Topical: Cultural and Social


UWL students touring an art museum, 2013.

Introduction to the Cultural and Social History Emphasis

Students in UW-La Crosse's History Department's emphasis in Cultural and Social History will study the history of cultural and social forces embodied in movements and organizations; art, literature, and film; areas of human experience including apparel, architecture, and culinary practices; and the various commercial media inundating our daily lives. Our students will learn how social and cultural phenomena have historically affected and structured our material and intellectual environment in connection with ethical concerns involving political and economic questions. 

In general, the History Department's Cultural and Social History emphasis will help students develop and make tangible the kinds of relatively intangible skills prospective employers and professional and graduate school admissions committees will value: problem solving, analytical and creative thinking, research skills, the ability to express oneself and one's thoughts clearly and persuasively both verbally and in writing, intercultural communication skills, and the capacity to address immediate concerns with the kind of "big picture" perspective that a historically grounded education provides.

The History Department will particularly encourage students in topical emphases to apply for and undertake internships with organizations and businesses related to individual students' interests, concerns, and plans. Our faculty will work with students, helping to place them in intern positions that will be of genuine value with respect to their intellectual and professional development. Internships along these lines will help students get their "foot in the door" in areas of prospective post-graduation employment and professional development.

What really sets apart the three new topical emphases including Cultural and Social History is that faculty will work with students to produce portfolios packaging and showcasing the aptitudes and skills they develop over the courses of their undergraduate education. To some, abilities obtained and developed through a traditional liberal education, such as analytical and creative thinking, may seem abstract and without specific content, being notoriously difficult to measure and assess through means such as standardized testing. However, Cultural and Social History students' portfolios are where their skills, aptitudes, and abilities will become manifestly palpable and concrete. 

Portfolios will contain the following: a cover letter introducing the portfolio, a resume or CV, examples of scholarly research and writing, and letters of support from teachers and professors, employers, and others who have supervised and are willing to assess students. Our faculty will encourage Cultural and Social History students to personalize their portfolios, including various forms of evidence and artifacts that demonstrate valuable abilities and connect with particular students' interests, concerns, and plans.  Students must submit writing portfolios by the middle of the semester in which they intend to graduate; the portfolios should be submitted to the coordinator for the Social and Cultural History Emphasis, Prof. Iguchi.

Cultural and Social History students will be encouraged to keep and maintain their portfolios on a publicly or selectively accessible website, which will in turn interact with social media such as One's portfolio can thus remain a resource and tool for students after graduation. In this role, one's portfolio will ease processes of obtaining and updating letters of recommendation, as well as networking with peers at UWL and beyond.


Professor Trimmer teaches in 2013.

Careers, Option, and Internships

One of the most common questions students and their parents have with regard to obtaining degrees in Humanities and Liberal Arts disciplines is, "what can I [or she or he] do with that?" History's Cultural and Social emphasis, along with emphases in Religious Studies and Public and Policy History are particularly geared towards answering that question, which also entails facilitating graduates' ability to find meaningful and productive professional and gainful employment in a variety of fields. Students majoring in History with a Cultural and Social emphasis will also be primed for further study in professional or graduate school.

A graduate in Cultural and Social History will certainly be well prepared for graduate work and a career in academia, in addition to immediate entry into the job market or professional school involving all of the professions traditionally valuing a liberal arts education. Areas of prospective employment include, for example, business and marketing; journalism, technical writing, publishing, and mass media; law and legal services; non-governmental organizations (NGOs), non-profit groups, and lobbying; and work in public history, archives,and museums (see this page).

However, we have designed the social and cultural emphasis to specifically open possibilities for employment involving, for example, management of culturally significant sites for public or private agencies; community activism and advocacy of human rights at local, national, and international levels, in particular involving populations such as migrants, women, children, veterans, members of LGBT communities, and ethnic-racial and religious minorities; the food industry and culinary arts; the entertainment and leisure industries; and the travel and tourism industry, especially insofar as it involves burgeoning opportunities in conducting and managing heritage and ecology tourism.

