Graduate Courses

Spring 2019

  • History 700: Seminar on Late Imperial Chinese History

    Seminar on Late Imperial Chinese History (UW Course Guide)

    This seminar is designed to introduce graduate students in history, art history, literature, anthropology, sociology, political science, and other fields to key issues and debates in the history of Late Imperial China. It does not assume extensive preparation in Chinese history, but welcomes those who do. Topics covered will include cities and urbanization, development of commercial society, cultural change, family, social, and government organization, relations with Japan, Korea, Mongols, and Manchus (before 1800), education, ethnic and cultural identity in Ming and Qing, and other topics. Because students have varying interests, approximately one-third of each student’s readings will be chosen by the student (in consultation with Professor Dennis) based on individual interest. Students who read foreign languages may select relevant readings in those languages.

    In addition to the readings, each week Professor Dennis will explain how to find and read various categories of primary sources. Sources will be selected based on the needs and interests of enrolled students. For graduate students who read Chinese, there will be document translation practice after the main seminar ends.

    Grading will be based on participation in class discussions, weekly posting of reaction papers on the collective readings, periodic reports on individually-selected readings, and a final paper, either an historiographic essay or a research paper.

    W 1:20-3:15 PM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Joe Dennis

  • History 704: Rethinking Modernity in Asian Contexts; Rethinking Modernity in Asia

    Rethinking Modernity in Asian Contexts; Rethinking Modernity in Asia (UW Course Guide)

    This seminar studies two or more nations or defined regions through a comparison of a single theme or set of themes in their history.

    F 3:30-5:25 PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Viren Murthy

  • History 705: International Law, Human Rights, Humanitarianism; International Law: A History

    International Law, Human Rights, Humanitarianism; International Law: A History (UW Course Guide)

    This seminar examines the significance of a particular historical phenomenon from the perspective of its importance world-wide.

    M 3:30-5:25 PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Karl Shoemaker

  • History 706: Readings in Early Modern Atlantic History

    Readings in Early Modern Atlantic History (UW Course Guide)

    This seminar examines the significance of a particular event, phenomenon or question across national borders and in terms of the history of nation-state formation.

    W 8:50-10:45 PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: James Sweet

  • History 710: Designing Courses

    Designing Courses (UW Course Guide)

    This is a workshop in designing lecture courses – both thematic and chronological – and seminars for all levels of students.  Each participant will design one lecture course of her or his choosing and one seminar.  For the lecture course, each student will also design at least one lecture.  In our weekly meetings, we shall be talking about conceptualizing the whole, the parts, and how one builds connections over a single term of study.  In our discussion of the individual lecture, we shall consider the architecture of each lecture as it fits into the larger architecture of the course, as well as how to build into each lecture differing levels and kinds of access for a diverse student body.  In our discussion of building a seminar, we shall explore various ways of bringing students into weekly conversations – how to build into the structure of the course student engagement with the material.

    T 1:20-3:15 PM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Lee Wandel

  • History 725: Seminar in East Asian History Seminar: Japan

    Seminar in East Asian History Seminar: Japan (UW Course Guide)

    This seminar will emphasize both research and professional development. We start this semester with the recognition that we will spend much of our careers trying to communicate with students (or members of the public) who have only a very general, and often quite skewed, impression of China, Japan, Korea, or East Asia as a whole. In this seminar, we seek to improve our ability to address such impressions in an effective way – in print, in oral presentations, and in the classroom. Participants will work with Professor Thal to determine the combination of activities and assignments that will best serve their needs at this stage in their graduate work.

    We will focus on issues of generalization and translation, beginning with a study of two often-misunderstood phenomena from Japan: Shinto and bushido (the Way of the samurai). Participants in the seminar will then choose and study similarly overgeneralized and/or translated phenomena in their own fields of research. Using students’ chosen research topics, we will conduct workshops on library resources (online and print, in English and East Asian languages), syllabi and lesson plans, academic writing, professional presentations, and the like.

    This course is designed for graduate students in the East Asian History program. Students from other programs who are considering participating should contact Professor Thal (

    R 11:00-12:55 PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Sarah Thal

  • History 753: War in Society and Culture

    War in Society and Culture (UW Course Guide)

    Topics significant for the histories of Latin America, Africa, Islamic core, South Asia and Southeast Asia. A single topic chosen each semester for a series of comparative essays by seminar members.

    W 1:20-3:15 PM | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: David McDonald

  • History 801: Ancient History

    Ancient History (UW Course Guide)

    Special problems in Greek and Roman history studied in alternate years. Enroll Info: Grad st & reading knowledge of appropriate foreign language

    R 8:50-10:45 AM | 424 Memorial Library | Instructor: Marc Kleijwegt

  • History 808: Mass Communication History

    Mass Communication History (UW Course Guide)

    This course provides students with a chronological and topical introduction to the history of mass communication, with an emphasis on the history of journalism and public opinion in the United States. We’ll pay attention to changes over time in technology, business models, and social structures that have affected communication. We’ll also study news from the standpoints of both production and consumption—the makers of the news as well as the readers, viewers, and listeners.

    Syllabus 2019 (pdf)

    W 2:00-4:00 PM | 7115 Helen C. White Bldg. | Instructor: Kathryn McGarr

  • History 861: The History of Africa

    The History of Africa (UW Course Guide)

    Research studies in aspects of African history with emphasis on field research techniques and interpretation of non-archival data.

    R 1:20-3:15 PM | 5245 Humanities Bldg| Instructor: Emily Callaci

  • History 891: Postwar Europe

    Postwar Europe (UW Course Guide)

    History of Europe since 1500.

