Course Descriptions

Fall 2018 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 3103The New American Nation, 1787-1836

TTh 12:30-1:45
Dr. Kristen Foster

In this course we will explore together the era of the early American Republic: from the years of the American Revolution through the rough and tumble years of Andrew Jackson and the market revolution. We will investigate the reasons for the independence movement and how a diverse population understood the meaning of liberty, equality, and republicanism. We will study the founding generation, the formation of a workable national government, the continuation and expansion of slavery, westward expansion, the War of 1812 and the rise of the market economy, Indian Removal, American identity, the rise of democracy, Andrew Jackson and the endless optimism of the young republic. Each week we will combine lectures with discussions. The course requirements include avid class participation, a debate, papers and exams.

HIST 4113/5113American Foreign Relations 1

MWF 12:00
Dr. Michael Donoghue

This course will examine the rise of the United States from colony to empire from the years 1776 through 1913. We will analyze the imperial context of British colonists prior to the Revolution, the diplomacy of the War for Independence, U.S. attempts at maintaining neutrality during the 1790s, the Louisiana Purchase, the War of 1812, conflicts with Amerindian nations, the Mexican War, westward expansion and Manifest Destiny, the diplomacy of the Civil War, the imperialist surge of the 1890s-1910s, the Open Door controversy in China, and the building of a U.S. empire in the Caribbean Basin. This course will especially explore the intimate connections between foreign and domestic policy, the role of slavery in U.S. international relations, and the influence of racial and gendered ideologies in the formation of American empire. The course will be reading intensive with a midterm, a final exam, short in-class writing exercises, and 3 short papers.

 HIST 4115/5115The American West

TTh 11:00-12:15
Dr. Steven Avella

Where is the American West? Is it a distinct region like New England or the South? Or is it an ever-changing frontier as older historians have characterized it? Where does it begin and where does it end? How have westward moving Americans engaged and interacted with its distinct environment: the rivers, the plains, the mountains, the coastal regions? What has been the nature of engagement with the Native peoples and Spanish speaking peoples who originally inhabited these lands? What role has the dynamic of westward expansion played in American history?

What has been the role of the federal government in developing the vast expanses west of the Missouri River? These and other questions frame our study of the American West which is simultaneously region, frontier, and middle ground in American life. We will focus a good bit on the lands west of the Missouri River--especially on their geography and environmental diversity. Cattle drives and cowboys, miners and movie moguls, railroad barons and defense contractors all have a part to play in this story.

We will also devote attention to the evocative power of the West in American history. The "West of the imagination" has been transmitted to us through art, popular novels, motion pictures and television. These images are also "history" in some sense. Perhaps more than any other genre, the American western--in its various forms--has shaped our collective understandings of the West. All of these art forms have transmitted memorable (if not always accurate) images of the land and its peoples. Still, they accentuate important lessons about American character and identitynot only to American audiences, but to the world.

HIST 4140/5140American Urban History

TTh 2:00-3:15
Mr. Sam Harshner


American attitudes about the city have always presented a contradiction. On one hand the city has been lauded as the site of economic dynamism and cultural innovation. On the other it has been criticized as a cesspool of moral dissolution and political corruption. Throughout American history, questions of citizenship and exclusion have been inextricably tied to conceptions of the city. Ideas of race, class, immigration, sexuality and gender have all developed in concert with perceptions of the urban landscape. Though seventeenth-century burghs have little in common with modern megalopolises, the nation's anxiety about the urban environment has consistently played a prominent part in American political, economic and cultural thinking. This course will trace the American city and from its modest colonial origins through its commercial, industrial and post-industrial incarnations.

HIST 4931-101/FOLA 4931-102Topics in History: Introduction to Latinx Studies

MWF 1:00
Dr. Sergio Gonzalez


This course explores the diverse histories of Latinx people and the communities they have developed in the United States. We’ll explore a wide variety of topics relevant to the study of Latinx communities, including: migration and immigration, ethno-racial and cultural identities, labor and class, imperialism, bilingualism and education, Latinx in the media, gender, and sexuality.

