Maria Ritzema

  • Lecturer - History
  • History Department
  • MA, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2006
  • PHONE: (262) 595-2316
  • EMAIL: ritzema@uwp.edu
I am a Ph.D. candidate working on Sri Lankan migration from post-independence to the Jayewardene Presidency of 1978. My Bachelor's degree was in Telecommunications from Michigan State University (go Spartans!) and I worked in the television industry for 12 years before returning to school to further my academic interests. I received a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 2006. While I was studying Urban Planning, I realized I preferred the history aspect over the actual economic development planning. I decided to pursue my interest in South Asia along with history and applied to the Ph.D. program at UIC in history. Originally from Michigan, I lived for 14 years in Chicago before moving to Milwaukee. Still a Detroit Tigers fan at heart, I enjoy baseball, Big Ten college football, science fiction, traveling, reading and movies.

Teaching Interests

I teach classes in World History, Modern South Asia, as well as imperialism and decolonization. I have also taught the history of Sub-Saharan Africa. I have a special interest in migration - people, goods, ideas - as it highlights interconnections across the globe.

Research Interests

My research is on Sri Lankan migration. I am researching why middle-class professional and elite Sri Lankans emigrated out of the nation between 1956 and 1978; specifically the effects of the Official Language Act (OLA) of 1956 (which made Sinhala the official language of the country), education and economic reform policies on migration.

Consulting Interests

HIST 128 - WRLD HIST III: 1800 TO PRESENT
HIST 290 - SPECIAL TOPICS
HIST 490 - SPECIAL TOPICS
INTS 290 - SPECIAL TOPICS
INTS 301 - BASIC GLOBAL SKILLS
INTS 304 - CULTURE AND LANGUAGE
INTS 490 - SPECIAL TOPICS
POLS 290 - SPECIAL TOPICS
POLS 490 - SPECIAL TOPICS