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.

Fall 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 will ask surprising questions. How did Haitian slaves, Aztec gold, and the humble potato influence the history of the region that would become the United States? Because they did–profoundly. This may not be the sort of history you learned in high school. Traditionally, historians have understood the history of early America or colonial America as the history of the thirteen colonies that joined to create the United States in the American Revolution. But such an approach severs these colonies from their context and creates an affinity between them that did not exist prior to the Revolutionary era. Our course will take a much broader view. We will situate these thirteen colonies in the framework of the Atlantic world: the world created by Africans, Europeans, and Indigenous Americans from the sixteenth century–when European expansion into the Atlantic basin began in earnest–through the American Revolution, when the thirteen colonies united in a revolt against Britain. This revolt would usher in an era of state-building in the Atlantic and signal the beginning of the end of Europe’s imperial power in the Americas. Together we will investigate how people, pathogens, plants, animals, labor systems, ideas, technologies, and institutions across a vast geographic expanse shaped the history of the thirteen colonies that created the United States of America, and then we will explore the nation’s early development.

Instructor: Gloria Whiting

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

This class will teach techniques of historical thinking and writing through the study of the history of the United States since 1865. The majority of course readings are primary documents in U.S. history, and the two major goals are to give students a deeper understanding of the culture, politics, and society of the United States and to teach students the skills of historical interpretation and writing, in order to make them more astute observers of the world around them. We will be focusing on key moments in the transformations of American life, which will be considered from multiple angles: political, social, cultural, intellectual, economic and environmental. This will involve learning to think about evidence from multiple perspectives, and about how memory of the past is constructed over time. We will be covering key moments in American history, and discuss their importance to the present: among them Reconstruction and the battles for civil rights; the U.S. role on the world stage, including the World Wars, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and 9/11; economic crises and response, including the Great Depression and the Great Recession.

Instructor: Patrick Iber

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

History 103: Introduction to East Asian History: China

Survey of major developments in Chinese history from 1500 B.C. to the founding of the Communist state in 1949. Emphasis on patterns and themes; equal time devoted to the classical and traditional period and the modern era.

Instructor: Lecturer Zhijun Ren 

For more detailed information, visit: Introduction to East Asian History: China

History 105: Introduction to the History of Africa

Major historic and current problems in African life, as seen by Africans.

Instructor: TBA

For more detailed information, visit: Introduction to the History of Africa

History 109: The Making of the American Mind

This course will examine American thought in historical perspective. It will begin with the first contacts between European explorers and Native Americans in the late 16th century, and will trace American intellectual life up to today. Students will discover the excitement of accessing the American past by way of ideas. And they will learn how Americans throughout their history have understood themselves, their America, and their world. Current political ideas (is government the source of or solution to our problems?), economic debates (is there an invisible hand directing the market or rather the finger of the 1% tipping the scales?), and moral controversies (is health care a right or a choice?) all have histories. There is not a single major debate in contemporary American life whether it’s about racial equity and racism, the free market and regulation, individual liberty and social obligation, or what it means to be an American that hasn’t been debated, in some form or another, time and again, for centuries. The course will put some of our current intellectual debates into longer historical perspective, showing how generations of Americans struggled with and through these moral, political, and social problems. In all, this course hopes to expose students to the rewards of studying American history from the vantage point of its major ideas, thinkers, and intellectual influences and contributions.

Online | Instructor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

For more detailed information, visit: The Making of the American Mind

History 110: The Ancient Mediterranean

This course introduces students to the history and culture of the Ancient Mediterranean and covers the period from the earliest civilizations to the Fall of the Roman Empire in the West.  It will trace the development of communities and cultures; social relations and economic conditions; political, religious and intellectual institutions and thought.  ‘Ancient Mediterranean’ refers to all civilizations originating in the area of the Mediterranean Sea, including early Mesopotamia civilizations.

Instructor: Mark Kleijwegt

For more detailed information, visit: The Ancient Mediterranean

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.

Instructor: TBD

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

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

This course introduces students to key themes in the social, political, and cultural history of Europe from the fall of Napoleon to the twenty first century. We will ask how and why Europe came to dominate the world in the nineteenth century and why it lost that dominance in the twentieth. Why did Europe give birth both to models of democracy and social equality but also to dictatorship and terror? Why has Europe been such a laboratory for nationalism and does the emergence of the European Union signal the end of this epoch? These are some of the many questions that we will address over the course of the semester.

