Graduate Courses

Fall 2020

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History 701: History in a Global Perspective

History in a Global Perspective

An introduction to history as a graduate and professional discipline. Comprises practical and intellectual discussions of historical study and research, including questions of how to be a graduate student in the department, how to “do” history, and how to become a professional in the field. Includes talks from department faculty, staff, and outside lecturers. Required for all History graduate students in their first year.

R 12:00PM – 12:50PM | 5233 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Joe Dennis

History 703: History and Theory in Global Perspective

History and Theory in Global Perspective

The goal of this course is to think through theoretical approaches for understanding and writing history, with special attention to global perspectives and global historiography. We will consider major theoretical frameworks that have influenced the writing of history, and study both the thinkers that put forward those frameworks and examples of works that carry forward those visions. We will also be asking if grand theories need modification, change, or fall apart if uprooted from their European or North American origins. Are theories of history Eurocentric in a problematic way? What ways of understanding emerged from the “global South” (if that is a meaningful category to use), and how do they differ from theories originating in Europe? How do landmarks of historiography inspire research in new areas of the world? How does including Latin America, Asia, and Africa modify the way that we think about theoretical approaches to studying and writing? We will look at major intellectual trends, from Marxism to subaltern studies. The course will mix discussion of theory with the reading of classic works of history, helping students develop ideas about their own approaches to their work.

Due to the coronavirus, and limited access to library and office, this syllabus will have to be developed over the summer. But I expect that readings may include (and will not be limited to) Bill Sewell’s Logics of History, Karl Marx, Andrew Sartori, Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Ranajit Guha’s Elementary Aspects of Peasant Insurgency, Florencia Mallon’s Peasant and Nation, Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities, Miguel Angel Centeno and Fernando López Alves, The Other Mirror, and others.

R 1:20PM – 3:15PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg.  | Instructor: Patrick Iber

History 705: Modern Jewish History Core

Modern Jewish History Core

The question that we will ask in this seminar is how, beyond marginality and persecution, the historical experiences of Jews in modern Europe might be of interest to scholars across chronological and geographic fields. Much recent work on modern European Jewish history has focused on the ways in which Jews felt “at home” in polities and societies that in the popular imagination continue to be seen as overwhelmingly hostile contexts for Jewish existence (e.g., Germany and Russia or “Eastern Europe”). In fact, those trained as Jewish historians in North America in the last four decades, tend to emphasize the agency and cultural vitality of Europe’s Jews, often condemning excessive attention to violence and marginalization in the pre-WWII era as history that is teleological (i.e., everything leading to the Holocaust). Outside the historical scholarship of self-identified specialists in Jewish history, however, Jews, still tend to appear most in studies of discrimination, conflict, and violence in modern Europe. The rationale for this is often that instances of anti-Jewish persecution, like instances of marginalization directed against other minority groups or against women, for example, can illuminate broader problems in political, social, or intellectual history. Are there other kinds of insight than the former that scholarship in Jewish history can offer to specialists in related fields? What are the referents of the field of Jewish history? Does it differ significantly from other fields in the discipline of history as practiced today? What kinds of historical questions count as broad and which appear narrow or parochial for practicing historians today? We will explore different answers to these questions by reading books published in the field of Jewish history relatively recently (most within the last ten years; many within the last five). A majority of the works we will read are monographs based on the authors’ dissertations.

T 1:20PM – 3:15PM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Amos Bitzan

History 710-001: Dissertation Chapter Writing

Dissertation Chapter Writing

History 710 functions as a writing workshop for dissertators. Participants can be at any stage in the dissertation-writing process, but must commit to presenting at least one chapter for peer review at some point during the semester. The course will focus on practical writing issues, including questions of style, structure, narrative, and argument.  We will examine how to structure a chapter effectively; how to compose efficient and powerful introductions and conclusions; and how to fashion narrative that marshals evidence and analysis in an approachable and convincing way. If enough participants are just beginning to write their dissertations, we will also discuss how to conceptualize and construct a book-length piece of writing.  We will read some practical advice on style, method, and motivation and explore some inspiring examples of powerful historical writing. However, this reading will be minimal.  Participants’ main task will be to compose their own prose. Students will also read and critique each other’s chapters. In sum, the course aims to provide a structured and useful environment for transforming research into writing

R 11:00AM – 12:55PM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Suzanne Desan

History 710-002: Digital Pedagogy

Digital Pedagogy

This professional development seminar for History graduate students, will focus this Fall on online (and blended) course design and instruction. We will cover issues such as learning outcomes, course design and management, active learning, inclusion and diversity in a digital learning environment, learning assessment, and will try to understand what the inclusion of, or transition to, digital platforms for learning means pedagogically and professionally. The principal final project for this class will be a fully designed class, syllabus, and sample modules, as well as short pedagogic reflections (similar to those that job applicants are now nearly always asked to submit).

