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  • Regional Emphasis

    International Flags on the UW-L Campus

    International flags marking exchange students on the UW-L campus.

    Description

    The regional emphasis history degree allows students to specialize in one region or time period from history, while still accumulating a broad foundation in the survey-level and professionalizing courses that make up the core history experience.  In this regional emphasis, students can take 12 credits on a single area -- European, Asian, U.S., or Latin American history, or the history of the Ancient and Medieval World. 

    Faculty 

    All faculty in the department teach courses that satisfy the requirements in the regional emphasis -- consult the undergraduate catalog to see which courses count for which region.

    Introduction to Regional Emphasis: Europe

    As is widely known, the cultural, social, economic, and political institutions and practices of the United States are deeply grounded in and connected to the long history of Europe.   An emphasis in European History at UW-L will entail gaining a deep appreciation, knowledge, and comprehension of this history, which includes the implementation of the Magna Carta, the Protestant Reformation and Henry VIII’s formation of the Church of England, the English Civil War, the Glorious Revolution, and the Britain-centered early industrial revolution; the Reconquista (removal of Muslim rule in Spain), Columbus’ setting sail in 1492, and the Spanish Inquisition; and relationships between Enlightenment thought and the French Revolution of 1789.

    Students with an emphasis in European history at UW-L also have the opportunity to take courses on more recent history, in which they will learn about and critically analyze, for example, a German history involving that country’s nineteenth-century unification, the later rise of Nazi power, and the Holocaust; Europe’s involvement in both World Wars, the Cold War, and the fall of the Soviet Bloc; and the formation of the European Union at a time when some perceive emerging threats to various forms of national identity on the continent, as well as to any pan-European or Western identity because of increasing immigration from Asia and Africa.

    Faculty Concerned with Europe

    Professor Shelley Sinclair teaches courses involving ancient, medieval, and early modern Europe, with particular focuses on ancient Greece and Rome, medieval,  Renaissance and early modern Spain and England, and the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. Professor Deborah Buffton’s research and teaching interests involve both China and Europe, and while she has a regional focus on France, she is most passionately involved in issues of peace and war, offering courses on that topic that are centered on European history. Professor Marti Lybeck’s region of primary concern is Germany, and she teaches courses on modern German history, but she also focuses on women’s issues and the history of gender, sexuality, and family in the German and European context. Professor Tiffany Trimmer’s research and teaching focuses on truly global flows of trade and migrant labor, and in this regard her courses have particular connections with the eighteenth- to twentieth- century British Empire, upon which (as was commonly said) “the sun never set.”  Professor Ariel Beaujot specializes in Western Europe and British history of the nineteenth and early twentieth century; her teaching often emphasizes material objects and visual culture.  In the future, courses involving European history, but embracing global themes, may be offered for credit in the Europe emphasis by Professor Kenneth Shonk, whose research has centered on Irish history.

    Study Asia at UW-L 
    If the long period from the time of Columbus' voyages to the Second World War was in particular centered on the Atlantic Ocean and the countries and regions bordering it, it may well be that more recent decades have seen a shift towards a world centered upon events and processes occurring in countries and regions bordering the Pacific and Indian Oceans. North America is on one side of the Pacific Rim; Asia is on the other. The economic booming of China as a nominally communist country thoroughly integrated in a global capitalist system; the rise of India's political, economic, and cultural power; recent crises, and political shifts in the Middle East; and the ongoing significance of Japan culturally, politically, and economically all evidence the twenty-first-century importance of a historically grounded understanding of the complex and heterogenous continent we call Asia. Students choosing Asia as an emphasis with their history education at UW-L will undoubtedly be equipped with valuable knowledge for our times.

     

    Faculty Who Focus on Asia

    UW-La Crosse's History Department has four faculty members who specialize in Asian history:  Deborah Buffton, Gerry Iguchi, Heidi Morrison, and Gita Pai. Professor Buffton specializes in both Chinese history and European history, and she combines these regional focuses with her interest in human rights and peace and war. Gerry Iguchi's research and teaching is focused on post-1868, modern Japan, especially with regard to religions, culinary arts, and Japanese relationships with the rest of Asia on the one hand, and Japanese connections with the West (North America and Europe) on the other. Professor Morrison is an authority on the historical development of the concept of childhood in the Middle East, and she is becoming increasingly interested in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.   Professor Pai's regional focus is South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, and Nepal) and she teaches courses and does research on the long history of Hindu religiosity in practice at specific sites, Gandhi, British imperialism, and contemporary South Asia. 

