Undergraduate Courses

Course descriptions and links to instructors’ profile pages are listed below. Cross-listed courses offered by other departments can also be found below, with the department to contact noted beneath each course description. If you are having problems enrolling in a course, please start by contacting the Enrollment Help Desk.

  • Wait Lists – History Majors and graduating seniors have first priority on the wait lists for our courses.

Spring 2020

History Courses

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History 101: American History to the Civil War Era, the Origin & Growth of the U.S.

This course covers early American history in ways that may be very different from what you learned in high school. The study of history concerns much more than a listing of years and names. Instead, we ask questions about the past that help us to better understand how Iroquoian Indians’ participation in the fur trade, British colonists’ households, and Haitian slaves’ liberation affected the trajectory of early America. Through our study, we recognize the ways that people of American Indian, African, and European descent shaped one another’s experiences and were in turn shaped by their circumstances. The past is, in many ways, unfamiliar to us. In this course, we consider historical arguments and ideas that can seem surprising from our twenty-first-century perspectives. The study of early American history enables us to develop historical empathy and to consider peoples, times, and places that change our outlook. Early American history is thought-provoking and fascinating!

TR 11:00am-12:15pm | 1121 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: TBA

For more detailed information, visit: American History to the Civil War Era, the Origin & Growth of the U.S.

History 102: American History, Civil War Era to the Present

American political, economic and social development from the Civil War to the present.

MWF 11:00-11:50am | L196 Education Bldg. | Instructor: TBA

For more detailed information, visit: American History, Civil War Era to the Present

History 119: Europe and the World, 1400-1815

Introduces Europe when it entered the global stage economically, politically, socially, and culturally. How Europeans took to the seas and developed new forms of empire. How did this wave of contact, encounter, and conquest affect Europeans, indigenous peoples of the Americas, and Africans? Examine the early global economy and the development of plantation slavery. How did Europeans develop new ways to make sense of their world, its size, its peoples, its flora and fauna? Explore new forms of Christianity, the Jewish diaspora, and the globalization of Christianity. As thinkers debated how rulers should wield political power, monarchs strove to expand their authority and territory, and ordinary people demanded a greater share of political power, provoking revolutions across the Atlantic world. Encounter the lives of women and men from many backgrounds, from peasants to queens, and all kinds of people on the move.

MW 2:30-3:45pm | 1101 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Suzanne Desan

For more information, visit: Europe and the World, 1400-1815

History 120: Europe and the Modern World 1815 to the Present

Political, economic, social, and cultural history of modern Western civilization.

MWF 8:50-9:40am | 1651 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: TBA

For more information, visit: Europe and the Modern World 1815 to the Present

History 130: An Introduction to World History

Introduction to major themes in world history. Such themes might include: empire and imperialism, environmental impacts, global trade and globalization, war, migration, gender, race, religion, nationalism, class, and the like.

TR 4:00-5:15pm | 1121 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: TBA

For more information, visit: An Introduction to World History

History 136: Sport, Recreation, & Society in the United States

As much as we may try to convince ourselves that sport offers an escape from the “real world,” constant news of players’ strikes, stadium financing controversies, and the lack of diversity in league management remind us that we cannot separate the games we play and watch from the political, social, and cultural contexts in which they are embedded. With this in mind, this course explores how sport has shaped and been shaped by major trends in American social, political, and economic history. Lectures and discussion sections will not focus on player stats or the morning edition of SportsCenter. Instead, students will engage with serious historical arguments and debates about sport’s relationship to American capitalism, social movements, and urban development. Readings also provide a diverse set of perspectives on the politics of race, gender, and class in American sport in the twentieth century. Non-sports fans are welcome and encouraged to enroll!

TR 4:00-5:15pm | 1651 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Alexandra Mountain

For more information, visit: Sport, Recreation, & Society in the United States

History 134: Women and Gender in World History

A global (comparative and transnational) survey of women and gender from the ancient world to the modern period. Introduces students to key issues in the history of women and gender, including the historical construction of identities, roles, symbols, and power relationships.

MW 4:00-5:15pm | 1651 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: TBA

For more information, visit: Women and Gender in World History

History 200-001: Historical Studies – Carnage in Rome

In 37 CE a twenty-four year-old young man became the third emperor of Rome. His official title was Gaius Iulius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, but he is better known under his nickname Caligula. His succession was received with enormous enthusiasm by the armies, the people in Rome, and the subjects of the Roman Empire, but eight months into his rule the emperor became seriously ill. He recovered but he was never the same again. In the next years Caligula showed himself an exceptionally cruel and paranoid ruler who had people executed on the slightest suspicion. After a reign of only four years he was assassinated.