HIST 4953/5953Readings in History: The Long Black Freedom Struggle

Th 2:00-4:30
Dr. Robert Smith


This course will explore the struggle for African American equality from Emancipation & Reconstruction through the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s. This course will consider the broader historical narratives scholars have advanced regarding Black America, the various ways the struggle for equality has been waged, and the ensuing realities of contemporary struggles and gains. As an upper-division colloquium, the course will have a significant reading load, and the class periods will be largely discussion-based. Students will be required to write regular reading responses and related assignments, lead class discussions on select readings, and finish the semester with a 12-15-page paper and class presentation based on secondary source material.

HIST 6120The Sectional Conflict, Civil War and Gilded Age

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


This readings class will introduce graduate students to historians’ interpretations of the United States from roughly 1848 to 1900. During that period, a controversy over slavery became a war, Reconstruction gave way to Jim Crow, the United States industrialized and attracted immigrants, and the American empire spread west and eventually overseas. All the while, ordinary men and women struggled to prevent these developments from defining their lives. American Indians resisted the expansion of the United States, and groups of African Americans, immigrants, workers, farmers, and women demanded citizenship on their own terms. We will both examine classic works and grapple with new trends. Grades will depend on class participation, book reviews, a historiographical paper and presentation, and a short “thought piece” on periodization.

This course will introduce all first-year graduate students to the methodologies, theories, and analytical reading/writing skills required of professional historians. We will cover broad historiographical issues applicable to all fields of history. Weekly active reading, engaged discussion, and professionally written papers are expected.


European History

HIST 3235Twentieth Century Europe

MW 2:00-3:15
Fr. Michael Zeps, S.J.

This will be a traditional lecture course with plenty of room for discussion. It will be concerned primarily with the years 1914-1989 but it cannot start with the first shots fired in August, 1914 without regard for what led up to the war. Likewise, since history is living and based on present day interpretation, we cannot ignore the post-Soviet decades. Events in Europe during the century under review follow a pattern of disintegration when nationalism led to horrific wars and global decline, and reintegration when shared approaches to economics and culture led Europeans to downplay nationalism almost to the point of relinquishing sovereignty. We will have a text to keep events in order but there will also be assigned readings to complement the text. There will be a research paper as well. Grading will follow the formula: three tests, 70% (20%, 20% 30%), paper 20% and class participation 10%.

HIST 4255/5255The British Empire

MWF 10:00
Dr. Timothy McMahon


This course is intended to provide an overview of the history of the British Empire and Commonwealth since the 1750s, including significant selected themes: the complex interactions of peoples in inherently unequal power relationships; the difficulties of administering a vast multi-national empire in an age of nationalist ferment; and the often stark clash between pre- independence nationalist expectations and post-colonial realities. To achieve this rather ambitious aim, we will examine Empire through three lenses: an imperial lens; a lens that probes the interactions between colonizer and colonized as expressed through official state actions and through popular culture; and a subaltern lens that focuses on indigenous peoples whose “pre(British)-imperial” histories and experiences of empire varied enormously and continue to shape their relationships in the present.

HIST 4271/5271The Russian Revolution and the Soviet Union

MWF 11:00
Dr. Alan Ball

HIST 4271 is a survey of modern Russian and Soviet history that begins with an introduction to tsarist Russia in order reach an understanding of the revolutions in 1917 that swept away much of the old regime and left the Bolshevik (Communist) Party in power. The bulk of the course will concentrate on the Soviet period, featuring the tumultuous development of “the world’s first socialist state,” the emergence of the  Soviet Union as one of the world’s two superpowers, and the country’s recent fragmentation. In particular, we will examine the Bolsheviks’ aspirations in 1917 and then see to what extent these hopes for a new society were realized as the Communist Party confronted both domestic and foreign challenges. The course is composed of lectures, a few Soviet films, and eight periods set aside for discussion. On these eight weeks, in place of a Friday lecture, students will meet with me in small groups to discuss sources pertaining to major topics in the course. These readings include a variety of primary documents, memoirs, and selections from the wealth of Russian literature that provoked tsarist and Soviet authorities alike.

