Fall 2021 Graduate Course Offerings

Upper Undergraduate/Graduate Courses

HIST 386G-001   Africans in World History: Communities, Cultures, and Ideas
Instructor:  Rebecca Shumway (
Class Meetings:  T/TH 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM  (CRT 124)

Africans played fundamental roles in shaping the history of the world up to 1850, and this course will focus on African agency in pre-modern world history. The course will challenge stereotypes about Africa as an unchanging and isolated continent.  As scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. has stated, “Nothing could be further from the truth.” In addition to examining vast trade networks and some of the world’s greatest and wealthiest empires, we will explore the diverse physical environments and cultural features of this huge continent and its people, think critically about slavery, and examine important histories rarely heard or written about throughout most of the world. The class will alter your perceptions of Africa and Africans.


HIST 409G-201    Causes of the Civil War, 1828-1861
Instructor:  Lex Renda (renlex@uwm.edu)
Online and Asynchronous

All historians see the conflict over racial slavery as the fundamental cause of the Civil War.   They often disagree with each other, however, over why and how slavery caused such divisions in American society, and they also distinguish the causes of the conflict over slavery from the reasons why that conflict resulted in a civil war, for it is not always the case that a conflict produces a war.  Disagreements existed over slavery long before 1861 (when the Civil War started), and the federal union of states surviving for as long as it did with as divisive an issue as slavery is in some ways a more remarkable fact than the eventual breakdown of that union in 1861.   And so, the questions we ask as historians are 1) in what ways did the institution of slavery divide Americans and how and why did the sources of those divisions change over time, and 2) why was the political system able to confine such divisions to peaceful channels for so many years, and yet fail to confine it to such channels in the final analysis. This course, taught online, will provide you with different points of view on the answers to these questions, and in the process, enable you to come to your own conclusions.


HIST 418G-001   America in Prosperity, Depression and War, 1921-1945 Instructor:  Richard Popp (popp@uwm.edu)
Class Meetings:  M/W 12:30 PM – 1:45 PM  (BOL B92)

In the wake of Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938, researchers fanned out across the United States to figure out why so many listeners had believed the program’s reports of a Martian invasion. “In this troubled world of ours,” one California man responded, “there are so many things that have happened and are happening that the people are believing that nothing is impossible.” The statement captured the tumult of the times. Beginning with the onset of Prohibition and ending with the birth of the atomic age, the quarter century examined in this course was perhaps the most momentous in the nation’s history. Even a short list of major developments would have to include the Great Migration, the Harlem Renaissance, the Jazz Age, the second Ku Klux Klan, the Dust Bowl, the crash of 1929, the Depression, the New Deal, the emergence of a national media culture, the Labor Movement, and the Second World War. We will pay especially close attention to the era’s expressive cultures, including its films, music, sports, fashions, popular print, literature, and art, using them as windows into the social, political, and economic transformations of the day.


HIST 450G-001   Growth of Metropolitan Milwaukee
Instructor:  Amanda Seligman (
Class Meetings:  T/TH 9:30 AM – 10:45 AM (END 127)

History 450, Growth of Metropolitan Milwaukee, is designed to teach students to share sharing historical research with the public. All the assignments in this class are public-facing or self-reflective. In History 450, you will learn about the broad history of the Milwaukee area and the deep history of one particular event. This year’s theme is the birth of Zero, the first polar bear cub born in captivity to survive, an event which occurred in Milwaukee in 1919.

In this class you will deepen your research skills and interpret your knowledge to audiences at the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) and online. You will collaborate with your classmates in a live Twitter re-enactment of Zero’s birth, write for a course blog about your research, curate a primary source with the option to publish it on the Documenting Milwaukee website, and enjoy professional development opportunities with staff of the Milwaukee Public Museum and the UWM Libraries. Please note that several class sessions and assignments will require travel to MPM and may conflict with your other classes or work schedule.

This course is sponsored by UWM’s Office of Undergraduate Research and is capped at 20 students. Assessment will occur through an “ungrading” process. 


