Spring 2021 Course Offerings

HIST 101-202   Western Civilization: Ancient World to 1500
Instructor:  Martha Carlin (carlin@uwm.edu)
Online Section, Meets T/TH 9:45 AM – 11:00 AM

Course description: This course surveys the extraordinary arc of early Western Civilization over 4,500 years, from about 3000 BCE to 1500 CE. We will trace such landmarks as the birth of governments, massive building projects, and writing in the ancient Near East and Egypt, the soaring intellectual and cultural achievements of the Classical world, and the dramatic political, religious, technological, and artistic developments of the European Middle Ages and the early Renaissance. We will also look in depth at some individual careers and events that had long-term effects on Western history. To do all this, we will read works by modern scholars who have attempted to reconstruct pieces of the ancient and medieval past, as well as accounts written by people in antiquity and the Middle Ages who described their own world as they saw it. In addition, we will examine non-textual sources, including examples of the art, architecture, and material culture of ancient, Classical, and medieval Western Civilization.

Course objectives: This course should provide you with a good overview of Western Civilization between 3000 BCE and 1500 CE and enable you to understand the significance of broad and long-term historical patterns, and also of some outstanding individual careers and events. It should also enable you to develop important skills in:

  • reading and evaluating sources carefully and critically
  • identifying and analyzing a wide variety of types of evidence
  • using such evidence to reconstruct and interpret the past
  • combining research and analysis with thoughtful writing to produce clear, original, and persuasive arguments

 

HIST 132-202    World History Since 1500
Instructor:  Marcus Filippello (filippem@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

In reading the news, watching television, or simply looking out of the proverbial contemporary window, do you ever ask: How do we explain or account for all of this? This class will encourage students to seek answers to this question by investigating the nature of human interactions and examining cross-cultural exchanges that have taken place across the globe for more than five centuries. In forming some possible conclusions, we will focus on patterns of migration, processes of imperial formation, and how people have “made” our “modern” world. Although we will examine some of these themes by highlighting Europeans’ relationship with peoples in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas, rest assured we will devote considerable attention emphasizing the roles non-Europeans played in enacting a sense of agency and altering the course of global history.

 

HIST 151-201    American History: 1607 to 1877
Instructor:   Lex Renda (renlex@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

For more than a century before the American Revolution, and for another century afterwards,  the inhabitants of North America fought, with both words and blood, over whom to identify as the “People,” and thus deserving of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” as well as over what sort of government and other political institutions could most likely guarantee such rights. This course will chronicle the rise of representative government in the United States, looking at its myriad forms and debates over what it should look like and what powers it should possess, as well as the political parties through which those who were enfranchised sought to shape the same.  We shall also examine how immigration, religious conflict, and economic change led to the development of distinctive social classes in America, how “freedom” meant different things to different people (based on race, class, religion, and gender) at different times, and how the institutions and ideas of freedom and slavery in America became intertwined.  The purpose here is not to indoctrinate you; instead, it is to encourage you to conceptualize the American past as something more engaging and more complex than either a “proud story with a few shameful chapters” or a “shameful story with a few proud chapters.”

 

HIST 152-201    American History: 1877 to the Present
Instructor:  Brian Mueller (bsm@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

A century after its founding, the future of the United States remained uncertain. War had preserved the Union, but at a tremendous cost in terms of blood and treasure. Fissures still remained. Racial, social, economic, and political issues continued to divide much of the nation. African Americans, immigrants, workers, farmers, and myriad other groups struggled to make the United States “a more perfect Union,” as declared in the preamble of the Constitution. At the same time, the footprint of the United States grew, first westward across the continent, then to the farthest corners of the globe. As “We the People” took on a new, more expansive form and the size of the republic expanded, the U.S. government had to adapt, though not without controversy. This course will explore the interactions among these various groups, looking at how they viewed one another and how disputes between them came to change the role and functions of the national government.

 

HIST 152-203    American History: 1877 to the Present
Instructor:  Christopher Cantwell (cantwelc@uwm.edu)
Lecture:  Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.
Discussions: Online Sections, Days/Times vary.

