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 2019

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 1:00-2:15pm | 3650 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Megan Stanton

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

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

This course surveys U.S. history from 1865 to the present. Readings, lectures, and discussion will explore the rich variety of the American past: its social movements, diversity of values, shifting geography, and everyday life. The ways people lived often affected by laws, popular culture, economics, and politics. As a result, U.S. history, as we will see, is truly local, national, and global. It will be our task as a class to untangle these strands so that we can understand the enormous changes that have taken place over the past 150 years. This is not a straightforward task. The past is not a list of major events to be memorized, it is something to be interpreted. Each week you will be looking at sources produced in the past photographs, documents, and more in order to tell stories and construct arguments. By the end of the semester you will have begun to think like a professional historian.

TR 1:00-2:15pm | 1121 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Paige Glotzer

For more detailed information, visit: American History, Civil War Era to the Present (Course Search & Enroll)

History 103: Introduction to East Asian History – China

Today, the rise of China is one of the biggest news stories around the world, but this recent phenomenon is only one facet of a society that has a long, complex history of development and interaction with the rest of the world. Studying this vast, dynamic history reveals not only the secrets of China’s present but also the possibilities of its future. Toward this goal, History 103 is a concise survey of China from its beginnings ca. 1500B.C.E. to the present day, covering broadly philosophy, religion, economy, family, and government to explore the many “Chinas” within and beyond the headlines.

MWF 11:00-11:50am | 1121 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Shelly Chan

For more information, visit: Introduction to East Asian History: China (Course Search & Enroll)

History 104: Introduction to East Asian History – Japan

If one asks ten people what “Japan means to them, one might get ten different answers. Manga, anime, Japanese film, samurai, Zen Buddhism, tea ceremony among other phenomena are all associated with Japan. One might ask to what extent we can find something unifying these seemingly diverse practices. In this course, we will discuss the meaning of some of these practices in historical context and also how some of these practices overlapped at various points in history. For example, Japanese films often depict the history of Japan, including that of the samurai, the tea-ceremony expresses ideals from Zen Buddhism and the samurai often performed the tea-ceremony.

Through looking at these and other practices associated with Japan, the course aims to introduce students to the culture, politics and intellectual currents in Japan from ancient times to the present. After this introduction, students should be well-equipped to form their own opinions about Japan. The course will allow students to analyze writings about history and to construct historical arguments. Students will also learn to think historically about politics and culture, not only in Japan, but in the world.

TR 2:30-3:45pm | 4028 Vilas Hall | Instructor: Viren Murthy

For more information, visit: Introduction to East Asian History: Japan (Course Search & Enroll)

History 109-001: Introduction to U.S. History – Who is an American?

This course is organized around a central and continuing question in American life: Who is an American? How have laws, movements, and individuals answered that question from the Revolution to the present? Through a mixture of lectures, discussions, and other activities, we will investigate key moments when these questions have reverberated through issues of citizenship, migration, slavery, freedom, war, and politics.

MWF 1:20-2:10pm | 1121 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Stephen Kantrowitz

For more information, visit: Introduction to U.S. History – Who is an American? (Course Search & Enroll)

History 109-002: Introduction to U.S. History – 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 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.

September 30th – December 11th | ONLINE | Instructor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

For more information, visit: Introduction to U.S. History – Making of the American Mind (Course Search & Enroll)

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.

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

For more information, visit: The Ancient Mediterranean (Course Search & Enroll)

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.

TR 8:00-9:15am | 1651 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Lee Wandel

For more information, visit: Europe and the World, 1400-1815 (Course Search & Enroll)

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

We will study European political, social and cultural history from the French Revolution to the present. Themes emphasized are: the idealistic, revolutionary movements of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the ascendancy of liberal politics and the liberal way of life with its uniquely modern methods of social control; the crisis of liberalism at the turn of the century, including the impact of new technologies and urban commodity culture as well as challenges to liberal assumptions about human nature and gender norms; the catastrophic experiences of total war and depression in the 20th century; the rise of fascism and communism as alternatives to liberal politics, the decline of Europe in a post-1945 world dominated by superpower conflict and American economic, cultural dominance.