HIST 453G-201    History of Religion in American Life Since 1870
Instructor:  Christopher Cantwell (cantwelc@uwm.edu)
Online and Asynchronous

Religion not only shapes American politics. It also shapes American culture, appearing in movies, novels, music, and television in sometimes surprising ways. This class will explore the history of religion in America by tracing its presence in American pop culture. In addition to listening to lectures and reading books, we’ll also watch movies and television. Topics we will discuss include evangelical conservatism, Christian socialism, Catholic social teaching, Judaism and popular culture, theologies of Black power, and the transnational faiths of America’s immigrants. And all with a focus on the Cream City. The class will include visits to key places of worship and assignments will include writing the history of a Milwaukee church, mosque, synagogue or temple.


HIST 595G-201   The Quantitative Analysis of Historical Data
Instructor:  Lex Renda (renlex@uwm.edu)
Online and Asynchronous

This is a “how to” course. It teaches you how to use (and not use) statistics to answer questions, and it provides you with a solid introduction to the application of quantitative methods to history.  I do not assume that you have knowledge of statistics or any math beyond basic algebra, and your calculator will perform all of the computations.  Your job will be learning how to interpret the results of those computations.  While the questions, data, and applications we shall examine will usually be drawn from the disciplines of history and other social sciences, you will be able to use the skills you learn to analyze all types of quantitative questions.  These skills will be important to you if you pursue graduate training in history or other social sciences, and they will be equally useful if you pursue a career in business, government, or teaching.  I also use several “everyday” examples of statistical inference that will enable you to understand the use and abuse of statistics, regardless of your chosen career.


Graduate-only Courses

HIST 700-002  Introduction to Public History                                                    Instructor:  Nan Kim (ynkp@uwm.edu)
Class Meetings:  T  6:30 PM – 9:10 PM  (HLT 341)

This seminar provides an introduction to the field and profession of public history. Through course readings, discussions, and assignments, we will explore the best of recent public history scholarship regarding topics such as the politics of public-history practice, the historical development of public history as a field, modes of historical interpretation intended for multiple audiences, and the challenges and opportunities to which public historians respond. This is a required core course for students in the Public History Program.


HIST 701-101  Internship in Public History
Instructor:  Nan Kim (ynkp@uwm.edu)
Independent Studies Format

The requirements in this course are determined, and evaluation arranged, on an individual basis.  Please contact the instructor.


HIST 712-001  Historiography and Theory of History
Instructor:  Joe Austin (jaustin@uwm.edu)
Class Meetings:  M  6:30 PM – 9:10 PM  (HLT 341)

This course fulfills a “methods” requirement for graduate history degrees.

Course Topics and Keywords: Modernity, the “pre”-Modern and Periodization; Archives; Historiographies; Scales: Local/Regional/National/Global Histories; Genders, Sexualities, and Races; Marxisms, other -isms, and Theory; (Collective) Memory; Temporality; Historical Subfields; History of Research Methods; History as Profession; Taking Positions in a Scholarly Debate.

Readings: Two monographs (TBA) and ~50 articles.

Assignments: 8-10 one-page notes and questions on readings; 5-page autopsy of a monograph; 5-page literature review based on class-assigned readings; 20-page literature review based on student-generated topic (negotiated with Joe). Alternatives to the 20-page literature review will be considered.


HIST 717-001    History and the New Media
Instructor:  Christopher Cantwell (cantwelc@uwm.edu)
Class Meetings:  W  3:30 PM – 6:10 PM  (CRT 108)

What does history sound like? In the last decade, podcasting has gone from being an obscure genre of publication to becoming one of the most prominent forms of media today. Everyone has a podcast—including the historical profession. In this class, we will consider how historians have and have not used the medium of podcasting, and engage in the work of making a podcast ourselves. In addition to becoming critical consumers of audio content, students will also learn the basics of audio production, from interviewing, to editing, to mixing and publication. The final project will be a 20-minute episode for a hypothetical podcast show.