We often live our lives with an eye toward the present and the future. But everything that surrounds us is a product of the past. This class, the second half of a two-semester survey of American history, hopes to enhance your awareness of the histories that have shaped today’s world. We will cover broad themes in U.S. history from the end of the Civil War to the present and will discuss how the distance between these two benchmarks are closer than they may seem. We will focus in particular on how the American commitment to freedom, as enshrined in the nation’s founding documents, has or has not been realized on the ground with a focus on social movements, political precedents, and cultural trends.

 

HIST 176-201   East Asian Civilization Since 1600
Instructor:  Nicholas Zeller (nzeller@wisc.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

This course is an introduction to the political, cultural, and intellectual transformations in East Asia from the seventeenth century to the Cold War. It offers a survey of the modern histories of China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan. This is a period of great change. In China, the Qing empire rose and fell, giving way to civil war between communism and fascism. Japan centralized its state institutions and developed a military strong enough to become an imperialist power, defeating the Choson dynasty in Korea and colonizing the peninsula. Vietnam successfully defeated Qing attempts at conquest only to be later colonized by, then defeat, the French. Meanwhile, rule over Taiwan shifted from the Qing to Japan to the Republic of China. What, then, binds these societies together as ‘East Asia’? This course will examine some answers to this question, including Confucian statecraft, Buddhist believe systems, and economic integration. Students will consider whether East Asia is a coherent region and concept from historical, philosophical, and international relations perspectives and learn to use these perspectives to critically examine the region as it is today. No previous knowledge of East Asian History is required.

 

HIST 202-201   The Ancient World: The Roman Republic and Empire
Instructor:  Andrew Larsen  (larsena@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

The Roman state is one of the important foundations for the modern West. Our culture still makes reference to things such as Roman legionnaires, bad emperors, gladiatorial combat, and the persecution of Christians. This course will survey the history of Rome from its earliest days down to the end of the Western Empire in the 5th century AD, and it will explore both the broad historical developments as well as important facets of Roman culture such as their ideas about religion, women and the family, and the economy. Students will be introduced to the idea of primary sources and develop the ability to read them with a critical eye.

 

HIST 204-202   The History of Medieval Europe: The High Middle Ages
Instructor:  Martha Carlin (carlin@uwm.edu)
Online Section, Meets T/TH 1:15 PM – 2:30 PM

Course description: This course covers an exceptionally dramatic and rich period in European history, including the Crusades and the Black Death, the rebirth of scholarship and the rise of the universities, new world-changing technologies such as gunpowder and the printing press, and magnificent developments in literature, art, and music. Over the course of the semester we will survey the political, military, religious, social, economic, and cultural history of Europe in the high and late middle ages, c. 1000-1500 CE. We will also look in depth at some individual events and developments, and we will trace their long-term effects on European society. To do this, we will read works by modern scholars who have attempted to reconstruct pieces of the medieval past, as well as accounts written by medieval people who described their own world as they saw it. In addition, we will examine non-textual sources, including examples of the art, architecture, and material culture of medieval Europe.

Course objectives: This course should provide you with a good overview of European history between 1000 and 1500 CE and enable you to understand the significance both of outstanding individual careers and events, and of broad and long-term historical patterns. It should also enable you to develop important skills in:

  • reading and evaluating sources carefully and critically
  • identifying and analyzing a wide variety of types of evidence
  • using such evidence to reconstruct and interpret the past
  • combining research and analysis with thoughtful writing to produce clear, original, and persuasive arguments

 

HIST 229-202   History of Race, Science, and Medicine in the United States
Instructor:  Thomas Haigh (thaigh@uwm.edu)
Lecture:  Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.
Discussions: Online Sections, Days/Times vary.

This course explores the intersection of health and race in the US, from the Columbian Exchange (when European diseases killed most of the native inhabitants of the Americas) to Obamacare and Oxycontin. We will be integrating the history of specific diseases such as TB, AIDS, syphilis, schizophrenia, and cholera with the development of medical science and the broader history of the United States. Topics include health and slavery, the history of public health, immigration & ethnic communities, Jim Crow, urban segregation, the Great Society programs of the 1960s, the culture wars of the 1980s, healthcare reform, and the current opioid crisis.