Student Stories
Jon N. Hale, Ph.D., was a student at UWL from 1999-2004:

My education at UW-La Crosse introduced me to social history and the importance of viewing history from the perspective of those who are marginalized. This insight inspired a critical worldview that ultimately shaped my career. As a double major in education, the insights garnered in History shaped how I viewed the field of education. Through my work with Multicultural Student Services on campus, I knew that the school system could be reformed to make our society live up to its democratic ideals and History was crucial to actualizing such reform.
My history professors trained me in the skill and 

photo of Jon Haleimportance of closely (and critically) examining primary sources, which laid an invaluable foundation for my work in graduate school. As a doctoral student, I explored my research on the history of grassroots educational reform by seeking out the vantage point of people of color and those disenfranchised by American democracy. I conducted extensive analysis in archives maintained privately by civil rights activists and those institutions, like the Wisconsin Historical Society, that provided a safe haven for materials donated by activists. Since much of the Civil Rights Movement was not documented (or was destroyed), I have conducted and transcribed over 100 interviews with activists who committed their lives to the long freedom struggle.

Jon N. Hale, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Educational History, Department of Teacher Education
Author, The Freedom Schools (Columbia University Press, 2016)
Co-editor, To Write in the Light of Freedom (University Press of Mississippi, 2015)
Research Fellow, National Academy of Education (2008-2009, 2015-2016)

History Major with Topical Emphasis - Bachelor of Arts (BA)

(All colleges, excluding teacher certification programs)

40 credits

Core requirements
HIS 200Historiography and Historical Methods3
HIS 490History Research Seminar4
Select nine credits of the following:9
Survey of the United States
Survey of Ancient and Medieval Worlds
Survey of Modern Europe
Survey of Asia
Survey of the Middle East
Survey of Modern Africa
Regional/world cultural zones
Select six credits from the following:6
Vietnam War
Themes in Chinese History
History of China
Sugar, Coffee, Rubber, Bananas: Commodities in World History
Modern South Asia
Imperialism in Asia and the Pacific
Modern Japan
Postwar Japan
Religion and Conflict in Modern South Asia
Latin America
Sugar, Coffee, Rubber, Bananas: Commodities in World History
Nineteenth Century Latin America
Twentieth Century Latin America
Latin America: 1450-1830
History of Mexico
Peace and War
Peoples and Cultures of Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union
The Holocaust
Sugar, Coffee, Rubber, Bananas: Commodities in World History
Russia and the Soviet Union
The Middle Ages
Renaissance and Reformation
Twentieth Century Europe
Great Events in France: 1750-present
History of France: 1750-Present
Germany: 1848-1989
Spain to 1700
England to 1603
French Revolution
World War I
Sugar, Coffee, Rubber, Bananas: Commodities in World History
Popular Culture in Modern Africa
African Novels and History
African Nationalism
Colonial Africa
Topical emphasis
Select one of the three following emphases, with no more than six credits of that 18 coming from disciplines outside the department of history (see below)18
Total Credits40

Topical emphasis

Cultural and social history

Code Title Credits
HIS 311Peace and War3
HIS 338Sugar, Coffee, Rubber, Bananas: Commodities in World History3
HIS 364Gandhi's India3
HIS 383Women in South Asia3
HIS 387African Novels and History3
HIS 392History Through Film3
HIS 397African Nationalism3
HIS 398Colonial Africa3
HIS 399Migration and Empire: 1200-19003
HIS 405The Migration Experience: 1600-present3
HIS 406Topics in Social History3
HIS 407Government and Society3
HIS 413Topics in Cultural History3
HIS 450History Internship/Field Experience3-12
ENG 301Foundations for Literary Studies3
ENG 348Studies in Film Literature3
WGS 373Gender and Human Rights3
WGS/SOC 375Lesbian Studies3
ART 251Art History I: History of Art and Visual Culture3
ART 252Art History II: Global, Local, and Contemporary Art3
ART 301World Art3

Public and policy history

Code Title Credits
HIS 317American Environmental History3
HIS 318Exhibition Development and Design I3
HIS 320Introduction to Public and Policy History3
HIS 322Public Education in Wisconsin and America3
HIS 357Crime and Punishment in America3
HIS 390Public and Policy History Research3
HIS 391History of U.S. Environmental Policy3
HIS 393Material Culture3
HIS 407Government and Society3
HIS 418Exhibition Development and Design II3
HIS 450History Internship/Field Experience3-12
PUB 210Introduction to Public Administration3
PUB 330Public Policy3
PUB 334Health Policy3
PUB 338Environmental Policy3
GEO 250Maps and GIS3
GEO 385Introduction to Geographic Information System and Science 13
ENG 307Writing for Management, Public Relations and the Professions3
ENG 310Digital Content Writing, Management, and Experience Design3
ENG 314Grant Writing 13
ENG 327Publishing in a Digital Age 13
ENG 335Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing 13
ARC 300Cultural Resources Management 13