In this seminar students will read a biography of the emperor as well as parts of Tacitus’ Annals, Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars, and Dio Cassius’ Roman History (in translation) to explore the history of the Roman imperial family from Augustus to Caligula with a narrow focus on the reign of Tiberius, Caligula’s uncle and predecessor, and that of Caligula himself. The historical events of the years 14-37 will provide a point of departure for a detailed study of Caligula’s youth, his personality and his reign as emperor. Students will write 4 papers, which will increase in length as the semester progresses (from 400 words for assignment 1 to 4,000 words for assignment 4).

R 11:00am-12:55pm | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Marc Kleijwegt

For more information, visit: Carnage in Rome

History 200-002: Historical Studies – Islam and Politics: Power and Practice

In the early twentieth century, a series of movements arose in the Middle East and South Asia, calling Muslims to return to Islam. Today, leaders and members of such groups –now known as Islamists –insist that one cannot live a fully Islamic life in the absence of an Islamic state. How and why did these movements come to focus on building an Islamic state? When did Islam come to be seen as indivisible from Politics, and what does it mean for Islam and Politics to be related? Are contemporary claims to Islam as the basis for political action consistent with the ways in which Muslims have understood their core texts historically? This course will introduce students to the study of Religion and Politics in Islamic History, beginning with the early Islamic community under the rule of the Prophet Muhammad, stretching through a period of rule that saw multiple Islamic Caliphates, and finally, reaching the present day. The bulk of this course, however, will focus on the diverse ways in which Muslims in the twentieth and twenty first centuries have laid claim to their religion as a template for political and social action. In particular, it will push students to consider how Muslim men and women live religion in their daily lives, whether through dress, prayer, or facial hair, and how these claims to religion shape political systems from the ground up.

MW 2:30-3:45pm | 1131 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Aaron Rock-Singer

For more information, visit: Islam and Politics: Power and Practice

History 200-003: Historical Studies – Ottoman Empire Then and Now

The Ottoman Empire was one of history’s most enduring states. Founded in the thirteenth century, it ruled most of the Middle East and North Africa, along with much of Europe, from the sixteenth century until the dawn of the twentieth. More than just an opportunity to learn about the Middle East, therefore, Ottoman history offers a chance to study the emergence of the modern world. This course takes a thematic approach. Topics will include the Ottoman history of climate change, slavery and its abolition, sexuality, science and medicine, Islamic law and mysticism, economic globalization, nationalism and genocide, military and educational reform, and constitutionalism. The course also addresses the demise of the Ottoman Empire and the formation of the Turkish Republic, with emphasis on the remembrance of the Ottoman era in modern Turkish politics, literature, and film

 TR 2:30-3:45pm |1217 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Daniel Stolz

For more information, visit: Ottoman Empire Then and Now

History 201-001: The Historian’s Craft – Heroes and Amazons in Sports

Sports are full of doubles. Double teaming, mixed doubles, triple-doubles, double-doubles, double axels, double bogeys, and double eagles to name only a few. Sports are also filled with double standards.

In this class, we will use a series of case studies to examine the ways in which American society has constructed the concepts of heroism and social representation discursively, visually, and politically for male and female athletes between Reconstruction and the late twentieth century. We will read and analyze a variety of sources, including memoirs, newspaper articles, biographies, works of fiction, and film to understand the ways in which many American publics have identified—or dismissed—sports figures as leaders worthy of celebration, people to be pilloried, or something in between on the grounds of race, gender, and sexual orientation as well as class and religion during turbulent times in American history.

This class emphasizes hands-on history. Students will be required to conduct historical research. Students will use their findings and apply readings—assigned for class and secondary scholarship undertaken independently—to produce a research proposal that could generate a work that contributes to understandings of how a community understood either a specific individual or a group among sportsmen and sportswomen in relation to heroism and social representation.

TR 2:30-3:45pm | B215 Van Vleck Hall | Instructor: Ashley Brown

For more information, visit: Heroes and Amazons in Sports

History 201-002: The Historian’s Craft – Democrats and Dictators in Spain and Italy

Italy and Spain witnessed some of the most contentious politics of twentieth-century European history. Why did dictatorships in these southern European countries live long lives, and die sudden deaths? How did Italian and Spanish dictators and democrats exercise influence and build popular consent? What does everyday life look like for citizens in dictatorships and democracies? And how did the line between dictatorship and democracy blur at certain key historical junctures? This course will investigate these and other questions through a range of sources, including literature and film.

MW 2:30-3:45pm | B223 Van Vleck Hall | Instructor: Giuliana Chamedes

For more information, visit: Democrats and Dictators in Spain and Italy

History 201-003: The Historian’s Craft – Civilans and War on WWII’s Eastern Front

This class introduces students to the rewarding work of historians through an in-depth investigation into a difficult, controversial, and often painful, topic: the Eastern Front during World War II. We’ll begin by thinking about what it means to “think like a historian and by discussing how we should sensitively approach this particular topic. We’ll then dive into three weeks of primary source analysis, looking at the experiences of a range of people under Nazi and Soviet rule. In the third part of the class, we’ll explore three key questions that historians continue to debate: How did the Nazis carry out the Holocaust in Eastern Europe? To what extent did local people collaborate? And can we conceive of German victimhood? Finally, we’ll discuss questions of memory and historical judgment. How can historians analyze the ways in which various people, both collectively and individually, have remembered and memorialized the violent experiences of war through postwar trials, oral testimonies, monuments, and museums? The class will use the topic of the Eastern Front as a lens through which to debate issues of collaboration, resistance, memory, trauma, and historical empathy, as well as wider questions about how studying history can help us to make sense of the world in which we live.