 

HIST 249-202   The Second World War in Europe
Instructor:  Brian Mueller (bsm@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

British writer H.G. Wells wrote in 1914 that World War I “aims at a settlement that shall stop this sort of thing forever.” He went on to describe the conflict as “the last war!” Yet, just over twenty years later, Europe again found itself embroiled in a war. This one, moreover, would prove far deadlier and destructive than its predecessor. What happened in this brief interval that led humankind to repeat the sins of their forefathers? To explain World War II, it is necessary to look at the ideological, economic, political, social, and cultural roots of the war. In the process, this course will explore how high-level officials, soldiers on the battlefield, and civilians experienced the war. This “total war” had a profound impact on Europe’s physical environment as well as on innocent men, women, and children, including, though not limited to, the Holocaust, medical experimentation, and forced migrations. Finally, just as World War I led directly to World War II, this course examines the ways in which the latter conflict produced the conditions necessary for the Cold War.

 

HIST 263-202   North American Indian History Since 1887
Instructor:  Mary Wise (mary-wise@uiowa.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

This course examines American Indian history since 1887 and Native peoples’ on-going experiences with United States colonialism, carefully highlighting the great diversity of tribal cultures, identities, and histories in North America. It explores the historical foundations and current political and legal relationships between the United States government and American Indian tribes and individual Indians through an examination of legislation, court cases, and policies of federal, state and local, and tribal governments.

It encompasses the social, political, cultural, and legal issues surrounding American Indian history through the investigation of the impacts of colonialism upon Native peoples with special focus paid to how American Indians worked through colonialistic policies through acts of resistance, accommodation, and innovation to protect and revitalize cultures and tribal sovereignty. This course situates Native peoples at the center, rather than relegated to the peripheries, to uncover their active participation in the events unfolding around them and within their societies and to highlight how American Indian history is integral to United States history.

This course satisfies the Act 31 requirement for Education majors.

 

HIST 267-202   The History of Latinos in the United States 
Instructor:  Kimberly Hernandez (hernandk@uwm.edu)
Online Section, Meets T/TH 11:30 AM – 12:45 PM

Even before the U.S. existed as a republic, people from “Hispanic” and Indo-America have been incorporated into the culture, history, life, and occupational fabric of the United States. Yet, various forces in American society have frequently perceived Latin American heritage people as members of an “alien” culture. This course will examine how people from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and other Latin America nations became “American,” while still remaining a racial or cultural “other” to many mainstream Anglo Americans. We will also examine how “Spanish,” “Hispanics,” “Chican@s,” “Latinx” adjusted, integrated, assimilated, resisted, and adapted to the many political, cultural, social, and economic forces that affected their lives in the U.S. and how they created new ethnic, racial and local identities in the process. By studying the experience of U.S. Latinx and Latin American immigrants with an eye toward patterns of citizenship, identity formation, political mobilization, ethnic culture, community maturation, labor struggles, and social mobility, we will map out the heterogeneous mosaic of Latin American and Caribbean diasporas in the U.S.

 

HIST 282-201   The Modern Middle East in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Instructor:  Andrew Larsen (larsena@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

The Middle East looms large in the news these days. We hear stories about the war in Iraq, the struggle against terrorist organizations, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But the Middle East is a much more complex region than those news stories often suggest. This course aims to give the students a basic introduction to Islam as a religion and to survey the development of the region from the 1780s down to the present. Particular attention will be paid to the role of women in Middle Eastern society.