MWF 11:00-11:50am | 2650 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Mary Roberts

For more information, visit: Europe and the Modern World 1815 to the Present (Course Search & Enroll)

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 | 1651 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: H. William Warner

For more information, visit: An Introduction to World History (Course Search & Enroll)

History 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? In this course, we examine classic texts and “game-changers” 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 that still shape today’s life sciences.

MW 1:20-2:10pm | 180 Science Hall | Instructor: Lynn Nyhart

For more information, visit: Bees, Trees, Germs, and Genes: A History of Biology (Course Search & Enroll)

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

Sports factor into the lives of most Americans, whether it’s through playing or watching games. Yet, as much as we often view sports as a form of entertainment that distracts us from reality, issues such as conflict between players and team owners, contentious debate over public financing for new stadiums, the lack of racial diversity throughout professional sports rosters, and the rising concern over the violent repercussions of sports, both on and off the field, demonstrate that we cannot separate sports from major social, political, economic, and racial issues. This course will illuminate how the rise and growth of sports since the Civil War has reflected and shaped broader trends in American social, racial, economic, and political history. Students will engage in discussions about popular sports’ relationship to American capitalism, liberalism, urban development, and racial, gender, and social movements. Finally, students will analyze the underlying issue of race, gender, class, and politics in amateur, collegiate, and professional games. Above all, this course will spark newfound curiosity in students as they reevaluate the sports they play and watch in the future.

TR 11:00am-12:15pm | 1651 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Ashley Brown

For more information, visit: Sport, Recreation, & Society in the United States (Course Search & Enroll)

History 139: The Middle East in the 20th Century

This course traces 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 generally thematic approach with several weeks of country-specific studies, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Israel and the Palestinian territories.

MWF 8:50-9:40am | 1217 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Daniel Stolz

For more information, visit: The Middle East in the 20th Century (Course Search & Enroll)

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 100-1757 AD, 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 1757-1947, with ventures into the 21st century to contemplate how the past shapes our present.

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, as we see the politics of xenophobia and fear of immigration play out through India’s venture into creating a NRC or National Register for Citizens now.”

TR 8:00-9:15am | Ingraham 224 | Instructor: Mou Banerjee

For more information, visit: History of South Asia to the Present (Course Search & Enroll)

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.

TR 8:00-9:15am | 2650 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Cindy I-Fen Cheng

For more information, visit: Asian American History – Movement and Dislocation (Course Search & Enroll)

History 200-001: Historical Studies - Migrations and Displacement

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

T 11:00am-12:55pm | 340 Ingraham Hall | Instructor: Cindy I-Fen Cheng

For more information, visit: Migrations and Displacement (Course Search & Enroll)

History 200-002: Historical Studies – Capitalism and America

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

T 3:30-5:25pm | 304 Educational Sciences | Instructor: Paige Glotzer

For more information, visit: Capitalism and America (Course Search & Enroll)

History 200-003: Historical Studies – Russia and America

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

F 11:00am-12:55pm | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Francine Hirsch

For more information, visit: Russia and America (Course Search & Enroll)

History 200-004: Historical Studies – Seven Deadly Sins in American History

In the main FIG seminar, Seven Deadly Sins in American History, we will explore Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Wrath, and Sloth. As the historian Aviad Kleinberg notes, “[t]here is no sin without context,  and the aim of this seminar, then, is to examine the many contexts, the rich history, of sin in American culture and society. We will explore how, from the colonial period up until today, notions of pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth have gripped the moral imaginations of Americans. Using the tools of the intellectual and cultural historian, we will explore the medieval prehistory of the seven deadly sins, how they made their way into early American life, and how they have changed dramatically over the course of the centuries, moving between characterizations of wayward individuals to condemnations of entire social groups. Students will explore how notions of sin and evil have been laden with gendered, racial, religious, and class assumptions, and how they have differed within and between cultural, ethnic, and religious communities. We will also examine the curious process whereby sins in one historical period have been transformed into virtues in another. Students will not only learn that (and how) ideas of good and evil have a history, but also how historians use different sources to access the longings, fears, and possible motivations of historical actors. We also will draw on insights from the other courses in this FIG to enrich our analysis of this topic.