    R 1:20-3:15 PM | 5255 Humanities Bldg| Instructor: Laird Boswell and Francine Hirsch

  • History 901 Sem 01: The History of U.S. Political Economy since 1865

    The History of U.S. Political Economy since 1865 (UW Course Guide)

    Broadly conceived, political economy is the study of power. This class will investigate how individuals, institutions, and government bodies have shaped power dynamics in the United States since the end of the Civil War. Themes include the production of inequality and the relationships between business and the state. Each topic will entail sustained discussion of race, gender, and class. Literacy in all three will be key skills we work to sharpen together. We will use various approaches that interrogate power relationships at different scales, from the body, home, and street all the way up to the global forces of empire. This is keeping in line with the emerging field of the history of capitalism, which one historian described as “history from below all the way to the top.” Students will play a direct role in shaping the syllabus according to their academic interests and professional needs.

    W 3:30-5:25 PM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Paige Glotzer

  • History 901 Sem 02: Race, Ethnicity, Religion: Jews in the United States

    Race, Ethnicity, Religion: Jews in the United States (UW Course Guide)

    Reading seminar in American history.

    R 3:30-5:25 PM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Tony Michels

  • History 940: Seminar–American History 1900-1945

    Seminar–American History 1900-1945 (UW Course Guide)

    This course is an advanced seminar on American history from 1900 to 1945, a period of momentous social change and corresponding efforts at social amelioration. Understanding the history of Populism, the Progressive Era, the 1920s, and New Deal has challenged scholars for decades. We’ll read some of the most important, sweeping interpretations of various aspects of reform including Richard Hofstadter’s Age of Reform and David Kennedy’s Freedom from Fear. We’ll explore the birth of the regulatory state, the culture wars of the period, and struggles for civil rights. We’ll explore how two world wars shaped American culture. Reform movements appeared in different guises in the early decades of the twentieth century, representing conservative, liberal, and radical ideologies. They included social gospelers and fundamentalists, trust busters and New Dealers, settlement house volunteers and professional altruists, and advocates of social inclusion and exclusion, during a period of incredible economic, social, and political change.

    M 1:20-3:15 PM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: William J. Reese

  • History 943: Race & Nationalism: Comparative & Theoretical Perspectives

    Race & Nationalism: Comparative & Theoretical Perspectives (UW Course Guide)

    Graduate seminar on historical intersections of race and nationalisms. Explores questions of the origin of race and nationalisms, the position and status of a variety of nationalisms and anti-colonial nationalisms; and the contemporary debates over postmodernism, postindustrialism, postcolonialism, and multiculturalism.

    M 1:20-3:15 PM | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Brenda Gayle Plummer

  • History of Science 903: Medieval, Renaissance, and 17th Century Science

    Medieval, Renaissance, and 17th Century Science (UW Course Guide) – Meets with History of Science 911


    W 3:30-5:25 PM | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Florence Hsia

  • History of Science 911: Eighteenth Century Science

    Eighteenth Century Science (UW Course Guide) – Meets with History of Science 903


    W 3:30-5:25 PM | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Florence Hsia

  • History of Science 921: Interrogating the Plantationocene

    Interrogating the Plantationocene (UW Course Guide) – Meets with English 817

    In this seminar we will explore and deepen the concept of the Plantationocene, interrogating the past and present of plantations, their materialities, the economic, ecological, and political transformations they wrought, and their significance to the making of human bodies, capitalism, and land over the course of four centuries. We will also consider other ways of naming our epoch (cene) that have recently been proposed, including Capitalocene (conceiving the Anthropocene as a result of ecological regimes inherent to capitalism, with its attendant demands for cheap labor, energy, food, and resources) and Chthulucene (a term that suggest the multispecies becomings that make up the storied histories of human and nonhuman lives). In doing so, we aim to come to terms with the plantation as a transformational moment in human and natural history on a global scale that is at the same time attentive to structures of power embedded in imperial and capitalist formations, the erasure of certain forms of life and relationships in such formations, and the enduring layers of history and legacies of plantation capitalism that persist, manifested in acts of racialized violence, growing land alienation, and accelerated species loss. At the same time, we aim to make visible past and present refugia of resistance, where different ways of being, sustained by different economies and forms of knowledge, have flourished.

    Readings will likely include K. Marx, W.E.B. DuBois, Eric Williams, Sidney Mintz, Philip Curtin, Sylvia Wynter and Katherine McKittrick, Jason Moore, Françoise Vergès, Donna Haraway, and Anna Tsing. Students will be expected to attend all spring 2019 Plantationocene Sawyer Seminar events. Final projects may be traditional seminar papers, review essays of relevant literature, or public-facing ventures like web platforms.

    W 1:00-3:00 PM | 7109 Helen C.White Bldg. | Instructor: Pablo Gómez and Gregg Mitman

Syllabi Library

Current and past syllabi, arranged by course number, can be found in the History Syllabi Library.

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Course Guide

Graduate courses at UW-Madison are numbered 700 and above, and History graduate students typically take courses at the 700 or higher level. Subject to program restrictions and by prior arrangement with the instructor, however, students may take 300-600 level course that carry the graduate attribute for graduate credit. For details, see the Graduate Program Handbook – Registration – Level of Course Credits.

The Course Guide lists all courses offered at UW-Madison. It is an online, searchable catalog that provides a broad spectrum of course information and enables browsing the course sections offered each term. It is updated six times per day. You may reach the Course Guide in two ways:

For graduate students, there is no practical difference between the two points of entry. (The only difference that the My UW version enables undergraduates to use the Degree Planner tool.)