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 2022

History Courses

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

Instructor: Gloria Whiting

MW 4:00-5:15PM

Description: This course will ask surprising questions. How did enslaved Haitians, gold mined in Mexico, 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

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

Instructor: Simon Balto

TR 9:30-10:45AM

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 103: Introduction to East Asian History: China

Instructor: Joseph Dennis

MWF 11:00-11:50AM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 104: Introduction to East Asian History: Japan

Instructor: Viren Murthy

TR 4:00-5:15PM

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 105: Introduction to the History of Africa

Instructor: Emily Callaci

TR 9:30-10:45AM

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 115: Medieval Europe, 410-1500

Instructor: TBA

MW 4:00-5:15PM

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 119: Europe & the World, 1400-1815

Instructor: Lee Wandel

TR 8:00-9:15AM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 120: Europe & the Modern World, 1815-Present

Instructor: Laird Boswell

MWF 9:55-10:45AM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 130: Introduction to World History

Instructor: TBA

MWF 11:00-11:50AM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 134: Women in World History

Instructor: April Haynes

MWF 8:50-9:40AM

Description: This course surveys the history of women and gender from the ancient world to the modern period. Lectures and readings are organized in answer to a set of analytical questions, rather than attempting to cover all of human history. What is gender? How have people categorized women and womanhood across different historical periods and diverse world cultures? What did self-identified women think about their own lives and status? When, and how, could women “make history”? How has gender interacted with other modes of organizing power, such as race, class, nation and sexuality? What are the roots of modern controversies over sexism, misogyny, and transphobia? What lessons should we learn from those who have fought against past forms of gender oppression? Historians have answered each of these question in multiple ways. Lectures will pose a question, then survey a range of historical answers for students to consider, discuss, and debate.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 136: Sport, Recreation, & Society in the U.S.

Instructor: Ashley Brown

TR 4:00-5:15PM

Description: As much as we may try to convince ourselves that sport offers an escape from the “real world,” constant news of players’ strikes, stadium financing controversies, and the lack of diversity in league management remind us that we cannot separate the games we play and watch from the political, social, and cultural contexts in which they are embedded. Explore how sport has shaped and been shaped by major trends in American social, political, and economic history. The focus is not on player stats or the morning edition of SportsCenter, rather with serious historical arguments and debates about sport’s relationship to American capitalism, social movements, and urban development. Readings also provide a diverse set of perspectives on the politics of race, gender, and class in American sport in the twentieth century.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 139: Introduction to the Modern Middle East

Instructor: Daniel Stolz

MW 11:00-11:50AM (IN PERSON) & F 11:00-11:50AM (ONLINE)

Description: 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? Balances a generally thematic approach with several weeks of country-specific studies, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Israel and the Palestinian territories.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 142: History of Southeast Asia to the Present

Instructor: Mou Banerjee

MW 2:30-3:45PM

Description: Survey of the development of societies within the Indian subcontinent. Equal segments for the ancient, medieval and modern periods.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History of Science 150: The Digital Age

Instructor: Devin Kennedy

TR 8:50-9:40AM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 151: The North American West to 1850

Instructor: Allison Powers Useche

TR 11:00AM-12:15PM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 160: Asian American History: Movement & Dislocation

Instructor: Cindy I-Fen Cheng

TR 11:00AM-12:15PM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History of Science 160: Engineering Inequality

Instructor: Daniel Williford

MWF 9:55-10:45AM

Description: Offers an introduction to the history of technology centered around the relationship between technology and various forms of social inequality. Addresses: 1) how gendered, racial, and class-based disparities have shaped the history of technology; 2) how forms of engineered inequity have intersected with state-building, colonial projects, environmental degradation, and revolutionary programs; 3) how technology has been implicated in attempts to imagine a more just society. Introduces central themes and concepts in the histories of science, medicine, and especially technology. Examines case-studies that are transnational in scope and move chronologically from the 17th century to the present. Also gives significant attention to histories of technology that originated outside of the U.S. and Europe.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 200-001: Gandhi, King, Mandela: Non-Violence in the World