MW 4:00-5:15pm | 2251 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

For more information, visit: Seven Deadly Sins in American History (Course Search & Enroll)

History 200-005: Historical Studies – Greeks and ‘Barbarians’

This course explores the world of the ancient Greeks in interaction with themselves and with other peoples (Persians, Egyptians, Scythians etc.). How did Greeks organized into hundreds of autonomous political communities create their own group identities and did they view those of others? How did non-Greeks view the Greeks? Together we will explore questions of ethnic and group identity, cultural interaction, and connectivity within the Mediterranean world.

W 11:00am-12:55pm | 2611 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Claire Taylor

For more information, visit: Greeks and ‘Barbarians’ (Course Search & Enroll)

History 200-006: Historical Studies – Introduction to Media History

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

TR 2:30-3:45pm | 1221 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Carmine Grimaldi

For more information, visit: Introduction to Media History (Course Search & Enroll)

History 201-001: The Historian’s Craft – Belief & Unbelief in Modern Europe

In the modern period (1500 to the present) Europe saw the growth of new forms of religious belief and identity as well as the spread of alternatives to religious faith, such as agnosticism and atheism. In this seminar we will explore the impact of these changes on the lives of individuals. Examining a range of case studies, we will ask:

  • What factors have led people in modern Europe to transition from one set of beliefs and allegiances to another?
  • Were there common routes by which individuals took on a new religious identity and belief system (conversion), abandoned a set of beliefs (deconversion), changed their relationship to a religious tradition, or actively embraced unbelief?
  • What impact has the experience of religious and philosophical pluralism defining marks of “modernity  and “secularity had on the way in which individuals have held and expressed their most basic life commitments?
  • What are some of the typical ways in which people have narrated their spiritual and intellectual journeys? In particular, what function has the genre of autobiography served?

Our common readings will consider men and women who embraced, rejected, or otherwise modified their relationship to Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish traditions. You will also pursue an independent research project on a figure or a question arising out of course themes.

W 8:50-10:45am | L151 Education Bldg. | Instructor: Eric Carlsson

For more information, visit: Belief & Unbelief in Modern Europe (Course Search & Enroll)

History 201-002: The Historian’s Craft – Identity in 18th-c. Europe

How did people living in Europe and its colonies imagine their identities in the eighteenth century? This course will explore how all sorts of men and women — smugglers, kings, slaves, philosophers, courting couples, female preachers, aristocratic adventurers — all asked the basic question: Who am I? What makes up the core of my identity? To get inside their minds, we will read autobiographies, letters, and memoirs by various eighteenth-century individuals and also study their social, political, religious, cultural, and colonial contexts.  Thinking about individual identity allows us to explore this era from new angles. Why does the eighteenth century mark the birth of “celebrity , as suddenly certain figures, like the Pirate Blackbeard or the Queen Marie-Antoinette, riveted public attention and gained notoriety?  Is it true that the cultural movement of the Enlightenment invented “the modern sense of self  and new notions of individualism, individual possibility, and rights?  How does Europe’s increasingly global, colonial reach influence how traveling individuals –whether free or coerced — were transformed by their voyages, interactions, struggles, and exposure to new worlds and cultures?  The course is organized thematically. It also includes the opportunity to delve into the identity and self-presentation of one individual of your own choosing.  Students’ final paper topics can range widely, but they will likely focus on a single eighteenth-century individual  who left behind a life narrative or set of letters that facilitates exploring the writer’s identity, self-presentation, and relationships to other people and issues of the time period.

