Catalog home


History (HIST)


Each course description includes a code number indicating which history requirement is met by that course: Code 1-United States History; Code 2- European History; Code 3-African History; Code 4-Latin American History; Code 5-Asian History; Code 6-Middle Eastern History; RE-Race and Ethnicity; G-Gender.


151 History of the United States Through 1877 (3) Examination of a series of topics in American history from the European conquest to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Issues such as the Columbus controversy, the beginning of industrialization and slavery will be discussed. Provides general education students and majors with an introduction to history as a field of study. Code 1. F06, S07, F07, S08


152 The United States Since 1877 (3) Examination of the ongoing issues, tensions, conflict that resulted from the onset of an industrial capitalism in the late 19th century. Major themes include: the tension between industrial capitalism and liberty, the role conflict played in creating a more inclusive society, and greater emphasis placed on “people’s (social) history” rather than “presidents (traditional) history.” The course centers on active-dynamic learning such as focused in-class discussion, critical thinking, and analytical essay writing. Code 1. F06, S07, F07, S08


160 Arab Cultures and Civilizations (3) Introduction to contemporary society and history of the Arab peoples of the Middle East. Particularly useful to future high school teachers. Topics like the rise of Islam, the Crusades, the impact of colonialism, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the construction of Arab identities, and the Gulf conflicts may be introduced. Films. No prerequisites or previous knowledge of this area needed. Code 6. RE. F06, F07


161 African Peoples and Issues (3) Introductory course on modern Africa which covers major historical trends. Particularly useful for future high school teachers. Covers topics like the slave trade, the impact of colonialism, nationalist resistance movements and African aspirations at independence. Many films are shown and all texts are written by Africans, including autobiography, drama and novels. Code 3. S06, S07, S08


212 The Ancient Mediterranean World: Histories and Myths (3) General-education-level course introducing students to the basic outlines of the history of the Mediterranean region -- including Greece, Rome, Spain, northern Africa, and Palestine -- from the earliest times to the “Middle Ages.” While investigating some key events and stories from these places and times, students learn to critically evaluate the ways these stories are re-told in our time, using actual texts and documents from the times in comparison to books and movies about those times from our day. Code 2. F06


219 History of Premodern East Asia (3) Examination of “premodern” East Asia with emphasis on: East Asian philosophical and spiritual traditions and how these traditions affected the development of East Asian civilizations; the contribution East Asia played in the development of European and world history; and to challenge Euro-centric perspectives that often view East Asia civilization as monolithic, static, and backward. Some particular themes include how Confucianism created a self-regulated society, how Chinese civilization developed and implemented a democratic ethos in government, Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world, the great treasure fleets of the Ming Dynasty, and Japanese samurai (warrior) culture. Course uses several East Asian films and documentaries as a means to understand and analyze the past through a film medium. Course centers on active-dynamic learning such as focused in-class discussion, critical thinking, and analytical essay. Code 5. F06, F07


220 History of Modern East Asia (3) Examination of East Asia in the modern period (1600 to present). Requires no prior knowledge of the region. Emphasizes how the rise of the West affected the historical development of East Asia and how East Asia responded to Western dominance. Themes include: why the powerful premodern Chinese civilization failed to meet the challenge of Western colonialism and conversely, why Japan succeeded in being the only non-western country to successfully modernize and become a great power; why race played a significant role in the Asia and Pacific theaters during World War II; how the communist revolution affected China; how Japan emerged as an economic superpower; and an examination of the Vietnam War from a Vietnamese perspective.  Uses several East Asian films and documentaries as a means to understand and analyze the past through a film medium. Centers on active-dynamic learning such as focused in-class discussion, critical thinking, and analytical essays. Code 5. S07, S08


221 First Nations Wisconsin History (3) History of the native peoples of Wisconsin from prehistoric times to present. Major emphasis on the six federally recognized tribes in Wisconsin. Cross-listed FNS/HIST 221. Code 1. S07, F07


225 Latin America since Independence (3) Introduction to major themes and issues in modern Latin American history with a focus on the question of why a region of such abundant natural wealth suffers such serious problems of poverty, inequality, and violence. Examines a variety of theories of underdevelopment and their application to Latin America. Code 4. F06, F07