 

HIST 287-201   The Vietnam War
Instructor: Chia Vang (vangcy@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

Why did the United States become involved in Vietnam for a quarter of a century? This course explores why today policymakers continue to debate the “lessons of Vietnam” and ordinary Americans, Vietnamese and other Southeast Asians, both in the United States and in Southeast Asia, are still learning to come to terms with the impact of the war on their lives. The availability of government data in recent years clearly show that the American war in Vietnam was an extremely complex phenomenon in which a struggle for decolonization and social revolution became enmeshed in Cold War politics. As U.S. relations with the Soviet Union and China changed, so did the rationale for continued American involvement in the war, from the containment of communism to the pursuit of credibility. The causes of the communist insurgency in Vietnam were similarly complex and changing. The use of powerful new technology by one side and of guerrilla warfare by the other raised serious ethical questions. In addition, the nature of the war coincided with domestic turmoil in the U.S. and, in Vietnam, led to the displacement of huge numbers of people and strained the social fabric of Vietnamese society.

 

HIST 294-202: Seminar on Historical Method: Research Techniques 
Instructor:  Amanda Seligman (seligman@uwm.edu)
Online Section, Meets T/TH 9:45 AM – 11:00 AM

Although enrollment in this course is not restricted, the course is designed for those who are majoring or intending to major in History or History-Ed.

History 294 offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in historical research skills by exploring the riches of the UWM Libraries and digital archives housed on the internet. Students will visit UWM’s Special Collections, Archives, American Geographical Society Library, and Microtext departments; explore primary sources housed there; and propose research projects that could be executed with their holdings. Additional topics studied include the use of primary, secondary, and tertiary sources (including Wikipedia), academic integrity, analytic historical arguments, revision of prose, and Chicago Manual of Style citations. Guest speakers share with students their expertise in specialized research methods. Students in this class enjoy a great flexibility in the topics studied within a structure that introduces them to the essentials of historical research.

 

Hist 304-201   A History of Greek Civilization: The Age of Alexander the Great
Instructor:  Katherine Milco (milco@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

This course will examine King Philip of Macedon and the rise of his son, Alexander the Great.  Special emphasis will be laid on Alexander’s background, personality, and military campaigns.  This course will familiarize students with the main primary sources of this time period and help them develop the skill of critical analysis.

 

HIST 308-201   A History of Rome:  The Empire
Instructor:  Katherine Milco (milco@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

This course utilizes primary and secondary source material to examine the Roman imperial period from the rise of the Augustus to the fall of the Empire.  It will examine the political, social, economic, and religious features of the Roman Empire as it expanded, evolved, and declined.

 

HIST 330-202   The Papacy in History
Instructor:  Neal Pease (pease@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

The Catholic papacy: the most distinctive feature of the world’s largest religious body, the oldest continuously functioning office in the world, an essential and often controversial part of global history for the past two thousand years. Over that time, popes have wielded political as well as spiritual power, and the bishop of Rome, and his church, have experienced dizzying ups and downs, but the pope remains, in our time, the most visible and influential religious leader in the world. Learn about the papacy, from Peter the Apostle to Francis. Requirements include two papers of medium length, and a final exam.

 

HIST 343-202   Russia Since 1917
Instructor:  Christine Evans (evansce@uwm.edu)
Online Section, Meets TH 11:30 AM -12:45 PM

Amid talk of a “new Cold War” between Russia and the United States, this course will give you the background you need to understand the historic events and figures that have shaped Russia and Eurasia from the Russian Revolution of 1917 to Vladimir Putin. We will view Soviet and post-Soviet Russian history from the conflicting perspectives of the many people whose lives were caught up in Russia’s 20th and 21st centuries: farmers, workers, businessmen, radical artists, professional revolutionaries, Central Asian nomads, hippies, scientists, GULAG prisoners and their guards, Communist Party bosses, and activists and students from around the world.

 

HIST 348-202   Poland and Its Neighbors, 1945 to the Present
Instructor:  Neal Pease (pease@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

Much of the tumultuous history of the 20th century focused on east central Europe, and particularly on Poland, a country that has been called the “laboratory of modern history,” where the great issues of our time have originated, or had their greatest impact, sometimes for better, more often for worse. Subjects include  the Second World War, and the Holocaust; the division of Europe after the war, and the imposition of pro-Soviet Communist regimes in east central Europe; the Cold War; the breakup of  the Communist order at the end of the Cold War; and the impressive but not untroubled development of Poland and its neighbors in its post-Communist transition. Requirements include two papers of medium length, and a final exam.