Instructor: Laird Boswell

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

History 124: British History: 1688 to the Present

The course introduces students to the major themes in the history of modern imperial Britain and to some of the ways historians have tried to make sense of it all. Such themes include (but not limited to) the changing patterns of life during those centuries, the development of modern identities and notions of the self, the emergence of a modern, commercial civil society, the rise of industrial capitalism, liberalism, the modern state, and imperial and total war. We will pay particular attention to gender in terms of both  “lived experience  and representations of power (and its critique), and to the transnational nature of modern British history, largely, but not only, through the history of the economic, political, and cultural foundations of the modern British empire. At the heart of the course, we will try to understand how the history of modern imperial Britain helps us understand the modern world more broadly. The course combines discussions, lectures (1-2 per week) and online content delivery (podcasts, film, and other sources), as well as a small-group discussion section (once a week).

Instructor: Daniel Ussishkin

For more information, visit: British History: 1688 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.

Instructor: TBA

For more information, visit: An Introduction to World History

History 139: The Middle East in the 20th Century

This course explains the formation of the states and societies that compose the contemporary Middle East. How have global phenomena, including two world wars, the Cold War, women’s movements, and modern science, technology, and fossil fuels, affected the politics, culture, and daily lives of Middle Eastern people?  What is Islamism, and how should we explain its influence? Why has the United States had such a troubled relationship with this part of the world?  The course balances a thematic approach with several weeks of country studies, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Israel and the Palestinian territories. In addition to short writing assignments spaced throughout the semester, students write two 3-page essays based on historical documents. No final exam. First-year students welcome.

Instructor: Daniel Stolz

For more information, visit: The Middle East in the 20th Century

History 142: History of South Asia to the Present

The South Asian Subcontinent, site of one of oldest civilizations of the world, and home to one-fourth of the world’s population, is a study in paradoxes. Culturally complex, religiously syncretic yet divisive, politically tumultuous, the subcontinent is a melting-pot of languages, ethnicities, heterogeneous political and social regimes, and widely disparate economic and ecological habitats. From being shaped by one of the greatest empires of the early-modern period – the Mughals; to being the most important imperial possession of Britain in the nineteenth century — the jewel in the crown; and ultimately providing a mosaic of postcolonial nations experimenting with democracy and authoritarianism in varied measures of success and tragedy, South Asia is both a world unto itself and a central node to wider global connections.

In this class then, our objectives are to analytically understand South Asia as a politically, economically, historically, and geo-strategically vital part of our early-modern and modern world. Beginning with a short but in-depth examination of early-modern South Asia from antiquity, with emphasis on the Mughal period from 1500-1757, we shall engage more fully with the shaping of the subcontinent into a complex colonial and then post-colonial territory through the influences and engagements with British imperial rule from 1757-2019.

We will think about the birth of two sovereign nation states, India and Pakistan, accompanied by bloody carnage, resulting in mass-movements of about 8 million people across shadowy and uncertain borders, in 1947, a tragedy that was repeated again in 1971 with the birth of Bangladesh, marred by genocidal violence. Such partitions were and are not one-time catastrophes, but ongoing events, shaping the lives of the billions of people who inhabit the geo-political imaginaries of South Asia. We will also pay close attention to the ways in which the peoples of South Asia adapted, adopted and refashioned the notions of modern enlightenment and national belonging. We will see how India is not at all the mythic space of changeless tradition that it was characterized as, by Orientalist scholars past and present. Instead, we will discover a vibrant, engaged, vital and rapidly changing South Asian subcontinent.

Instructor: Mou Banerjee

For more information, visit: History of South Asia to the Present

History 151: The North American West to 1850

This course explores the history of places that have been called the American West before 1850. We start with Indigenous occupation; continue with European invasion and the creation of two new nations, Mexico and the U.S.; and end with U.S. conquest. We watch Indian lands becoming the object of Spanish, French, and English empires, and then see European incursions giving way to the hopes of new nation-states and newly empowered Indian peoples like Lakotas and Comanches. After studying the trails and trades that brought newcomers west, we reach key converging events: U.S. seizure of the Mexican North, resolution of the Oregon boundary dispute, discovery of western gold, West Coast arrival of Chinese immigrants, and Mormon exodus to the Great Basin. We use economic, environmental, political, cultural, and social analyses, and we attend to the dreams of many westerners: of North American, Latin American, European, African, and Asian origin or descent, and of all genders and class statuses.