230 Modern Europe-1500 to 1800 CE (3) Introductory course tracing development of European societies from the great artistic, economic, and scientific transformations at the end of the Middle Ages up to the full flowering of the “modern age” at the end of the 18th century. While the basic structure is a broad survey covering 300 years and all regions of Europe, a focus on selected key issues -- such as Renaissance art, Galileo and the Scientific Revolution, popular religion and the Witch Hysteria of the 17th century, or the Enlightenment and the French Revolution -- allows students to delve more deeply into history while also introducing them to basic questions and methods of the historical discipline. Code 2. F06, F07


231 Contemporary Europe 1800 to 2000 CE (3) Introductory course surveying the past two centuries of “Modern” Europe. Close attention to key episodes -- like the Industrial Revolution, the artistic revolts of Romanticism and Modernism, the rise of Fascism and other “totalitarian” ideologies, and the recent collapse of the Berlin Wall -- will afford a broad overview of European developments from 1800 to the present from a variety of methodological perspectives: economic, political, social, and cultural. As an introductory level, General Education course, it introduces students to the basic questions and methods of the historical discipline. Code 2. S07, S08


240 Africa in Early Times (3) Survey-level course examines the great kingdoms, trade networks and international encroachments in Africa before 1800. Explores at least one controversial or historiographical issue. Several films. Code 3. F06


241 Africa in Modern Times (3) Survey-level course looks at modern trends in African history after 1800, including the slave trade, colonialism, independence movements and the challenges of national unity and economic and social progress.  Several films. Code 3. F07


254 African-American Voices (3) Explores the African-American experience over the past two centuries with an emphasis on social and political discourse. The ideas of major political, literary, cultural and intellectual figures, as well as the content of black folk and popular culture, will be examined in a social and historical context. Authors include Douglass, DuBois, Hurston, Garvey, King, Malcolm X, and bell hooks. Code 1. RE. S07, S08


256 History of Wisconsin (3) Examination of major issues in the history of Wisconsin through independent research. Topics include: early contact between native peoples and Europeans; statehood and the cession of native lands; immigration and industrialization; LaFollette, progressivism, and the “Wisconsin Idea.” Serves as an introduction to historical research and writing for history majors and minors. Required of all students seeking secondary certification in history. Should ordinarily be taken in the sophomore year. Code 1. F06, F07


257 Introduction to Historical Research and Writing (3) Introduction to basic methods of research and writing in the discipline of history. Each time the course is offered, it will have a specific thematic focus to be chosen by the instructor. Students produce a series of short research papers on topics of their choosing that are related to the focus of the course. Either HIST 256 or HIST 257 is required of all history majors and minors. Should ordinarily be taken in the sophomore year. Code will depend upon focus chosen by instructor. S07, S08


281 The Muslim World (3) Survey-level course introduces students to a variety of topics about the Muslim world from multidisciplinary perspectives. The time and life of the prophet Muhammad, the rise of great Islamic empires, Islam and women, the spread of Islam in America and the explosion of Islamic resurgence are all topics for consideration. Code 6. S07, S08


301 Study Abroad (0-6) Field trips designed by the Social Inquiry faculty to give students direct experiences in foreign countries. Each program includes preparatory reading, orientation meetings, a faculty-supervised study tour, and a detailed written evaluation of learning situations associated with the course. With consent of the relevant program and content adaptation, programs provided by other agencies can be considered for this credit. Students must obtain approval for taking these courses prior to participation. Otherwise the course may not count. For specific degree requirements consult your advisor. Course can be repeated only if the content is different. (Regular ongoing topics: War and Peace in Bosnia.) Code 2.


306 African Archeology (3) Introduces the main topics in this field: development of early human life in Africa, origins of human civilization, Iron Age and historical archaeology. Examines archaeological sites like Harar, Olduvai Gorge, Iwo Eleru, Daima, Meroe, Jenne, Aksum, Zimbabwe, Kilwa, Igbo, Ukwu, Benin and lfe to see how we move from fossils and ruins to theories of history. The contributions of other sciences and sources of history are observed. While this course focuses on Africa, the same principles and techniques of archaeology are used to extract history from archaeology the world over. Cross-listed as ANTH/HIST 306. Code 3. F07


315 War and Peace in the Former Yugoslavia (3) An attempt to understand in historical perspective the recent conflicts in Yugoslavia. With those events and the questions they raise in the forefront, and attempting to get beyond the simplistic stereotypes which too often fill the media, the course aims to examine the historical antecedents for the warfare, the ways in which history (both real and mythical) is used to explain and justify it, and also the ways in which the conflicts are fueled not by “ancient hatreds” but rather by purely contemporary political and economic competition. A main goal is to understand the conflicts among the peoples of Yugoslavia within the context of their centuries of fruitful coexistence. Required for all participants in the War and Peace in Bosnia Study Abroad course. Code 2. RE. S07, S08