Instructor: Mou Banerjee

M 8:50-10:45AM

Description: This FIG will provide a historical introduction to the idea and practice of nonviolence as a viable method of political resistance and protest. We will study the evolution of the politics of nonviolence in the twentieth century globally. Our global focus will allow us to consider the evolution of different strategies of nonviolent political protests as they emerged to confront regimes in the regions of South Asia, South Africa, and the United States. We will study the inspired political leadership of transformative figures such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela. Our aim will be to recognize key features of nonviolent action or civil resistance and to then meditate on whether nonviolence is still a viable mode of public protest in the twenty-first century. A central question we will ask is whether this approach is simply a weapon of the weak or if it still holds within itself the transformative power of morally destabilizing authoritarian current or future regimes.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 200-002: Reproductive Politics in Global Perspective

Instructor: Emily Callaci

M 1:20-3:15PM

Description: What is reproductive politics? Why is “reproduction” political to begin with? What is the difference between reproductive rights and reproductive justice, and why is this distinction important? How do reproductive technologies, like IUDs and birth control pills, become tools of personal freedom in some contexts and tools of coercion in other contexts? In this FIG, we will explore reproductive politics from a global perspective. Drawing on case studies from around the world, we will explore how fertility, reproduction, and child-bearing have held different and changing meanings across cultures and times, and the various contexts in which reproduction has been subject to political struggle. We will explore how the history of reproductive technologies—from birth control pills to breast pumps to midwifery to IVF and egg-freezing technologies—has been shaped by global historical processes, including the dynamics of gender, class, race, and geopolitics. While cultivating a truly global understanding of the history of reproduction, this FIG will also give students a chance to place their own lives, and our own society, within this global history, developing both “empathy” and “cultural competency,” in line with the core objectives of the Wisconsin Experience.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 200-003: War and Forced Displacement

Instructor: Cindy I-Fen Cheng

T 1:20-3:15PM

Description: This FIG examines how war displaces people. While popular understanding usually emphasizes the desire for “better jobs” as the main cause of immigration, we will focus on the significant role that war plays in causing human displacement. We will examine four historical events in particular:

  • World War II and the Holocaust;
  • Southeast Asian War (or, the Vietnam War);
  • U.S. military intervention in the affairs of Central America; and
  • wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Ukraine.

In addition to exploring how these conflicts influenced the movement of people, we also will examine how U.S. diplomatic and military objectives structure the legal designation of the displaced from refugees to asylum seekers to undocumented immigrants. Thus, we will examine forced displacement and resettlement in the United States as interrelated processes. Throughout our consideration of these issues, we will center the lived experiences of the displaced through memoirs, oral histories, graphic novels, and film.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 200-004: U.S. Military Missing in Action Research Project

Instructor: TBA

TR 11:00AM-12:15PM

Description: This course is designed to introduce students to the process of researching, recovering, and identifying military missing in action (MIA) personnel. Students will learn about the history of MIA recovery efforts in the U.S. since World War II. They will gain hands-on, practical research skills and utilize a variety of methodological techniques as they investigate MIA cold cases since 1941. Students will work extensively with primary sources, collect and analyze data, and practice writing battle narratives and individual MIA profiles that synthesize the historical and geographic details of their case research.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 200-006: Virtue in the Greco-Roman World

Instructor: Leonora Neville

T 1:20-3:15PM

Description: Virtue has a history. While some ideas of what is right and wrong are quite common across different cultures and eras, differences abound. For many of us, recognizing that the ethical system we learned in childhood is not universally shared by all humanity is one of the most destabilizing, challenging, and potentially liberating experiences we can have—and that is what we will find in this FIG.

In History 200 we will addresses the issue of variation in moral systems by looking at continuities and changes in conceptions of virtue in ancient Greece, the classical Roman empire, and the medieval Eastern Roman Empire. We will begin by reading texts such as Homer, Plato, and Thucydides that have enjoyed high prestige in Western culture for millennia because of the perceived value in their ethical teachings. Ideas of virtue in these ancient Greek texts, however, are both familiar and radically foreign to contemporary ethical sensibilities. The ethical systems of Romans such as Virgil, Cicero, and Julius Caesar were significantly different from those of the ancient Greeks, and yet we will see how they responded to and deployed the ancient Greek material in shaping their own morality. Looking at the medieval Eastern Romans will allow us to see a Christian society using both the ancient Greek and the classical Roman texts to inform their sense of virtue.