MW 2:30-3:45pm | 1217 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Suzanne Desan

For more information, visit: Identity in 18th-c. Europe (Course Search & Enroll)

History 201-004: The Historian’s Craft – Explorers, Colonizers, & Travelers: Travel Writing as Historical Sources

This historian’s craft course focuses on European travel writing from the Early Modern Atlantic world (the Americas and West Africa). European travel accounts are some of the most important and fascinating historical sources to the histories of America, Africa, and many other corners of the world in the early modern period. They are also some of the most difficult historical sources to navigate and interpret. They were all written by male European explorers, colonists, or travelers, who had little or no knowledge of the lands and peoples they were encountering and they often only indirectly if at all answer many of the questions we are interested in asking about Native American or African history. Despite these complications, historians wrestling with Early Modern travel accounts have found different ways to employ them as historical sources, and these accounts are therefore a perfect place to start broaching questions about historical methodology and practice. We will read and work with travel accounts along with historical interpretations based on these same sources, and discuss different methodological and theoretical approaches to get a sense of how different perspectives shape how historians interpret and use primary sources.

TR 9:30-10:45am | 1217 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Pernille Ipsen

For more information, visit: Explorers, Colonizers, & Travelers: Travel Writing as Historical Sources (Course Search & Enroll)

History 201-005: The Historian’s Craft – History of Transience in 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.

M 1:20-3:15pm | B215 Van Vleck Hall | Instructor: Jillian Jacklin

For more information, visit: History of Transience in America (Course Search & Enroll)

History 201-008: The Historian’s Craft – The Cold War

This course is designed to introduce students to the historian’s craft through the lens of the Cold War, using historical content, reading, writing, analysis, oral presentation, and methodology. The Cold War between the US and USSR began in the 1940s and defined US foreign policy for the next forty years. We will cover different aspects of scholarship, such as writing book reviews, analyzing op-eds, and presenting research to a group.

W 11:00am-12:55pm | 2195 Grainger Hall | Instructor: Vaneesa Cook

For more information, visit: The Cold War (Course Search & Enroll)

History 201-009: 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.

W 11:00am-12:55pm | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Aaron Rock-Singer

For more information, visit: The Arab Spring (Course Search & Enroll)

History 201-010: The Historian’s Craft – Immigration & The US-MX Border

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.

T 3:30-5:25pm | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Marla Ramirez Tahuado

For more information, visit: Immigration & The US-MX Border (Course Search & Enroll)

History 205: The Making of the Islamic World – The Middle East, 500-1500

At the beginning of the 7th century, a new religion, Islam, appeared in Arabia and by the end of the century, Muslims had defeated the Byzantines and Persians and created an empire that stretched from Spain to India. For the next millennium, Islam glittered. Its caliphs, courts, and capitals were grander, more powerful, and more sophisticated than those of any medieval king, duke, or prince. In this course, we will trace the emergence and development of Islamic civilization from the birth of Muhammad ca. 570 to the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258. We will read the Qur’an and listen to its recitation; examine the career of the Prophet Muhammad; follow the course of the Arab conquests; explore the nature of the conflict between Sunnis and Shi is; learn about the five pillars of Islam, law, theology, and Sufism; and assess the achievements of Muslim intellectuals in literature, art, science, and philosophy. 30 minutes at the end of each class will be devoted to the analysis of primary sources in English translation. No previous knowledge required.

MW 2:30-3:45pm | 1116 DeLuca Biochemistry Bldg. | Instructor: Aaron Rock-Singer

For more information, visit: The Making of the Islamic World – The Middle East, 500-1500 (Course Search & Enroll)

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.