320 Workers in Industrial America (3) Workers and work in the modern United States. Topics range from the nature of the modern workplace to the impact of the labor movement. Examines the impact of industrialization on workers and work, and the efforts of working men and women to shape their working lives. Code 1. S08


321 The Sixties (3) Examines the interlocking series of social and political crises that erupted in the United States in the 1960s. Topics include: civil rights and black power, urban unrest, the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement, the youth rebellion, the rebirth of feminism, and the conservative backlash. Studies the underlying causes of upheaval as well as the decade's legacy. Code 1. S07


322 Women and Men in American Society (3) Evolution of gender roles in the United States from colonial times to present. Explores the changing roles of men and women in American society and investigates social, economic, and political factors that produce these changes. Cross-listed as WST 322. Code 1. G. F06


323 The Asian-American Experience (3) Examines the historical experience of Asian immigrants and how they developed into “Asian-Americans.” Addresses the problem of the essentialization of Asian-Americans and instead seeks to show the complexities and conflict involved in the image or construction of Asian-Americans. Deconstructs notions of race, ethnicity and discrimination and uses other categories of analysis, such as gender and class, to understand the historical experience of Asian-Americans. Code 1. S08


339 Secondary Methods in Social Science Education (3) Principles and problems of teaching the social sciences in secondary schools. Emphasis on activities, materials, resources, and current methodology in social science education both in integrated courses and discipline courses. Required for teacher certification in the Broad Area Social Studies major and majors in Political Science, History, Psychology, Sociology or Economics. Prerequisite: Admission to the Teacher Education Program. Cross-listed as: POLS/PSYC/SOCI 339. S07, S08


350 First Nations History I (3) Examination of the history and culture of First Nations people from their origin to the Dawes Act of 1887. Cross-listed as FNS/HIST 350. Code 1. F06, F07


351 First Nations History II (3) History and culture of the First Nations people from 1887 to present. Special attention given to the federal government's role in administering Indian policy. Cross-listed as FNS/HIST 351. Code 1. S07, S08


363 Civil War and Reconstruction (3) Examination of the American Civil War and its aftermath emphasizing social and political history. Organized around three main questions: Why did civil war erupt in the United States in 1861? What effect did the wartime experience have on American society? What was at stake in the struggles of the Reconstruction period? Code 1. F07


368 Cultures of Mesoamerica (3) Investigates current and past cultures of Mesoamerica such as Aztec and Mayan. Employs both archaeological and ethnographic data in a lecture, readings, film and discussion format. Cross-listed as ANTH 368. Code 4. F06, F07


369 The Shadow of Mexican Revolution (3) The revolution of 1910-1920 was the central event of modern Mexican history. Examines the revolution and its legacy with particular emphasis upon the ways in which the culture, politics, and society of contemporary Mexico have evolved in the revolution's shadow. Code 4. S07


371 The Modern Middle East (3) Survey of topics in Middle East history such as the Ottoman Empire, the Armenian genocide, the Arab-Israeli conflict, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Iranian revolution and the Gulf conflicts. Several films. Cross-listed as POLS 371. Code 6. F06, F07


382 East Asia and U.S. Interactions in Historical Context (3) Examines East Asian (including Southeast Asia) and U.S. interactions at multiple levels (state-to-state, social, cultural and economic). Begins with the rise of Western imperialism in Asia in the mid-19th century, to examining the major East Asia-U.S. wars in East Asia in the 20th century (Philippines, Japan, China, Korea, and Vietnam), the decision to use atomic bombs against Japan, and concluding with East Asia's development as a major economic power. Uses several East Asian films and documentaries as a means to understand and analyze the past through a film medium. Centers on active-dynamic learning such as focused in-class discussion, critical thinking, and analytical essays. Codes 1, 5. F06


384 History of Modern China (3) Examines how China, as one of the most powerful, wealthy, and technologically advanced premodern civilizations, failed to meet the challenge of Western modernization/imperialism and in this failure, encountered a 20th century history filled with chaos, despair, identity crisis and finally, revolution. Themes include: an examination of China¹s power before the Opium Wars, why China failed to recognize and respond to the growing power of the West, the collapse of the Qing dynasty, why the Communists, under Mao Zedong, won the civil war, and how China¹s communist era affected its historical trajectory. Uses several East Asian films and documentaries as a means to understand and analyze the past through a visual medium. Centers on active-dynamic learning such as focused in-class discussion, critical thinking, and analytical essays. Code 5. S08