Instructor: TBA

For more information, visit: The North American West to 1850

History 153: Latina/Latino/Latinx History

Examines the historical, social, and legal experiences of Latinas/Latinos/Latinxs in the US since the mid-1800s with emphasis on Mexican migrations. Latinxs became an important part of the US population through western expansion, conquest, and immigration. We will learn about the 3 main Latinx groupd in the US: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans, but will also learn about other Latinx communities. We begin with an examination of conquest by studying the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that annexed roughly half of former Mexican territory and the Spanish-American War that resulted in the possession of Puerto Rico. Then, we examine the history of Latinx immigration to understand the experiences of Mexicans, Central Americans, South Americans, and people from the Caribbean who have immigrated to the US in search of economic opportunities and political asylum. This course serves as an introduction to the varied experiences of Latinxs in the US in order to understand their unique histories.

Instructor: Marla Ramírez

For more information, visit: Latina/Latino/Latinx History

History 160: Asian American History: Movement and Dislocation

Examines the impact of colonialism, war, and capitalism on the movement of Asians to the U.S. Considers how racial, gendered, class, sexual, and national formations within the U.S. structured Asian immigration to North America.

Instructor: Cindy Cheng

For more information, visit: Asian American History: Movement and Dislocation

History 200-001: Historical Studies – Reproductive Politics

Introduction to historical studies at the research university. Emphasis on interpretation and critical thinking. Small-group discussion and intensive writing.

Instructor: Emily Callaci

For more information, visit: Reproductive Politics

History 200-003: Historical Studies – Russia in War and Revolution

Introduction to historical studies at the research university. Emphasis on interpretation and critical thinking. Small-group discussion and intensive writing.

Instructor: David McDonald

For more information, visit: Russia in War and Revolution

History 200-004: Historical Studies – Islam and Politics

Introduction to historical studies at the research university. Emphasis on interpretation and critical thinking. Small-group discussion and intensive writing.

Instructor: Aaron Rock-Singer

For more information, visit: Islam and Politics

History 200-006: Historical Studies – Gandhi, King, Mandela

This course is a historical introduction to the idea and practice of non-violence as a viable method of political resistance and protest. We shall study the evolution of the politics of non-violence in the 20th century globally. Some of the ways to do this fruitfully is to compare the evolution of different strategies of non-violent political protests as these emerged in political regimes in the regions of South Asia, South Africa and the USA through the inspired political leadership of transformative leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.

We will aim to do is recognize key features of nonviolent action or civil resistance. We shall also meditate on whether nonviolence is an outdated mode of public protest in the 20th and 21st century, a weapon of the weak, or if it still holds within itself the transformative power of morally destabilizing authoritarian regimes.

Instructor: Mou Banerjee

For more information, visit: Gandhi, King, Mandela

History 200-007: Historical Studies – Latinxs and the Law

Introduction to historical studies at the research university. Emphasis on interpretation and critical thinking. Small-group discussion and intensive writing.

Instructor: Marla Ramírez

For more information, visit: Latinxs and the Law

History 200-008: Historical Studies – East Asian Food Cultures

Introduction to historical studies at the research university. Emphasis on interpretation and critical thinking. Small-group discussion and intensive writing.

Instructor: Charles Kim

For more information, visit: East Asian Food Cultures

History 200-009: Historical Studies – History of European Sexuality

Introduction to historical studies at the research university. Emphasis on interpretation and critical thinking. Small-group discussion and intensive writing.

Online | September 2 – October 25 | Instructor: Laird Boswell

For more information, visit: History of European Sexuality

History 201-005: The Historian’s Craft – Canada in Crisis: October 1970

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.

Instructor: David McDonald

For more information, visit: Canada in Crisis: October 1970

History 201-006: The Historian’s Craft – Postcolonialism

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.

Instructor: Viren Murthy

For more information, visit: Postcolonialism

History 201-007: The Historian’s Craft – The Arab Spring

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.