TR 11:00am-12:15pm | 1131 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Kathryn Ciancia

For more information, visit: Civilians and War on WWII’s Eastern Front

History 201-004: The Historian’s Craft – Explorers, Colonizers & Travelers

Students conduct original historical research and convey the results to others. Through engagement with archival materials, undergraduates become historical detectives; they practice defining important historical questions, collecting and analyzing evidence, presenting original conclusions, and contributing to ongoing discussions. Students confer individually with and receive feedback from instructors to improve their skills of historical analysis and communication in both written and spoken formats. Requirements include at least 30 pages of writing – including drafts – and two or more formal oral presentations, each totaling at least five minutes. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be prepared to undertake historical research and writing in a variety of courses, including the HIST 600 capstone seminar.

MW 2:30-3:45pm |115 Ingraham Hall | Instructor: Pernille Ipsen

For more information, visit: Explorers, Colonizers & Travelers

History 201-005: The Historian’s Craft – July 1914 and the Coming of the Great War

This course pursues two related objectives. First, as an introduction to “the historian’s craft which offers Comm-B credit, it will acquaint students with the primary elements of historical research, writing and exposition. The course does so through the pursuit of its second objective, a careful reconstruction of the events during the six-odd weeks spanning the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Habsburg throne in Austria-Hungary, and the outbreak of what contemporaries called “The Great War during the summer of 1914. The instructors and the students will work toward both sets of objectives through twice-weekly lectures and weekly discussion/workshop meetings. Lectures will provide broad background and context, examining the germane aspects of European history from 1871 until 1914; students will conduct assigned readings in connection with this part of the course. As important, the weekly discussion/workshop will serve as forums in which participants will discuss assigned section readings, in addition to the techniques of research and historical writing that the course teaches. Attendance at the latter is mandatory. As the semester progresses, students will the development of the “July crisis by using translated diplomatic correspondence from the Great Powers (Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and the United Kingdom), as well as Serbia. In addition, you will contextualize these documents with other sorts of readings. These include newspaper and magazine accounts from the time, which provided information and perspectives absent from diplomatic reports. In the final three weeks of the course, you will also read limited auxiliary materials memoirs and “secondary literature. These activities should teach you how to weigh and use evidence in reconstructing “what really happened in particular historical circumstances. Learning the difficulties of such reconstruction will also introduce you to what historians do: draw upon primary evidence to advance arguments about what they think happened and why.

MW 2:30-3:45pm |1217 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: David McDonald

For more information, visit: The History of Sex and Sexuality in Modern Europe

History 201-008: The Historian’s Craft – Technology and Revolution in the Middle East

Students conduct original historical research and convey the results to others. Through engagement with archival materials, undergraduates become historical detectives; they practice defining important historical questions, collecting and analyzing evidence, presenting original conclusions, and contributing to ongoing discussions. Students confer individually with and receive feedback from instructors to improve their skills of historical analysis and communication in both written and spoken formats. Requirements include at least 30 pages of writing – including drafts – and two or more formal oral presentations, each totaling at least five minutes. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be prepared to undertake historical research and writing in a variety of courses, including the HIST 600 capstone seminar.

M 8:50-10:45am |5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Daniel Stolz

For more information, visit: Technology and Revolution in the Middle East

History 201-009: The Historian’s Craft – Athenian Democracy

This course explores some key issues in the ancient practice and modern discussion of Athenian democracy. It will examine democratic values, institutions, rhetoric, and sociology in order to provide students with the basic tools to understand democracy in both its ancient and modern context. It will engage with a variety of source material (literary, archaeological, epigraphic). Why did the Athenians think voting was undemocratic? How did they reconcile citizen egalitarianism with social inequalities? (or, why were women and slaves excluded from political power?) To what extent did the wealthy elite support democracy? Were there social tensions between the rich and the poor? All these questions and more in HIST201: The Historian’s Craft (Athenian Democracy)

MWF 9:55-10:45am | 3534 Engineering Hall | Instructor: Claire Taylor

For more information, visit: Athenian Democracy

History 201-011: The Historian’s Craft – End of Empire: Occupation & Post War

World War Two marks a point of rupture for the twentieth century world. The dramatic stories of the war and its aftermath include the momentary triumph of fascism as a global movement and its military defeat; the redrawing of geopolitical maps as hot wars resolved themselves into cold wars; the rise and fall of empires; decolonization and the emergence of a “third world” of new nations.

