Hailing from Lake Wobegon territory in Central Minnesota, Gary Marquardt earned his B.A. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1994), his M.A. in Social History from SUNY-Albany (1998), and a Ph.D. in African History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2007).
His teaching interests are broad and have recently included courses on Apartheid in Film and Literature, Imperialism, Modern World History as well as Global Environmental History and a seminar course exploring reservation and homeland systems among indigenous populations in the United States, South Africa and Australia. His classes focus intensely on the idea of historical agency, or how the past informs today’s world.He has written about this extensively in a forthcoming book chapter entitled, “Answering the ‘So What’ Question: Making African History Relevant in the Provincial College Classroom” (Indiana UP, March 2013).
Gary's research interests focus on the confluence between environment and society in southern Africa. He has researched and written extensively about the nineteenth century rinderpest epizootic in South Africa and Namibia and is writing a piece that connects (perceptions of) environmental degradation in Namibia to its genocidal war with the Germans in the early twentieth century. He current book project explores the connections between environment, land alienation and identity during Namibia's apartheid era (circa 1930-1970).
Gary has been active in Westminster's push to broaden its international course offerings and has served on the International Council since its inception. He has also been involved with the college's campus events for Black History Month, and has participated in faculty work groups that concern online course initiatives, undergraduate research, and using technology in the classroom. He currently serves as the faculty advisor for Phi Alpha Theta (History Honors Society) and is a member of the faculty work group for academic productivity.
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