T 11:00AM – 12:55PM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Daniel Ussishkin

History 710-003: On the Job Market

On the Job Market

This seminar introduces tools to search for academic positions as historians. Students will explore the contours of the contemporary job market, create the components of a sample application dossier, and experiment with strategies for successful interviews. Guests with recent experience on both sides of the search process will be invited to share advice.

R 1:20PM – 3:15PM | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: TBD

History 712: Education and the Civil Rights Movement

Education and the Civil Rights Movement

This seminar explores the historical relationship between education and the African American freedom struggle. Organized both chronologically and thematically, the course takes students from the separate and unequal schoolhouses of the Jim Crow era, through the decades-long legal struggles of Brown v. Board of Education, to the streets and campuses of Selma, Alabama, Oakland, California, and New York City. In addition to examining schools and colleges as targets and sites of civil rights activism, students will consider the varied ways in which education and educational philosophies influenced the course of the movement. They will also explore broader questions pertaining to the capacity and mechanisms for affecting social, political, and economic change as well as questions regarding the relationship between race and power, past and present, politics and history, and education and equity.

M 2:25PM – 5:25PM | 151 Education Bldg. | Instructor:  Walter Stern

History 734: Introduction to Archival & Record Management

Introduction to Archives and Records Management

An introduction to the archives profession and basic theory and practice of archives and records administration, including the uses of primary sources in research, appraisal, access, and preservation.

T 5:30PM – 8:00PM | 4191F Helen C. White Hall | Instructor: TBD

History 800: Research Seminar in History

Research Seminar in History

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.  Life happens in time.  Writing successfully within the constraints of a time-bound existence requires learning how to focus a naturally unruly creative process into manageable concrete steps.  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-regulation and self-assessment.  Simultaneously we will support each other in our immediate work of producing our theses and chapters.

T 3:30PM – 5:25PM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Leonora Neville

History 804: Interdisciplinary Western European Area Studies Seminar

Interdisciplinary Western European Area Studies Seminar

This will be a reading intensive class devoted to the historical and theoretical links between capitalism and religion. The course will begin with some major moments in Marx, before turning to Max Weber’s classic study, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905), and other important contributions from the first half of the twentieth century (e.g., Walter Benjamin, R.H. Tawney, E.P. Thompson, etc.). In the remainder of the semester, we will consider more recent trends. Possible topics include liberation theology (e.g., Gustavo Gutierrez, James Cone), Subaltern Studies (e.g. Gayatri Spivak, Ranajit Guha), Wall Street (e.g., Kathryn Lofton), economic theology (e.g., Giorgio Agamben), evangelicalism (e.g., William Connolly), the corporation (e.g., Amanda Porterfield), Islamic charity (e.g., Amira Mittermaier) and enchantment (e.g., Eugene McCarraher). Students will be encouraged to pursue relevant research related to their own areas of study.

T 4:00PM – 6:30PM | 382 Van Hise Hall | Instructor: Adam Stern

History 808: Mass Communication History

Mass Communication History

In this readings survey course, we’ll work towards an understanding of how historians have dealt with major trends in mass communication, including the rise of the public sphere, the commercialization of news, and the creation and fracturing of political consensus. We’ll address questions that are historical as well as historiographical: What role has media played in the formation of political institutions and movements, and how has policy, in turn, shaped media? Can print build community? In what ways are press freedom and democracy constitutive? What can we learn from the ways in which business historians and cultural historians have approached advertising? Why was media history for a long time been the purview of sociologists?

The books in this course are a mix of classic works that have defined the field and newer works that give it its current direction. We’ll also bridge the divide in scholarship between history and mass communication, two disciplines with overlapping interest in how society functions. The focus will be on societies and institutions in the United States, with a brief foray into precedents in England and France, but I welcome the international perspectives that you may bring from other courses or your own lives

T 12:30PM – 3:00PM | 5013 Vilas Hall | Instructor: Kathryn McGarr

History 855: Seminar in Japanese History

Seminar in Japanese History

This course is designed to help students develop bibliographic and historiographic command of modern Japanese history as a teaching and research field. The class is divided into two parts. We open with a series of discussions about the ways American academic institutions and scholarship has constituted Japan as a field of studies from the 1950s to the present. This section of the class will include one session on Japanese language historiography for those with advanced language skills, though alternative assignments will be offered for students who cannot read Japanese. The remainder of the course takes up key categories around which historical debate has organized itself. We will consider how these categories have been conceptualized and historicized, exploring what has been written into and what has been left out of the master narratives of Japanese modernity. Sessions are organized around the following themes: Japan in the world/the world in Japan; configurations of capitalism; social history old and new; culture and knowledge after the cultural turn; state/polity/governmentality. Japanese language ability is not strictly required, though special assignments may be made for students with advanced reading ability and interest in exploring Japanese language historiography. The class will encourage you to make use of our wonderful Japanese-language library collection on the 4th floor of Memorial Library whether your point of access is rudimentary or advanced Japanese.