In what ways did World War Two and its aftermath reshape Asia? This course explores this question by looking at the case of Japan. How do the stories of Japan’s defeat, the process of decolonization in Asia, the US occupation, and the creation of regional cold war order complicate our understandings of the twentieth century world?

History 201 is a course in the “historian’s craft,” which means we learn basic skills in the practice of history through our study of post-imperial Japan. I have divided the course into five sections, each exploring a key theme and focusing on developing a discrete set of skills. Part I provides an introduction and course “warm up”, Part II focuses on the atomic bombing of Japan and its impact on “a-bomb cultures” in the US and Japan, Part III on the transformation of the US-Japan relationship from war to peace and Japan’s position within the US cold war imperium, Part IV on the changes in the position of the emperor in the imperial state before and after 1945, and Part V on the question of war crimes, war crimes trials, and the elision of Japanese empire from public memories of the Asia-Pacific War.

Learning to be a good historian is a lifelong process.  We begin this journey by improving the following skill sets:

  • Note taking and working with your notes to ask historical questions
  • Critical evaluation of primary and secondary sources; working with sources
  • Generating bibliographies
  • Reading for argument; historiographic analysis
  • Making historical arguments and using evidence
  • Writing compelling and coherent essays

Writing assignments include:

  • I pp primary source evaluation
  • 1 pp secondary source evaluation
  • Research paper proposal and annotated bibliography
  • Abstract, thesis statement and outline
  • 2000 word research paper, first and revised drafts

Pre-med students can expand their research paper to meet the requirements for pre-med humanities.

Activities:

  • Group presentations with work on public speaking
  • Peer paper swaps
  • Field trip to Wisconsin Historical Society with stack exploration and treasure hunt
  • Movie nights (plus treats!)
  • Small group work in lecture and section to develop historical skill sets

All students are welcome: new comers to history and those with longstanding interests, those with background in Asia and neophytes.

MW 4:00-5:15pm |1221 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Louise Young

For more information, visit: End of Empire: Occupation & Post War

History 221-001: Explorations in American History- Business and Politics in American History

A history of business in the United States is, in fact, a history of power. This class will explore how, from European colonization through the Civil War and up to the present day, the pursuit of profit spurred enormous change, sometimes at enormous cost. Topics include debates about the proper relationship between government and business, the rise of the US as a global power, the emergence of corporate social responsibility, and the role of consumption as a basis for both political activism and personal identity. We will take a broad view of business, going beyond the board room to include important sites such as the home, the street, and the farm.

MW 4:00-5:15pm | 214 Ingraham Hall | Instructor: Paige Glotzer

For more information, visit: Business and Politics in American History

History 223-001: Explorations in European History – The Cold War in European Culture

Starting with the Cold War’s origins in World War II and concluding with the Cold War’s legacy today, this course explores how Cold War culture and politics shaped Modern Europe. Through group discussions and writing assignments, students will investigate how Cold War politics and ideologies intersected with national identity, consumer culture, gender norms, domestic life, and fashion. We will explore these topics by analyzing novels, films, archival materials and memoirs, as well as secondary sources by historians.

MWF 3:30-4:20pm | B231 Van Vleck Hall | Instructor: TBA

For more information, visit: The Cold War in European Culture

History 223-002: Explorations in European History – The Vikings: Fact and Fiction

From the perspectives of the European churchmen who recorded their raids in Scotland, England, France, and Spain, the Vikings were the terror of Europe from the late eight to the eleventh century. We use the word Viking to refer to the Norwegians, Danes and Swedes who left their homeland to trade, raid and pillage. While commonly associated with violent barbarism, the Norse were also farmers, craftsmen, and merchants. As their dragon ships sailed the waterways of Europe and beyond, they also transformed from raiders to explorers, from discoverers to settlers. This course will introduce students to various facets of the culture and society of the Viking world ranging from honor culture, gender roles, political culture, mythology, and burial practices. We will also explore the range of Viking activity abroad from Russia, England, and Sicily, to the Viking settlement in North America. We will use material and archaeological sources as well as literary and historical ones in order to think about how we know history and what questions we can ask from different sorts of sources. In addition, we will be reading Icelandic sagas that relate oral histories of heroes, outlaws, raiders and sailors that will lead us to question the lines between fact and fiction, and myth and history.

In addition to short response papers, students will take a midterm and a final exam.

ONLINE | ONLINE | Instructor: Karl Shoemaker

For more information, visit: The Vikings: Fact and Fiction

History 246: Southeast Asian Refugees of the “Cold” War

Between 1975 and 1995, nearly 2 million Southeast Asians migrated to the United States from the three former French colonies referred to collectively as Indochina: Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Most of these migrants came as refugees and added four new major ethnic groups to American society: Hmong, Khmer, Lao, and Vietnamese, including among them ethnic Chinese and the children of American military personnel, generally referred to as “Amerasians.” This course is intended to provide a better understanding of the conditions that led these people to flee their homelands in Southeast Asia and eventually take refuge and start new lives in the US; it will also explore several issues relating to the early resettlement experiences in the US.