 

HIST 358-201   The Jews of Modern Europe:  History and Culture
Instructor:  Lisa Silverman (silverld@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

In 1791, France became the first country in Europe to emancipate Jews. So why did it take more than 100 years before all the other European countries offered Jews legal equality? What do Albert Einstein, Hedy Lamarr, Marc Chagall, and Hannah Arendt have in common? And why does it matter? This course covers the history and culture of European Jews from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present. Through lectures, readings, and class discussions, you will learn about Jews in countries like Germany, France, Austria, England, Russia, and Poland through their experiences and responses to political, religious, socioeconomic, and cultural challenges. We will investigate this history using traditional sources as well as alternative perspectives, including books, essays, films, memoirs, tracts, and letters.

 

HIST 364-201   The Holocaust:  Anti-Semitism & the Fate of the Jewish People in Europe, 1933-45
Instructor:  Lisa Silverman (silverld@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

Maybe you have heard about the Holocaust – the term used to denote the systematic destruction of European Jewry by the Nazis and their helpers during World War II – from popular films. Or perhaps you have read about it in high school from books like the Diary of Anne Frank. But just how much about it do you really know? In this course, you will learn about the step-by-step, state-sponsored persecution of the Jews in Europe from primary source documents, images, and eyewitness accounts, as well as secondary sources. We will also cover contemporary interpretations and literary and visual representations of the Holocaust and its meaning, exploring how the construction of history and shaping of memory affect how we learn about these killings and their implications.

 

HIST 372-202   The Korean War
Instructor:  Nan Kim-Paik (ynkp@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

The Korean War is often called the “Forgotten War” or the “Unknown War,” eclipsed in American cultural history and collective memory by World War II and the Vietnam War. Yet, the contemporary world has been indelibly shaped by the Korean War to an extent far greater than widely recognized. The Korean War (1950-1953) was the first large overseas U.S. military conflict waged without a declaration of war, and at the time it provided justification for the rapid expansion of the national security state, enabling the forever wars of ensuing decades. The impact of the Korean War is unquestionably far-reaching, and views on its origins and

implications continue to evolve in light of still-unfolding world events. This course explores the war’s meaning in East Asian, US, and global history, addressing how the war was fought and how local and international conditions had informed what eventually led to the war’s outbreak. Through readings, lectures, visual media, and discussions, this course will examine the Korean War as a complex and devastating civil war on the Korean Peninsula and as a defining period in the global Cold War. Because a permanent peace treaty was never signed, the war on the Korean Peninsula technically has still not ended, and the final part of the course addresses contemporary legacies of Korea’s division and the war’s unresolved nature.

 

HIST 372-205   West Africa and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Topics in Global History)
Instructor:  Rebecca Shumway (shumwayr@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

This course explores the history of West Africa with a focus on how African societies were affected by the transatlantic slave trade from the 15th to 19th century. We will examine the histories of powerful kingdoms like Asante, Dahomey and Oyo, as well as the ways in which smaller-scale societies developed during this tumultuous era. Readings and discussions will also consider how enslaved individuals from these societies contributed to the cultural and political fabric of the Americas and the Caribbean.

 

HIST 378-201   Revolution in China
Instructor:  Nicholas Zeller (nzeller@wisc.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

What kind of revolution occurred in China during the twentieth century? When did it begin, and how long did it last? This course examines the long Chinese revolution, beginning with radicalization of intellectuals during the republican revolution of 1911, through the founding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 1921 and the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949, and ending with the death of Mao Zedong in 1976. The CCP’s history during Mao’s lifetime was a 55-year-long project to create an industrialized Communist society out of a largely agrarian, peasant one. Although it came at great human cost, this project was not always a failure. We will spend the first third of the semester studying the history of China’s civil war leading up to CCP victory in 1949. We will then transition to a close examination of the politics, economics, and ethnic and gender relations of the People’s Republic under Mao, ending with his last grand social experiment – the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. No society can be understood from the biographies of a few people. Thus, although Mao and other CCP leaders are important, we will also study the differences between traditional political history and emerging social histories in the China field. Students can expect to leave this course with an understanding of how Chinese society functioned during the Mao period as well as China’s place within the socialist world.