MWF 1:20-2:10pm | 1651 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Tony Michels

For more information, visit: The American Jewish Experience – From Shtetl to Suburb (Course Search & Enroll)

History 221-001: Explorations in American History – Food Histories

About 80% of foods on grocery store shelves did not exist one hundred years ago. How has the rise of big agriculture, processed food and refrigeration affected food production, food, diet, bodies, culture, and the environment? This course the history of food and how it has changed as well as the shifting meanings and experiences of food, the ways that knowledge about food is produced and circulated, and how people have launched food movements in order to influence the food that they and others can access. Food is a topic that is broad in geopolitical and corporate foundations and yet intimate in the ways that we experience it bodily and through consuming communities. We will find junctures between the public and the personal, the abstract and the intimate. We’ll explore the historical roots that have led to current issues of food insecurity, inequity around race and class in food access, and issues of growing food in sustainable and healthy ways.

MW 2:30-3:45pm | 184 Russell Laboratories | Instructor: Nan Enstad

For more information, visit: Food Histories (Course Search & Enroll)

History 221-002: Explorations in American History – The G.O.A.T.: The History of Superstar Athletes

In this class, we will discuss the emergence of superstar athletes in the United States during the early twentieth century, and examine the reasons behind the increasing prevalence of “once-in-a-lifetime” athletes in the twenty-first century. This course will analyze what, exactly, makes a superstar athlete, and how ideas of race, class, and gender influence the brand and image of popular sports figures. This class will focus upon ten different athletes, chosen for examination based on their exceptional talent and, more importantly, their cultural and political significance in the United States. It will question whether starts like Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, and Serena Williams reject or reinforce social, cultural, and political ideologies. Students will be graded on class participation, 10 weekly response papers, and one 15-minute presentation that examines a single US athlete from the twentieth or twenty-first century.

M 10:00-11:55am | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Alexandra Mountain

For more information, visit: The G.O.A.T.: The History of Superstar Athletes (Course Search & Enroll)

History 223-001: Explorations in European History – The Vikings: Fact and Fiction

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

October 14-December 8 | ONLINE | Instructor: Karl Shoemaker

For more information, visit: The Vikings: Fact and Fiction (Course Search & Enroll)

History 242: Modern Latin America: 1898 to the Present

This course will give a broad overview of Latin American history in the modern period, especially the period from 1898 to the present. 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. Among the topics to be explored in detail will be the Mexican and Cuban revolutions, populism and dictatorship, socialism and neoliberalism, and drugs and migration.

MWF 9:55-10:45am | 1641 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Patrick Iber

For more information, visit: Modern Latin America: 1898 to the Present (Course Search & Enroll)

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

Southeast Asia is a region that today consists of eleven nations: Brunei, Cambodia (Kampuchea), East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, each with its own history, cultural and ethnic diversity, and political and socio-economic conditions. Nevertheless, it is a region–between China and India–that possesses many cultural and historical similarities and continuities that make it unique. This course is intended to provide a general introduction to Southeast Asia’s past and present. The course is organized chronologically around three broad periods: 1) traditional states and societies (to ca.1830); 2) colonial transformations and indigenous responses (ca.1830-1945); and 3) the emergence of modern nations (since 1945). Within these broad time frames, the course will explore several topics and themes, among them: the origins of indigenous states; religious conversion and practice; ethnicity, social organization, and gender relations; the impact of colonial domination; modern social and economic transformations; responses to colonial rule; the development of nationalist and socialist-communist movements and revolutions; the nature of post-colonial societies and political systems; ethnic conflict and national integration; the impact of Cold War international relations; and U.S. involvement and intervention in the region. Given the size and diversity of the region, the course will concentrate on four Southeast Asian countries: Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand–those countries that are the primary research areas of UW-Madison’s Southeast Asia program and for which significant resources exist on campus: course offerings (including in languages), library holdings, and study abroad opportunities.