Religious studies

Code Title Credits
HIS 205Ethics and Religion3
HIS 326Modern Christianity3
HIS 327History of Buddhism3
HIS 328History of Hinduism3
HIS 329History of Islam3
HIS 330History of Religions3
HIS 333Christianity to 15173
HIS 401Japanese Religions3
HIS 415Religion and Conflict in Modern South Asia3
HIS 450History Internship/Field Experience3-12
SOC 315Religion and Society3
ANT 320Rites, Rituals and Ceremonies3
WGS 330Topics: Women, Gender, and Society 11-3
or SOC 399 Special Topics in Sociology
PHL 310Metaphysics3
PHL 331Philosophy of Religion3
PHL 336International Multicultural Philosophy3
PHL 349Asian Philosophy3
PHL 360Zen Buddhism3

Writing portfolio requirement

To be certified for graduation in the history major with topical emphasis, students must submit and have approved a portfolio of professional writing especially geared towards their intended career path. Students must submit writing portfolios by the middle of the semester in which they intend to graduate. Specific deadlines, item requirements, and submission directions are posted on the department website. The list of required material will be different for each of the emphases. The submitted portfolio may include items of coursework completed during the student's undergraduate career, but might also require the production of additional materials. The materials might include a curriculum vitae or résumé, grant applications, a document written for a public audience, a sample of academic writing, or cover letters for job applications.

All students must complete the general education, college core, major/minor, and university degree requirements in order to qualify for a degree. The easiest way to track all of these requirements is to refer to the Advisement Report (AR) found in the Student Information System (WINGS) Student Center. All enrolled students have access to the AR. 

College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CASSH/VPA) Bachelor of Arts core requirements

The following conditions apply to one or both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees:

  1. Students majoring in English (writing and rhetoric or literature emphases) or in the department of global cultures and languages must earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Education majors earn a Bachelor of Science degree; English major: medical professions emphasis majors may earn a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree.
  2. Students majoring in other CASSH programs may choose either a B.A. or a B.S. degree.
  3. Language courses (ARA, CHI, FRE, GCL, GER, HMG, JPN, RUS, SPA) used to fulfill general education requirement: "Mathematical/logical systems and modern languages" (GE 02, category 2) may also be used to meet the B.A. and B.S. language requirements.
  4. All other courses used to meet the requirements below must be in addition to the minimum 39 credits required in the General Education Program.
  5. At least one course in the B.A. or B.S. college degree program (core requirements) must be a CASSH designated diversity course.
  6. Applicable courses may be found on the CASSH B.A./B.S. Degree Option Course List or in the Advisement Report (AR) when the degree has been declared.

Courses used to fulfill general education requirements will not apply to core requirements except for language courses (ARA, CHI, FRE, GCL, GER, HMG, JPN, RUS, SPA) that count in the general education requirement: "Mathematical/logical systems and modern languages" (GE 02, category 2).

Declare ONE of the following tracks in the CASSH Academic Services Office in 235 Morris Hall:

A. Language track

  1. Native speakers of English complete:
    Code Title Credits
    Select one of the following:
    Intermediate Arabic II
    Intermediate Chinese II
    Intermediate French II
    Intermediate Languages II
    Intermediate German II
    Hmong Heritage Language: Intermediate
    Hmong Heritage Language: Advanced
    Intermediate Japanese II
    Intermediate Russian II
    Spanish Language and Cultures in Action II
    Non-native speakers of English: score at least 80 on the La Crosse Battery of exams for non-native speakers of English; or submit a TOEFL or IELTS score that meets the university's English language proficiency requirement for admission; or complete ESL 252 or ESL 253, and one additional course from ESL 250, ESL 251, ESL 252, ESL 253. (Contact the English as a Second Language Institute for eligibility and regulations); and
  2. Two additional courses outside of the student's major in two of the following: humanities, social sciences or fine arts.

B. Humanities track

  1. One global language course 102 or higher; and
  2. Two additional courses outside the department of the student's major from two different departments chosen from: communication studies, English, history, philosophy and women's, gender and sexuality studies (see the Advisement Report (AR) for a listing of the approved courses); and
  3. One additional course in social sciences or fine arts.

C. Fine arts track

  1. One global language course 102 or higher; and
  2. Two additional courses outside the department of the student's major from two different departments chosen from: art, music, theatre; and
  3. One additional course in social sciences or humanities.
In addition to all other College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities core requirements, all students in CASSH must complete a second major, minor, or program option by satisfying one of the following:
  1. Complete a minor (or second major) outside of the student's major program, consisting of at least 18 credits; or
  2. Complete an emphasis, program or concentration of at least 18 credits outside the student's major program. General education courses may apply provided they are not being used to fulfill minimum general education requirements; or
  3. Complete 18 credits in two or more departments or programs (at least 12 credits earned at the 300/400 level). These courses must be outside the student's major department and can be from any college. General education courses may apply provided they are not being used to fulfill minimum general education requirements.

