History 706-001: Transnational Religion & Social Justice Movements
This graduate seminar has two main aims, first to explore various methods for transnational historical analysis, and second, to apply these methods to the study of the inter-regional and global circulations and influences of ideas, theories, practices, rituals, material cultures, and people attached to religious and social justice movements. Our in-class cases will focus primarily on the global spread of religious and social justice movements originating in Cold War Asia and the US, but we will also consider whether and how to apply our methods to the early modern world. We’ll look at the circulation of Gandhian activist practices and impact on the US civil rights movement and post-conflict peace and reconciliation and environmental activism in Southeast Asia, the spread of North American global evangelicalism to Africa and back, and the influence of Bandung and other “third world” solidarity movements in the construction of global Buddhist fellowship organizations. The second half of the class will focus on student-led topics and research projects, and students will have the opportunity to reshape previous papers into articles and/or begin new research on transnational religious or social justice topics. For more specifics, please contact Anne Hansen: email@example.com.
R 8:50-10:45 AM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Anne Hansen
History 706-002: Transnational Intellectual History
As transnational history has moved from the fringes to the center of much historical inquiry, it has changed the practice of intellectual history. This course will examine the demands and the opportunities of writing transnational intellectual history. Readings will consider the methodological issues relevant to writing histories of this type, and include monographs that employ a variety of approaches—ranging from digital history to Marxist analysis. The readings are arranged in rough chronological order, and many have something to do with some aspect of U.S. history, but they have been selected more for their methods than for the precise topics that they cover.
W 11:00-12:55 PM | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Patrick Iber
History 710: Digital History
The term “digital history” has become ubiquitous, but what does it mean and what all does it encompass? This seminar is designed to give graduate students what you might think of as “digital literacy”— a basic grounding in the range of forms that digital history currently encompasses, the debates among historians that they have stimulated, and (at least some of) the underlying technologies.
In scope, the seminar will aim for broad rather than deep learning. The goal is not to make you a digital historian (though that might happen), but to expose you to methods and tools that might be useful for your own research and teaching and to give you the knowledge and confidence to speak intelligently on the subject, should you have occasion do so (e.g., in a job interview).
We will begin by exploring the controversies among historians that digitization in historical scholarship has generated in recent years. The bulk of the semester will be divided into modules that survey digital methods and tools for conducting historical research, for analyzing and interpreting historical sources, and for presenting the results of research to academic audiences as well as to the broader public.
Pre-requisites: NONE; the seminar will be designed to accommodate students at all skill levels.
M 3:30-5:55 PM | 2301 Sterling Hall | Instructor: Colleen Dunlavy
History 712: Education and the Civil Rights Movement
This seminar explores the historical relationship between education and the African American freedom struggle. Organized both chronologically and thematically, the course takes students from the separate and unequal schoolhouses of the Jim Crow era, through the decades-long legal struggles of Brown v. Board of Education, to the streets and campuses of Selma, Alabama, Oakland, California, and Ferguson, Missouri. In addition to examining schools and colleges as targets and sites of civil rights activism, students will consider the varied ways in which education and educational philosophies influenced the course of the movement. They will also explore broader questions regarding the relationship between race and power, past and present, politics and history, and education and equity.
R 2:25-5:25 PM | L150 Education Building | Instructor: Walter Stern
- History 725: Cold War in East Asia
History 752: Gender, sex and feminism in transnational perspective
This graduate seminar is designed as an introduction to the field of Gender and Women’s History, but is not restricted to students affiliated with the History Department’s Program in Gender and Women’s History. We have at least three things on our agenda. First, we would like to begin a conversation about the field: what is it, where does it come from, where is it going, and when and where do questions of sexuality appear in its debates? Second, we would like the work in seminar to provoke questions, and suggest a few answers, about how gender, sex and feminism are discussed and employed as analytical concepts in recent historical works. We will examine closely how gender and sexuality is imbricated with other categories of difference such as race, class, generation, nation, tribe, religion etc. and broach the possibilities and limits of feminist historical writing. Third, we hope the seminar will strengthen your intellectual capacity to work on questions of gender and sexuality in historical narratives and analyses.
- History 845: Central European History
History 850: History of the Soviet Union & Modern History of East Central Europe
This course will introduce graduate students to the history of the USSR, 1917-1991. Each week we will explore different topics in Soviet history, including the 1917 revolutions, Stalinism, the formation of the USSR, and the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc. We will discuss the events themselves and how interpretations of those events have changed over time (with the beginning of the Cold War, the collapse of the USSR, the opening of archives, and so on.)