MWF 9:30-10:45am | 1101 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Michael Cullinane

For more information, visit: Introduction to Southeast Asia – Vietnam to the Philippines (Course Search & Enroll)

History 277: Africa – An Introductory Survey

This course is designed to be a multi-disciplinary introduction to the cultures and history of Africa.  It is available to students as African Cultural Studies 277, Afro-American Studies 277, Anthropology 277, Geography 277, History 277, Political Science 277, or Sociology 277.  Because Africa 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 least once during the semester while we will explore a variety of themes and topics.  I hope that you will take away from the course an understanding not just of what to think about the history, cultures, and politics of Africa but also how to think about this part of the world.

TR 9:30-10:45am | 1121 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Neil Kodesh

For more information, visit: Africa – An Introductory Survey (Course Search & Enroll)

History 279: Afro-Atlantic History, 1808-Present

The purpose of this course is to increase the student’s knowledge of the issues and problems that have most impacted peoples of the African diaspora in the years since the Haitian Revolution.  As such, the focus will be thematic rather than chronological.  The primary emphasis will be on the history of political, social, and intellectual movements.  Topics will include slave resistance, black nationalism, socialism, and anti-colonialism. You will learn about figures as varied as Toussaint L’Ouverture, Ida B. Wells, Marcus Garvey, WEB DuBois, Frantz Fanon, Paul Robeson, and many others.  Other topics to be covered include: the meaning of “freedom, the construction of black “masculinities, diasporic religious expressions, art and literature, and race and medicine.

TR 11:00am-12:15pm | 1131 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: James Sweet

For more information, visit: Afro-Atlantic History, 1808-Present (Course Search & Enroll)

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? Why do History majors make great managers?

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 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.

W 12:05-1:50pm | 587 Van Hise Hall | Instructor: Sarah Thal

For more information, visit: History at Work – Professional Skills of the Major (Course Search & Enroll)

History 301: History at Work – History Internship Seminar

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? Why do History majors make great managers?

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 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.

TBA | TBA | Instructor: Sarah Thal

For more information, visit: History at Work – History Internship Seminar (Course Search & Enroll)

History 303: A History of Greek Civilization

This course examines Greek political, cultural and social history in the Archaic and Classical periods with a focus on political and social unity and division. We will examine the creation and development of political communities, the different ways in which these were run, how they came into conflict with one another and amongst themselves, and the social and cultural context from which they changed the Mediterranean world.

MW 4:00-5:00pm | 1641 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Claire Taylor

For more information, visit: A History of Greek Civilization (Course Search & Enroll)

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.

TR 2:30-3:45pm | 1121 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Alfred McCoy

For more information, visit: The Vietnam Wars (Course Search & Enroll)

History 335: The Koreas – Korean War to the 21st Century

A historical examination of the Korean War and the politics and society of North Korea and South Korea.

TR 9:30-10:45am | 2261 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Charles Kim

For more information, visit: The Koreas – Korean War to the 21st Century (Course Search & Enroll)

History 340: Cultural History of Korea

The culture and society of Korea have evolved hand in hand with the country’s transformation from the Choson dynasty, a relatively isolated Confucian kingdom built on an agrarian economy, to South Korea and North Korea, two modern, industrialized nation-states in the globalized present. This course explores key aspects of Korea’s great cultural and social transformation from the 15th century to the 21st century. We will delve into recent studies on gender history and on the constructed notion of “national culture.” We will also analyze primary sources from different historical periods, as well as cinematic representations of Korea’s past and present.

R 3:30-5:25pm | 151 Education Bldg. | Instructor: Charles Kim

For more information, visit: Cultural History of Korea (Course Search & Enroll)

