide)

This seminar aims to provide advanced graduate students with some structure and support to produce at least one dissertation chapter of 35-50 pages over the course of the semester. My assumption is that you have gathered your source materials and are ready to write full-time or nearly full-time. You will meet with your advisor to discuss field-specific issues during the semester. For the rest of the time, you will work with me and your fellow dissertators across fields to accomplish your writing goals by giving and receiving feedback and staying motivated and productive.

W 11:00 - 12:55 PM | 4212 Helen C. White Hall | Instructor: Shelly Chan

History 713 - History of Higher Education in Europe and America

History of Higher Education in Europe and America (UW Course Guide)

This course traces the development of higher education—both inside and outside universities—from the late Middle Ages to the present. The course stresses the intellectual and cultural history of higher education, dealing especially with the evolution of the curriculum; the pursuit of humanistic as well as scientific knowledge; the professionalization of scholarly work; the inclusion and exclusion of diverse populations of students; the relationship between the university and the state; the idea of students and professors as members of a particular social “class”; the changing nature of student protest(s); and the various political, economic, and religious functions of colleges and universities in both Europe and the United States.”

T 2:25 - 5:25 PM | L173 Education Building | Instructor: Adam Nelson

History 801 - Poverty in the Greek and Roman World

Poverty in the Greek and Roman World (UW Course Guide)

This seminar examines ancient Greek and Roman social and economic history through the lens of poverty. It explores how the poor are represented within our (predominantly) elite source material and investigates ways in which historians can approach the lives of those who were not part of this elite. It examines how poverty shapes, and is shaped by, different political systems and economic processes and investigates how the experience of poverty in past societies can be studied. Some questions we will ask include: How should poverty be defined in the ancient world and does this change over time and space? What factors shaped the experience of being poor? To what extent were the poor a recognizable social group? How do poverty and slavery relate to one another? Are some ancient societies better at “dealing with” poverty than others? Should historians draw on social science methodologies and what are the advantages and pitfalls if they do?

Throughout the seminar, discussions will be explicitly comparative and drawn from evidence from both the Greek and Roman worlds. This will provide students with the opportunity to develop expertise in, and/or familiarity with, methods, theories, evidence, and bibliography from across the ancient Mediterranean world.

T 11:00 - 12:55 PM | Location: Classics Reading Room, Memorial Library | Instructors: Marc Kleijwegt and Claire Taylor

History 845 - Central European History Seminar

Central European History Seminar (UW Course Guide)

In the historiography of late modern Europe, the Weimar Republic is most often seen as a promising democratic experiment cut short by the collapse of political liberalism and the violent rise of Nazism. Even when Weimar's stunning modernist culture has been recognized, historians have stressed the Republic's violent beginnings in 1918 and its ignominious failure at the hands of Hitler in 1933. Recently, an interdisciplinary scholarship has re-opened the subject of Weimar political culture, finding new realms of previously unexplored social and political experience. In doing so, historians have come to view the question of whether Weimar failed as an open issue. This seminar explores some of these new research themes, including gender, body politics, citizenship, empire and borderlands, visual culture, popular culture, and consumption. The seminar is designed both to broaden students' critical understanding of a key moment in modern European history, and to facilitate students' preparations for preliminary examinations. Knowledge of German is helpful but not required.

T 1:20 - 3:15 AM | 2125 Humanities | Instructor: Rudy Koshar

History 857 - Empires of the East: Eurasia, Indian Ocean

Empires of the East: Eurasia, Indian Ocean (UW Course Guide)

Recent events in South Asia C from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 to the development of global jihadism or “terrorism” and the rise of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban have taken almost everyone by surprise. They have also sparked a new and intense interest in the historical evolution of a region that until recently most Americans were quite unfamiliar with and regarded as of little relevance for themselves. In the daily press, in foreign policy journals, and in academic books on the subject, what is now often called the new great game for empire became a hotly debated subject. Parallels have been drawn between the Cold War engagements of recent decades and the nineteenth-century contest between Russia and Great Britain for power and influence in the same region. The struggle for empire in South Asia has been depicted as something that was historically inevitable and of all ages - proof, if any were needed, of the old adage that “geography is destiny”. But where does this inevitability come from? And what does it bode for the future of the region? Will America, now that it has been drawn into it, be just another, the latest, empire to become the arbiter of the East? In this seminar we will explore these, and related issues in five parts.