F 11:00 – 12:55 PM | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructors: Francine Hirsh
History 857: Empires of the East: Eurasia, Indian Ocean
Recent events in South Asia C from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 to the development of global jihadism or “terrorism” and the rise of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban have taken almost everyone by surprise. They have also sparked a new and intense interest in the historical evolution of a region that until recently most Americans were quite unfamiliar with and regarded as of little relevance for themselves. In the daily press, in foreign policy journals, and in academic books on the subject, what is now often called the new great game for empire became a hotly debated subject. Parallels have been drawn between the Cold War engagements of recent decades and the nineteenth-century contest between Russia and Great Britain for power and influence in the same region. The struggle for empire in South Asia has been depicted as something that was historically inevitable and of all ages – proof, if any were needed, of the old adage that “geography is destiny”. But where does this inevitability come from? And what does it bode for the future of the region? Will America, now that it has been drawn into it, be just another, the latest, empire to become the arbiter of the East? In this seminar we will explore these, and related issues in five parts.
W 1:20-3:15 PM | 5257 Humanities Bldg. | Instructors: André Wink
History 891-001 & 891-002: Power, Temporality, Modernity
This co-taught seminar interrogates what could be termed as the longue durée of modernity, or whatever we have come to understand that term to mean or encompass. Readings are divided into three thematic units: the body; sovereignty and the state; and forms of knowing. Assignments include leading discussions and written engagements. Although both instructors are Europeanists, participants from other fields or disciplines is highly encouraged. Some of the readings are theoretical, but we are looking to provoke discussion about history rather than jargon. For more details, please email Karl or Daniel.
History 891-003: Beyond Marginality and Persecution: New Approaches in Jewish History
The question that we will ask in this seminar is how, beyond marginality and persecution, the historical experiences of Jews (and, by extension, different “others”) might be of interest to scholars across chronological and geographic fields. Much recent work on Jewish history has focused on the ways in which Jews felt “at home” in different national or pre-national contexts, with an eye to recovering agency and cultural vitality. Outside the historical scholarship of self-identified specialists in Jewish history, however, Jews still tend to appear most in studies of discrimination, conflict, and violence. The rationale for this is often that instances of anti-Jewish persecution, like instances of marginalization directed against other minority groups or against women, for example, can illuminate broader problems in political, social, or intellectual history. But are there other kinds of insight that scholarship in Jewish history can offer to specialists in related fields? We will explore different answers to this question by reading books published in the field of Jewish history relatively recently (most within the last ten years; many within the last five). A majority of the works we will read are monographs based on the authors’ dissertations. A provisional list of readings is provided below.
Provisional List of Readings
- Ethan B. Katz, The Burdens of Brotherhood: Jews and Muslims from North Africa to France (Harvard, 2015)
- Jessica Marglin, Across Legal Lines: Jews and Muslims in Modern Morocco (Yale, 2016)
- Devin Naar, Jewish Salonica: Between the Ottoman Empire and Modern Greece (Stanford, 2016)
- Julia Phillips Cohen, Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era (Oxford, 2014)
- Benjamin Nathans, Beyond the Pale: The Jewish Encounter with Late Imperial Russia (California, 2004)
- Gershon D. Hundert, Jews in Poland-Lithuania in the Eighteenth Century: A Genealogy of Modernity (California, 2006)
- Glenn Dynner, Yankel’s Tavern: Jews, Liquor, and Life in the Kingdom of Poland (Oxford, 2013) Amazon $
- Natan Meir, Kiev, Jewish Metropolis: A History, 1859-1914 (Indiana, 2010)
- Elissa Bemporad, Becoming Soviet Jews: The Bolshevik Experiment in Minsk (Indiana, 2013)
- John Efron, German Jewry and the Allure of the Sephardic (Princeton 2015)
- Talya Fishman, Becoming the People of the Talmud; Oral Torah as Written Tradition in Medieval Jewish Cultures (Penn, 2011)
- Yaacob Dweck, The Scandal of Kabbalah: Leon Modena, Jewish Mysticism, Early Modern Venice (Princeton, 2011)
- David B. Ruderman, Early Modern Jewry: A New Cultural History (Princeton, 2010)
F 8:50-10:45 AM | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Amos Bitzan
History 901: American and Russian Jewish History in Comparative Perspective
Reading seminar in American history. Topics and periods of emphasis vary.
