Department of History

Ellen L. Paul, Chair

Office: 209 Noble Hall

Office phone: 970-247-7267


Office Hours: Mondays 10-11:30, Tuesdays/Thursdays 10-11:15 & 2:30-3pm


Coming from the land of cheese, I broke the mold and stayed in my hometown to get a BA in German and International Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The plan was to study, play softball, travel, and ride my bike in Europe and eventually study abroad. In Summer 1988 I studied German in Greifswald, East Germany and the following year I participated in the UWSP Semester in Poland in Fall 1989. (Yes, I was there when the Berlin Wall came down!) Before starting graduate school at the University of Kansas, I completed a three-week bike tour of Ireland and then travelled to Bratislava, Slovakia to live with a family and teach English to students and professionals. The goals were to learn the language and attend to my wanderlustwhich I did! In graduate school I focused on East Central Europe and in 1994 received an IREX (International Research and Exchanges Board) grant to study Polish in Wroclaw, Poland. My dissertation on the Polish minority in Czechoslovakia in the early 1920s was supported with research/travel grants from the Fulbright Foundation and IREX. After finishing my PhD in Modern Russian and East Central European History in 1999, I taught at several different state universities in Wisconsin and Minnesota. I began teaching at Fort Lewis College in August 2004.


Current Courses: Fall 2012

Previously Taught Courses

History 151: Survey of World Civilization II
This course studies the development of civilizations throughout the world since circa 1500, and emphasizes the major stages in the interactions among different societies. Most of the world's major civilizations are examined, including those in the Western tradition but also those sometimes neglected. Independent developments in each civilization are balanced with comparative analysis of the results of global contact.

History 160: Survey of Western Civilization I
Examines the origins of the institutions and beliefs of western civilization from the earliest civilizations in Mesopotamia and Egypt, tracing the development of these beliefs and institutions through Greece and Rome and their preservation and enhancement in the early medieval period of European history.

History 190/390: From the Nazi Occupation to the Velvet Revolution
Get a unique understanding of the history, culture, politcis, and national character of Czechoslovakia through five illustrative and entertaining films. Topics include the Nazi Occupation, anti-Semitism, WWII fighter pilots in exile, the post-war rise of Communism, & the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Additional writing will be required of students enrolled in History 390.

History 190/390: The Solidarity of Poland, War, Communism, and the Solidarity Movement through Film
Twentieth-century Polish history was greatly affected by the Nazi occupation during World War Two and the Soviet takeover of power afterward. We'll watch five polish films and learn about Poland's turbulent history. Topics include: the Holocaust, the legacies of the war, Soviet-imposed Socialist Realism which affected Polish artists and writers, and finally, the daring and bold Solidarity movement which directly hastened the beginning of free elections (pluralism) and end of the Communist monopoly of power in Poland. Additional writing will be required of students enrolled for 390 credit.

History 250: Composition in History
Building on knowledge acquired in the prerequisite composition course(s), this course will introduce you to the methodologies, skills, and structures of scholarly writing and research, based in part on the historical method. Interdisciplinary skills will be introduced and developed to help students from and for all disciplines. In addition to understanding how academic texts reflect the shared ethos of a community of scholars, students will be introduced to standard methods of citation and to research materials available through the library, taught within the context of plagiarism issues. This course satisfies the CO2 gt-Pathways requirement.


HIST 261: Survey of Western Civilization II: 1350 to Present
course studies the course of European and American dominance in the western hemisphere after 1500. Topics include the Renaissance & Reformation, the rise of nation states, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the two world wars, and the myriad of political, economic, and social changes that are expressed in cultural, political and intellectual revolutions. Additionally, students will read and analyze primary documents from Modern European history to reach their own conclusions and understanding of Western Civilization. [4 credits]

HIST 360: Renaissance Europe
In our exploration of the culture of the Renaissance in Europe, ~1300-1700, we begin in Florence, Italy and weave our way north. We examine the rise and development of Humanism, a way of thought which underpinned the intellectual, artistic, scientific, and political thinking of the Renaissance. We read Renaissance classics by writers such as Machiavelli, Pico della Mirandola, Boccaccio, Petrarch, Erasmus, and Rabelais. We also study the religious movements of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations as products of Renaissance society.

HIST 361: Czarist Russia
A Study of the Russian past before the revolutions of 1917 in order to understand the events, personalities, ideas and key challenges of ruling the sprawling Russian Empire. Topics include Kievan Rus, the legacy of the Mongol invasion, and the rise and fall of the Romanov dynasty.

HIST 362: Rise & Fall of Soviet Union
A study of the Soviet Union seeking an understanding of why and how it arose, and ultimately collapsed, the nature of the state and society of the Soviet Union, and its relationship with the rest of the world.

History 364: Germany to 1919
A study of the German past focusing particularly on the efforts of Germans and others to define Germany: who are Germans, where is Germany and what is Germany politically and culturally.

History 365: Germany, 1919 to Present
Study of German history seeking an appreciation of German achievements and an understanding of the disaster of German politics in the first half of the 20th century.

History 366: Hitler and the Holocaust
A study of the racial ideology of National Socialism and how it became state policy in Germany, 1933-1945, and resulted in the Holocaust.

HIST 374: European Topics: Two World Wars in Europe

HIST 374: European Topics: Understanding the Holocaust
The title of this course is in many ways an oxymoron since it is nearly impossible to understand how six millian European Jews were annihilated between 1939 and 1945. But it is still important to try...and so toward that goal we will study Jewish life in Europe, the history of Anti-Semitism, Nazi ideology, the Final Solution, the industrial machinery of genocide, and the role of leaders, perpetrators, by-standers, and collaborators. In addition, we will examine other instances of genocide in the 20th and 21st centuries.

History 382: Reformation Europe and the Wars of Religion
An examination of culture, society, politics, religion and gender in the historical development of 16th and 17th century Europe using primary written source material with reference to the art, music and philosophy of the period as well.

HIST 383: Renaissance & Reformation Europe

History 396: Philosophy and Methods
History is alive. Not only is history continually being "made," interpretations of the past are also regularly questioned, re-analyzed, and revised. In this course we delve into the ways historians do their work: how they find interesting and important questions to investigate, how they conduct research, how they find and interpret evidence (new and old), and how they write. After learning some of the techniques and rules of writing history, each student will choose a topic, find sources, pose questions, and, finally, prepare a formal proposal for their Senior Seminar paper.
[This course is required for all History Majors.]

History 485: Topics in European History: European Communism

History 496: Research Senior Seminar
A capstone course in the preparation of a senior history research paper with a public presentation and defense.