W 1:20 - 3:15 PM | 2251 Humanities | Instructor: Andre Wink

History 861 - The History of African Seminar

The History of African Seminar (UW Course Guide)

This course will explore recent scholarship history, theory and ethnography of the African postcolony. What global connections, circuits and migrations have shaped African worlds in the aftermath of empire? What forms of political and economic power have emerged since independence from colonial rule? How have Africans remembered, represented and grappled with the colonial past, both at the level of high politics and in their everyday lives? What sentiments, solidarities and expressive cultures have become possible in the spaces of the postcolony?

Topics include:

  • The politics of infrastructure
  • Artists and intellectuals and the postcolonial predicament
  • NGOS and governmentality
  • The possibilities and pitfalls of "development"
  • The rise of "global health"

R 11:00 - 12:55 PM | 2125 Humanities Building | Instructor: Emily Callaci

History 891 - Postwar Europe

Postwar Europe (UW Course Guide)

This reading seminar will introduce graduate students to the history of Postwar Europe—East and West. We will explore the imprint of the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the extension of Soviet power on the countries of Europe. We will look at European reconfigurations against the backdrop of the Cold War, focusing on "the end of empire" in Western Europe, the creation of the Soviet Bloc in Eastern Europe, and the creation of the European Union. We will also look at the transmission of ideas, culture, and people across borders, as well as at the politics of religion, immigration, reproduction, and environmentalism. We will end with an evaluation of the revolutions of 1989—and the new political, social, and cultural transfigurations that emerged in their wake.

F 11:00 - 12:55 PM | 5245 Humanities | Instructor: Laird Boswell & Francine Hirsch

History 901 - Zionism & Critics

Zionism & Critics (UW Course Guide)

In the late-19th century, Jews in a number of countries initiated a movement for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Turkish empire. Known as Zionism, this movement eventually lead to the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Zionists ranged across the political spectrum from left to right. There were multiple forms of Zionism, sometimes mutually antagonistic, that pursued various strategies and goals. Throughout its history, Zionism also generated fierce criticism from many quarters within and outside the Jewish community. Much was at stake in debates between Zionists and their critics: the fate of Jews in increasingly perilous countries; the future of empires in the Middle East; the prospects of Arab nationalism in Palestine; and other critical issues. This seminar explores the history of the Zionist movement—its ideas and politics—in relation to its critics from multiple perspectives. Its geographic scope covers Europe, Palestine, and the United States up to 1948. In its broadest frame, the seminar is about the clash between nationalism, socialism, and liberalism through the case study of the Jews as they became entangled with nation-states, empires, and revolutions from the mid-19th century to the mid-20 century

T 3:30 - 5:25 PM | 2261 Humanities | Instructor: Tony Michels

History 901 - Transnationality and Historical Inquiry

Transnationality and Historical Inquiry (UW Course Guide)

U.S. Transnationality and Historical Inquiry critically examines transnationality as both an approach to and as an object of historical inquiry. It explores how U.S. transnational studies deepen our understandings of the impact that global capitalism, colonization, migration, and war and displacement, has had on U.S. society. This course aims to provide a more robust analysis of socio-economic inequalities and the avenues for social justice.

T 11:00 - 12:55 PM | 2261 Humanities | Instructor: Cindy I-Fen Cheng

History 910 - Readings in Colonial North America

History of Colonial North America (UW Course Guide)


Historians once understood the history of “Colonial North America” as the history of the thirteen British colonies that united in the American Revolution. But a generation of historical scholarship has enormously expanded the scope of colonial America. Many scholars posit that early North American history must include what historians have come to call the “Atlantic World,” and some call for a global approach. In this course we will grapple with the debate over what properly constitutes early America, and, while we will keep North America as our point of reference, we will continually situate the British North American colonies in their broader Atlantic context.