 

HIST 393-202   History of Mexico
Instructor:  Michael Gonzales (gonza326@uwm.edu)
Online Section, Meets T/TH 9:45 AM -11:00 AM

This course examines the history of Mexico from the perspectives of the oppressed and the dispossessed, and it explores the role of subaltern rebellion and revolution in shaping this history. While course topics span all periods of Mexican history, we focus heavily on the 20th century. Specific topics include: the Mexican Revolution and the development of the Mexican state; ‘anarchist’ rebellion in the USA-Mexico borderlands; indigenous social and political movements; Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas; student movements; labor movements; the role of art, culture, and education in fostering and sustaining social and political movements; etc.

 

HIST 399-202   Honors Seminar  –  From Sputnik to Space Junk: History of Space Exploration and Use
Instructor:  Christine Evans (evansce@uwm.edu)
Online Section, Meets T/TH 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM

Enrollment is limited to students in the Honors Program.

This course will examine human efforts to explore, imagine, use, understand and regulate the world beyond planet Earth from 1945-present. Key topics and questions we will consider include: how did human space exploration become thinkable and politically and technologically possible? How has the exploration and use of space transformed life on Earth itself? How has the fact of human space exploration shaped various aspects of post-war 20th century life, including childhood, architecture, popular culture, or human-animal relationships? How have contemporary problems, such as the proliferation of orbiting space junk or the use of satellite imagery in war and surveillance, been shaped by the history of space exploration and exploitation in the 20th Century? Drawing on feminist and postcolonial critiques of space history, we will interrogate interpretive categories like “the Space Age” and “the Space Race,” to understand how they have shaped and limited our understanding of the history of human space activity.  Students will work collaboratively to answer these questions using a wide range of sources, including memoir, biography, and fiction by and about space travelers, film, material cultural artifacts, podcasts, and primary sources we will examine in class and on virtual fieldtrips to the planetarium and UWM libraries distinctive collections.

 

HIST 405-201   The Age of the American Revolution, 1750-1789
Instructor:  Brian Mueller (bsm@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson proclaimed that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” and if denied, the “People” had the right to create a new government. Long before Jefferson’s words inspired the colonists to rebel, imperial clashes for control of the vast North American continent planted the seed of revolution. This course will explore how what started as a demand for political representation quickly turned into a battle for emancipation. Yet solidarity among the colonists was far from assured as social, economic, and political divisions threatened to rip the young nation apart before it was even established. The colonists united long enough to drive out the British, but these fissures remained and had an indelible effect on the shape of America’s new government. In addition to examining these aspects of the revolutionary era, this course will look at how the ideals of liberty and freedom espoused by the Founders were experienced by slaves, American Indians, and women.

 

HIST 436-202   Immigrant America Since 1880 
Instructor:  Kimberly Hernandez (hernandk@uwm.edu)
Online Section, Meets T/TH 3:00 PM – 4:15 PM

This course examines immigration to the United States since the late nineteenth century. It will consider: the groups of immigrants coming to the United States; causes of emigration from their home countries and reasons for choosing the United States as their destination; plans for and rates of return migration; their social, cultural and economic adaptation; the significance of race for acceptance within the host society and varied experience of different immigrant groups; changing American immigration and naturalization policy and the political contexts of policy reforms; the development of ethnic group identities for cultural retention and political mobilization; and cultural exchange enriching the American experience.

 

HIST 449-202   Popular Culture in America, 1800 to the Present
Instructor:  Richard Popp (popp@uwm.edu)
Online Section, Meets M/W 9:45 AM -11:00 AM

This class explores the development of popular culture in the United States. Surveying more than 200 years, we’ll cover everything from the music of enslaved people in the Early Republic to the early years of social media in our own digital age. In between, we’ll examine the rise (and sometimes fall) of such phenomena as the popular theater, the saloon, daily newspapers, spectator sports, the circus, urban amusements, comics, magazines, advertising, film, music, radio, television, and video games.