HIST 840-001    Colloquium on Global History: Transnational Histories of Russia and Eurasia
Instructor:  Christine Evans (evansce@uwm.edu)
Class Meetings:  T  3:30 PM – 6:10 PM  (HLT 341)

The history of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union have often been treated through the lens of national (and imperial) exceptionalism. Much recent work in the field, however, has aimed to integrate Russia into broader global, transnational, and regional historical narratives. How are these different from or related to more traditional comparative and international histories? How do these new global approaches change our understanding of “Russian history”? How, in turn, does the inclusion of Russia impact our stories about the global past? Readings will cover a wide range chronologically, from early modern steppe diplomacy to the late Cold War, and geographically, examining Russia’s entanglements with China and Japan, Central and South Asia, the Ottoman and Arab worlds, Europe, and elsewhere. Areas of focus will include the global histories of empire, revolution, and modernization, among other themes. To reflect and build on our readings and discussions, students will practice producing a variety of forms of scholarly writing, such as the book review, the academic blog post, and the grant proposal.


HIST 850-001    Colloquium on European History: France’s Revolutionary Century
Instructor:  Carolyn Eichner (eichner@uwm.edu)
Class Meetings:  M  3:30 PM – 6:10 PM  (HLT 341)

During this year’s 150th anniversary of the 1871 Paris Commune (France’s brutally repressed revolutionary civil war), this class will examine the radical century that produced this infamous insurrection that rocked the world. Examining the Commune’s antecedents – including the French Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, and the Revolution of 1848 – and their aftermaths, the course will focus on the Paris Commune as both century-defining event and myth. The Commune involved socialist, feminist, and anarchist challenges to government, labor, education, religion, and the arts. The Right considered the 1871 revolution an horrific inversion of class and gender relations, while the Left viewed it as a golden moment, as the first socialist revolution. This class will interrogate and challenge these histories. Through new and classic texts we will investigate questions of gender, class, and race as we work to understand what the Commune meant to the global 19th-century, as well as to subsequent activists and revolutionaries, up to the present day.


HIST 950-202  Seminar on European History: Antisemitism and the Holocaust
Instructor:  Lisa Silverman (silverld@uwm.edu)
Class Meetings:  W  6:30 PM – 9:10 PM  (Online and Synchronous)

After the Holocaust, antisemitism became a mainstream taboo. Yet, antisemitism persists today in ways that are more violent, explicit, and widespread than they have been in decades. Why? And how does antisemitism relate to racism, sexism, and other forms of hatred? In this online graduate course, we will focus on exploring the ways in which an age-old paradigm of Jewish difference remains deeply embedded in European and other cultures after 1945. Issues examined will include the development of theoretical frameworks used for analyzing antisemitism in a wide variety of historical sources including speeches, trial transcripts, letters, films, drawings, and photographs.


HIST 971-001   Seminar on the History of American Urban Problems
Instructor:  Amanda Seligman (seligman@uwm.edu)
Class Meetings:  TH 4:30 PM – 7:10 PM (HLT 341)

The purpose of this class is to teach graduate students how to understand historical research about American cities by doing it themselves. Students achieve this goal through extensive archival research and writing a 5000-word research paper in several discrete, scaffolded stages. By reading and discussing several examples of historical scholarship, students will prepare to write research papers and present their findings to others in the class. Urban Studies students enrolled in this course should plan to present their papers at the USP Student Forum in the spring of 2022.


A total of nine written and orally-presented research-based assignments are due throughout the semester. They include assignments that build toward the final project and that present the analysis for different audiences. Because the course is so research intensive, the reading assignments are shorter than in other graduate seminars. Assigned readings included articles posted to the course Canvas page and books by historians. They include:

  • Simon Balto, Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago (Required)
  • Elizabeth Todd-Breland, A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago since the 1960s (Required)
  • Destin Jenkins, The Bonds of Inequality: Debt and the Making of the American City (Required)
  • Brundage, Anthony, Going to the Sources (Recommended)

A syllabus from previous iterations of the course is available for the asking. Please email Professor Seligman (seligman@uwm.edu) if you would like to see it.