History 346: Trans/Gender in Historical Perspective

Throughout history, humans have conceptualized sex and gender in a variety of ways; some have elaborated just two main sex/genders, others have elaborated more than two. Regardless of how a given culture has defined sex and gender and the behaviors and appearances deemed appropriate, humans have always exceeded those definitions. Quite simply, the creation of sex and gender has been neither obvious nor simple: what is sex, what is gender? Do they reside in the body, behavior, psyche, clothing, or social processes such as racialization? Cultural beliefs about sex/gender have changed across time. How have contacts across cultures through migration and colonization affected people’s understanding of sex/gender possibilities and norms? This course focuses on sex/gender crossing and variation in historical contexts including Japan, South Africa, Europe, the African diaspora, and North America. We will consider perspectives of people who themselves passed, crossed, transitioned, transed, or otherwise exceeded their culture’s definitions of normative sex/gender. Alongside, we will consider the ways that dominant social institutions reinforced norms, recognized, tolerated, punished and/or celebrated gender variation. We will examine popular culture, medical and legal perspectives, memoir, queer and trans theory, art, and social movement treatises.

TR 11:00am-12:15pm| 1101 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Finn Enke

For more information, visit: Trans/Gender in Historical Perspective (Course Search & Enroll)

History 366: From Fascism to 1968: Social Movements and Political Change in Europe

This course investigates how everyday people shaped European history and politics in the twentieth century. Taking a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, we analyze a range of major social movements in Europe, thinking about what constitutes a social movement in the first place, and what determines its effectiveness. Key topics in the class include the rise and fall of Fascism; the fate of the labor, Communist, and Socialist Left in Europe; the role of youth movements as drivers of change; and the constraints imposed on political organizing by both democratic and authoritarian societies. Drawing on a range of texts, songs, and films, this course will investigate how people power has shaped the European state and the world. Students will be asked to become public historians themselves, through a series of assignments that ask them to engage with our present world and bring their new expertise to bear on key questions of the moment — from migration to labor flows, and from contemporary European politics to the rise of new social movements.

MW 2:30-3:45pm | 1121 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Giuliana Chamedes

For more information, visit: From Fascism to 1968: Social Movements and Political Change in Europe (Course Search & Enroll)

History 369: Thinking Through History with Animals

Animals are everywhere in human history, but are rarely credited as important historical players. In this class, animals are at center stage. From the army of pigs that helped Hernando de Soto invade the New World to the whales whose oil lubricated the Industrial Revolution, animals have changed the course of history. You’ll learn about how human relationships with other animals have changed over time, from early domestication, through exploration and imperialism, to contemporary agriculture, development and conservation. We will explore these questions through a combination of class discussions, lectures, and first-hand animal encounters. You’ll complete mini-projects by conducting archival research and participant observation to investigate human-animal relationships in Madison and across the globe.

TR 2:30-3:45pm | B215 Van Vleck Hall | Instructor: Elizabeth Hennessy

For more information, visit: Thinking Through History with Animals (Course Search & Enroll)

History 418: History of Russia

History 418 is an upper-division lecture course that satisfies requirements for the History major, as well as for other programs, such as the CREECA major and/or certificate, and other programs in International Studies.  The course covers the last 125 years of the Russian Empire’s existence, from 1801 until the beginning of the Great War in 1914.  This period saw successive Russian rulers seek to maintain Russian “greatness” in Europe while dealing with the challenges to social and political stability that this effort entailed.  The course begins with the reign of Alexander I and the mortal challenge of the Napoleonic invasion, then follows Alexander’s successor, who had to suppress an attempted coup when he took the throne in 1825, inaugurating a reign legendary for its arch-conservatism; ironically, he also laid the foundations for the sweeping reforms brought in by his son Alexander II after Russia’s humiliation in the Crimean War.  These reforms drastically recast Russia society–from the emancipation of the serfs to radical legal reform and an effort to enlist society as junior partners in the country’s administration.  The most vivid sign of ferment came with Alexander II’s assassination in 1881, giving way to two reigns that sought to slow the pace of change in an empire that now dealt with the consequences of rapid industrialization, an increasingly critical educated elite and rising ferment among the national minorities under Romanov rule.  The reign of Nicholas II saw these forces mount a decisive challenge to the regime with revolutions in 1905, which led to an uneasy accommodation between supporters and opponents of the autocracy, a standoff that was shattered by the burdens of the Great War.