385 History of Modern Japan (3) Examines how Japan emerged from a feudal society to a modernized country that challenged Western domination in several arenas (militarily, economically, etc.) Focuses on four key questions: How did Tokugawa feudalism ironically spur on Japan’s modernization?; why was Japan the only non-Western country to modernize successfully?; why was race/racism central to the conflict and atrocities of World War II?; and how did Japan emerge as an economic and technological superpower after its total defeat in World War II?  Themes include: the role of the samurai warrior in feudal Japan, Japan’s struggles to create its own identity, the rise of Japanese militarism, the issue of atrocities in World War II, and Japan’s remarkable development as an economic superpower. Uses several East Asian films and documentaries as a means to understand and analyze the past through a film medium. Centers on active-dynamic learning such as focused in-class discussion, critical thinking, and analytical essays. Code 5. S07


392 Topics in World History (3) Required for and limited to History and Broad Field Social Studies education majors. Looks at several topics, controversies and strategies to help prepare for teaching world history. Ranging back and forth across over 6,000 years of human history, the course also includes new perspectives on what world history ought to involve. Normally taken junior year, preferably after completing at least two of the codes from among Europe, Africa, Latin America, Asia or Africa. S07, S08


403 Voices of African Women (3) Seminar-style reading course with autobiography, history, anthropology and fiction on and by African women. Considers their issues and our issues together. May cover topics like racism in Africa, the impact of colonial power on gender relations, women as revolutionaries, changing roles after independence, the impact of war, rural and urban roles, African sexual identities, the impact of globalization, gender and health issues, and women as peacemakers. Many films. Male students welcome. Cross-listed as WST 403. Code 3, G. S08


404 Voices of Arab Women (3) Reading seminar that explores the diversity of voices of Arab women on gender-related issues past and present. Interdisciplinary readings from fiction, autobiography, history and anthropology. May cover topics like women during colonialism, women as liberators, the impact of education, women under occupation, Islamism and gender, sexual orientations, female Arab identities, gender and politics, health and the economy. Male students welcome. Cross-listed as WST 404. Code 6. G. S07


405 History of the English Language (3) Development of English from 449 A.D. to the present. Prerequisite: Six credits of literature or consent of instructor. Cross-listed as ENGL 405/605. Code 2. S07


406 Voices of East Asian Women (3) Reading course conducted as a seminar. Uses novels, short stories, life histories, films, other primary materials and scholarly works to examine issues in the lives of Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese women in the 20th century. Topics include the traditional role of women, women and work, reproductive issues, women and revolution, and male representations of women's experience. Contrasts women’s experience in various East Asian societies, and considers the relevance and usefulness of feminist ideas in the East Asian context. Cross-listed as WST 406. Code 5. G. F07


412 Socialism in the West: Theory and Practice (3) Introduction to the history of socialism in modern Europe and North America, both as radical theoretical critique of the existing social and political orders, and as mass movements of working people seeking immediate political and economic benefit. The primary goal is to understand -- critically, but without Cold War blinders -- the socialist idea in all its variety and diversity, how it has evolved over the course of the past two or three centuries, and its central importance in the development of today's society and government. Code 2. S08


415 The History of Nationalism in Europe (3) Introduction to the phenomenon of nationalism and its roles in the history of modern Europe. One of the two main foci is on in-depth examinations of key nationalist movements in European history like the Irish, German, and Serbian. These case studies are paired with an examination of the evolution of Western social scientists’ attempts to understand the nature of the phenomenon, from political-intellectual to sociological and anthropological perspectives. Code 2. RE. F07


421 Slavery and Prejudice (3) Reading seminar explores the relationship between the institution of slavery and race prejudice in different time periods and regions of the world. Includes ancient, medieval and renaissance Europe; the United States; the Caribbean, especially Cuba; Brazil, Africa, and the Middle East. No prerequisites but students need to be strong readers. Code 2, 3. RE. F06


445 War, Film, and the Construction of Historical Memory (3) Advanced seminar examines not only “what happened,” but how we remember what happened and how our memories are shaped and channeled by popular culture. And in this century, in this country, there is no more pervasive and powerful a popular medium than film. The movies are how most people today “experience” and come to “know” history. And few parts of history are more central to any nation’s sense of self and history than war. This course examines the connection between the movies and the ways that societies around the world have constructed national memories around the war experience, using a number of popular films about war from the U.S., Germany, Japan, the Soviet Union, and other countries. A particular focus is the different constructions and representations of gender in the war movie genre: how war movies and “memories” shape ideas of femininity and masculinity in the context of the warrior, the home front, victory and defeat. Screenings of feature films will be complemented by short documentaries and readings in history and film theory. Code G. F06.


