Spring 2016 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 700 - Traditional & Early Modern Chinese Intellectual History

Traditional & Early Modern Chinese Intellectual History (UW Course Guide)

This seminar is designed to introduce graduate students in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean history, art history, literature, anthropology, sociology, political science, and other fields to key issues and debates in the history of Late Imperial China. It does not assume extensive preparation in Chinese history, but welcomes those who do. Topics covered will include cities and urbanization, development of commercial society, cultural change, family, social, and government organization, relations with Japan, Korea, Mongols, and Manchus (before 1800), education, ethnic and cultural identity in Ming and Qing, and other topics. Because students have varying interests, approximately one-third of each student’s readings will be chosen by the student (in consultation with Professor Dennis) based on individual interest. Students who read foreign languages may select relevant readings in those languages.

In addition to the readings, each week Professor Dennis will explain how to find and read various categories of primary sources. Documents will be selected based on the needs and interests of enrolled students.
Grading will be based on participation in class discussions, weekly posting of reaction papers on the collective readings, periodic reports on individually-selected readings, and a final historiographic essay.. 

W 3:30 PM | 5255 Humanities | Instructor: Joseph Dennis

History 703 - History & Theory

History & Theory (UW Course Guide)

This course will provide an introduction to several important recent approaches to cultural and social history, including methodologies influenced by anthropology, feminism, gender theory, cultural geography, post-structuralism, post-colonialism, globalization theory, and combinations of these. We will read selected chapters and articles by “classic” cultural theorists (most of whom start with B), like Bhabha, Bourdieu, Butler, Appadurai, Geertz, and Foucault, and discuss their theoretical work in relation to recent historical works. The aim of the course is to think through how social and cultural historians are inspired by and use theory in conceptualizing historical change. Throughout the semester we will explore the following questions: how do theoretical perspectives inform and influence various historians’ writing? How are their methods and perspectives shaped, limited, and made possible by their training, their theoretical perspectives, and their epistemological assumptions? One goal of the course is to help you think about how to best theorize and conceptualize your own approach to history.

T 3:30PM | 5255 Humanities | Instructor: Suzanne Desan / Pernille Ipsen

History 705 - Anti-Judaism: A Global History

Anti-Judaism: A Global History (UW Course Guide)

This seminar explores 1) the histories of anti-Judaism and antisemitism as global phenomena and 2) the usefulness of these concepts (rather than, for example, “prejudice” or “racism”) as categories of historical analysis. We will think about these questions by studying recent and classic works of historical scholarship.

M 3:30 PM | 5245 Humanities | Instructor: Amos Bitzan

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.

W 5:00PM | 151 Education | Instructor: Colleen Dunlavy

History 724 - The Politics of Persuasion: Soft Power in Europe and the U.S.

The Politics of Persuasion: Soft Power in Europe and the U.S. (UW Course Guide)

How powerful is non-military power? International relations theorists have defined soft power as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion.” This graduate seminar will put this notion to the test. We will investigate how elites, interest groups, religious bodies, and nation-states seek to exercise hegemony in the international order through non-violent means. How was “soft power” implemented on the ground in the 20th century– and how did its use transform international relations? To probe these questions, we will focus on a series of case studies in European and U.S. international history. Topics covered include the expansion of capitalism and consumer culture; the globalization of international legal instruments and human rights claims; and de-secularization, religious radicalism, and counter-insurgency. In the process of analyzing our case studies, we will refine our analytical vocabulary. Drawing on recent work in international relations, political theory, and international history, we will probe the meaning and utility of concepts like normative power, hegemony, cultural capital, and public diplomacy. This course has no pre-requisites. This course is open to Masters and PhD students from a range of disciplines.

F 1:20PM | L151 Education | Instructor: Giuliana Chamedes

History 725 - Proseminar in Modern East Asian History

Proseminar in Modern East Asian History (UW Course Guide)

This seminar explores the development of gender as a category of analysis in the historical scholarship on early modern and modern East Asia. It engages broader theoretical approaches to gender and its relationship with questions of family, modernity, revolution, and nation in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean contexts. It also asks how gender can be a useful lens for understanding East Asia as an interconnected region. Topics to be covered include women’s history, sex and sexuality, and men and masculinities.