TR 9:30-10:45am | 5208 Sewell Social Sciences | Instructor: Michael Cullinane

For more information, visit: Southeast Asian Refugees of the “Cold” War

History 255: Introduction to East Asian Civilizations

This course is an introduction to the political, intellectual and cultural transformations in East Asia (China, Japan and Korea) from Ancient times to the present. We will draw on the disciplines of philosophy, history, political science, anthropology and international relations to examine the changes taking place in this region, often referred to as East Asia. During different times, the area has been seen to be unified based on different characteristics, such as Confucianism and Chinese writing system, tribute system, trading, Buddhism and numerous other factors. We will study each of these aspects and understand how in this region people themselves grasped their identity and inquire how to understand the region today. The course will have two mid-terms, a take home final and a final paper–7 pages. Honors students can write a 10-15 page paper. By writing a 10-15 page paper, you can also fulfill the pre-med humanities requirement.

TR 4:00-5:15pm | 1641 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Viren Murthy

For more information, visit: Introduction to East Asian Civilizations

History 260: Latin America: An Introduction

This course will give a broad overview of Latin American history from the pre-colonial era to the present day. Particular emphasis will be placed on the socioeconomic, cultural, and political structures and processes that shaped and continue to influence life in Latin America. Key issues such as colonialism, nationalism, democracy, and revolution will be examined critically in light of broad comparative themes in Latin American and world history. The course takes an interdisciplinary approach: using materials from multiple disciplines as well as primary documents, fiction, and film in order to provide insight into the complex and diverse history of the region. Among the topics to be explored in detail will be labor and slavery, the Mexican and Cuban revolutions, and the transition from dictatorship to democracy.

TR 1:00-2:15pm | 5231 Sewell Social Sciences | Instructor: Patrick Iber

For more information, visit: Latin America: An Introduction

History 276: Chinese Migration since 1500

This course explores the history of Chinese global migrations and their impact on societies in the U.S., China, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Instruction is designed to fulfill the University Ethnic Studies Requirement. Topics of discussion include labor, family, marriage, culture, and identity.

TR 11:00am-12:15pm | 4028 Vilas Hall | Instructor: Shelly Chan

For more information, visit: Chinese Migration since 1500

History 277: Africa: An Introductory Survey

This course is designed to be a multi -disciplinary introduction to the cultures and history of Africa. Because the continent contains a remarkable array of languages, societies, and peoples, we cannot hope for exhaustive coverage. However, we will visit almost every major region of the continent at east once during the semester. With this in mind, the course is divided into five broad thematic units: Africa and the World before the 19th Century; Colonialism; Postcolonial Politics and Economic Development; Health, Disease, and Healing; and Popular Culture and Everyday Life. I hope that you will take away from the course an understanding not just of what to think about the history and cultures of Africa but also how to think about this region of the world.

TR 8:00am-9:15am | 5206 Sewell Social Sciences | Instructor: James Sweet

For more information, visit: Africa: An Introductory Survey

History 300: History at Work – Professional Skills of the Major

History at Work is intended to help history majors understand how their History degree applies to the world of work. Explores how history skills relate to the needs of professional employers. Guides in the process of finding and obtaining professional internships. Polishes written and oral communication skills in forms appropriate for professional situations. Learn from the experiences of guest speakers from a variety of fields.

W 12:05-1:50pm | 5233 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Sarah Thal

For more information, visit: History at Work – Professional Skills of the Major

History 301: History at Work – History Internship Seminar

Supplements HISTORY 300 by providing an opportunity for students who are completing an internship during the time of their enrollment (or who completed an internship in the summer and are enrolled in the fall) to discuss any issues or challenges that arose in their position. It also encourages students to identify and analyze the differences between an internship and a non-professional job, with an eye towards articulating how their History degree and the skills it confers can be valuable in professional settings. Students will share their internship experiences with their classmates through short presentations.

W 12:05-1:50pm | 5233 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Sarah Thal

For more information, visit: History at Work – History Internship Seminar

History 307: A History of Rome

History 307 is a lecture course which focuses on the social history of the un(der)privileged in ancient Rome. The course is divided into two main themes. In the first theme we will examine social relationships between people of unequal status (patronage) as well as those between people of the same or similar social background: friendship, social clubs and associations. The second main theme of the course will examine social groups in Roman society who were without a significant voice. These are groups which we would like to examine in more detail, but have left behind only a limited amount of (or altogether no) evidence, and must be studied, in some cases, on the basis of the views of those who were more literate and more powerful. This theme is divided into those without a voice in the Roman household (women, slaves, and children) and those without a voice in Roman society at large (the anonymous masses and the working classes). Since the course makes use of large numbers of primary sources in translation, one of its main objectives is to train students in the use of primary sources. Two midterm exams will be in the form of multiple-choice questions. Two assignments will focus on answering questions about primary sources. A final exam will consist of multiple-choice questions, text-based questions and one essay-type question.