Baccalaureate degree requirements

Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts or the Bachelor of Science degrees must accomplish the following:

  1. Fulfill the general education requirements.
  2. Complete at least one ethnic studies (diversity) course.
  3. Complete the courses prescribed by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee for the degree desired in the respective school or college. (No substitutions for graduation may be made in course requirements for a major or minor after the fourth week of the last semester of the senior year.)
  4. Earn a minimum of 120 semester credits with at least a 2.00 cumulative GPA.1
  5. At least 40 credits must be earned in 300/400 level courses. Transfer courses earned at the 300/400 level apply to this requirement. Courses earned at the 100/200 level that transferred to UWL as 300/400 level courses do not apply to this requirement.
  6. Complete major and minor requirements with at least a 2.00 GPA1 in each major and minor (and concentration or emphasis, if selected).
  7. A minimum of 30 semester credits in residence at UWL is required for graduation. (See undergraduate resident requirement.)
  8. Submit an application for graduation via the "Apply for Graduation" link in the WINGS Student Center as soon as the student has registered for his or her final semester or summer term in residence. December and winter intersession graduates should apply by May 1. May and summer graduates should apply by December 1.

No degree will be awarded unless all requirements are fulfilled and recorded within 30 days after the official ending date of each term.

Below is a sample degree plan that can be used as a guide to identify courses required to fulfill the major and other requirements needed for degree completion. A student's actual degree plan may differ depending on the course of study selected (second major, minor, etc.). Also, this sample plan assumes readiness for each course and/or major plan, and some courses may not be offered every term. Review the course descriptions or the class timetable for course offering information.

The sample degree plans represented in this catalog are intended for first-year students entering UWL in the fall term. Students should use the Advisement Report (AR) in WINGS and work closely with their faculty advisor(s) and college dean’s office to ensure declaration and completion of all requirements in a timely manner.

General Education Program
The general education curriculum (Gen Ed) is the common educational experience for all undergraduates at UWL. Sample degree plans include Gen Ed placeholders to ensure completion of the general education requirements. Courses may be rearranged to fit the needs or recommendations of the student’s program of study. Gen Ed courses may be taken during winter term (January between the semesters) and summer to reduce the course load during regular terms (fall and spring). Students should consult with their advisor and/or the college academic services director in their college/school for assistance with course and schedule planning. Refer to the general education requirements for more specific details.

Note: at least 40 credits of the 120 credits required must be earned at the 300/400 level.

This sample degree plan does not establish a contractual agreement. It identifies the minimum requirements a student must successfully complete, to qualify for a degree, in a format intended to assist the student plan their academic career. Actual degree plans may differ.

Year 1
HIS 110 (Gen Ed World History)3ENG 110 or 112 (Gen Ed Literacy - Written)3
Gen Ed Self & Society3Gen Ed Natural Lab Science4
UWL 100 (Gen Ed Elective)1Gen Ed Arts2-3
CST 110 (Gen Ed Literacy - Oral)3HIS Core Course (HIS 210, 230, 240, 250, 260, or 285)3
Gen Ed Math4Gen Ed Minority Cultures3
 14 15
Year 2
HIS 2003HIS Core Course (HIS 210, 230,240,250,260, or 285)3
102+ Level Gen Ed/CASSH Core Language34Gen Ed Arts2-3
CASSH Core Elective3History Topical Emphasis Course23
HIS Core Course (HIS 210, 230,240,250,260, or 285)3Gen Ed Health & Well Being3
Gen Ed Global Studies3Minor Course3
 16 14
Year 3
Minor Course3University Elective3
Gen Ed Hum-Lit3Minor Course3
History Topical Emphasis Course23Regional History Course13
Gen Ed Elective3CASSH Core Elective3
Regional History Course13History Topical Emphasis Course23
 15 15
Year 4
History Topical Emphasis Course23Minor Course3
HIS 4904History Topical Emphasis Course23
Minor Course3History Topical Emphasis Course23
Minor Course3CASSH Core Diversity Elective3
Gen Ed Elective3Gen Ed Elective3
 16 15
Total Credits: 120

A writing portfolio is required.

At least two courses must be designed as writing emphasis.

View in catalog