Instructor: Aaron Rock-Singer

For more information, visit: The Arab Spring

History 201-008: The Historian’s Craft – The French Revolution

This “Historian’s Craft” course explores how historians probe, interpret, analyze, and narrate the past. At the same time, we will delve into one of the most exciting and crucial moments in modern European history: the French Revolution. Course units focus on four pivotal questions. Why and how does Revolution break out in the ancient and powerful monarchy of France? When the revolutionaries suddenly try to create “equal rights” and destroy the old ways, how do these innovations transform the everyday lives of individuals – including aristocrats, slaves, working men and women, peasants, and religious minorities? Third, how do the revolutionaries attempt to invent democracy and why is it so difficult and so violent? And finally, how can the French possibly end their Revolution and why does Napoleon rise to power? While we pose these pivotal questions, we will pay close attention to questions of historical method. Students will analyze different types of sources, learn how to ferret out and assess evidence, and develop their own research, writing, and speaking skills.

Instructor: Suzanne Desan

For more information, visit: The French Revolution

History 201-009: The Historian’s Craft – Race & Belonging in Midwest

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.

Instructor: Sasha Suarez

For more information, visit: Race & Belonging in the Midwest

History 201-011: The Historian’s Craft – World of Alexander Hamilton

This course uses our collective Hamilton mania as an invitation to study the American revolutionary era. We discuss Hamilton’s biography, but we also study the American Revolution through the eyes of men and women who joined competing political causes. Course content covers transatlantic and continental developments from Pontiac’s War to the Alien and Sedition Acts. Lectures and reading assignments examine British North America through social, cultural, and political historical methods. We also apply the lenses of gender, sexuality, race, colonialism, and slavery to our discussions. Each student has the opportunity to design and execute a research paper using digital and printed sources. Throughout the semester, we treat the popular musical Hamilton as one interpretive text. The musical puts forward several arguments concerning the life of Alexander Hamilton and other people residing in North America. Over the course of the semester, we identify the musical’s arguments and compare them to other interpretations of the American revolutionary era. Using the musical as a point of departure, we learn about the attention that historians and the public have paid to the Founding Fathers. We also familiarize ourselves with criticism of this interest in Founding Fathers, too.

Instructor: TBA

For more information, visit: World of Alexander Hamilton

History 201-012: The Historian’s Craft – Witches in Early Modern Europe

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.

Instructor: TBA

For more information, visit: Witches in Early Modern Europe

History 201-014 The Historian’s Craft – The Weimar Republic and the Rise of Nazism

The collapse of Germany’s Weimar Republic (1918-1933) is perhaps the most recognizable case of democratic failure in modern history. Recent events have spawned an upsurge in debate over whether the U.S. and Europe are experiencing a new “Weimar moment.  But is it fair to evaluate the Weimar Republic only in light of its disastrous endpoint? Why did the Nazis come to power in 1933, and could the Nazi rise have been prevented? This seminar explores the culture, society, and politics of this turbulent moment in modern European history. We will examine not only the seedbeds of fascism, but also reform movements that sought democratic transformations in sexuality, education, and the built environment. Our sources will range widely across Weimar’s vibrant cultural landscape, including literature, film, fashion, journalism, music, photography, and propaganda. By uncovering the complex causes behind the Weimar Republic’s rise and fall, we will come to appreciate the importance of contingency in history. This course places strong emphasis on historical research skills and on written and oral communication. Students will have numerous opportunities to receive feedback on written work and oral presentations.

Instructor: Brandon Bloch

For more information, visit: The Weimar Republic and the Rise of Nazism

History 201-015 The Historian’s Craft – Russia and America

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.

Instructor: Francine Hirsch

For more information, visit: Russia and America

History 219: The American Jewish Experience: From Shtetl to Suburb

Surveys American Jews from the eighteenth century until after WW II, examining political behavior (radicalism, liberalism, and nationalism), class formation, social mobility, culture, inter-ethnic group relations, religion, and problems in community building.

Instructor: Tony Michels

For more information, visit: The American Jewish Experience: From Shtetl to Suburb

History 223-001: The Holocaust

Topics vary reflecting the interests, expertise, and innovating intention of the instructor.

