International Flags on the UWL Campus


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. 


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 UWL 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; the Scientific Revolution; and relationships between Enlightenment thought and the French Revolution of 1789. 

Students with an emphasis in European history at UWL 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 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.  Professor Penelope K. Hardy is an historian of science, technology, and medicine; her courses frequently center the Scientific Revolution, British origins of the Industrial Revolution, and European responses to disease.  Professor Gita V. Pai teaches a course on the British Empire—a global power that once controlled one-fifth of the world’s population and a quarter of the earth’s land—and conducts research on the impact of British imperialism in South Asia. Professor Kenneth Shonk’s research has centered on Irish history; his courses often involve European history, including Irish, French and German history, embracing global themes. 

Study Asia at UWL 

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 heterogeneous continent we call Asia. Students choosing Asia as an emphasis with their history education at UWL will undoubtedly be equipped with valuable knowledge for our times.


Faculty Who Focus on Asia

UW-La Crosse's History Department has three faculty members who specialize in Asian history:  Professor Gerry Iguchi, Professor Heidi Morrison, and Professor Gita Pai. Professor 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 researches and teaches about the modern Middle East, with particular interests in childhood, oral history, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and memory studies. 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 one of the world’s leading economic, political, and military powers, the United States plays a critical role in global developments. 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 UWL provides students with the opportunity to study crucial historical issues from both the distant and more recent past. United States history courses at UWL 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, science, technology, medicine, immigration, urbanization, production, consumption, and the energy and environmental concerns of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. 

Seven professors from UWL’s History Department offer courses in United States history. Professor John Grider offers courses in Native American and Western history, labor and working-class history, and maritime history. Professor Penelope K. Hardy offers classes that consider the role of science, technology, and medicine in American history. Professor James Longhurst’s specialty is in urban history, environmental history, and the history of social movements. Professor Victor Macias-Gonzales teaches courses on US-Latin American relations and the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Professor Patricia Stovey specializes in courses on Wisconsin history and the history of education in the United States. Professor Tiffany Trimmer's research and teaching focuses on how La Crosse fits into US and World History, including long-distance migration, urbanization, and commodity production and consumption. Professor Jennifer Trost specializes in American reform movements, the history of crime in the United States, and the history of the criminal justice system. 


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.


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

Study Ancient/Medieval History at UWL

The UWL 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 one faculty member who specializes in Ancient history: Mark Chavalas. Professor 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). Professor Gita V. Pai offers a course on the ancient Hindu text, the Bhagavad Gita. In addition, Professor David Anderson (Egypt) and Professor Timothy McAndrews (Maya) from the Archaeology Program teach courses that are cross listed with the History department.