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Faculty note: Lowery essay

Associate Prof. Vince Lowery (Humanistic Studies/History) recently contributed an essay to the Southeastern Immigration Blog. The essay, titled “Hugh MacRae, Southern Agriculture, and the Question of Selective Immigration,” examines MacRae’s advocacy of a more liberal US immigration policy in the 1920s.

History students get hands-on history lesson: Life as a Viking

top-longhouseStudents in Associate Professor Heidi Sherman’s History Capstone Seminar were given the chance to travel back in time when they visited a Viking-age replica farmhouse, called a longhouse, Sept. 12 and 13. The experience gave them the chance to smell the bread baking in a clay oven, hear the clang as a hammer smashes against a scorching-hot piece of iron, and feel the soft thread being woven in a loom just as it would have been hundreds of years ago.

The longhouse, owned by Owen and Elspeth Christianson, was built in 2011-2012 near Marshfield, Wis.

While at the longhouse, students made food following Viking-age recipes using only ingredients that could have been used in medieval Scandinavia. They were taught blacksmithing techniques and were able to create their own S-hooks out of steel. Students also took part in wire knitting, which was used to create chains for hanging jewelry, and learned to weave on different types of looms.

According to Sherman, several of her students who had gone on the trip last year stated it was the highlight of their college career. One of those students, Ryan Matsen, is now her teaching assistant and was able to go back on the trip this year.

“Of these activities that we were allowed to attempt my personal favorite would have to be blacksmithing as it was so unique to these trips and the fact that by the time we left everyone in the seminar had first hand experience at working metal in ancient ways,” Matsen said.

Many of the students involved in Sherman’s class will go on to be teachers, museum workers, and otherwise involved with the public. This opportunity gives students the chance to take a different approach to learning.

“They’ve got to be able to explain in an engaging way how people did things,” Sherman said. “One of the ways that people get involved and get excited about history is if they’re making something or if they’re doing hands-on things. So I thought it would be fun for the students to go through this process and to figure out how, then they can convert their learning into teaching other people down the road.”

After this experience, students will be creating their own experimental archaeology projects, such as making linseed oil from flax seed or trying to carve a rune stone. Sherman says that it’s not just about the concepts, but about the process they go through.

“I don’t care if the rune stone is perfect,” she said. “I care that the student learns the tools that they need, maybe how to write in runes… He goes through the process and documents it and what he learns from the process.”

The longhouse weekend has provided students with a way to learn about Viking culture that is unique to what they could have learned in the classroom.

“Overall I believe that these trips have been incredibly valuable to help the classes who went on them to gain a better understanding of the past through living like and replicating the processes of the ancient world,” said Matsen.
Story by Katelyn Staaben, editorial intern, Marketing and University Communication

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 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014 Students in Medieval History Capstone Course visit traditional Viking longhouse, September 12 and 13, 2014
Photos by Associate Professor Heidi Sherman

Flax now, goats later? Harvest provides history and fiber lesson for UWGB students

top-flax-storyUW-Green Bay History and Fiber Arts students had some fun harvesting this year’s flax from the University Union plaza in September. Faculty members Alison Gates, Art and Design, and Heidi Sherman, History, spearhead the interdisciplinary project, which has begun to attract academic notice nationally (and internationally) and yielded invitations to present at workshops in Europe and elsewhere. For more about the project and process, as well as faculty hopes for new projects, see Gates’ blog post.

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 Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014     Harvesting flax, University Union plaza, UW-Green Bay, September 2014
Photos by Laurie Case

Faculty note: Voelker presentations

On Oct. 2, Associate Prof. David Voelker of Humanistic Studies and History gave a talk to faculty and academic staff at UW-Steven’s Point on the topic “Why You Should Study Your Students’ Learning.” He described the evolving Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) as a more intentional approach in a profession where, too often, educators have moved from one new strategy to the next without carefully evaluating the effectiveness of each innovation for improving student learning. The following day, Voelker facilitated a five-hour workshop titled “Studying Your Students’ Learning: How to Get Started,” where he expanded on SoTL as an exciting opportunity for higher education professionals to integrate teaching and research using the tools of their own disciplines. Both events were sponsored by UWSP’s new Center for Inclusive Learning.

Philosophers’ Café returns with Ganyard talk on history… and science fiction

It’s time, once again, to grab a chair and a treat and enjoy a fascinating Philosophers’ Cafe conversation, this year on a new night. The series kicks off Wednesday (Sept. 3), from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Titletown Brewing Company in downtown Green Bay. Award-winning professor Clif Ganyard of Humanistic Studies and History will lead a talk about the “surprising overlap of history and science fiction.” Science fiction itself has a history, and the examination of past histories of the future can reveal much about past values. Historians now write science fiction, as well, in the form of alternate histories, asking “what if…?” questions.

The Philosophers Café is organized by the UW-Green Bay Philosophy Department and supported by Humanistic Studies, with sessions free and open to all. The best source for additional info is the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/GBPhilosophersCafe.

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