Instructor: Amos Bitzan

For more information, visit: The Holocaust

History 223-001: The Holocaust

Topics vary reflecting the interests, expertise, and innovating intention of the instructor.

Instructor: Amos Bitzan

For more information, visit: The Holocaust

History 229-001: Christianity in the Atlantic World 1500-1800

Between 1500 and 1800 Western Christianity underwent a series of major changes that altered its global profile and helped form the modern world. This course examines some of these shifts and their impact from multiple angles. Key questions we will explore include:

–Why did the Reformations of the sixteenth century–Protestant and Catholic–occur and what immediate and long-term effects did they have on people’s lives and on early modern societies more generally?

–What was the relationship between European colonization and the spread of Christianity to Africa and the New World?

–How was the Christian religion received and reshaped by non-Europeans, including indigenous Americans and African slaves?

–What sparked movements of reform and renewal–including new Catholic religious orders and the Protestant Evangelical Awakening–and what broader impact did these have on north Atlantic societies?

–How did the nature of Christian belief and identity change under the impact of confessional pluralism, religious wars and violence, and the Enlightenment?

Instructor: Eric Carlsson

For more information, visit: Christianity in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800

History 244: Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines

As an introduction to Southeast Asia, covers the ethnic, cultural, religious, and political histories of the region from the classical states period to the present, with an emphasis on colonialism, nationalism, decolonization, and the emergence of modern political and social systems into the 21st century, including an exposure to region’s contemporary literature.

Instructor: Michael Cullinane

For more information, visit: Introduction to Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines

History 255: Introduction to East Asian Civilizations

Multidisciplinary and historical perspectives on the East Asian civilizations of China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia from prehistory to the present, including developments in philosophy, economy, governance, social structure, kinship, geography, etc.

Instructor: Viren Murthy

For more information, visit: Introduction to East Asian Civilizations

History 275: The Queer 20th Century

Topics in the major issues and themes in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history, considered across race, class, nationality, and time.

Instructor: Finn Enke

For more information, visit: The Queer 20th Century

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.

Instructor: Neil Kodesh

For more information, visit: Africa: An Introductory Survey

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

What can I do with a History degree? How can a History degree help me get a good job and develop a career that I love? How can I talk about my History degree so that prospective employers can understand its value and workplace relevance? How can I make the best of the opportunities I have–and create new opportunities for myself, too? Why do employers love History majors? This course will help you answer questions like these as you consider your future career options. You’ll hear from successful professionals about how they got to where they are, how History has helped them, and how you can build a successful career for yourself, too. You’ll craft a resume and cover letter, and you’ll practice simple but crucial skills for interviewing, networking, and your first year in a new job. And, for those taking the 2-credit option (with discussion section), the course will walk you through the process of researching possible career options, networking, and conducting informational interviews. In other words, this course offers you structure, advice, and insights from successful history alumni as you begin or continue your career exploration and planning.

Instructor: Gloria Whiting

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.

Instructor: Gloria Whiting

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

History 319: The Vietnam Wars

This undergraduate lecture course covers the history of the Vietnam War over the full twenty years of U.S. involvement (1954 to 1975), exploring U.S. foreign policy, guerrilla warfare, anti-war protests, conventional combat, and CIA covert operations. Even today, a half century after U.S. Marines first landed on the coast of South Vietnam, this conflict remains the single most controversial aspect of U.S. foreign policy. In the five decades since its end, the Vietnam War has proved a transformative, even traumatic event, shaping both American popular culture and political debates. Starting with the historical background, the course provides students with a brief introduction to the traditional Vietnamese state, French colonial conquest, and the century of French imperial rule. After analyzing the disastrous French defeat in the First Indochina War, culminating in the historic battle at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the lectures focus on the character of U.S. military operations in South Vietnam from 1964 to 1975 covering combat by American infantry, the massive U.S. bombing which made Vietnam history’s largest air war, and the CIA’s decade-long secret war in Laos. By shifting perspective from American soldiers, Vietnamese villagers, Hanoi’s communist leaders, and White House deliberations, the course seeks to provide students with multiple approaches to a war that caused five million deaths, including 58,000 American soldiers. Through this course students will gain a deeper understanding of U.S. foreign policy, a grasp of the complexities of contemporary history, and a capacity for critical analysis of government decision-making.