     

    United States

    As the world’s leading economic, political, and military power, the United States plays a critical role in global developments and understanding the historical developments that shaped this nation provides a deeper understanding, not only of the United States, but of the world as a whole. The United States history emphasis at UW-L provides students with the opportunity to study crucial historical issues from both the distant and more recent past. United States history courses at UW-L cover a wide range of topics that trace United States history from pre-Columbian Native America through colonization, the American Revolution, slavery, westward expansion, the Civil War, Industrialization, the World Wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the energy and environmental concerns of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

    Six professors from UW-L’s History Department offer courses in United States history. Professor Charles lee specializes in colonial history, nineteenth century history, and the history of Wisconsin. Professor Victor Macias-Gonzales teaches courses on US-Latin American relations and the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Professor James Longhurst’s specialty is in urban history, environmental history, and the history of social movements. Professor Jennifer Trost specializes in American reform movements, the history of crime in the United States, and the history of the criminal justice system. Professor John Grider offers courses in Native American and Western history, labor and working-class history, and maritime history. Professor Patricia Stovey specializes in courses on Wisconsin history and the history of education in the United States.

    Description

    Latin American history will prepare you to work globally and locally with diverse populations, and to gain perspective on the legacy of inequity, racism, and colonialism in the region, as well as the promising developments of revolutionary, leftist, and feminist ideas. History majors with a regional emphasis on Latin America can explore the past of a region that is attracting much interest of scholars, artists, politicians, and investors.  You may take courses that survey the past of the entire region, or take specialized courses on Mexico, the Latina/o experience in the U.S.; women, gender and sexuality; or diplomacy and international relations.   

    Courses in the Latin American regional emphasis (341, 342, 344, 347, 356, and 360) focus on the cultural and social history of Spanish-speaking Latin America since 1492, although Brazilian and Haitian history is also covered.  Most courses analyze classic Latin American literature in addition to primary texts, artwork, and the latest historical and interdisciplinary scholarship on Latin America.  Other courses in European and American regional emphasis may interest students of Latin America history, including HIS 354 (Spain to 1700), HIS 345 (US-Latin American Relations) and HIS 336 (Hispanics in the U.S.)  

    It is strongly recommended-although not required-that you also complete training in Spanish to gain a competitive edge in the job market-and to complete an Undergraduate Research and Creativity Project during your junior year in order to be a more competitive candidate for graduate and professional programs.

    Career opportunities for history majors with an emphasis on Latin America may be found in the foreign service, international business, teaching, health, and for organizations in the public and private sector with operations in Latin America or in regions of the U.S. with a Latina/o or Hispanic population.   The research, writing, and analytic skills developed in Latin American history courses are good training for graduate and professional training in the law, library science, social sciences, humanities, business administration, and health.

    Faculty

     Dr. Víctor M. Macías-González teaches courses on Colonial, Nineteenth, and Twentieth-century Latin America, and Mexican history; Dr. Shelley Sinclair teaches courses on the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands; and Dr. Timothy McAndrews teaches cross-listed courses on South American archeology in the Department of Sociology/Archaeology.

     

    Study Ancient/Medieval History at UW-L

    The UW-L History Department is committed to covering a wide chronological breadth of historical periods. We recognize that an emphasis in studying ancient and medieval history will provide the student with a solid foundation for understanding the modern world. This can be done, for example, by studying the Code of Hammurabi, Homer’s Iliad, Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Genesis, the Venerable Bede, Magna Carta, or the Bhagavad Gita. Most of the world's major religions originated during the ancient and medieval period; these religions are still very much alive and well today. Ancient and medieval history (and the religions of the same period) also serve as an excellent tool for sharpening our skills in critical thinking by forcing us out of the assumptions and concerns of our time period and popping us into a cultural universe that is radically different from our own. In other words, they are a powerful way to combat ethnocentricity and they enhance an awareness of diversity---cultural diversity.

     

    Faculty Who Focus on Ancient/Medieval World

    UW-La Crosse's History Department has three faculty members who specialize in Ancient and Medieval history: Shelley Sinclair, Jess Hollenback, and Mark Chavalas. Professor Sinclair's focus is medieval and Renaissance Europe, including courses in the Middle Ages, medieval England and Spain, the Age of Crusade, and the Renaissance/Reformation era. Dr. Hollenback teaches a variety of history courses on the topic of religion that focus heavily on the ancient and medieval periods of their development, specifically, courses in the histories of Hinduism, Buddhism, early Christianity, Christianity since 1517, Islam, and the history of religions. Dr. Chavalas teaches courses on Ancient Mesopotamia (Iraq), Egypt, Israel, Turkey (Anatolia), Iran before Islam, Greece, Rome, Syria, Women in the Ancient World, and two courses on the Akkadian language (Babylonian). In addition, Dr. Anderson (Egypt) and Dr. McAndrews (Maya) from the Archaeology Program teach courses that are cross listed with the History department.