In our highly polarized contemporary political culture, it can be difficult to find any moral or political topics about which we do not already have fixed ideas; however, this FIG will allow us to develop fresh perspectives on our own ethical thinking, by exploring debates from the ancient world. We will learn that the ancient and medieval Greco-Roman world is foreign, surprising, and thus a good place to think through and independently develop our own ethical ideals. Students interested in law, government, politics, leadership, gender, and, of course, ancient and medieval studies, will relish this opportunity to explore virtue in the Greco-Roman world.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 200-008: Athens, 550-450 BCE: The Making of a City

Instructor: Claire Taylor

W 8:50-10:45AM

Description: The course explores the city of Athens over a period of approximately 100 years (c. 550-450 BCE) when it underwent great change. We will look at a number of themes: political developments, religion, the built environment, Athenian society, war and the effects of war and examine a range of different source materials (literary texts, archaeological, epigraphic) in order to understand this dynamic city during the turn of the archaic period into the classical period.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 200-009: History of High School Experience (September 12 – October 23)

Instructor: TBA

ONLINE

Description: Think back to your memories from high school. What comes to mind? What sights, sounds, smells, feelings, thoughts do you recall? Chances are, despite the fact that we all went to high schools all over the US (or world) and many of us at different times, we have some common experiences that transcend the differences. Historically, American education has deep local roots and never had a nationalized system like other countries. States and local boards of education control many of the details about how schools are funded and operate. How is it possible to have such a collective experience of high school across time and place, then? This course explores the roots of the high school experience in the US, tracing how certain elements of secondary education came into being and persisted or changed through the nineteenth and twentieth century.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 200-010: Liberty & The American Revolution (September 12 – October 23)

Instructor: TBA

ONLINE

Description: This course explores the creation of the United States and the debates surrounding its founding ideologies. Focusing on diverse actors who shaped original understandings of the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and elsewhere, it asks students to consider varying interpretations of what constitute “American values.” It further challenges students to consider contemporary debates over these issues and to engage in productive political discussion as members of a digital society.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 200-011: History of High School Experience (October 24 – December 11)

Instructor: TBA

ONLINE

Description: Think back to your memories from high school. What comes to mind? What sights, sounds, smells, feelings, thoughts do you recall? Chances are, despite the fact that we all went to high schools all over the US (or world) and many of us at different times, we have some common experiences that transcend the differences. Historically, American education has deep local roots and never had a nationalized system like other countries. States and local boards of education control many of the details about how schools are funded and operate. How is it possible to have such a collective experience of high school across time and place, then? This course explores the roots of the high school experience in the US, tracing how certain elements of secondary education came into being and persisted or changed through the nineteenth and twentieth century.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 200-012: Liberty & The American Revolution (October 24 – December 11)

ONLINE

Description: This course explores the creation of the United States and the debates surrounding its founding ideologies. Focusing on diverse actors who shaped original understandings of the principles outlined in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and elsewhere, it asks students to consider varying interpretations of what constitute “American values.” It further challenges students to consider contemporary debates over these issues and to engage in productive political discussion as members of a digital society.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-001: The Weimar Republic and the Rise of Nazism

Instructor: Brandon Bloch

TR 9:55-10:45AM

Description: 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 “Weimar moment today. 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 course explores the culture, society, and politics of this turbulent moment in German history. We will examine not only the seedbeds of fascism and authoritarianism, but also reform movements that sought democratic transformations in education, sexuality, and the built environment. Our sources will range widely across Weimar’s vibrant cultural landscape, including novels, film, fashion, journalism, music, photography, and propaganda. By understanding the contingency of the Weimar Republic’s rise and fall, students will sharpen their historical thinking and writing skills.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-004: Cold War on Ice: 1972 “Summit Series”

Instructor: David McDonald

MW 2:30-3:45PM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-005: The Arab Spring

Instructor: Aaron Rock-Singer

T 8:50-10:45AM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-007: The Afterlives of the War of 1898 in the Caribbean

Instructor: TBA

MW 8:50-10:45AM

Description: The war of 1898, colloquially referred to as the Spanish-American War, reshaped the international geopolitical order. It was a global phenomenon that allowed the nascent US Empire to stretch its arms around the world and take Spain’s former position as the “empire where the sun never sets.” While this seminar uses a transnational lens, it focuses on the origins, development, and the aftermath of the war from the perspectives of Caribbean peoples. It pays particular attention to the ways that the war left an imprint in the region’s political development throughout the long twentieth century.