TR 9:30-10:45am |1295 Grainger Hall | Instructor: Marc Kleijwegt

For more information, visit: A History of Rome

History 309: The Crusades: Christianity and Islam

What were the crusades? Why did people become crusaders? Why do crusades matter today? In the class we will examine wars fought from the late eleventh through the late thirteenth centuries in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe against Muslims, pagans, heretics and other Christians. We will discuss the difficult topic of religion and violence, will address various political and military aspects of crusades (including castles and siege warfare), will attempt to understand the experiences of those, both men and women, who became crusaders themselves or came in contact with them, and will discuss references to crusades from the Middle Ages to today. Students will have to write four short (2-page) papers in response to primary sources, as well as one longer (3-4 page) research paper. Students who don’t have the stated pre-requisites for the class are still welcome to apply. Students can fulfill their pre-med humanities writing requirement in this class through a special arrangement with the instructor.

TR 9:30-10:45am |1131 Mosse Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Elizabeth Lapina

For more information, visit: The Crusades: Christianity and Islam

History 323: The Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton

An investigation of renaissance and revolution in European science, beginning in 1543 with the heliocentric astronomy of Nicolaus Copernicus and ending with Isaac Newton’s death in 1727. We’ll pay particular attention to issues of tradition and novelty in natural knowledge, institutional settings for scientific activity, the multifaceted relationship between science and religion, as well as manuscript traditions and the textual/visual transition to print culture. Topics covered include the Copernican cosmology and Galileo’s trial, the mechanical philosophy, Newtonianism, the significance of new scientific organizations like the Royal Society of London and the Paris Academy of Sciences, the role of science in European exploration and expansion, public perceptions of science and its practitioners, and scientific writing and communication. Labs will be held in the seminar room in Special Collections (Memorial Library), where class participants will have the opportunity to work with rare textual and visual materials dating from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries.

T 12:05-12:55pm | L159 Education Bldg. | Instructor: Florence Hsia and Robin Rider

For more information, visit: The Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton

History 332: East Asia and the U.S. Since 1899

From the Boxer Rebellion, to the dropping of the atomic bombs, to the nuclear stand-off with North Korea, American foreign relations with East Asia during the 20th century were as consequential as they were controversial. Survey the issues and questions that alternately made allies and enemies of these nations: How did the quest for markets influence American policy towards China? How did European imperialism shape Japan’s rise? Why did communism seem to offer a more compelling economic and political arrangement to China and North Korea? While squarely rooted in East Asia this course will also explore the questions that united and divided Americans over their nation’s foreign policy. Through examining these questions, develop answers and construct their own narrative of the relationship between the United States and East Asia.

MWF 12:05-12:55pm |1217 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: David Fields

For more information, visit: East Asia and the U.S. Since 1899

History 336: Chinese Economic and Business History: From Silk to iPhones

This is an intermediate-level course on Chinese economic and business history that covers both pre-modern and modern China. The approach is historical; no prior knowledge of economics is required. Topics addressed include: how people thought about property, labor, and value, money and the banking and financial systems, development of domestic and international markets and trade, major industries, the search for resources, agricultural economy, the connection of law and economy, organizations that affected the economy, systemic changes during the Republic and People’s Republic, China’s participation in international economic institutions, and more.

T 6:00-7:15pm |1641 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Joe Dennis

For more information, visit: Chinese Economic and Business History: From Silk to iPhones

History 392: Women and Gender in Modern Europe

This course is a survey of women’s lives from the mid-seventeenth century to the present in Europe. It focuses equally on the ways in which gender constructed power and identity in all spheres of life during this period, including work, politics, science, Empire-building and war. In the first part of the course, we focus on the creation of the domestic model established in the wake of the twin revolutions. This model, which dictated that a woman’s “natural role was domestic and maternal, was primarily middle-class. Working-class women dealt with a whole other set of expectations concerning love and work. In the second part of the course, we focus on a diversity of ways in which women throughout the nineteenth century subverted this domestic model, not only through organized politics such as feminism, but also through unconventional sexual behavior, female “exceptionality, and the opportunities provided by a growing urban, consumer culture. In the final part of the course, we study women and war, more specifically the roles played by women on the battlefront and the home front, and the way in which total war undermined certain gendered constructions of politics and work. Still another important theme will be sexuality, including the medical insistence on one “true sex, the construction of race through sexuality, the creation of a homosexual identity, and the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

MW 2:30-3:45pm |1651 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Mary Lou Roberts

For more information, visit: Women and Gender in Modern Europe

History 393: Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction, 1848-1877

African-American slavery and its impact on mid-19th century social, political, and economic life; the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War; the rise and fall of postwar Reconstruction and non-racial citizenship; the impact of these histories on contemporary American society.