A key precept of the course is that the commercialization of pop culture over the course of more than two centuries has been one of the most important long-term historical processes in the nation’s formation, influencing everything from its political culture to its social and economic structures. A second key idea is that popular culture has long served as a resource through which ordinary people have laid claim to a sense of dignity, happiness, and self-concept in everyday life and that it is a site upon which power has been contested at a societal level. As such we’ll pay very close attention to how popular culture has indelibly shaped conceptions of class, ethnicity, race, gender, and sexuality in dynamic ways across various eras.

Though the focus will be on the US, the course will pay close attention to how American culture took shape in a transnational context, whether it be through the hybridized influence of dozens of immigrant cultures to the global export of American films, fashion, music, and television.

 

HIST 463-202    History of the American City
Instructor:  Amanda Seligman (seligman@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

This course provides an overview of the history of American cities from Indigenous settlement to the present. It is arranged in roughly chronological fashion, but topics are introduced thematically—so the discussion on any given day may range over hundreds of years. Major course themes include urban demographics; the development of the planned city; infrastructure networks; regulations and services; city culture; and the urban form. Because of UWM’s location, Milwaukee and Chicago receive special attention throughout the semester. Short paper assignments cultivate students’ ability to use primary sources to explore the past. The exams focus on synthesizing broad course themes and summarizing major topics explored in lecture.

 

HIST 594-201   Methods and Theory in the Historical Study of Religion: Women, War and Religion in Early Medieval Europe
Instructor:  Katherine Milco (milco@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

This course focuses on the topics of women, war, and religion in late antiquity and early medieval Europe. This will include a lot of ancient material, as well.  The emphasis is placed on the critical analysis of ancient texts, which is the essence of historical methodology that professional historians use today.  The final third of the course will examine and evaluate different contemporary methodologies – postmodernism, Marxism, feminism, psychohistory, postcolonialism – that some professional historians use in the study of history.

 

HIST 600-202    Seminar in History:   Sports & Society
Instructor:  Lex Renda (renlex@uwm.edu)
Online Section, no designated virtual meeting time.

Enrollment in this course is limited to History and History-Ed majors in their senior year who have completed the English Composition & Math Skills competency requirements, as well either Hist 293, Hist 294, Hist 594, Hist 595, or Hist 596.

Students will write a research paper, based preponderantly on primary sources, on any aspect of the relationship between sports and society in history.  Although the background textbook and the professor’s interests are drawn from that relationship in American history, your research paper can focus on any country and any historical time-period.  Possible paper topics include (but are not limited to) analyses of the intersection of sports and race, labor, militarism, gender, sexual orientation, patriotism, capitalism, the role of public finance, community and personal identity, the role of the media, specific historical events, perceptions of the place of athletes in society, and the concept of heroism.  Your paper should be broad enough in its implications to be meaningful, but sufficiently narrow (in its research and analytic focus) to be manageable.

 

HIST 600-203  Seminar in History:   Non-Human History
Instructor:  Nigel Rothfels (rothfels@uwm.edu)
Online Section, Meets W 11:30 AM – 2:10 PM

Enrollment in this course is limited to History and History-Ed majors in their senior year who have completed the English Composition & Math Skills competency requirements, as well either Hist 293, Hist 294, Hist 594, Hist 595, or Hist 596.

This seminar will focus on the presence and significance of the non-human in human history. If you look around and you notice how profoundly living things like viruses, bacteria, birds, mammals, fish, and plants, forces like weather and climate, and even the rocks around us (including things like diamonds and gold, but also just sand) can play such huge roles in our lives and economies, you might begin to ask yourself whether we should think more about these kinds of non-human presences in human history. Throughout the course, we will read and discuss the work of historians and others doing this kind of work, while we each pursue our own original research and writing related to the topic.