Fall 2017 Courses for Graduate Students



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

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.

Graduate Courses

History 705/HistSci 919 - History in a Global Perspective

Commodities and Disease in Global History (UW Course Guide)

This seminar seeks to put historical scholarship on the global flows of capital, commodities, and disease in conversation with one another. Our temporal reach is expansive, from the shifting patterns of yellow fever accompanying the Atlantic slave trade to the global threat of avian influenza arising from factory farms and changing diets worldwide. We will consider a range of commodities—from cotton and coal to latex and blood—to name just a few, to ask what commodities, and associated diseases that accompanied them, can reveal about changing economic, material, political, and social relationships on the global stage. At the same time, we will interrogate the ways that changing ecological regimes of capital have altered and redistributed life—both human and non-human—and created new disease pathways. We will also attend to the different questions, methods, and forms of evidence that economic, environmental, and medical history bring to a consideration of such questions. This is a historiographic based seminar focused on readings and discussion. A sample of likely books include Sven Beckert’s Empire of Cotton (2014); Mike Davis’s The Monster at Our Door (2006); Gabrielle Hecht’s Being Nuclear (2014); Nancy Rose Hunt’s A Nervous State (2016); Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner’s Lead Wars (2013); Sidney Mintz’s Sweetness and Power (1986); John Soluri’s Banana Cultures (2006); and Brett Walker’s Toxic Archipelago (2009) among many other reading selections

T 1:00-3:30 PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Gregg Mitman

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.

W 8:50-10:45 AM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Shelly Chan

History 710 - Dissertation Chapter Writing Seminar

Dissertation Chapter Writing Seminar (UW Course Guide)

This is a workshop open to all stages of dissertation writing, from organizing research into chapters to polishing the final draft of the Introduction and Conclusion.

T 1:20-3:15 PM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Lee Wandel

History 734 - Introduction to Archives and Records Management

Commodities and Disease in Global History (UW Course Guide)

This course will serve as an introduction to the field of archives, providing students with an overview of their history and purpose, as well as an introduction to the concepts integral to archival work. Through a combination of reading, discussion, writing, and project work, students will be introduced to the concepts of appraisal, arrangement & description, reference, outreach, preservation, ethics, technology, project management, and advocacy in relation to all formats of archival materials (manuscript, digital, photographic, audiovisual, and object-based records) in many types of archival institutions. The course offers an introduction and is appropriate for all students, but will provide an important framework for students planning to pursue archival careers or intensive research.

W 1:30-4:00 PM | 4207 Helen C. White Hall | Instructor: Amy Sloper

History 800 - Research Seminar in History

Research Seminar in History (UW Course Guide)

This class has two main goals: for you to substantially complete an MA thesis, dissertation chapter, or article, and for you to learn processes for writing easily and efficiently. History 800 is a required course for MA students. We will explore methods and strategies for 1) Making the basics of writing simple and automatic, 2) Managing large-scale research & writing projects, 3) Self-regulating and self-assessing our progress, 4) Supporting each other in producing your theses and chapters. Exercises will ask you to write a project description and an outline of your thesis (or chapter). I will also help you to frame and hierarchize your argument(s), and systematically work on topic sentences, transitions, introductions and conclusions.

T 11:00 - 12:55 PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructors: Florence Bernault

History 800 - M.A. Writing Seminar

M.A. Writing Seminar (UW Course Guide)

History 800 is a required seminar, intended for those who are working on their MA thesis. Themes that will be addressed include the mechanics of research and writing; communicating research effectively to diverse audience; engaging with the field and the questions that animate it; and discussing methodological choices or commitments in a cross-field setting. The seminar is also intended as a “writers workshop.” The final product is either a partial 20-page draft (first-semester students) or a full MA thesis (second-semester students).