R 3:30 PM | 5257 Humanities | Instructor: Shelly Chan / Charles Kim

History 755 - Proseminar in Southeast Asian History

Proseminar in Southeast Asian History (UW Course Guide)

Designed for students with some background in U.S. diplomatic history and Third World politics, the course will probe the dynamics of CIA covert wars through comparative case histories over the past 60 years. Through a focus on world regions, particularly Southeast Asia, the seminar will explore the central role these covert wars played in international history during the Cold War and its aftermath. Sometimes these clandestine interventions have ended successfully from a U.S. perspective. But sometimes they left behind ruined battlegrounds and ravaged societies that became geopolitical black holes of international instability.
After several sessions reviewing the origins of the CIA and its distinctive patterns of its clandestine warfare, the seminar will apply a case-study approach to covert intervention in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America--including, the anti-Mossadeq coup in Iran, Sukarno’s overthrow in Indonesia, Lumumba’s murder in the Congo, Pinochet’s coup in Chile, and the ongoing covert war in Afghanistan. Reflecting the significance of Southeast Asia to CIA operations, the seminar will devote four sessions to this region. Apart from honing both oral and written skills, the sum of these cases will explore the covert dimension of global power as well as the balance between global and local forces in shaping the historical trajectory of modern nations.

Application: Students interested in taking this seminar, should send me a short email at awmccoy@wisc.edu, stating: (a.) their academic background for this course; (b.) campus ID (to facilitate registration); and (c.) a sentence about the reasons for their interest in the course.

T 1:20 PM | 5257 Humanities | Instructor: Alfred McCoy

History 800 - Research Seminar in History

Research Seminar in History (UW Course guide)

Research seminar designed for students in all fields of history. Seminar is structured to enable students to complete the research paper requirement for the MA. It will introduce students to the life of a professional historian, to different styles and methods of history, and give them the opportunity to present their findings in a conference-type setting.

F 11:00 AM | 5255 Humanities | Instructor: Laird Boswell

History 804 - Germany’s Migrants: Texts and Contexts

Germany’s Migrants: Texts and Contexts (UW Course Guide)

In the aftermath of the violent political crisis in Syria, hundreds of thousands of Syrian citizens arrived in Germany; by December 2015, the number of Syrian refugees in Germany is supposed to reach 800,000. The summer and early Fall of 2015 brought countless images and stories of a “foreigner-friendly” Germany. International media was replete with pictures of Germans standing at train-stations with placards saying “Foreigners Welcome” in German, English, and Arabic. Chancellor Angela Merkel—who in Fall 2010 declared that the idea of a “Multikulti” German society “had utterly failed”—transformed her political stance with an open door policy on immigrants. A closer look at recent events reveals the differences of opinion that are slowly emerging in German national, and European regional politics. The cost of absorbing Germany’s newest migrants has become a major issue for protests and public debates. Nationalist groups are once again expressing concerns about the “rapid decline” of an (ethnic-)German culture. Conservatives frequently reference the fact that already by 2014, the number of German residents born outside of Germany had reached a record high of 16.4 Million, a drastic change since 1974, when the number of foreign-born residents of Germany reached 400,000 because of the guest workers from Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia.

With the current political and cultural debates serving as our point of departure, this seminar will explores the complex history of Germany’s migrants within the larger migratory contexts of Europe, especially after the Second World War. The aim of the seminar is threefold: first, we will investigate how the transformation of labor migrants to cultural and (since 2000) political citizens of Germany has been one marked with accomplishments and positive developments, but also fraught with anxiety, tensions, and discrimination. Second, we will evaluate state-sponsored German models of multiculturalism (Multikulti), integration, and assimilation in the larger framework of the cultural politics of the European Union. Third, and most importantly, we will examine the artistic, cultural, historical, linguistic, political, and religious “contexts” of migrants’ lives through a variety of “texts”: film, media (print and electronic), literary works, and academic scholarship.

The seminar includes works by literary authors such as Abbas Khider, Nicol Ljubic, Emine Sevgi Özdamar, Aras Ören, and Yoko Tawada; films by directors such as Kutlug Ataman, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Xavier Koller; essays by controversial public figures such as the politician Thilo Sarazzin, sociologist Necla Kelek, the feminist lawyer Seyran Ates, among others.

