Course Descriptions

Spring 2020 Course Descriptions

Choose from the tables below for descriptions of the courses, the professors teaching the courses, and the days of the week the courses are offered.

United States History

HIST 3127—The Vietnam Era

TTh 9:30-10:45
Dr. David McDaniel

The theme of this course is reflected in the words of one of the war’s chief architects Henry A. Kissinger who said: “Vietnam is still with us. It has created doubts about American judgment, about American credibility, about American power—not only at home, but throughout the world.” History 3127 will examine the history of the Vietnam War from the perspective of the United States. It will provide the student with the historical background that set the stage for the conflict, the events that led directly to the war, the primary political and military issues involved at home and abroad, and an overview of the major battles. Further, and quite significantly, this course will also consider the non-military aspects of the war, such as the changing political climate in the United States during the late 1960s, the rise of a determined anti-war movement that exerted a profound impact on the outcome of the struggle, the nature of the cultural and political polarization wrought by America’s longest war, and finally the lingering scars caused by division and defeat. 

HIST 4101/5101—Applied History: Urban Renewal, Marquette University, and the “Lost Neighborhood” 

Applied History is an off-shoot of Public History, defined by Thomas Cauvin as the study and practice of history as “applied to present issues, interrogations, audiences, actors, and policies,” which is “problem-solving oriented.” Applied historians are professional historians serving as consultants, researchers, or curators for a client organization, such as a museum, park, historical society, business, or government agency.

This spring semester, the theme of the Applied History seminar is Urban Renewal, Marquette University, and the “Lost Neighborhood.” Marquette University was one of the largest recipients of urban renewal funds from the City of Milwaukee from the early 1960s through the 1980s. That public funding helped Marquette transform its campus from a few buildings that shared the area between 11th and 16th street and between Kilbourn and Clybourn with a vibrant urban neighborhood of houses, businesses, and apartment buildings into the campus as we know it today.

Starting with secondary sources rooted in the history of urban renewal in the United States and in Milwaukee, but focusing mainly on primary sources ranging from photographs and city directories to contemporary newspapers and other documents, Applied History students will create a series of online exhibits telling the story of this “Lost Neighborhood.” Working closely with the Digital Scholarship Lab in Raynor Library, teams of students will develop, research, and execute projects related to the people who lived there—including Marquette students, the changes to MU’s physical plant during this period, the coming of the freeway on the southern and eastern borders of Marquette, and many other elements of this time of extraordinary change for the city and for the university. 

 HIST 4120/5120—American Immigration

MWF 10:00
Dr. Alison Efford

The present hostility to immigration has a history, with anti-immigration sentiment playing out in different permutations over the centuries in North America, so this course takes a long view, beginning in the colonial era and ending in recent decades. Throughout, I encourage you to engage in a dialogue between the past and the present. Through interactive lectures, readings, and discussions, we will explore how immigrants built communities, sought economic security, and experienced cultural change. The class also addresses race construction, empire building, and cultural pluralism. It contextualizes immigration—an issue central to American national identity—within a transnational framework of global labor markets, American incursions overseas, and the worldwide movement of peoples. 

All students will participate in an in-class Service Learning project. Counts as a Diverse Cultures requirement under the old CORE and an ESSV (2) requirement under the new one.

HIST 4135/5135—African-American History

MW 2:00-3:15
Dr. Robert Smith

This course explores the special relationship between persons of African descent in the United States and the unique role law has played in establishing their status. The class will trace the evolution of race/racism/racial formations pertaining to the African American experience as a function of America’s legal system.


HIST 4145/5145—A History of Women in America 

TTh 9:30-10:45
Dr. Kristen Foster

In this course, we explore the history of women and the variety of women’s experiences in America from pre-European contact to the present. Women have experienced the world around them both as individuals and as members of a variety of communities.   We learn about indigenous women who endured conquest and colonialism.  We explore the experiences of African women who arrived in America as the chattel of European settlers,  and we seek to understand the ways that these women slowly became African Americans.  Together we introduce ourselves to exciting new work being done on Latina and Asian women.  And, finally, we work to understand the varied experiences of Euro-American women from first contact to the present.  Importantly, women's efforts to become full-fledged members of American political and social communities through their fight for suffrage and for social emancipation among other things have necessitated their own acknowledgement that they belonged to a community of women--a community that has been historically set apart from and below American men in status, wages, and rights.  Furthermore, these efforts have long been mediated and sometimes checked by race, class, religion, ethnicity, and lived experiences.  Throughout American history, women have struggled to choose between fighting for rights as individuals before the law --no different from men--and agitating for the full-scale emancipation of women from dependency, exploitation, and restriction.   This course requires intensive reading and discussion.  There will also be background lectures and two significant papers. 


