I grew up and attended local schools in rural Oregon. In high school, I was selected to be an American Field Service (AFS) exchange student to the Philippines, an experience that broadened my horizons considerably. As an undergraduate at the University of San Francisco, I majored in History, Philosophy, and Theology. A third-year abroad in Innsbruck, Austria sparked my interest in Europe in general and German/Austrian history and culture in particular. After graduating, I returned to Central Europe where I studied further and worked for a year. I did my MA and PhD in modern European history at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. My dissertation, on religion and religious culture in nineteenth-century Vienna, became the basis for my first book, Priest and Parish in Vienna, 1780-1880.
Before coming to Gettysburg College, I taught at the University of Connecticut, Texas Christian University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As I was always drawn to the liberal arts model of undergraduate education, I was happy to be appointed to the History Department at Gettysburg College, where I have worked since the fall of 1994. Over the years, I have been promoted first to Associate and then to Full Professor. Moreover, I chaired the department for five years from 2003 to 2008. I have also served on several college-level committees, including the Faculty Personnel Committee.
My second book-length project was a translation, introduction, and critical edition of Pietas Austriaca, an important text on religion and politics in the Habsburg monarchy from the late medieval period until the First World War. Imperialism in the Modern World, which I co-wrote and edited with Frank Chiteji, now retired from the history department of Gettysburg College, and J. Megan Greene, currently of the University of Kansas, but also a one-time member of the department’s faculty, is my most recent book. This book grew out of our longstanding interest in the teaching of world history and our experience in the classroom at Gettysburg. I have also published in a number of leading journals, such as the Journal of Modern History, Central European History, and the Austrian History Yearbook.
In recent years, I have remained interested in cultural and social history. I have written articles and essays on the history of medicine in Vienna. Specifically, I have published on suicide, a topic which brought together medical, psychological, and psychoanalytical perspectives and expert opinion in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Most recently, I have turned my attention to the history of sports and sporting culture in German-speaking Central Europe and have been researching a Jewish sports organization, Hakoah, that thrived in 1920s and 30s Vienna. I am also at work on a history of the world cup of soccer from 1930 to 2018. I have been working on the Hakoah and world cup projects during my sabbatical leave (2016-17). I have also had the opportunity to teach abroad at the University of Lancaster in the fall 2001 semester and at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS) in Copenhagen in the spring 2017 semester.
In the History Department, I teach courses that range from introductory world history classes to a senior seminar on Nazism. Most of my classes at Gettysburg, however, focus on modern (post-1789) Europe and include courses on modern Germany, Russia, and Britain. I also teach classes on nineteenth and twentieth-century European history.
I remain a firm believer in liberal arts education and have found a home at Gettysburg College.
William D. Bowman
Johnson Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities and Professor, History
Phone: (717) 337 - 6573
Box: Campus Box 0401
300 North Washington St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325-1400
PhD The Johns Hopkins University, 1990
MA The Johns Hopkins University, 1984
BA University of San Francisco, 1981