One of the central tasks of the seminar is to fortify an interdisciplinary examination of concepts such as home, belonging, borderlands, citizenship, cosmopolitanism, diaspora, hospitality, and migration through theoretical frameworks developed in scholarhip on multiculturalism, bi- and multilingualism, queer and gender studies, postcolonial studies, and transnational studies. Our discussions will therefore draw on works by literary and cultural scholars such as Leslie Adelson and Azade Seyhan; film scholars such as Daniela Berghahn and Randall Halle; socio-political linguists such as Hagen Peukert and Carol Pfaff; cultural anthropologists such as Arjun Appadurai

T 3:30 - 6:00 PM | 390 Van Hise | Instructor: B. Venkat Mani

History 855 - Seminar in Modern Japanese History

Seminar in Modern Japanese History (UW Course Guide)

The practice of history has been shaken up after two decades of theoretical provocations, set in motion by a series of turns: the cultural turn, the linguistic turn, the transnational turn. We must now navigate a thicket of “posts” (post structuralism, post modernism, post colonialism), “news” (the new imperial history, the new humanities, the new environmental history) and “criticals” (critical regionalism, critical race studies, critical Asian studies) as we read, write, and teach history. This course will help you build an intellectual compass to guide you through this wealth of theory and find ways to bring it into your historical practice.

The syllabus is set up to match a theoretical reading with a historical monograph on the same theme—e.g. Terry Eagleton, Ideology with Carol Gluck, Japan’s Modern Myths; and David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity with Harry Harootunian, Overcome By Modernity. Topics have been chosen to match the research interests of students planning on attending the seminar.

M 9:55 AM | 5245 Humanities | Instructor: Louise Young

History 857 - Seminar-History of India (South Asia)

Seminar-History of India (South Asia) (UW Course Guide)

Recent events in South Asia – 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. As the above quotation from Lord George Nathaniel Curzon [1859-1925; Viceroy of India, Page 2 of 3 1899-1905] illustrates, 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 PM | 5255 Humanities | Instructor: Andre Wink

History 867 - Seminar-European Social & Intellectual History

Seminar-European Social & Intellectual History (UW Course Guide)

In the social and intellectual 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 culture, finding new realms of previously unexplored social and political experience. 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 has a dual structure, with roughly three-quarters of the semester devoted to common readings and discussion, and one quarter devoted to student research and presentations. 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.

W 3:30 PM | 5245 Humanities | Instructor: Rudy Koshar

History 891 - Historiography of Modern Eastern Europe

Historiography of Modern Eastern Europe (UW Course Guide)

This class has three aims: to introduce graduate students to the complex and turbulent modern history of Eastern Europe, to critically explore the ways in which this dynamic field emerged over time and continues to develop today, and to train graduate students in core verbal, written, and reading skills. We will read a series of texts that open up exciting debates on key questions of East European historiography: Why does “Eastern Europe” exist as a field of study? How can East European history be effectively integrated into European history more broadly? What can it reveal to scholars who have primarily focused on the western part of the continent? What specific contributions has East European history made in the fields of nationalism and national indifference, urban and environmental history, gender studies, and the history of mass violence and genocide? We will focus on topics that have led to often controversial arguments, including the treatment of national minorities under empires and nation-states, the Holocaust as an East European event, and society and politics under Communism, drawing cases from the 19th-century empires, the successor states of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, as well as Cold War East Germany. Throughout, we will be sensitive to how people in the region have dealt with their own histories and how memory and history have often come into conflict. Students will be assessed by their participation in the seminar discussions, their critical written and oral reviews of the class materials, and a final piece of work in which they evaluate the current state of the field.

T 3:30 PM | 5257 Humanities | Instructor: Kathryn Ciancia

History 901 - Studies in American History

Studies in American History. (UW Course Guide)

Seminar 001 - TOPIC: Homelands, Frontiers, and Borders: National, Transnational, and Transoceanic Perspectives on North American Wests

This seminar will introduce scholarship that troubles the distinctions we make among histories of homelands and nations, of borders and borderlands, of oceans and of commerce, of frontiers and of migrations, of global colonialisms and the intimacies of empire. The readings range from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, but are concentrated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Each text focuses on a geographic site that, at one time or another, was defined as a West in North America, though some texts pointedly ignore or even reject such identification, while others think comparatively or else trespass borders as promiscuously as their historical subjects did.

R 11:00 AM  | 5255 Humanities | Instructor: Susan Johnson

Seminar 002 - TOPIC: Communism and Anti-Communism in U.S. History

Between the 1920s and the 1950s, many thousands of Americans participated in the Communist movement as party members, members of related organizations, or participants in Communist-sponsored events. Many others sympathized with the Communist Party and the Soviet Union. Communism enchanted large numbers of Americans, but it also provoked strong opposition from people across the political spectrum, from left to right. During the late 1940s and 1950s, anti-Communism became a focal point of domestic and international politics, thus heightening the significance of American Communism well beyond its internal strength. Among historians, the meaning of Communism and its legacy has caused intense, often acrimonious, debate for at least four decades. To what extent was Communism an indigenous movement or an agent of the Soviet Union? This core question has been followed by a host of others, so that the study of Communism and anti-Communism stretches far beyond the Communist Party itself. This seminar proposes to explore the wide-reaching impact of Communism and anti-Communism in American life.