This course is historiographical in nature; that is, it is intended to help you understand how historians have wrestled with this subject matter over time. By the end of the semester, you should be conversant with major debates in early American history and with the way in which the field has developed. You will also have gotten to know—in the limited way we historians can—a wide array of early Americans themselves. This course will explore changes over a vast geographic expanse, but it will simultaneously whenever possible consider historical change from the perspective of the individual: an enslaved Jamaican concubine; a French colonial administrator; a young Powhatan emissary; an Afro-Caribbean missionary; and an Anglo-American shoemaker caught up in the chaos of Revolutionary Boston.

Together we will consider an array of topics, including maritime exploration, imperial expansion, migration, race and power, slavery and the trans-Atlantic slave trade, religion and belief, women and gender, the development of the American colonies; the emergence of an Atlantic economy, and the struggles of many for independence during the Age of Revolutions.

F 8:45 - 10:45 AM | 1080 Grainger Hall | Instructor: Gloria Whiting

History 943 - Race and Nationalisms: Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives

Race and Nationalisms: Comparative and Theoretical Perspectives (UW Course Guide)

This seminar examines race and nationalisms as they interact in several different geographic settings over time. It aims to cultivate a nuanced understanding of how race has not only been a “factor” in national histories, but also how it has shaped the past in the societies we will study. Our readings and discussions will prompt us to probe colonialism, racial and gender hierarchies, cultural politics, and foreign relations. We will study comparative and theoretical perspectives on five broad and overlapping themes: 1) racial formation; 2) space and displacement; 3) gendered nationalism; 4) race and foreign relations; 5) cultural politics. These themes will anchor discussion and are keyed to each week’s reading. Each participant will lead a weekly discussion and write two short papers, one due at the end of the semester and another approximately two-thirds of the way through the course.

R 3:30 PM - 5:25 PM | 2125 Humanities | Instructor: Brenda Gayle Plummer

History 978 - Teaching College History - Introduction to Undergraduate Pedagogy

Teaching College History - Introduction to Undergraduate Pedagogy (UW Course Guide)

Embracing the art of teaching as one of the key skills of a good historian, and acknowledging that the desire to teach is one of the main motivations for graduate study, this course aims to translate passion for history and humanities education into practical skills for classroom success.

This course has three main learning outcomes:

  1. Give students practical readiness for teaching while in graduate school
    We will explore how to run discussion sections to maximize positive impact on student learning, create meaningful leaning experiences for all students, grade effectively, fairly, and efficiently while minimizing time commitments and frustrations. This course should lessen the burden of graduate student teaching by helping students learn how to preemptively avoid problems and enable undergraduate success.
  2. Apply research on student learning to the teaching of history
    Learning and teaching are the subject of a substantive and successful body of research. Much of the research on how people learn can be leveraged to create far more effective practices for teaching history. We will study the results of research on learning and discuss how it may be applied to the project of teaching history.
  3. Prepare effectively for the challenges of teaching contemporary undergraduates
    We need to be able to teach all the students who come to us for education. In general, today’s college students have not been taught research or writing in high school. Their high school education generally as focused on exam preparation, with little or no attention on critical thinking, writing, or to how to transfer skills and knowledge to different contexts. Contemporary undergraduates enter the classroom with a wide variety of preparation levels and prior experiences. We will develop techniques for reaching all students where they are and helping them develop as historians and thinkers.

View class poster (pdf)

**This course will not be taught again until Spring 2019.**

W 3:30 - 5:25 PM | B321 Van Vleck Hall | Instructor: Leonora Neville

History 982 - Race, Fiction, and Visual Culture in Latin America

Race, Fiction, and Visual Culture in Latin America  (UW Course Guide)

Focusing on Cuba, and using regions such as Mexico, Ecuador, and Brazil as points of comparison, this seminar will examine the cultural history of race as it was articulated in literature and visual culture from the late colonial period to the present. We will pay special attention to concepts such as pureza de sangre, negritud, whitening, racial passing, and mestizaje. The course will be accompanied by a distinguished speaker series, which will require that three classes from the semester meet later during the day. Reading proficiency in Spanish is required.

M 3:30 - 5:30 PM | 2211 Humanities | Instructor: Victor Goldgel-Carballo