450 The Construction of Race and Nationality (3) In recent years scholarship on race and nationality has been revolutionized by a growing realization that racial and national identifies are not fixed, but rather are social constructions that are fluid and changeable. This team-taught seminar examines the social, political and cultural processes through which race and nationality are formed. Cross-listed as SOCI 450. Code RE. S08


460 The Holocaust and the Jews in European History (3) The Holocaust, which took place over half a century ago, has never been more present than it is today.  From the United States to France to Germany, Poland, Russia and Bosnia, the incantation to “Never Forget!” exercises more power today than ever before; even more than in the immediate aftermath of the war. But why should that be true?  Why is it that the memory of this particular event should have such power over generations so far removed in both time and space -- particularly when other episodes of genocidal violence, similar in scale and historical importance, play almost no role in our collective memories and consciousness? In part, this course brings to students a fuller appreciation of just what “the Holocaust” was; to understand precisely what the attempted genocide of European Jews, Roma, Poles, homosexuals, mentally ill, and others involved, and how and why it happened. While investigating those kinds of factual questions, however, the main focus is on the memory of the Holocaust as memory. Why is the Holocaust remembered? What is remembered, and what is forgotten? What are the ways in which the memories of the Holocaust are used by various societies, and how/why do they differ? A large portion of the course’s readings and discussion focus on the different ways in which the facts and memories of the Holocaust are used to draw meanings -- about Germany, about Jews, about mankind, about history -- and how those types of decisions can have profound consequences for the way a given society or group behaves and feels in the present. Code 2, RE. S07.


490 Public History Internship (3) A structured field experience. Students provide 150 hours of museum, archival, or other public history work to a local organization. Students receive training and experience under supervision of a public history professional. Permission of a supervising faculty member required. See the History Program coordinator for information.


495/695 Special and Student Initiated Seminar (1-3) This department offers a specially designed seminar or student-initiated seminar when interest warrants. In certain circumstances this course can be adapted to serve as the capstone experience. For further information see Special or Student-Initiated Seminar in the index of this catalog. Code will depend on topic selected. Instructor consent required. Topics: Europe Gender Seminar, European History Seminar, Holocaust, Craft of Local Historical Writing, U.S.-Asian Relations, Wars of Yugoslavia, History of Socialism in the West, Nationalism and the Nationalist Movement in Europe, Film, History and War, Islam in Africa.


496 Historical Research Methods (3) Advanced seminar in current methodological and historiographical debates and trends in the historical profession. Introduces students both to the ways in which the writing of history has evolved and changed over time, and to the wide variety of theories and methods that dominate approaches to historical research and writing today. Through a series of focused readings and discussions, students learn to recognize and critically evaluate the underlying assumptions, starting questions, methodologies and theoretical models at work in some of the most important historical debates of the past few decades. Individual historiographical research projects serve as the first step toward the students' own primary research for their senior theses in HIST 497. Required of all history majors, and ordinarily taken in the fall of a student’s senior year. Prerequisite: at least six credits of history at 300-level or above, or instructor's approval. F06, F07.


497 Senior Thesis (3) Guided research on a selected historical topic resulting in a thesis paper. Working closely with history faculty, students move beyond engagement with the existing secondary literature on their topic to conduct their own primary research and arrive at their own findings and argument.  Individual work in cooperation with a faculty thesis advisor will be balanced with collaborative discussions among all students writing theses. The capstone will be a mini-conference in which each student presents her or his research findings to peers and guests. Required of all majors not seeking secondary teaching certification. Prerequisite: HIST 496. S07, S08.


498/698 Study Abroad (1-5) Field trips designed to give students direct experiences in foreign countries. Each program includes preparatory reading, orientation meetings, a faculty-supervised study tour, and a detailed written evaluation of learning situations associated with the instructor. With consent of the department chair and content adaptation, programs provided by other agencies can be considered for this credit. Code depends on region visited.  Topics: Scotland, Scottish Culture Colloquium.


499/699 Independent Study (1-3) For advanced students majoring or minoring in History who have shown themselves capable of independent work. Each student is directed by a faculty member chosen by the student. Prerequisite: Approval of the department chair. Code will depend on topic selected.