HIST 4955—Undergraduate Seminar in History: The Catholic Church and the Native American

t 2:00-4:30
Dr. Steven Avella

Among the many European cultures and practices native peoples encountered in the America's was Western Christianity. Catholic missionaries in particular participated actively in the lives of Native Americans--for good and for ill. In this seminar class we will write a paper, based on primary sources in the Bureau of Catholic Indian Mission located in the Marquette University Archives. Students will receive an introduction to this collection, some general background on the topic, determine a workable topic, do research, and write a paper to be shared by the end of the semester. Each step of this process will be done in regular consultation with the instructor.


HIST 6500 Studies in United States History: 20th Century US Foreign Relations   


M 4:30-7:00

Dr. Michael Donoghue

This graduate level readings course will explore the rise of the United States to superpower status in the 20th century and its interaction with many of the key nations and regions of the world.  We will examine some of the classic works on U.S. foreign relations history that establish the narrative, main themes, and historiographical debates over American diplomacy and interventions from the Spanish-American War through the end of the Cold War and U.S. responses to 9/11.  This course will also explore new approaches in the field that emphasize the role of race, gender, culture, and ideology in the formation of US global predominance with an especial focus on U.S. encounters with Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East.   Local resistance to the US global “mission” will form a central part of these new interpretations.   Student grades will be based on weekly class participation, writing exercises and book reviews, and a final and substantial historiographical paper.

European History

HIST 4210/5210—The Black Death

TTh 11:00-12:15
Dr. Lezlie Knox

The pandemic that became known as the Black Death killed roughly one-third of Europe’s population between 1347-1352.  Not surprisingly, this revolutionary event left an impact on medieval literature, religion, arts, politics, economy, and society like few other events.  This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to examine the phenomenon of the Black Death.  Our starting point will be medieval accounts of the epidemic—its causes, immediate impact, and long-term consequences.  In addition to traditional historical documents, we will investigate what cutting-edge science and environmental studies on climate change tell us about this global historical event that spread across Eurasia and persisted into the sixteenth century.  This case study (while fascinating in its own right) thus will open questions about methodologies used to study the past and present a model for other historical investigations of pandemics.

The class has two major projects.  The first will be a group project in which we exploit digital technologies to create our own maps representing the spread of the plague during the Middle Ages.  The second will be an independent research project involving any topic related to disease and history (chronology and geography are open but require approval).  This final project will combine digital and written presentations.

This class fulfills two requirements in the Marquette Common Core of Studies.  It is a Writing Intensive class (WRIT) and also meets the Humanities requirement for the theme Expanding Our Horizons.  It also fulfills the European distribution requirement for the History major and may fulfill the Global or US one depending on the research topic for the final project (requires approval from the DUS).  The digital project also makes the class particularly appealing for students working on the Interdisciplinary Minor in Public History.  Students pursuing the Interdisciplinary Minor in Medieval Studies obviously can count this class! 


HIST 4247/5247—Comparative Homefronts during the Second World War

TTh 2:00-3:15
Dr. Chima Korieh

 World War II had a profound impact on the world. It required unprecedented efforts to coordinate strategy and tactics with other members of the Grand Alliance in battle against the Axis powers—Germany, Italy, and Japan. At the same time, it demanded a monumental production effort in European colonial territories and dominions to provide the materials necessary to fight the war. This course concerns itself with the relationship between World War II and the phenomena of home front. It will examine the challenges of the war years and the lasting effect they would bring to different regions. The course deemphasizes the Eurocentric focus of much of Euro-North American history by focusing on the experiences of non-Western societies—European colonies in the global conflict.


HIST 6245—Nineteenth Century Europe

Th 2:00-4:30

Dr. Carla Hay

This colloquium will focus on the major themes and historiographical debates that dominate study of the “long” nineteenth century.  These include the Industrial Revolution, nationalism, the “New Imperialism,” socialism, constructions of gender, and the “Great War.”  The student’s grade will be based on discussion of assigned texts each week in class and an historiographical essay (approximately 30 pages in length) that integrates assigned readings into an analysis of this critical period in western history.


HIST 6525—Studies in European History: National Identity in History

W 4:30-7:00
Dr. Timothy McMahon

The purpose of History 6525 National Identity in History is to familiarize you with some of the key texts and authors in the study of nationalism and national identity, to encourage you to read the texts critically, to push you to consider the impact of nationalism and national identities in modern history, and to prompt you to consider the various ways in which to investigate these phenomena as historical subjects.  Among the issues we’ll address are: How have the concepts of the state and the nation informed and influenced each other?  Are there different varieties of nationalism, and if so, what characterizes them?  What part, if any, has modernization played in the emergence of nationalism?  Is nationalism a primordial phenomenon, or is it something that can be (and was) invented and/or manipulated? Are nationalism and national identity one and the same things?  How have various peoples used and encouraged the growth of national identity over time?  This class will require you to read approximately one book every week, as well as supplementary articles; to prepare response papers; and to write a paper in which you focus on some aspect of nationalism or national identity touched upon by the course readings and applied to any state or country of your choosing.