Why did the U.S. Civil War take place? How did it change the nation? And why do we seem to still be fighting it today? Topics include: slavery in the United States; westward expansion; antislavery movements; Native American resistance and adaptation; African American activism; electoral politics; the causes, course, and conduct of the Civil War; postwar Reconstruction; U.S.-Indian conflict.

TR 4:00-5:15pm | 1101 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Stephen Kantrowitz

For more information, visit: Slavery, Civil War, and Reconstruction, 1848-1877

History 411: The Enlightenment and Its Critics

The Enlightenment is a contested idea not just among scholars but also in wider cultural debates today. What was it? Was there a single Enlightenment or many? Why did it happen where and when it did? What role did the Enlightenment play in creating the world we live in? Why have some people celebrated it as a source of all that’s best in the modern world, while others have rejected it as a force for ill?

In this course we will ask and answer those questions, among others. We will engage with a period in European history the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that deeply shaped how people today think about such topics as religion, politics, nature, ethics, society, and the self. We will encounter some of the most articulate and and widely-read writers of the era while also considering broader shifts in politics, society, culture, and mentalities.

Religion will play a central role in this course. That is because religion permeated most aspects of society and thought in early modern Europe, and the concerns of Enlightenment thinkers and their critics often had to do, directly or indirectly, with theological questions. Some partisans of Enlightenment rejected all established religion or tried to defuse its political power in order to create stable societies based on non-confessional norms. Others aimed to update and rearticulate their religious traditions in light of new circumstances, while still others repudiated such attempts. This course will equip you to think about these developments and their relevance for today.

TR 9:30-10:45am | 474 Van Hise Hall | Instructor: Eric Carlsson

For more information, visit: The Enlightenment and Its Critics

History 419: History of Soviet Russia

This course examines Soviet history from 1917 to 1991 with a focus on revolutionary Russia and the rise and fall of the Soviet Empire. We will explore revolutionary politics, society, and culture, the violent effort to forge a socialist society, Stalinism, Soviet nationality policy, the experiences and consequences of the Second World War, espionage and the arms race, postwar efforts at reform, and the break-up of the USSR into a collection of independent states. We’ll read novels and other original sources, watch film clips, listen to Soviet music, and debate key questions of Soviet history. Course grades determined as follows: participation and Bolshevik debate 25%, weekly writing assignments 25%, take-home midterm exam 20%, map quiz 5%, final (or final project) 25%. Exam questions will be based on lectures, readings, and discussions. All students have the option of writing a play (or other short work of historical fiction) based on the course materials in lieu of the final exam. Guidelines will be discussed and distributed in class.

MWF 1:20-2:10pm | 1217 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Francine Hirsch

For more information, visit: History of Soviet Russia

History 428: The American Military Experience Since 1899

A survey of American military experience in the 20th and 21st centuries, examining the influence of warfare on all aspects of American society.

MWF 9:55-10:45am | 1651 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: TBA

For more information, visit: The American Military Experience Since 1899

History 450: Making of Modern South Asia

This course is a historical introduction to the postcolonial history, political identity and political consciousness in the South Asian nation-states of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan in the 20th and 21st century. We shall study the evolution of modern South Asia and the complex and fluid political relationships between these neighboring sovereign states that emerged out of the ashes of the British Empire, by comparing the evolution of different political regimes in the regions of South Asia, and tracing inter-Asian narratives of diplomatic maneuverings, sectarian violence, terrorism and internecine war. We shall examine how such encounters, in the context of realities of international political, ecological and economic relations, shaped a modern discourse on a nation and its perceived “Others , the creation of categories of those who belong and those who do not in national narratives.

TR 9:30-10:45am | 1217 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Mou Banerjee

For more information, visit: Making of Modern South Asia

History 500-002: Reading Seminar in History – Filming the Past

Much of the historian’s work depends on the written word: scribbled notes and official reports found in archives, and the narratives and arguments proffered by books. In this course, we move beyond the page, and explore the ways history can be captured and interpreted through sound and image, as well as the possibilities and difficulties this poses. The course focuses on to experimental films that challenge the norms of cinema as much as they challenge traditional history. We will look at works that unsettle the boundaries between reality and imagination, record and reenactment, truth and fiction, and the relationship between past, present and future. Students will attend tutorials in cinematography, editing, and sound design, and create their own experiment in historical filmmaking.

W 3:30-5:25pm (5255 Humanities Bldg.) and T 5:30-8:30pm (2637 Humanities Bldg.)| Instructor: Carmine Grimaldi

For more information, visit: Filming the Past

History 519: Sexuality, Modernity and Social Change

A history of sexuality approach to a period of major social, economic, and political change in US history, 1880-1930; medical, legal, and popular discourses shaping urbanization, reform, nationalism and colonialism.

R 11:00-12:55pm | B219 Van Vleck Hall | Instructor: Finn Enke

For more information, visit: Sexuality, Modernity and Social Change

History 600 – ALL SECTIONS

All sections of History 600 require permission of the instructor for enrollment.  Please see the HISTORY 600 SEMINARS page for more information and course descriptions.

