Graduate Courses

Spring 2022

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History 700: Proseminar: Traditional & Early Modern Chinese Intellectual History

Traditional & Early Modern Chinese Intellectual History

This seminar is a variable-credit course, one to three credits, 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, to prepare graduate students in Chinese history to do original research, and to better understand how academia works. It does not assume extensive preparation in Chinese history, but welcomes those who do. Topics covered will depend in part on the enrolled students: We will all read overviews of the field and important works on topics such as 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, but because students have varying interests and needs, approximately one-half 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.

Each week, we will spend about an hour discussing the scholarly literature, and then we will read and translate primary sources. Some documents will be selected to acquaint students with important categories of sources, while others will be based on the interests of enrolled students. This is designed and to practice translation. Those who cannot read Chinese can introduce a source in a language they do read, and then leave (if they wish).

Grading will be based on participation in class discussions, weekly posting of short reaction papers on the readings, and a final historiographic essay or research paper, depending on the needs of the particular student. For students taking the course for only one or two credits, separate arrangements will be made. Much of the work for this course will be done outside of class, and for those taking the class for three credits, I estimate the total time engaged in course-related activities to be approximately 135 hours over the course of the semester.

R 3:30PM – 5:25PM | 5245 Mosse Humanities | Instructor: Joe Dennis

History 706: Topics in Transnational History

Religion, Modernity and Re-enchantment

This seminar course offers the option of studying and critically analyzing the many ways in which the historiography of South Asia has evolved in the 20th and 21st centuries, involving several themes and subfields, and comprising time periods from the ancient to the modern times. Designed to develop historiographic command of colonial and postcolonial South Asian history as a teaching and research field, this seminar carefully explores the master narratives or “schools” of historiography of South Asia and analyzes the erasures as well as the normative theoretical and archival axes around which the sub-field has developed. Topics include pre-colonial modes of representing the past; the social, cultural, and economic turns in colonial and nationalist historiography; legal and environmental historiographical methods; South Asia in the world/global South Asia. The theoretical and methodological innovations in South Asian historiography have gone on to influence critical academic historical research worldwide. For example, Subaltern Historiography, developed for the study of South Asia in the 1980s, has been adapted by historians of Africa, of Latin America and of transnational themes and topics. Students would acquire a critical understanding of the major debates and scholarly trends in South Asian history and master several approaches to historiographic analysis. This seminar would fulfill the requirement for a graduate (PhD) level seminar in non-Western histories.

T 1:20PM – 3:15PM | 5257 Mosse Humanities | Instructor: Anne Hansen

History 710: Professional Development Seminar

Designing Courses

This is a workshop in designing lecture courses – both thematic and chronological – and seminars for all levels of students.  Each participant will design one lecture course of her or his choosing and one seminar.  For the lecture course, each student will also design at least one lecture.  In our weekly meetings, we shall be talking about conceptualizing the whole, the parts, and how one builds connections over a single term of study.  In our discussion of the individual lecture, we shall consider the architecture of each lecture as it fits into the larger architecture of the course, as well as how to build into each lecture differing levels and kinds of access for a diverse student body.  In our discussion of building a seminar, we shall explore various ways of bringing students into weekly conversations – how to build into the structure of the course student engagement with the material.

R 11:00AM – 12:55PM | 5257 Mosse Humanities | Instructor: Lee Wandel

History 755: Proseminar in Southeast Asian History

CIA’s Covert Wars & U.S. Foreign Policy

Designed for undergraduates and graduate students with some background in U.S. diplomatic history or international relations, the course will probe the dynamics of CIA covert wars through comparative case histories over the past 75 years. By focusing on world regions such as Europe, Latin America, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia, the seminar will explore the central role these covert wars played in international history during the Cold War and its aftermath. These clandestine interventions often succeeded brilliantly from a U.S. perspective. But they sometimes left behind ruined battlegrounds and ravaged societies that became veritable black holes of international instability.

After several sessions reviewing the origins of the CIA and its distinctive patterns of clandestine warfare, the seminar will apply a case-study approach to covert wars in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America—including, the anti-Mossadeq coup in Iran, overthrow of Sukarno in Indonesia, Lumumba’s murder in the Congo, and the protracted war in Afghanistan. Reflecting the significance of Southeast Asia to CIA operations, the seminar will devote four sessions to this region, including anti-Sukarno operations in Indonesia, anti-communist pacification in the Philippines, counter-guerilla operations in South Vietnam, and the secret war in Laos—arguing that the latter two operations are central to understanding contemporary conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq.

Through the sum of such content, students should finish the seminar with knowledge about a key facet of U.S. foreign policy and a lifelong capacity for critical analysis of international relations. Beyond such data, the course will give students sharpened analytical abilities, refined research tactics, improved oral presentations, and better writing skills.