Instructor: Alfred McCoy

For more information, visit: The Vietnam Wars

History 328: Environmental History of Europe

This class explores a new approach to a part of the world with a very old history, but one that is now as ‘modern’ as any. The changing, complex relations between Europeans and their environments from antiquity to the twenty-first century offer instructive comparison with American and current global environmental concerns. Approaching Mediterranean and Western civilizations from an environmental viewpoint also offers fresh perspective on these enduring cultures.

Instructor: Richard Keyser

For more information, visit: Environmental History of Europe

History 342: History of the Peoples Republic of China, 1949 to the Present

The social, economic and political transformation of China under Communism; the role of ideology in contemporary Chinese historical development; the nature of that historical development in the comparative perspective of other post-revolutionary histories.

Instructor: Judd Kinzley

For more information, visit: History of the Peoples Republic of China, 1949 to the Present

History 401-001: Public History Workshop – Exclusion & Resistance at UW

Introduction to the practice of public history. Public historians ground their work in rigorous, academic research with the goal of presenting history in a collaborative and publicly focused manner. These projects come in many forms including exhibits, walking tours, podcasts, documentaries, web projects, and place-based interpretation, to name a few. Learn how academic history gets presented to the public, not only by reading about public history, but by doing it.

Instructor: Kacie Lucchini Butcher

For more information, visit: Public History Workshop – Exclusion & Resistance at UW

History 401-002: Public History Workshop – Public History and Sports

Introduction to the practice of public history. Public historians ground their work in rigorous, academic research with the goal of presenting history in a collaborative and publicly focused manner. These projects come in many forms including exhibits, walking tours, podcasts, documentaries, web projects, and place-based interpretation, to name a few. Learn how academic history gets presented to the public, not only by reading about public history, but by doing it.

Instructor: Alexandra Mountain

For more information, visit: Public History Workshop – Public History and Sports

History 419: History of Soviet Russia

Major political, economic and social developments in Russia since 1917.

Instructor: Francine Hirsch

For more information, visit: History of Soviet Russia

History 427: The American Military to 1902

A survey of American military experience from the 16th century through the development of a nascent American “empire” at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, examining the influence of warfare on all aspects of American society.

Instructor: TBA

For more information, visit: The American Military to 1902

History 456: Pearl Harbor & Hiroshima: Japan, the US & The Crisis in Asia

World War Two was many wars.  Fought on multiple fronts, the war involved a complex tangle of war aims and competing ideologies.  The advent of “total war blurred the line between the home front and the battlefront and necessitated the mobilization of domestic societies in unprecedented ways.” The war introduced new weapons of mass destruction that targeted both civilians and soldiers. This course looks at these issues from the vantage point of Japanese history, focusing on what Japanese call the “Asia-Pacific War.” Beginning with the post-World War One settlement, we track the gathering crisis of the twenties and thirties through the outbreak of a multi-front war against China, against the USSR, against the US, and against the European empires in Southeast Asia.  We also examine end of “hot war” and the beginnings of “cold war” in Asia.

Instructor: Louise Young

For more information, visit: Pearl Harbor & Hiroshima: Japan, the US & The Crisis in Asia

History 460: American Environmental History

Environmental history studies the changing relationships between human beings and the natural world through time – probably a very different approach to history from what you studied in high school. Despite being numbered at the 400-level, this course is intended as an introduction to this exciting and still relatively unfamiliar field of scholarship, with no prerequisites. It assumes little or no background knowledge of American history, geography, or environmental studies, and offers a general survey that can be valuable for students interested in any of these fields, from entry-level undergraduates through advanced graduate students. Although the course is intended to be challenging, it is also meant to be fun: any student willing to attend lectures, do the readings, and work hard should be able to enjoy and do well in it. Our main perspective throughout the semester will be that much of the familiar terrain of American history looks very different when seen in environmental context, and one can learn a great deal about history, geography, and the environment by studying them together. All too often, historians study the human past without attending to nature. All too often, scientists study nature without attending to human history. We will try to discover the value of integrating these different perspectives, and argue that the humanistic perspectives of historians and geographers are essential if one hopes to understand the environmental challenges humanity faces today.