As a history seminar, this course will encourage and help students develop critical thinking skills. The historical trade is not simply about accessing the past through documents, but entails using our imaginations to craft narratives while engaging with primary and secondary sources to sustain our arguments. In this course, students will engage with academic books, as well as primary sources that include memoirs, photographs, cartoons, and newspapers, among other things. We will also discuss and think about strategies that will help you write ideas in an accessible way. To do so, we will experiment with different methods from the historians’ intellectual tool kit: scrutinizing primary sources, analyzing content, and crafting narratives, among others. The course will be interactive, and student-scholars are expected to actively participate in the collective production of knowledge through classroom discussions.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-009: Islam in the Global African Diaspora

Instructor: TBA

MW 2:30-3:45PM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-010: History of the Suburb in America

Instructor: TBA

TR 4:00-5:15PM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-011: Race & Place in the Migrant Midwest

Instructor: TBA

R 1:20-3:15PM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-012: Religion in the Age of Hitler

Instructor: Ulrich Rosenhagen

T 1:20-3:15PM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-014: Mercenaries & Pirates in the Early Modern Mediterranean

Instructor: TBA

MW 4:00-5:15PM

Description: An Italian freebooter fighting for the Ottoman Turks. A Muslim-turned-Christian translator in Venice. An ex-slave French priest charged with murder in Constantinople. The Early Modern Mediterranean was a time and place of tremendous ethnic, religious, and linguistic diversity. This course examines the history of the Early Modern Mediterranean (1500-1800) through the perspective of the soldiers, sailors, diplomats, and religious renegades who sailed its waters. Central topics to be considered include the economics and business of war in a pre-capitalist society, concepts of Crusade and holy war that persisted throughout this period, trade and diplomacy, and the increasing integration of the Mediterranean into the North Atlantic world.

Students will address these issues through intensive, research focused evaluations. ‘Historian’s Craft’ courses offer an opportunity for students to conduct original historical research and communicate these results to others. Evaluations include in-class participation and weekly reading reflections as well as an original, student-designed and written research paper and presentation. In this way, students will be able to craft research, reading, writing, revision, and communication skills that are essential to the history major.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-015: The Woman Warrior in the Twentieth Century

Instructor: Mary Lou Roberts

W 1:20-3:15PM

Description: This course will introduce students to historical research by exploring the topic of women warriors in Europe. The recent Russian invasion of Ukraine has produced an image some still find unfamiliar: women engaged in combat. In fact, the woman warrior has existed as long as war itself. We will explore these women warriors, mostly in the two world wars in Europe. Some questions we will ask are: What happens when the industrialization of war enables women to fight in combat roles? What special challenges did women face on the battlefield or in resistance movements? How did they negotiate their identities as both women and warriors? We will probe memoirs, diaries, and oral histories as well as historical narratives. Some themes we shall explore: French, German and Hungarian women in the Resistance, Soviet women pilots and machine gunners; and the U.S. Women’s Auxiliary Army (WACs). Students will find a wealth of materials on women warriors to research through guided trips to the Wisconsin Veterans Museum and Historical Society.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-016: Recording Latinx History in Wisconsin

Instructor: Marla Ramirez

R 1:20-3:15PM

Description: This course invites students to think, research, and write as historians through an examination of Latina/Latino/Latinx history in Wisconsin. Students will interview a Latina/o/x Wisconsinite using oral history methodology to record the contributions Latinxs have made to the state. You will have the opportunity of submitting your collected and transcribed oral history to the Wisconsin Latinx History Collective to be considered for a Latinx archive at the Wisconsin Historical Society. The course is divided into three sections. During the first part of the course, we will explore what it means to “think like a historian.” Then, we will learn the best practices for employing oral history methodology. The course concludes with an analysis of the role of memory in the writing of history.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 201-017: Slavery and Religion

Instructor: TBA

W 3:30-5:25PM

Description: In this class we will examine the long and fraught relationship between religion and enslavement, for in both theory and in practice, the two have long been intimately interlinked, though not necessarily in ways you might expect. Our range will be roughly the fifteenth through the nineteenth century, though with room to bring the debate into the contemporary period if so desired. Topics we will cover include:

  • Justifications for enslavement in classical antiquity (e.g., Aristotle)
  • The waning of enslavement in Christian Europe during the middle ages
  • The launching and development of the Transatlantic slave trade
  • Mediterranean slavery (The persistence of Christian-Muslim enslavement on the Mediterranean littoral and the use of religion as a justification for enslavement from the 10th-18th centuries)
  • Muslim practices of and attitudes toward, enslavement; the Trans-Saharan Trade
  • Ways in which the Christian bible was used to justify enslavement and promote racial ideologies, but also to stir ideals of freedom and liberty among the enslaved
  • The role of Catholic missionaries in ameliorating the conditions of slaves and the role played by ideals of conversion in the Iberian slave trade
  • The distinctions made by Iberian powers between the enslavement of indigenous peoples as against Africans and people of African descent
  • The unique role of Kongo, Central West Africa, a Catholic kingdom in the nexus of enslavement
  • How Africans and people of African descent absorbed and transformed Catholicism in South America and the Caribbean
  • How slaves interacted with Protestants and Protestantism in North America during the colonial and antebellum periods
  • The role of Christian morality in the British abolition of the slave trade in the early nineteenth century

We will read both primary and secondary documents to explore questions and problems in the use of evidence and in the writing historical narratives. Through reading diverse sources closely, you will learn to “think like a historian”. Across the semester, we will work on the core skills involved in researching and writing an academic history paper. You will learn to locate sources, to construct a bibliography, how to evaluate and contextualize evidence, how to consider and adjudicate variances in historical interpretation, to identify and summarize rhetorical and historical subtleties, and to construct cogent, persuasive, and evidentiary-based historical arguments both oral and written. All of these skills are central both to communication in general and also to the craft of history.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History of Science 201: Origins of Scientific Thought

Instructor: Florence Hsia

TR 12:05-12:55PM

Description: 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.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 209: Western Intellectual & Religious History Since 1500

Instructor: Eric Carlsson

TR 9:30-10:45AM

Description: A survey of major trends in Western intellectual history and religious thought in the modern era, a period that saw a new range of competing ideas about the divine, the human condition, justice and the social order, and the quest for meaning. Explores shifts in Christian and Jewish thought as well as secular alternatives to religious outlooks. Topics include the impact of the Reformation, Scientific Revolution, and Enlightenment; radical critiques of religion; existentialism; theological responses to World Wars and the Holocaust; and civil rights and social justice. Sources include films, novels, autobiographies, essays, theological works, and political manifestos.

For more information, visit Course Search & Enroll

History 219: The American Jewish Experience

Instructor: Tony Michels

MWF 1:20-2:10PM

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

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History 221-001: U.S. Urban History Since 1865

Instructor: Paige Glotzer

TR 8:00-9:15AM ONLINE

Description: Cities have shaped the American imagination. At times serving as beacons of hope and others as symbols of failure, there is no denying that they have played a central role in US history. This class provides an introduction to American cities from the eighteenth century to the present. As urban historians in training, students will investigate urban economics, culture, and politics. Special emphasis will be placed on the production of urban spaces and their relationship to ever-changing historical power dynamics. How have cities been planned, designed, and contested over time? How have the consequences of those decisions intended and unintended continued to shape the cities today? Regardless of whether students lived in cities, suburbs, or small towns, Introduction to US Urban History invites everyone to consider how studying urban history can change their understanding of national history.

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History 225-001: Jihad Movements in Africa

Instructor: TBA

Description: MWF 9:55-10:45AM

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History 243: Colonial Latin America: Invasion to Independence

Instructor: Marcella Hayes

MW 2:30-3:45PM

Description: An introductory survey of colonial Latin American history, from the late fifteenth to the early nineteenth century. Examines developments in Spanish and Portuguese America by reading both secondary and primary sources. Beginning with fifteenth-century Europe, the Americas and West Africa, discusses European expansion and invasion, first contacts between the so-called Old and the so-called New Worlds, as well as the role of religion, sexuality, gender, labor and production, trade and exchange, and politics. Each week, a central question will address the topic for that week. Become familiar with and contextualize key processes and events in colonial Latin American history and learn about the nature of colonization. Identify and evaluate historical arguments. Practice interpreting primary sources and building historical arguments about them.

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History 244: Southeast Asia: Vietnam to the Philippines

Instructor: Michael Cullinane

TR 9:30-10:45AM

Description: 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.