W 11:00 AM | 5245 Humanities | Instructor: Tony Michels

History 940 - American History 1900-1945

American History 1900-1945 (UW Course Guide)

This seminar focuses on the history of reform movements from Populism through the New Deal. Reform movements appeared in various guises in the early decades of the twentieth century, representing conservative, liberal, and radical ideologies. We’ll read classic and recent interpretations of the era and explore topics such as government regulation of the economy, the rise of expertise and the ‘new middle class,’ the birth of fundamentalism and the social gospel, and the settlement house movement. We’ll try to discover why certain Americans became reformers, how they planned to improve American life, and the degree to which they succeeded.

M 1:20 PM | 5245 Humanities | Instructor: William Reese

History 951 - Intellectual History of America

Intellectual History of America (UW Course Guide)

This course introduces graduate students to the scholarship in U.S. intellectual and cultural history. Our syllabus includes both classic and cutting-edge studies in U.S. thought and culture, which will provide students a foundation in the diverse subjects, competing theories, and contested modes of interpretation that have defined the field for well over a half century. We will investigate what many regard as the inherent interdisciplinary of the field, examining how developments in philosophy, anthropology, political theory, and cultural studies have influenced the ways in which historians of thought and culture have understood their own enterprise.

Because intellectual historians like to think about thinking, this course will have its fair share of theory. However, all of the readings, both theoretical and historical, will raise questions of general concern: How to understand the agency of historical actors, ideas, and ideologies? How to measure intellectual and cultural influence? How to access the felt experience and the moral world views of people from the past? How to apprehend the meanings of particular cultural discourses in their own time and place? By asking questions about the creation, transmission, power, and influence of ideas, beliefs, and cultural sensibilities, we will address issues that not only have defined the field, but also have broader applicability to the discipline as a whole.

T 8:50 AM | 5255 Humanities | Instructor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

History 978 - Practice Teaching

Practice Teaching (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.

F 11:00 AM | 5245 Humanities | Instructor: Leonora Neville

History 982 - Interdepartmental Seminar in the Latin-American Area

Interdepartmental Seminar in the Latin-American Area  (UW Course Guide)

History and Fiction are both fields that are essentially narrative-driven, in the sense that crafting a narrative helps the writer understand the content and the meaning of the work. How can we, as history writers, learn from fiction writers? Are there elements of history writing--such as time- and periodization-based storytelling--that can be useful in fiction? This course will explore the complex and productive relationship between narratives in fiction and non-fiction. In so doing, it will help us, and historians and academics more generally, be better at--and more conscious of--our own writing.

R 3:30 PM | 5245 Humanities | Instructor: Florencia Mallon

History 983 - Interdepartmental Seminar-African Studies

Interdepartmental Seminar-African Studies (UW Course Guide)

Theoretical perspectives from Science and Technology Studies have become increasingly influential in the study of health in Africa in recent years. The scholarly turn toward bio-politics and the examination of vernacular science has challenged the relevance of deeply embedded polarities – traditional versus modern, African healing versus biomedicine – that have long inspired studies of medicine and illness in Africa. The result of these intellectual transformations is that the study of health in Africa is at a particularly vibrant and capacious moment. New frontiers of research and inquiry are developing as a result of conversations among humanists, scientists, and social scientists. This course will examine the historical and anthropological literature on health and disease in Africa, and explore the possibilities and potential pitfalls of deeper engagement by scholars in these fields with those working on the history of science and medicine and beyond. We will also examine the ways in which different historical perspectives inform and transform our understanding of contemporary developments, such as the emergence of medical humanitarianism and the flourishing of health-related-non-governmental organizations in the Global South.

This seminar coincides with "Big Stories and Close (Up) Research: Health and Science in the African World," an international conference that will take place at UW-Madison on April 15-16. As part of the seminar, students will have the opportunity to attend the conference and interact with the presenters, many of whose work we will read over the course of the semester.

T 1:20 PM | 1323 Sterling | Instructor: Neil Kodesh & Claire Wendland