Instructor: William Cronon

For more information, visit: American Environmental History

History 500-002: Samurai in Film

Watch good movies and discuss them with friends!

In this student-driven seminar, we will watch and discuss a variety of samurai and samurai-related films. Our primary analytical focus will be contextual: we will examine the relationship of each film and its portrayal of samurai to the time of its creation, the known history of its creators, relevant cultural influences, and the like. We will also explore the relationship between some common depictions of samurai and what scholars know about real-life, historical samurai. Beyond contextual and historical analysis, students are welcome to bring all of their relevant experience to our discussion — including visual analysis, rhetorical scrutiny, interpretation of film scores, comparison to other cultural works, and more.

Instructor: Sarah Thal

For more information, visit: Samurai in Film

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 680: Honors Thesis Colloquium

Colloquium for honors thesis writers.

Instructor: Pernille Ipsen  

For more information, visit: Honors Thesis Colloquium

History 690: Thesis Colloquium

Colloquium for thesis writers

Instructor: Pernille Ipsen

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 132: Bees, Trees, Germs, and Genes: A History of Biology

How did today’s biology emerge out of the diverse traditions of agriculture and natural history (bees and trees), biomedicine and molecular biology (germs and genes) that stretch back into the eighteenth century? And why does it matter to know this history? In this course, we examine classic issues in the history of biology, putting them into broader scientific and social contexts to see how these different ways of knowing intertwined, competed, and yielded novel approaches to the study of life. As we will see, although the biology of the past can seem very different from today’s cutting-edge work, the underlying ideas laid down in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries about the diversity and extinction of life, about the autonomy or interdependence of living beings, about our own place in nature, and about the consequences of our intervening into nature (or the lack of such consequences) still profoundly shape today’s life sciences, even as the crises of our time require that we rethink these ideas fundamentally.

Instructor: Lynn Nyhart

For more information, visit: Bees, Trees, Germs, and Genes: A History of Biology

History of Science 150: The Digital Age

An introduction to the history of the computer from the 1940s to the present day, major developments in computer science and technology in their historical contexts, and recent trends in computing and society. We learn about machines, but emphasize the study of people: the institutions, scientists, workers, and social movements that invented, facilitated, and transformed digital technology in the 20th and early 21st century.

Instructor: Devin Kennedy

For more information, visit: The Digital Age

History of Science 201: The Origins of Scientific Thought

Emergence of scientific method and scientific modes of thought out of ancient philosophical and religious traditions; the impact of ancient science on medieval Christendom; the origins and development of the Copernican-Newtonian world view.

Instructor: Florence Hsia

For more information, visit: The Origins of Scientific Thought

History of Science 222: Technology and Social Change in History

Topics in the history of technology of interest to students in engineering and physical sciences. Themes include the social basis of technical change, the impact of technology on everyday life, and ethical issues in technology in the last four centuries.

Instructor: Daniel Williford

For more information, visit: Technology and Social Change in History

History of Science 280: Honors Seminar: Studies in Science, Technology, Medicine

Intensive exploration of issues in the history of science. Emphasis on developing critical thinking about science through formal and informal writing.

Instructor: Daniel Williford

For more information, visit: Honors Seminar: Studies in Science, Technology, Medicine

History of Science 350-001: Cold War Science & Technology

Instructor: Devin Kennedy

For more information, visit: Cold War Science & Technology

History of Science 350-002: Islam, Science, and Bioethics

Instructor: Daniel Stolz

For more information, visit: Islam, Science, and Bioethics

History of Science 404: A History of Disease

What is disease? Who decides? What are the consequences of labeling a behavior a disease? Can disease be a tool of liberation? Can disease be an instrument of oppression? How do race, class, and gender affect our understandings of and experiences with illness? How have diseases shaped American history? This course is designed to illustrate the various ways disease operates in America. We will examine the role of disease on at least four levels–political, social, cultural, and personal- to demonstrate that diseases are not merely bodily afflictions; they are also participants in the body politic. At first glance, this course outline might look like one disease after another, and on some level it is. However, the diseases are chosen to illustrate a different point about the social and cultural lives of disease in the history of the United States. Although the course moves forward chronologically, it is not meant as a narrative history of disease.

Instructor: Judith Houck

For more information, visit: A History of Disease

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]