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History 275: The Queer 20th Century

Instructor: Finn Enke

T 1:20-3:15PM

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History of Science 275: Science, Medicine, & Race: A History

Instructor: Pablo Gomez

TR 2:25-3:15PM

Description: This course examines ideas about race and ethnicity and their relationship to the history of “Western medicine and science. Starting with the arrival of modern Europeans in the New World, we will examine how, from the sixteenth century on, social, economic, cultural, and political developments have been determinant in the shaping of scientific and medical notions of race and bodily difference. We will use an array of readings coming from primary and secondary, historical sources, and from scholarly works on philosophy, anthropology, sociology, medicine and science. We will pay special attention to the construction of ideas about race in the “West and how the history of these ideas intersects with the histories of public health, disease, colonialism, slavery, and capitalism. In the final part of the course we will analyze how the rise of genomics has modeled ideas about, among others, body and group identity, gender, ancestry, disease, and public health policies.

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History 277: Africa: An Introductory Survey

Instructor: Neil Kodesh

MW 9:55-10:45AM (IN PERSON) & F (ONLINE)

Description: 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 least 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.

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History 300: History at Work & History 301: History Internship Seminar

Instructor: Marcella Hayes

W 12:05-1:50PM

History 300: Focuses on how a History major applies to the world of work. Explores how history skills relate to the needs of professional employers. Guides in the process of finding and obtaining professional internships. Polishes written and oral communication skills in forms appropriate for professional situations. Learn from the experiences of guest alumni speakers from a variety of fields.

History 301: Identify and analyze the differences between an internship and a non-professional job, with an eye towards articulating how a History degree and the skills it confers can be valuable in professional settings. Share internship experiences with classmates through short presentations. Discuss any issues or challenges that arose during internship experience. Concurrent enrollment in HISTORY 300 for 2 credits, which includes a discussion section, or previous credit in HISTORY 300 is required.

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History 303: A History of Greek Civilization

Instructor: Claire Taylor

MW 2:30-3:45PM

Description: 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.

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History 319: The Vietnam Wars

Instructor: Alfred McCoy

TR 4:00-5:15PM

Description: This undergraduate lecture course covers the history of the Vietnam War over the full 20 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, over 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.

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History 328: Environmental History of Europe

Instructor: Richard Keyser

TR 1:00-2:15PM

Description: 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.

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History 337: History of China, 589 AD-1919

Instructor: Joseph Dennis

W 3:30-5:25PM

Description: The culture of the literati in the T’ang; major trends of Neo-Confucianism during the Sung and Ming; the Confucian response to the West in the nineteenth century; the emergence of the modern Chinese intelligentsia and iconoclasm in the early May Fourth period.

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History 340: Cultural History of Korea

Instructor: Charles Kim

TR 9:30-10:45AM ONLINE

Description: 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. Explores key aspects of Korea’s great cultural and social transformation from the 15th century to the 21st century. Delves into recent studies on gender history and on the constructed notion of “national culture.” Also analyzes primary sources from different historical periods, as well as cinematic representations of Korea’s past and present.

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History 341: History of Modern China, 1800-1949

Instructor: Judd Kinzley

MW 2:30-3:45PM

Description: The disintegration of traditional Chinese society under the impact of Western imperialism, the rise of modern Chinese nationalism, and the emergence of modern revolutionary movements and ideologies.

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History 345: Military History of the United States

Instructor: John Hall

MW 9:55-10:45AM

Description: This course surveys the American military experience from the colonial era to the present day. It takes a broad view of military history, examining the influence of warfare on all aspects of American society. We will not omit the traditional mainstays of the field the study of battles, leaders, and the development of military technology or domains of military operations, but we will consider them within the broader American experience and in an international context. Ultimately, this course will provide an understanding of how American military organizations and practices have evolved over time, as well as an appreciation of how war has shaped America and, in many regards, defined its interaction with the world.

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History 347: The Caribbean & Its Diasporas

Instructor: TBA

MWF 11:00-11:50AM

Description: Surveys the history of the Caribbean from the 15th century to the present. Emphasizes the importance of colonialism, commodity-based capitalism, globalization, slavery, and forced labor for the modeling of the region’s social, economic, cultural, and political structures. Pay particular attention to the resilient, creative and resourceful ways in which Caribbean people have responded to these adverse conditions. Examine the circumstances that have shaped migrations from the region to the United States and Canada during the 20th and 21st centuries. Study how these diasporic communities have created social spaces in these two countries that have remained closely linked to the Caribbean through economic, political, and filial networks.