History 601: Historical Publishing Practicum

Hands-on instruction and experience in historical publishing. Discussion of the nature of historical research and writing.

T 11:00-2:00pm | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Elizabeth Lapina  

For more information, visit: Historical Publishing Practicum

History 680: Honors Thesis Colloquium

Colloquium for honors thesis writers.

W 1:20-3:15pm | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Viren Murthy  

For more information, visit: Honors Thesis Colloquium

History 690: Thesis Colloquium

Colloquium for thesis writers.

W 1:20-3:15pm | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Viren Murthy

For more information, visit: Thesis Colloquium

CROSS-LISTED COURSES IN HISTORY

The following are courses which are cross-listed with the Department of History, but are administered by another department on campus. For information on which department to contact with questions regarding registration, see the course information below.

History of Science Courses

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History of Science 133: Biology and Society, 1950 – Today

From medical advancements to environmental crises and global food shortages, the life sciences are implicated in some of the most pressing social issues of our time. This course explores events in the history of biology from the mid-twentieth century to today, and examines how developments in this science have shaped and are shaped by society. In the first unit, we investigate the origins of the institutions, technologies, and styles of practice that characterize contemporary biology, such as the use of mice as “model organisms” for understanding human diseases. The second unit examines biological controversies such as the introduction of genetically modified plants into the food supply. The final unit asks how biological facts and theories have been and continue to be used as a source for understanding ourselves.

MW 11:00-11:50am | 2650 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Nicole Nelson

For more information, visit: Biology and Society, 1950 – Today

History of Science 202: The Making of Modern Science

Welcome to Making Modern Science! Considered as a professional activity, science and technology are relatively recent products of Western European culture. In this course, we will examine developments since the mid-seventeenth century that have brought about a dramatic change in the way we understand the world and our place in it. How can we best explain why the thing we call science began when and where it did? What forces formed it, and how -in turn -has it become a powerful agent in shaping modern life? Tackling these questions is a major historical challenge, one that will take us from the familiar and the local to the furthest extent of distant empires. We will not find all the answers. But we will learn a lot about the connections between commerce, manufacture, exploration, and war, changing conceptions of man’s place in nature, and our ability to control the world around us. And, in the process, we will come to a new understanding of the relationship between science, technology and society.This course is suitable for undergraduates in any field. No previous knowledge is required: historical background will be provided, and key scientific concepts explained, by the lectures and readings.

MW 9:55-10:45pm | 2650 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Alexander Statman

For more information, visit: The Making of Modern Science

History of Science 323: The Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton

An investigation of renaissance and revolution in European science, beginning in 1543 with the heliocentric astronomy of Nicolaus Copernicus and ending with Isaac Newton’s death in 1727. We’ll pay particular attention to issues of tradition and novelty in natural knowledge, institutional settings for scientific activity, the multifaceted relationship between science and religion, as well as manuscript traditions and the textual/visual transition to print culture. Topics covered include the Copernican cosmology and Galileo’s trial, the mechanical philosophy, Newtonianism, the significance of new scientific organizations like the Royal Society of London and the Paris Academy of Sciences, the role of science in European exploration and expansion, public perceptions of science and its practitioners, and scientific writing and communication. Labs will be held in the seminar room in Special Collections (Memorial Library), where class participants will have the opportunity to work with rare textual and visual materials dating from the fifteenth through the eighteenth centuries.

T 12:05-12:55pm | L159 Education Bldg. | Instructor: Florence Hsia and Robin Rider

For more information, visit: The Scientific Revolution: From Copernicus to Newton

History of Science 343: The Darwinian Revolution

Darwin’s name is associated with one of the great developments in modern science: evolution. But he was not the first evolutionist, and a number of evolutionary theorists think we are currently in a new intellectual revolution surrounding evolution. So what does it mean, today, to talk about the “Darwinian revolution”? In this mixed undergraduate-graduate course we will explore this question by situating Darwin’s achievement in a longer timeline of evolutionary thought before and after his lifetime, all the way down to the present. In doing so, we will follow two chief aspects of evolutionary thinking: its scientific twists and turns, and its broader cultural significance, as it appeared in religious and sociopolitical realms.

TR 9:30-10:45am | L159 Education Bldg. | Instructor: Lynn Nyhart  

For more information, visit: The Darwinian Revolution

CROSS-LISTED COURSES IN HISTORY OF SCIENCE

The following are courses which are cross-listed with the Department of History, but are administered by another department on campus. For information on which department to contact with questions regarding registration, see the course information below.

Undergraduate Catalog

The University of Wisconsin’s Undergraduate Guide is the central location for official information about its departments and programs. Find the Department of History’s entries here, including the official requirements of the major.

[archive of UW Undergraduate Catalogs, dating to 1995, and Graduate Catalogs from 1994]
[archive of History course catalogs, dating from 1852 to 1996]