Additional History Courses

HIST 3800—Environmental History: Ecology and Society in the Modern World

MWF 11:00
Dr. Peter Staudenmaier

 This course provides an introduction to the complex and expanding field of environmental history and its implications for both the past and the present. Through a variety of case studies from around the world, we will explore the role of social structures in shaping the natural environment as well as the role of environmental factors in shaping historical change. Readings and discussions will address controversial questions, including the dynamic relationship between empires and colonies; the rise of market economies and modern states; shifting attitudes toward technology, sustainability, and preservation; idealized images of a bucolic nature before the advent of industrialization; and increasing political turmoil on a rapidly heating planet. The guiding principle in our study of these topics is that critical engagement with challenging aspects of the past can enrich and deepen our understanding of environmental dilemmas in the present.


HIST 4550/5550—Medieval East Asia

MWF 1:00
Dr. Daniel Meissner

How may we define "medieval" in East Asian history?  What separated this historical period from ancient or modern eras?  What political, social and economic developments characterize this period?  Are these developments unique to Chinese or Japanese cultures?  How does life in East Asia during this period compare to that in medieval Europe?  This course addresses these and others compelling questions through a variety of historical and literary readings in medieval China and Japan.  It provides students with a "cross-sectional slice" of life – religious beliefs, political intrigues, commercial innovations, aesthetic conventions, social developments and military exploits – that offers insight into the remarkable peoples and times of the Tang and Song dynasties (618-1279) and the Heian and Kamakura periods (794-1333). 

HIST 4931/5931—Topics in History: Ancient Warfare

MWF 12:00
Dr. Jennifer Finn

This course will explore the ancient origins of military technology, strategy, and ethos, from the Ancient Near East (Mesopotamia) until the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th century CE. The course will focus on significant developments in armor, weaponry, and tactics during major conflicts that shaped the ancient world and contributed to the rise and fall of great ancient empires. We will study major wars fought under the command of memorable figures such as Ramses III, Sennacherib, Leonidas, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and Constantine, with an emphasis on how these generals and their armies paved the way for more modern military engagements. The course will include the reading of some of the great masterpieces of primary source literature related to the battles that shaped the ancient world; we will also rely heavily on modern studies of the trajectory of ancient battle technology. Students can expect two exams, one major research paper, and bi-weekly reading response papers.


HIST 4953/5953—Readings in History: Violence in East Asian History

W 4:30-7:00
Dr. Michael Wert

This course uses violence as a lens to study major themes in East Asian history while deepening our understanding of violence in its various forms.  This class is open to any student who has an interest in violence as a topic of study-no previous knowledge of East Asia is necessary.  Topics include: the monopolization of violence; the relationship between violence and religion; violence and the state; legitimate/illegitimate forms of violence; ethnic violence; violence and gender; terrorism; contemporary issues of memory, national identity and victimization.  The time period covered in this course ranges from the sixteenth century to the present.  This is a seminar course and thus the majority of our work will be class discussion.  You must speak in the class and informed participation makes up almost half of your grade.  There are no exams and only two papers.


HIST 4955—Undergraduate Seminar in History: Race in History

M 2:00-4:30
Dr. Peter Staudenmaier

Designed as part of the capstone experience for senior History majors, this Undergraduate Seminar in History centers on the history of race in global context. Each student will prepare and complete their own research project, in coordination with the instructor, resulting in a final paper based on original research. All topics related to the history of race are welcome.


HIST 6530—Studies in Latin American History

T 2:00-4:30
Dr. Laura Matthew

This intensive readings course introduces major themes in Latin America history to graduate students with an interest in the region for its own sake, for comparative purposes, and/or to prepare for M.A. or Ph.D. examinations. Weekly readings are organized by themes such as the conquest, who writes history, commodity chains, honor, slavery and emancipation, environmental history, and immigrant and national cultures. In addition to the standard weekly monograph and review, we will pay particular attention to what theorists Latin American historians have found most useful. Students will choose a particular thinker or approach they have encountered in our readings to study on their own, and produce a theoretical essay at the end of the semester.


HIST 6954—Seminar in History: The History of Emotions

M 2:00-4:30
Dr. Alison Efford

In recent decades, the history of emotions has developed into a recognized subfield. There are research centers in Berlin, Germany and Melbourne, Australia devoted to the subject, and a 2012 roundtable in the American Historical Review even hazarded that the discipline of history might be undergoing an “emotional turn.” Historians such as Barbara Rosenwein, William Reddy, Ute Frevert, Peter Stearns, and Nicole Eustace have explored how emotions affect economic and political developments and how they differ across time and space. Scholars reflect on the nature of emotional community and the connections among emotions, biology, and culture. This seminar offers you the opportunity to integrate the insights of historians of emotions into your own work. Whatever your geographical and chronological focus, you will frame, research, write, and revise an article-length essay that includes a significant emotional dimension.

Our common readings will include theoretical and historiographical essays as well as examples of emotions history and some primary sources. Expect an intense class that demands conceptual sophistication, original argumentation, and extensive primary research. Taken together, the paper and the revised paper will count for 60 percent of your grade, with the remainder depending on an annotated bibliography, a proposal, a preliminary outline, and full participation in class activities including presentations.