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History of Science 350-001: Biology and Empire

Instructor: Lynn Nyhart

MW 2:30-3:45PM

Description: How has biological science been shaped by and intertwined with forms of empire in the modern period? Covering mainly European and American empires since the eighteenth century, this course examines: natural history, collecting, and bioprospecting; biological classifications of race in imperial contexts; European empire and the biological understanding of disease in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; biological aspects of American empire in the 20th century; and Space, the Final Frontier: Exobiology, earth organisms in space, and the future of the imperial mindset.

This is a mixed undergraduate-graduate course with lecture/discussion 2x/week. Undergraduate requirements include two shorter papers (4-6 pages) and a longer final paper (7-9 pages) as well as short weekly reading responses/discussion starters. Graduate students will have an additional meeting roughly every other week to discuss a separate reading list of historiographically significant books and articles. Grad students will do reading responses in common with undergrads but not other undergrad requirements; instead, they will write book reviews and a final paper of 20-25 pages (either historiographic or research-based) suitable to their stage of their graduate career, topics and formats to be worked out in consultation with the professor.

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History of Science 350-002: Racism & Environmental Science

Instructor: Elizabeth Hennessy

TR 9:30-10:45AM

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History 357: The Second World War

Instructor: Mary Lou Roberts

TR 1:00-2:15PM

Description: The Second World War is arguably the most important global event in the twentieth century. It brought nearly the entire world into its vortex of violence, hatred and industrial killing. It was a racial war begun by Germany and Japan in their quests for dominance. It was also a total war which demanded complete loyalty to the state and which consumed the natural, material and human resources of combatant nations. This course will explore these three themes of violence, racism and total war during the years 1939-1945. Lectures, screenings and readings will emphasize the war as a turning point in global politics; the role of leaders such as Hitler, Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin and Charles de Gaulle, the lived experience of war and occupation for soldiers, civilians, and prisoners, and the execution of Nazi genocide and Japanese atrocities. During weekly screenings of popular films, students will come to distinguish “popular” from “historical memory” of the Second World War, and gain critical distance on how the war has been remembered personally, officially, and in American culture.

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History 366: From Fascism to Today

Instructor: Giuliana Chamedes

TR 1:00-2:15PM

Description: Investigates how everyday people shaped European history and politics, from World War I through today. Takes a comparative and interdisciplinary approach to analyze a range of major social movements in Europe, thinking in detail about what constitutes a social movement in the first place, and what determines its effectiveness. Key topics include the rise and fall of Fascism; the fate of the 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, investigates how people power has shaped the European state, and vice-versa, from 1922 through today.

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History 370: Islam and Politics

Instructor: Aaron Rock-Singer

TR 4:00-5:15PM

Description: In the early twentieth century, a series of movements arose in the Middle East and South Asia, calling Muslims to return to Islam. Today, leaders and members of such groups -now known as Islamists -insist that one cannot live a fully Islamic life in the absence of an Islamic state. How and why did these movements come to focus on building an Islamic state? How do they pursue this goal?

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History 400: Undergraduate History Symposium

Instructor: Marla Ramirez

R 5:00-6:30PM

Description: Whatever we do, wherever we go, we are encountering history and reckoning with some consequence radiating out from the past. Designed to awaken us to the myriad ways in which the past is present all around us, and to help cultivate the historian’s habits of mind in our everyday experiences. In addition to faculty-led group discussions, centers on intellectual opportunities in Madison such as special lecture series and conversations with UW faculty and outside guests. Themes and topics will vary, depending on the instructor and opportunities for engagement with the wider intellectual community of Madison.

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History 401-001: Public History Workshop: Wisconsin 101: Our History in Objects

Instructor: TBA

M 1:20-3:15PM

Description: This is a hands-on seminar focused on exploring – and presenting – the history of Wisconsin through the histories of objects. Working with a former curator at the Wisconsin Historical Society, students will hear from guest speakers, and explore for themselves, histories of migrant and immigrant communities in Wisconsin. Students will present their findings to the public by writing object histories for publication in the online public history project, Wisconsin 101 (wi101.wisc.edu).

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History 401-002: Public History Workshop: History of Chinese Students at UW-Madison

Instructor: Judd Kinzley

T 1:20-3:15PM

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History of Science 404: A History of Disease

Instructor: Judith Houck

TR 8:00-9:15AM

Description: 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? Illustrates the various ways disease operates in America and examines 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. Each disease covered is chosen to illustrate a different point about the social and cultural lives of disease in the history of the United States. Though diseases are covered in a chronological fashion, this coverage is not meant as a narrative history of disease.

