Gregory Kaster


Professor in History and African Studies

Greg Kaster joined the Gustavus History Department in 1986. He received his BA (1975) and MA (1978) from Northern Illinois University, and his PhD (1990) from Boston University. His PhD dissertation examined the language what he called the "labor jeremiad" of organized workingmen in nineteenth-century America. His research and teaching interests include the history of masculinity in America, slavery and abolitionism, the Civil War, film, visual culture, biography, dissent, and memory and history. Publications include a chapter comparing the films Django Unchained and Lincoln in Oliver C. Speck, ed., Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained (Bloomsbury, 2014), an essay  on the American labor movement, 1790-1860, in Encyclopedia of American Social Movements, ed. Immanuel Ness (M.E. Sharpe, 2004), and "Labor's True Man: Organized Workingmen and the Language of Manliness in the USA, 1827-1877," Gender and History 13 (April 2001), pp. 24-64. The latter grew out of a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers directed by distinguished labor historian Melvyn Dubofsky.  In the classroom there is nothing he likes more than informed and energetic discussion of the course materials, or what he calls "working out" with the sources. A Chicagoland native and New Yorker by marriage, Greg is a city person who delights in the political-cultural energy and diversity of vibrant cities, including Minneapolis and St. Paul. Among his favorite pastimes are dining out; shopping at different food purveyors in the Twin Cities (favorites include Bill's Imported Foods for Greek provisions, and Rustica and Patisserie 46 for pastries and breads); walking city streets and parks; traveling; going to the movies and the theater; following politics; and working on his courses and projects amid the life-affirming sounds and smells of a great coffeehouse. He and his wife Kate Wittenstein, also a member of the History Department, are the happy companions of a black lab named Sam, who was predeceased by his and their feline companion, Cooper (named by Prof. Wittenstein in honor of the brilliant African-American scholar, feminist, and writer, Anna Julia Cooper).

Areas of Expertise

American dissent and Masculinity


Biking, Cooking, Dining, Film, and Travel

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
HIS-130American History to the Civil War372018/SP, 2017/FA, 2017/SP, 2016/FA, 2015/FA, 2014/FA, 2013/FA, 2013/SP, 2012/FA, 2011/FA, 2010/FA, 2009/FA, 2009/SP, 2008/FA, 2006/FA, 2005/FA, 2004/FA, 2003/FA, 2002/FA, 2001/FA, and 1999/FA
HIS-200History Seminar122017/FA, 2017/SP, 2016/FA, 2016/SP, 2012/SP, 2011/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/FA, 2008/FA, 2006/SP, 2005/FA, and 2004/SP
HIS-332Amer Age of Civil War102016/SP, 2014/SP, 2012/SP, 2010/FA, 2009/SP, 2007/SP, 2004/SP, 2002/SP, 2000/SP, and 1999/SP
HIS-236American Radicalism, 1776–1940102011/FA, 2010/SP, 2005/SP, 2003/SP, 2002/SP, and 2000/SP
HIS-244ST:Slavery & Freedom72013/SP, 2011/SP, 2009/SP, 2007/SP, and 2006/SP
FTS-100FTS:The Sixties62017/FA, 2016/FA, 2012/FA, 2006/FA, 2003/FA, and 2002/FA
HIS-242Hollywood, USA42017/SP, 2014/SP, 2013/SP, and 2012/SP
HIS-242Hollywood USA Lab42017/SP, 2014/SP, 2013/SP, and 2012/SP
HIS-230American Lives:King&X42015/FA, 2013/FA, 2011/SP, and 2010/SP
HIS-396Honors Tutorial I42006/FA, 2004/FA, 2003/FA, and 1999/FA
HIS-344Special Topic: Film and the Great Depression32007/JN, 2003/JN, and 2002/JN
HIS-268Career Exploration32006/JN, 2005/JN, and 2004/JN
HIS-241Recent United States History, 1945-199522018/SP and 2014/FA
HIS-202Atlantic Slavery/Freedm22016/SP and 2014/SP
HIS-331Revolutionary America22004/FA and 2001/FA
NDL-268Career Exploration12012/JN
HIS-244ST:Hollywood USA Lab12011/SP
MUS-156Gustavus Choir12005/JN
HIS-233King and Malcolm X12000/JN
HIS-397Honors Tutorial II11999/SP

Courses prior to Spring semester 1999 are not displayed.