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George Mosse oral history excerpt

UW-Madison Department of History: George Mosse Remembers

In this excerpt from his 1982 oral history interview with Laura Smail, historian George Mosse attributed the reputation of UW-Madison’s Department of History to its “screwball” nature.  

Mosse (b.1918 d.1999) taught European history at Madison from 1955 to 1989, and made enormous contributions to scholarship on Judaism, nationalism, and sexuality. The current Humanities building - as well as endowed programs in history and LGBTQ studies - bear testament to his legacy at UW-Madison.

Speaking to Smail, Mosse described American history at Madison as “American history as seen from South Dakota” and attributed the esteem garnered by historians within this field to the novelty of this vantage point.

He described “ups and downs” in the department’s reputation and remarked on its recent “revival,” which he attributed to the experimental work of colleagues such as Gerda Lerner. Mosse concluded by boasting of the renewal of Wisconsin’s reputation as a “screwball” department and his efforts to ”keep that flag flying.”

Will the current Department of History retain its “screwball” image? Only history will tell!

George Mosse with students, Madison 1982

Filed under George Mosse Gerda Lerner US history history Wisconsin UW-Madison Department of History faculty university

  1. ouisconnie reblogged this from uwmadarchives and added:
    Screwballs, hmm… Any thoughts on current screwballs?
  2. uwmadarchives posted this