History 6240Early Modern Europe

M 2:00-4:30
Professor Julius Ruff


This course is designed to acquaint students with the major historical literature dealing with the early modern period, an era roughly bracketed by the reformations of the sixteenth century and the fall of Napoleon in 1815. Each weekly meeting will be topically oriented around discussion of a common reading and the readings of individual students. Major topics for weekly discussion will include: the reformations of the sixteenth century; the economic, demographic, and social structures of Old Regime Europe; development of royal absolutism; the Enlightenment and popular culture; the causes of the French Revolution; the nature of that revolution; and Napoleon Bonaparte in his French and European contexts. The course grade will be based on weekly reading reports (40%), a final historiographical essay (40%), and class participation (20%).

HIST 6245-101Nineteenth Century Europe

Tuesday 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.

History 6525 Studies in European HistoryFascism and the Radical Right, 1918 to 2018

M 4:30-7:00
Dr. Peter Staudenmaier


Fascism has been a controversial topic since its emergence a century ago. As public discussion of the theme has intensified over the past two years, an informed historical perspective has become increasingly important. Our task in this seminar will be to use the tools of historical analysis to gain a better understanding of fascism’s past, present, and future. We will examine a series of difficult questions about what the term ‘fascism’ means, as well as what related terms such as ‘authoritarianism’ and ‘populism’ mean, in each case taking a historical approach to the subject. Our focus will cover the past century, from the classical fascist era before 1945 to the transformations in far-right politics since World War II, including the current resurgence of radical right movements around the world. Readings will include primary sources and critical studies. No prior familiarity with the topic is expected, but a willingness to engage with challenging material is essential.


Additional History Courses

HIST 3205The Byzantine Empire

TTh 2:00-3:15
Dr. Phillip Naylor

Byzantium or the Byzantine Empire is often understated in Western Civilization textbooks. It officially began with the founding of Constantinople in 330 and ended with the fall of that city to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. Thus, the course surveys a millennium of fascinating history that bridged late antiquity to early modernity. The empire straddled three continentsEurope, Asia, and Africaproviding ample opportunities to apply “transcultural history,” the history that deals with encounters and interactions between and among civilizations and societies. Students will discover an array of emperors and empresses who sustained Greco-Roman Civilization and Eastern Orthodoxy while Western Europe experienced its formative German-Roman fusion. Byzantine-Muslim relations will be particularly studied. Classes will feature a lecture-discussion format. Students should expect subjective and objective components on exams and a research paper. Since our library holds exceptional resources, including all the Dumbarton Oaks Papers, research papers will permit deeper considerations of Byzantine economics, politics, society, culture, and religion.

HIST 4100—Introduction to Public History

W 2:00-4:30
Dr. Patrick Mullins

HIST 4100 seminar provides an introduction to Public History for students interested in museum work and other “real-world” applications of the History discipline. Public History is the sub-field of History that studies and practices the interpretation and presentation of the past for the general public. Public History includes many components, such as historic preservation, but the main focus of the course will be on museum curation. This seminar puts a premium on teamwork, practical problem solving, creative innovation, and skills developmentand we will not spend much time in the classroom!

Undergraduates (of any Major) will join with graduate History students in exploring the basic principles and methods of Public History through class discussion of short assigned readings as well as first-hand field research of local museums, memorials, and historical sites. They will also collaborate on Museum Lab, a class project in which students work with museum professionals at a local museum to create their own history exhibit for public display. Museum Lab will help students gain practical experience with such professional skills as artifact research, online cataloguing, interpretation, exhibit design, and public outreach through social media.

HIST 4931/5931Topics in History: Witches, Magic, and Demons

MW 2:00-3:15
Fr. Stephen Molvarec


This course will explore the history of magic and demonology in Western religious thought from antiquity until present. It will do so with a particular focus on magical brotherhoods and societies that formed during the 18th and 19th centuries. The discussion and texts of these groups will form a nexus for the course and we will look at the ways that such groups borrowed and also misunderstood sources/texts/practices from the ancient and medieval worlds. We will also look at the ways in which these groups invented, forged, and “discovered” texts and traditions. When these brotherhoods ceased to exist, their content and practices were inherited by endless numbers of groups, including in our contemporary world.

The course will examine these phenomena in terms of religious thought/theology, from sociological perspectives, from historical perspectives, and from the perspective of the history of gender. Ultimately, students will walk away with an understanding of the continuity/discontinuity of such spiritual/religious ideas and practices and the influential role they have had (and continue to have) on the Western mind. Topics for study in the course include Hermeticism, Rosicrucianism, the medieval grimoire tradition, folk magic/folk religion, herbalism/early medicine, medieval and early modern witch trials, Renaissance occultism and magic, Cabala/Kabbalah, 19th-century occultism and secret societies, 20th-century occultism and popular culture.

