Photo of Kathleen Neils Conzen
Kathleen Neils Conzen Prof. Conzen has retired and no longer directs BA theses or accepts new graduate students. Office: Phone: Email
Thomas E. Donnelley Professor Emerita of American History and the College

University of Wisconsin-Madison, PhD ' 72


Kathleen Neils Conzen’s research and teaching has focused on the social and political history of the nineteenth- century United States, with particular concern for themes of immigration, ethnicity, religion, western expansion, and urban development. Much of her research and writing has used the German immigrant experience to explore links between migration processes and community formation; ethnic and other identities; interrelationships among religious, ethnic, and regional cultures; and the political integration of immigrant minorities into the national community. Current projects include explorations of the role of German immigrants in the emergence of California's nineteenth-century wine industry and of German American efforts to develop and defend a theory of pluralistic democratic nationalism.

Recent Research / Recent Publications

Selected Publications
  • “German Jews and the German-speaking Civic Culture of Nineteenth-century America.” In American Jewry: Transcending the European Experience? edited by Christian Wiese and Cornelia Wilhelm, 105–24. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016.

  • Eva Hofmann Gundlach, Letters and Poems, 1849–1874: From Bavaria to Early San Francisco—A Story of Love and Opportunity, compiled by Lee Sims  and translated by Hannah Shield and Kathleen N. Conzen. El Granada, CA: Del Oro Publishing, 2016.

  • “Before the Chicago School: Vernacular Assimilation Theory in Later 19th Century Immigrant Chicago.” In Global Cities—Metropolitan Cultures: A Transatlantic Perspective, edited by Barbara Hahn and Meike Zwingenberger, 101–12. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2011.

  • “Reshaping the Nation: Federal Employment, Civil Service Reform, and the Turners of Washington, D.C.” In Adolf Cluss und die Turnbewegung: Vom Heilbronner Turnfest 1846 ins amerikanische Exil, edited by Lothar Wieser and Peter Wanner, 79–84. Heilbronn: Stadtarchiv Heilbronn, 2007.

  • Die Residenzler: German Americans in the Making of the Nation's Capital.” In Adolf Cluss, Architect: From Germany to America, edited by Alan Lessoff and Christof Mauch, 55–67. Washington, D.C.: Historical Society of Washington, D.C. and Heilbronn: Stadtarchiv Heilbronn, 2005.

  • "Immigrant Religion and the Public Sphere: The German Catholic Milieu in America." In German-American Immigration and Ethnicity in Comparative Perspective, edited by Wolfgang Helbich and Walter D. Kamphoefner, 69-114. Madison: Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004.

  • Germans in Minnesota. Saint Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2003.

  • "Ethnicity and Musical Culture among the German Catholics of the Sauk, 1854–1920." In Land without Nightingales: Music in the Making of German-America, edited by Philip V. Bohlman and Otto Holzapfel31–71. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002.

  • "German-Catholic Communalism and the American Civil War: Exploring the Dilemmas of Transatlantic Political Integration." In Bridging the Atlantic: Europe and the United States in Modern Times, edited by Elisabeth Glaser-Schmidt and Hermann Wellenreuther, 119–44. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

  • "Phantom Landscapes of Colonization: Germans in the Making of a Pluralist America." In The German-American Encounter: Conflict and Cooperation between Two Cultures, 1800–2000, edited by Frank Trommler and Elliott Shore, 7–21. New York: Berghahn Books, 2001.

  • "Pi-ing the Type: Jane Grey Swisshelm and the Contest of Midwestern Regionality." In The American Midwest: Essays on Regional History, edited by Andrew L. Cayton and Susan Gray, 91–110. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001.

  • "German Catholics in America." In The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History, edited by Michael Glazier and Thomas J. Shelley, 571–83. Collegeville, Minn.: The Liturgical Press, 1997.

  • "The Winnebago Urban System: Indian Policy and Townsite Promotion on the Upper Mississippi." In Cities and Markets: Studies in the Organization of Human Space, edited by Rondo Cameron, 269–310. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1997.

  • "Forum: The Place of Religion in Urban and Community Studies." Religion and American Culture 6 (1996): 108–14.

  • "The Stories Immigrants Tell." Swedish American Historical Quarterly 46 (1995): 49–57.

  • "A Saga of Families." In Oxford History of the American West, edited by Clyde A. Milner II, Carol A. O'Conner, and Martha A. Sandweiss, 315–57. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

  • "Ethnic Patterns in American Cities: Historiographical Trends." In Swedes in America: New Perspectives, edited by Ulf Beijbom, 24–32. Växjö, Sweden: Swedish Emigrant Institute, 1993.

  • "Mainstreams and Side Channels: The Localization of Immigrant Cultures." Journal of American Ethnic History 11 (1991): 5–20.

  • "Immigrants in Nineteenth-Century Agricultural History." In Agriculture and National Development: Views on the Nineteenth Century, edited by Louis Ferleger, 303–42. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1990.

  • Co-authored with David A. Gerber, Ewa Morawska, George E. Pozzetta, and Rudolph J. Vecoli. "The Invention of Ethnicity." Journal of American Ethnic History 12 (1992): 3–41.

  • "Ethnicity as Festive Culture: German-America on Parade." In The Invention of Ethnicity, edited by Werner Sollors,  44–76. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.