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.

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

Graduate Courses

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 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 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 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