Application:  Students interested in taking this seminar, should send me a short email at awmccoy@wisc.edu, stating: (a.) their status (Junior, Senior); (b.) major (History or other); (c.) past courses with this instructor, if any; (d.) GPA (overall and in major); (e.) campus ID (to facilitate registration); and  (e.) a sentence about the reasons for their interest in the course.

T 11:00AM – 12:55PM |5255 Mosse Humanities | Instructor: Alfred McCoy

History 790: Topics in Global History

Empire and Colonialism in South Asia

This seminar course offers the option of studying and critically analyzing the many ways in which the historiography of South Asia has evolved in the 20th and 21st centuries, involving several themes and subfields, and comprising time periods from the ancient to the modern times. Designed to develop historiographic command of colonial and postcolonial South Asian history as a teaching and research field, this seminar carefully explores the master narratives or “schools” of historiography of South Asia and analyzes the erasures as well as the normative theoretical and archival axes around which the sub-field has developed. Topics include pre-colonial modes of representing the past; the social, cultural, and economic turns in colonial and nationalist historiography; legal and environmental historiographical methods; South Asia in the world/global South Asia. The theoretical and methodological innovations in South Asian historiography have gone on to influence critical academic historical research worldwide. For example, Subaltern Historiography, developed for the study of South Asia in the 1980s, has been adapted by historians of Africa, of Latin America and of transnational themes and topics. Students would acquire a critical understanding of the major debates and scholarly trends in South Asian history and master several approaches to historiographic analysis. This seminar would fulfill the requirement for a graduate (PhD) level seminar in non-Western histories.

T 3:30PM – 5:25PM | 5255 Mosse Humanities | Instructor: Mou Banerjee

History 801: Seminar: Ancient History – Manumission in the Greek and Roman Worlds

Manumission in the Greek and Roman Worlds

Hundreds of thousands of enslaved people were freed in Antiquity, complicating ideological dichotomies separating slave and free. Who were these people and how can we investigate their histories? What relationships did they have with their former owners? Can we assess the extent to which their lives changed on manumission? How did manumission practices shape slavery and the slave trade? This course focuses on these questions by examining the processes, rituals, economic and social histories of manumission in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds. Using case studies from both Greek and Roman history, we will cover topics such as the motivations for manumission and the practicalities of it, the legal and religious context(s) which shaped manumission practices, the role of the formerly enslaved within the family and the community, and the evidence that manumission did (and did not) leave behind.

F 1:20 – 3:15PM |6310 Sewell Social Science | Instructor: Marc Kleijwegt/ Claire Taylor

History 804: Interdisciplinary Western European Area Studies Seminar

Exiles, Migrants, and Refugees: Texts and Contexts

We are living, once again, in times of forced migrations and refuge. For the year 2020, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimated that there were 82.4 million forcibly displaced people around the world—the highest number on record since the two World Wars. The proliferation of refugees and stateless people in the world has coincided with the resurgence of ethno-religious nationalism and divisive rhetoric centered on securing and insulating borders. The closing of international borders and the massive restrictions on visa processes amid the global coronavirus pandemic, all under the guise of protecting national public health and safety, is just the latest indication of the uncertain journey ahead for migrants and refugees around the world.

At this conflict-ridden and volatile moment at the beginning of the third decade of the twenty-first century, in this seminar we will engage with a variety of texts and historical contexts in the twentieth and early-twenty-first centuries that led to the creation of exiles, migrants, and refugees.

How do historical moments of forced migration and refuge impact our understanding of national and world literatures? How does an engagement with exilic and refugee figures broaden and deepen our comprehension of world literature? How does reading history and literature together enrich our understanding of aesthetic and political representations? These questions will serve as catalysts for our seminar, as we explore the position and ambition of the novel as part of refugee narratives.

The aim of the seminar is threefold. First, by engaging with conceptual histories of the terms “exiles,” “migrants,” and “refugees,” we will develop a differentiated understanding of “willful” and “forced” migrations. Second, by juxtaposing German/European case studies with those from Asia and Africa, we will try to cultivate a global framework of literary and historical comparison. And third, by locating narratives of exiles, migrants, and refugees at the intersection of “world literature” and “global history”—two terms that have gained traction in the twenty-first century scholarship—we will locate fault lines of race, ethnicity, sexuality, language, and religion in histories of colonialism and globalization.

The course is offered in ENGLISH. All texts and discussions will be in ENGLISH. Knowledge of other world languages most welcome.

Readings for the seminar include texts by thinkers and political theorists such as Hannah Arendt, Urvashi Butalia, Edward Said; historians such as Mark Mazower, Sebastian Conrad, Patrick Manning; theorists such Debjani Ganguly, Lital Levy, Aamir Mufti; and literary authors such as Anita Desai, Jenny Erpenbeck, Viet Thanh Ngyuen, and Abdulrazak Gurnah (2021 Nobel Prize in Literature). By considering historiographical and literary texts together, we will explore how authors and artists engage with historical events, and subvert, resist, or challenge dominant official narratives by providing alternative, “unauthorized” accounts.