R 3:30-5:25 PM | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: Tony Michels
History 906: What Is History?
This class examines a broad set of issues related to the nature and purposes of history. What is history? How do historians make sense of the past? How do they frame questions, conduct research, shape a thesis, and reach conclusions? Is history both art and science? Is there such a thing as “objectivity” in history? On what basis do historians judge each other’s scholarship? Whether one studies the history of education—as in this course—or the history of the presidency, war, or families, scholars face the same questions about what constitutes the essence of historical inquiry.
The required readings in this course intentionally cover a vast territory. We begin with a broad overview by Beverley Southgate on the nature and purposes of history, then turn to Herodotus’s Histories and various theoretical and philosophical readings, and then examine a wide range of histories extending from the ancient to the medieval to the modern world, including consideration of the value of history in shaping contemporary educational policy. The various books on the history of education were chosen because they illuminate special problems of method or analysis that often confront historians.
Throughout the course, we will try to understand how historians interpret documents and sources (of enormous variety), draw inferences and conclusions, frame generalizations, and distinguish between trustworthy and questionable evidence. We will also try to understand how some of the most accomplished historians practice their craft, from how they select and interpret evidence to how they use language and logic. What constitutes persuasive and sound historical analysis? What are the strengths and limitations of particular theories and methods?
M 2:25-5:25 PM | L151 Education Building | Instructor: William Reese
History 936: Women and Gender in Colonial North America and the Early United States
This seminar explores the history and historiography of women and gender in colonial North America and the early United States. We proceed from the premise that gender hierarchies have historically intersected with and co-constituted those of race, class, religion, sexuality, and region/nation. The course engages historical questions, including: what did gender mean to diverse peoples in colonial North America? How did those meanings change through processes of settler colonialism, war, enslavement/slaveholding, state formation, and the emergence of capitalism? How did gendered practices and discourses animate those processes? We will also consider historiographical issues, such as: to what extent has the scholarship on women and gender altered “mainstream” histories of the United States? Have historians simply added women to established narratives, or are we changing the periodization and guiding concepts of the field? Why are “women and gender” clustered together in the discipline? Should we distinguish histories of women from histories of gender? If so, how? Which areas of women’s and/or gender history merit deeper scrutiny by emerging scholars? We will inform our discussion of these issues by reading classic theories, key secondary works, and recent examples of cutting edge scholarship.
T 3:30-5:25 PM | 5245 Humanities Bldg. | Instructor: April Haynes
History of Science 907: Gender, Race, & Class in the History of Technology
The history of technology has often been written as a US-centric story focusing on the achievements of a small number of powerful people. Yet, scholarship in a variety of fields–from history and sociology, to women’s studies, media studies, and critical race studies–has reoriented that narrative over the course of the past three decades. This scholarship gives us better insights into the promises and pitfalls of our technological present by expanding and deepening our understanding of our technological past. In this course we will read major recent works in STS, history of computing, information studies, women’s studies, gender and sexuality studies, and critical race studies. We will analyze how technological progress becomes a stand-in for the status quo, and why US society is reaching a watershed moment in which robust histories of technology that incorporate many viewpoints are arguably more important than ever before.
M 1:20-3:15 PM | 5257 Humanities | Instructor: Mar Hicks
History of Science 919: Flesh and Metal: A History of Bodies, Race, Labor, and Capital
In this interdisciplinary graduate course, we will put in conversation recent literature on the history of the body, with histories of race, capitalism, labor, science, biomedicine, and public health. Departing from a well-developed historiography on the cultural and social history of the body, we will examine works that analyze how different societies from the early modern period onwards have developed methods for the quantification of human bodies, and the economic value of corporeality and its imagined labor output. During the semester, we will pay particular attention to historiographical approaches to the question of how political economy, financial markets, and different economic models around the globe have transformed not only ideas about the body, but also its very materiality. Among other topics, we will study historical examinations of the close relationships between the history of coerced labor—prominently slavery—and capitalism, as well as works focused on the effects of capitalist-embodied material culture on the production of new ways of being-in-the-world. We will also analyze how scholars in a variety of fields have grappled with the history of biomedical bodily quantification, corporeal commodification, racial capitalism, calculation of risk related to the human body, and uses of the value of racialized and gendered bodies in, for instance, financial transactions and public health studies.
W 3:30-5:25 AM | 5255 Humanities | Instructor: Pablo Gómez
Current and past syllabi, arranged by course number, can be found in the History Syllabi Library.
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.
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