MW 2:30-3:45pm | 6240 Sewell Social Sciences | Instructor: David McDonald

For more information, visit: History of Russia (Course Search & Enroll)

History 424: The Soviet Union and the World, 1917-1991

This course surveys the relationship between the Soviet Union and the rest of the world from 1917 to 1991. We will look at the Bolsheviks and their dream of worldwide socialist revolution, the creation of the Soviet socialist state, the postwar transformation of the USSR into a superpower, and the eventual collapse of the Soviet colossus. We will evaluate the diplomatic relations between the USSR and other states, the connections between Soviet domestic and foreign policies, and the movement of culture, ideas, armies, and institutions across borders.

TR 1:00-2:15pm | 1651 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Francine Hirsch

For more information, visit: The Soviet Union and the World, 1917-1991 (Course Search & Enroll)

History 426: The History of Punishment

This course examines punishment across a vast range of historical traditions, examining how wrongdoing and punishment have been figured in law, literature, art and philosophy. Through the semester we will examine ancient, medieval and modern traditions.

TR 1:00-2:15pm | 1641 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Karl Shoemaker

For more information, visit: The History of Punishment (Course Search & Enroll)

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.

Cross-Listed Courses in History offered by Other Departments

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? In this course, we examine classic texts and “game-changers” 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 that still shape today’s life sciences.

MW 1:20-2:10pm | 180 Science Hall | Instructor: Lynn Nyhart

For more information, visit: Bees, Trees, Germs, and Genes: A History of Biology (Course Search & Enroll)

History of Science 201: The Origins of Scientific Thought

What does science have to do with religion? What does it mean to have expertise about the natural world? And what difference do politics and funding sources make to scientific investigation? Learn how to think critically and historically about science in this course by exploring such fundamental questions across two millennia. We begin with Babylonian astrology and ancient Greek mythology and philosophy, then follow the movement of the Greek classical tradition into medieval Islam and Christendom, and finally turn to the ‘revolution’ in science of the 16th and 17th centuries with Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. These historical investigations provide vital insights into our ideas of the ‘natural’, scientific observation, and experiment, as well as into our expectations of scientific knowledge and the scientific enterprise. Suitable for both science and humanities majors. Earn either Humanities (Hist Sci 201) or Natural Sciences (ILS 201) credits.

TR 12:05-12:55pm | 2650 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Florence Hsia

For more information, visit: The Origins of Scientific Thought (Course Search & Enroll)

History of Science 212: Bodies, Diseases, and Healers: An Introduction to the History of Medicine

A survey of different conceptions of how the body as a site of sickness has been understood from Antiquity to contemporary medicine. Includes consideration of the origins and evolution of public health, the changing social role of healers, and the emergence of the modern “standardized” body in health and illness.

MW 9:55-10:45am | 1121 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Suzanna Schulert

For more information, visit: Bodies, Diseases, and Healers: An Introduction to the History of Medicine (Couse Search & Enroll)

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

The battle between advocates of Darwinian evolution and “creationists” has helped define the relationship between science, religion, public policy, and the law.  For many of us, when we think of such controversies, we think of the American “Bible Belt,” as in the Tennessee courtroom immortalized in the movie Inherit the Wind.  But creationism has a global history, connecting teachers, politicians, religious activists, and scientists in the United States with counterparts across the world, and especially in the Middle East – another place where the public role of religion has been a topic of great controversy in recent decades.  This course will explore the global history of creationism as a way of understanding how science and religion have come into conflict in specific times and places, and how different societies have addressed this controversy in terms of law and educational policy.

TR 9:30-10:45am | 2611 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Daniel Stolz

For more information, visit: Honors Seminar – Studies in Science, Technology, and Medicine (Course Search & Enroll)

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.

TR 8:00-9:15am | L185 Education Bldg. | Instructor: Judith Houck

For more information, visit: A History of Disease (Course Search & Enroll)

Cross-Listed Courses in History of Science offered by Other Departments

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]