M 3:30-5:25 PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructors: Daniel Ussishkin

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 | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Andre Wink

History 891 - People, Ideas, and Institutions on the Move: Transnational Histories of Modern Europe

People, Ideas, and Institutions on the Move: Transnational Histories of Modern Europe (UW Course Guide)

This seminar traces how Europeans transcended state borders during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Over the course of the semester, we will focus on three interrelated ways in which transnational interactions have occurred: through the movement of people, the circulation of ideas, and the role of global institutions. Focusing on a range of subjects—including, but not limited to, mass migration from Eastern Europe to “the West,” informal and formal areas of European imperialism, the attitude of the Catholic Church toward Communism, and the role of the League of Nations and the United Nations in policing global norms—will allow us to build up a picture of globalized Europe. In addition to reading the best books that engage with these subjects, students will also confront broader conceptual questions about how we might write transnational histories ourselves. What are the benefits—and potential pitfalls? How is transnational history different from comparative, global, and international history? What kinds of methodological tools, categories of analysis, and language can we use to tell stories within such a framework? Over the course of the semester, students will also work on developing core verbal, written, and reading skills. Assessment will be based on participation in the seminar discussions, written and oral reviews of the readings, and a final piece of work in which students will apply class materials to their own specific field of research.

M 1:20-3:15 PM | 5245 Humanities | Instructor: Kathryn Ciancia

History 901 - Citizenship and Belonging in the 19th Century

Citizenship and Belonging in the 19th Century (UW Course Guide)

Who belonged in the 19th-century United States? What was citizenship, and how did people experience it? Where were the borders between inclusion and exclusion, and between the citizen and his antitheses—savage, slave, dependent, and alien? This course explores these questions through the experiences of African Americans, Native Americans, and many others, and through the lenses of the law, politics, culture, religion, immigration, and labor.

M 8:50-10:45 AM | 5245 Humanities | Instructor: Stephen Kantrowitz

History 963 - American Religious History to 1860

American Religious History to 1860 (UW Course Guide)

This course introduces graduate students to the scholarly literature on American religious history through the mid-nineteenth century. It provides extensive rather than intensive coverage so as to give those students who do not intend to continue in the field a useful survey of the subject and those who do intend to specialize a foundation for future work. Although the course necessarily pays heed to Anglo-American Protestantism, it looks at the subject from a pluralist perspective that means expanding the subject geographically—to include New France and the Spanish Borderlands— “denominationally”—to include non-Protestants and even non-Christian groups—and even chronologically (to include a few developments beyond 1860). In the process, it explores the evolution of a national religious culture that featured voluntary rather than established churches, a diversity of competing groups, a substantial if imperfect commitment to religious liberty, and a highly visible evangelical presence. Students should emerge from the course with a better understanding of how religion has saturated American history (albeit not American historiography) and realize that disdain for the subject may in their later careers come back either to haunt them (if one is supernaturalistically inclined) or simply expose them to scholarly ridicule (if one remains more epistemologically chaste). Click here or an example of the seminar’s syllabus. 

W 1:20-3:15 PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Charles Cohen

History of Science 720 - Proseminar in Historiography and Methods

Proseminar: Historiography and Methods (UW Course Guide)

This course provides an introduction to the scholarly field that is the history of science. It gives a brief overview of some of the major themes and issues that occupy the field, and the different approaches scholars have used to address their questions. In the first half of the course, we will read texts that were formative in the development of the history of science (such as Kuhn’s widely read book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions), as well as texts that are representative of different approaches that are paradigmatic in the field (such as the turn towards studying the practices of science instead of ideas or concepts). The second half of the course is comprised of clusters of readings that represent different subfields or areas of research interest with the history of science, and each of these weeks will be co-led by a guest instructor from the department who works in that area. This section of the course has a dual purpose: to introduce you to faculty members from the department and their research strengths, and to give you a sampling of the variety of topics and issues that are currently animating scholarship in the field. The interests of the students enrolled in the class will direct the final weeks of the course.

R 2:25-5:25 PM | L173 Education Bldg. | Instructor: Nicole Nelson