W 3:30PM – 5:25PM | 399 Van Hise | Instructor: B. Venkat Mani

History 808: Mass Communication History

Mass Communication History

This seminar is an introduction to the history of mass communication, with a focus on the development of U.S. media and the interplay between media, public opinion, and protest. We’ll also work towards a historiographical understanding of major trends in mass communication, including perceptions of the public sphere, the commercialization of news, the growth of the advertising industry, and the creation and fracturing of political consensus. Assessment is based on participation, which includes short responses to the readings, and a final essay, which will deal with a topic in mass communication related to the student’s own field.

W 3:30PM – 6:00PM | 5013 Vilas Hall| Instructor: Kathryn McGarr

History 855: Seminar in Japanese History

Seminar in Japanese History

The practice of history has been shaken up after three 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 history of capitalism, the new materialism) and “criticals” (critical legal studies, 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 will be chosen to match the research interests of students planning on attending the seminar.

W 3:30PM – 5:25PM | 151 Education Bldg| Instructor: Louise Young

History 901: Studies in American History

Studies in American History

What was citizenship in 19th-century America? Who could claim it? How, when, and why did the answers to those questions change? Where were the borders between inclusion and exclusion, and between the citizen and its antitheses—savage, slave, dependent, and alien? What other forms of incorporation and belonging mattered in people’s lives? How did these histories interact as borders crossed people and people crossed borders? These questions provide a lens onto some of the period’s central topics (slavery and emancipation, settler colonialism and Native resistance/survivance, immigration and exclusion) and essential themes (belonging, incorporation, identity, conflict, Liberalism, white supremacy, and more). This course seeks to connect and deepen the conversations about these subjects across the subfields of legal, political, immigration, African American, Native American, Asian-American, and women’s and gender history.

W 11:00AM – 12:55PM |5245 Mosse Humanities | Instructor: Stephen Kantrowitz

History 907: Seminar: History of Education

Cities, Schools, and the “Urban Crisis”

The 2020 racial uprisings powerfully challenged the racial and class disparities that plague the modern American metropolis. This seminar explores the history of those disparities with an emphasis urban and suburban public schools. To that end, students will examine the relationship between metropolitan change and the construction of race, how those processes affected schools and school systems, and how schools and school policies in turn shaped the modern American metropolis and meaning of race.

The course is structured to provide students with an opportunity to explore the intersections and gaps between urban/metropolitan history, the history of education, and the history of race in order to identify new directions for research on the history of metropolitan opportunity and inequality in general and metropolitan schooling in particular. While the idea of an “urban crisis” figures prominently in the literature on twentieth-century and particularly postwar metropolitan change, course readings and discussions will allow students to question the utility of this concept and to consider alternative models for understanding the origins of the modern American metropolis.

M 2:25PM – 5:25PM | 298 Education Bldg | Instructor: Walter Stern

History of Science 903/911: Seminar: Early Modern Scientific Paperwork

Hist Sci 903 Early Modern Scientific Paperwork
Hist Sci 911 Seminar-Eighteenth Century Science

Various forms of “paperwork” have drawn increasing scholarly attention as critical material factors in the making of scientific knowledge, whether at the level of the individual scholar taking notes, collating texts, describing specimens, or recording data; communities united by collective textual practices; or institutions, empires, and nation-states for which bureaucratized modes of paperwork constituted an important tool of knowledge production and control. Drawing on the rich resources of rare books and manuscripts held in UW–Madison’s Special Collections, this seminar explores such everyday modes and practices of knowledge-making in the course of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. Secondary source readings will represent a range of disciplinary perspectives. The writing requirement for this seminar will be tailored to students’ particular needs in their respective programs of study.

W 1:20PM – 3:15PM | 5257 Mosse Humanities| Instructor: Florence Hsia / Robin Rider

History of Science 909: History of Biology and Medicine

A History of Health Activism in the United States

This course focuses on health activism in the United States, giving particular attention to health activism in the 20th century. We will be guided by several questions: What is health activism?  How has it shaped the practice of and access to medicine?  How is health activism gendered?  How has health activism been shaped by race and racism? How has health activism shaped medical knowledge, research, and practice?

Our approach to health activism is both historical and historiographical.  We are clearly attempting to examine and understand the efforts to reform or revolutionize healthcare. Nevertheless, we are also attempting to learn how historians of health activism have approached the topic, how their approaches have changed over time, how history writing itself can be seen (or not) as a form of health activism. The course has been organized primarily around paired monographs on a single topic, one written in the twentieth century, the other in the twenty-first.

T 8:50 – 10:45 AM | 5245 Mosse Humanities| Instructor: Judith Houck

Syllabi Library

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

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Course Guide

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 Program 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:

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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.)