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History 424: Soviet Union & the World, 1917-1991

Instructor: Francine Hirsch

TR 9:30-10:45AM

Description: 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.

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History 434: American Foreign Relations, 1901-Present

Instructor: Monica Kim

MW 4:00-5:15PM

Description: This course is a critical survey of U.S. foreign relations from the mid-19th century through our present moment in the 21st century. At the heart of our study is an international history of U.S. empire-building within the larger global story of competing colonial powers and people’s demands for decolonization. Over the course of the semester, we will be tracing the activities and actions of people who often do not appear in what we consider mainstream diplomatic history, such as laborers, anti-colonial movement leaders, student activists, peasant farmers, and other non-elite actors — alongside more traditional actors like heads of state, diplomats, and military figures. In this course, we will begin with the high stakes people hold in how U.S. foreign relations impacts them, whether within or outside the United States. Indeed, we will often begin our studies of U.S. foreign relations outside of the continental United States in order to better understand the material experiences, impact, and stakes of U.S. foreign policy on a global scale.

We will examine changing U.S. imperial formations through the construction of the railroad in the 19th century, the development of the national security state, and the deployment of CIA intervention and drone warfare. Key tools of empire-building we will track are finance, technology, and infrastructure — both in terms of logistics and networks of people. We will think critically about how racial ideologies and expansionism have been central to the changing American project of “foreign policy” from the 1800s to the present, and develop our own critical lens of race, gender, empire, and the nation as we examine the impact of U.S. foreign policy projects both abroad and at home.

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History 460: American Environmental History

Instructor: Matt Villeneuve

MW 4:00-5:15PM

Description: Survey of interactions among people and natural environments from before European colonization to present. Equal attention to problems of ecological change, human ideas, and uses of nature and history of conservation and environmental public policy.

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History 476: Medieval Law and Society

Instructor: Karl Shoemaker

TR 11:00AM-12:15PM

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History 490: American Indian History

Instructor: Sasha Suarez

TR 1:00-2:15PM

Description: A broad survey of American Indian history which centers Indigenous peoples, communities, and nations in the context of U.S. policy and culture that emphasizes decolonial methods and Native ways of knowing the past.

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History 500-002: History of North Korea

Instructor: Charles Kim

R 1:20-3:15PM

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History 500-003: Post-colonialism, Music, and Globalization

Instructor: Viren Murthy

M 3:30-5:25PM

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History 500-004: History & Politics of Capitalism – the Corporation

Instructor: Daniel Stolz

W 1:20-3:15PM

Description: In Fall 2022 this course will focus on the history of “global finance.” Our goal will be to understand the origins of modern forms of credit, and how they have come to structure power dynamics between individuals, institutions, and countries. Sample topics include the history of installment credit (which is how we all pay for things like cars), international lending and state bankruptcy, the IMF, World Bank, and the politics of “austerity” (including environmental and social aspects), and “microcredit.” It will be a global course, with cases drawn from East Asia, South Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa, in addition to the U.S. and Europe.

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History 500-005: The Trial of Joan Arc

Instructor: TBA

M 1:20-3:15PM

Description: “When we reflect that her century was the brutlest, the wickedest, the rottenest in history since the darkest ages, we are lost in wonder at the miracle of such a product from such a soil. The contrast between her and her century is the contrast between day and night.” Such was how Mark Twain described the world of Joan of Arc. Known as the Maid of Orleans, Joan’s transformation from peasant girl to saviour of France to martyr was as rapid as it was remarkable. Following a series of stunning victories, Joan was betrayed, captured, put on trial, and, eventually, executed. In this course, students will examine not only Joan’s life, but the religious, military, economic, cultural, and gender history of fifteenth-century Europe at the time of the Hundred Years’ War. In addition to a number of reflection papers, the central event of the class will be a multi-week historical re-enactment of the trial of Joan. All students will discuss and debate the legal, military, theological, and spiritual merits of Joan’s exploits and visions. The class will conclude with a reflection on the continued legacy and historical memory of Joan in the centuries since her death.

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History 600s – 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 & History 690: Thesis Colloquium

Instructor: Kathryn Ciancia

W 11:00AM-12:55PM

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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]