HIST 4953Readings in History: The Material Turn in History

HIST 4953 (fall 2018) / 4955 (spring 2019)
T 2:00-4:30
Dr. Lezlie Knox

Historians traditionally have focused on written sources. We comb archives for letters, receipts, and other textual ephemera, as well as exploit print and digitized documents whenever possible. But increasingly over the past two decades, historians have been following scholars in Anthropology, Art History, and other fields toward objects as sources for the past. This "material turn in History" will be the organizing theme for a linked colloquium (HIST 4953) and seminar (HIST 4955) over the academic year. Enrollment in this section of 4953 is limited to undergraduates and required in order to enroll in the spring writing seminar.

During the fall semester, we will explore various methodological and theoretical approaches to analyzing and writing about material culture--not rejecting the written word, but evaluating how physical objects and sensual evidence (sounds, smells, textures) enhance our research projects. These case studies will not be limited by any particular geographical region or chronological era, thus allowing us to consider broadly different approaches and their opportunities. Students should expect significant reading assignments (one book or several articles for most weeks) and be ready for active and informed discussion. By the end of the semester, students will produce an annotated bibliography leading toward an independent research project in their field of choice (e.g. colonial Algeria, Republican Rome, Meiji Japan, Gilded Age America, etc.) as well as make a presentation on how scholars across varied geographical fields and chronologies have used particular objects as sources (e.g. clothing, domestic objects, tea or other beverages, pets, etc.).

While both the colloquium and seminar are required for all History majors, this linked class may be especially useful for students who are considering graduate studies and/or participation inMarquette’s ADP program (i.e. the accelerated degree program which allows students to earn a BA and MA in History in five years).

HIST 4955-701Undergraduate Seminar in History: Comparative Genocides

T 4:30-7:00
Dr. Chima Korieh


This seminar is an introduction to the field of genocide studies from an historical, comparative, and thematic perspective. While we focus on genocides and mass killings in Africa, we will provide a good understanding of the extreme diversity of this form of mass killing, especially in the twentieth century. We will begin with a broad examination of genocides in world history and the current state of the historiography. We will then focus on case-studies including the destruction of the Herero in German South West Africa (1904-08), the Rwandan genocide and the less known genocide against the Igbo people in postcolonial Nigeria. Finally, we will focus on the strategies that victims and perpetrators have used to cope at the time and afterwards with the moral issues involved as well as the international responses to genocide, and the contemporary tension between the principle of national sovereignty and `humanitarian intervention'.

HIST 5100Introduction to Public History

W 2:00-4:30
Dr. Patrick Mullins

Public History is the sub-field of History that studies and practices the interpretation and presentation of the past for the general public. This seminar introduces students to such components of Public History as Cultural Memory and Historical Preservation, but its overall focus will be on Museum Curation.

Through the Public History Discussion Group, graduate students will discuss an academic monograph on Cultural Memory, culminating in a critical review. Through regular class meetings, they will discuss assigned readings with undergraduates and lead one discussion in a teaching demonstration. Through field research, they will engage in first-hand study of local memorials, historic sites, and museums in the fields of history, fine art, and natural history.

Through Museum Lab, they will collaborate with undergraduates and museum professionals in creation of an original history exhibit for public display at the Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear. Museum Lab will provide graduate students with practical experience in such fundamentals of museum curation as research, cataloguing, interpretation, and exhibit design.

HIST 6100-701The Art & Craft of History: Introduction to History and Theory

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

This course will introduce all first-year graduate students to the methodologies, theories, and analytical reading/writing skills required of professional historians. We will cover broad historiographical issues applicable to all fields of history. Weekly active reading, engaged discussion, and professionally written papers are expected.

HIST 6954 Seminar in HistoryReligion and Urban Life

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


The goal of this course is the production of a seminar paper based on primary sources. A brief introduction to the theme will be presented. Afterwards, students will work independently on a timeline to determine a topic, evaluate sources, conduct research, produce a workable outline, and turn in first and final drafts of the paper.