W 3:30PM – 5:25PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Louise Young

History 861: Seminar-History of Africa

Seminar – The History of Africa


T 1:20PM – 3:15PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Emily Callaci

History 868: Seminar in Modern French History

Seminar in Modern French History

This seminar will focus on France in a European and Global perspective from Napoleon’s seizure of power (1799) to the twenty first century.  The readings will mix classic studies with more recent historiographical interpretations. Among the questions we may consider: Was Napoleon an “enlightened dictator” and did he give rise to Bonapartism? Are the 19th century French revolutions linked to 1789 or do they represent something different?  Was colonialism a foundational characteristic of French republicanism?  How has the recent literature on colonialism reframed long standing interpretations of French history? Does patriotism explain why French soldiers fought in the Great War or were they compelled to do so? Did the French collaborate with the Germans during the Second World War or did they accommodate themselves to German rule? Was there a French fascism in the 1930s and is today’s National Front its successor?  How has large scale immigration challenged French republicanism? Has the European Union changed how we think about French history?

F 1:20PM – 3:15PM | 5257 Humanities | Instructor: Laird Boswell

History 900: Introduction to History for U.S. Historians

Introduction to History for U.S. Historians

This seminar is designed for first- and second-year graduate students of US-American history. Students will be introduced to the state of the field and the basic features of the work of the professional historian.  History 900 will cover exemplary historiographies from the early contact period to the present, as well as the art, craft, and science of their production. HIS 900 is therefore something of a hybrid course—a cross between a standard introduction to the field and a “how to” for the aspiring professional historian.  Students can expect a reading- and writing-intensive course, which will help prepare them for independent research as well as their qualifying exams.

M 8:50AM – 10:45AM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

History 983: Interdepartmental Seminar - African Studies

Interdepartmental Seminar – African Studies

This graduate seminar provides a setting for participants to consider Africa — as an idea, a field of study, a place in the world, a subject for teaching — from a multi-disciplinary perspective.  It is available to graduate students as African Cultural Studies 983, Anthropology 983, Economics 983, Geography 983, History 983, or Political Science 983.  The course will explore a variety of themes and topics in order to consider not just what to think about the history, cultures, and politics of Africa but also how to think and teach about this part of the world.  We will consider the benefits and drawbacks of an area studies orientation in scholarship and teaching, the multiple meanings and varying expectations associated with working as an “Africanist in academia, and the ways in which these meanings and expectations might differ according to discipline and the location of institutions of higher education.  In other words, we will both focus on the state of scholarship on Africa in various disciplines and also consider how to approach teaching about Africa — course design, the development of syllabi, the use of digital technologies, etc. — from a multidisciplinary perspective.

W 1:20PM – 3:15PM | 5245 Humanities Bldg.  | Instructor: Neil Kodesh

History of Science 720: Proseminar: Historiography & Methods

Proseminar: Historiography and Methods

This course provides a graduate-level introduction to the history of science, medicine, and technology (HSMT).  It gives a brief overview of the field’s major themes and issues, both historical and current, as well as introducing you to the range of approaches scholars have used to address their questions. To help serve as an introduction to HSMT at Wisconsin, it includes writings by each faculty member in the program. Major themes in recent years:  Landmark moments in the history of the history of science, from Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions to the globalization of HSTM; relations with neighboring disciplines; agents of change in STM; systems of power/knowledge in STM.

W 8:50AM – 11:50AM | 5255 Humanities Bldg.  | Instructor: Lynn Nyhart

History of Science 919: Medical History: Life & Death in American History

Life & Death in American History

This seminar explores how patients, physicians and nurses have understood what it means to be alive, dying, and dead over the course of the last two centuries. Readings will consider the legal, cultural, and religious implications of medical interventions at both the beginning and end of life. This includes how determinations of when life begins and when life ends have been made at different times and in different contexts for such medical technologies as in vitro fertilization, elective abortion, organ transplantation, and euthanasia.

In so doing, the course also examines readings that explore the commodification of the body and its parts–living and dead, the procurement of anatomical materials for education, research, and treatment, and the changing medical definitions of death.

Time TBD | Location TBD | Instructor: Susan Lederer

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:

  • Public version of the Course Guide
  • Version for UW students available through My UW (requires UW NetID login)

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.)