About the Department

History Faculty
Clockwise from far left: Benjamin Tromly, Doug Sackman, Nancy Bristow, Bill Breitenbach, John Lear, Jennifer Neighbors, Katherine Smith, Andrew Gomez

History, far from being dead and gone, continues to shape our world in ways large and small. Seeing how this is so means opening a conversation about how human beings have lived their lives in many places and times around the world—how they have understood themselves, their relationships to one another, and their place on the planet. In our classes, we explore a wide range of vital topics, including race, gender, politics, religion, technologies, ideologies, international relations, war, migration, class, culture and the global exchange of goods and ideas. We also consider how narratives of the past have been created, contested, and deployed for a variety of purposes. History courses invite students to engage in the practice of doing history—discovering and assessing sources, considering controversies, forming interpretations, building arguments and ultimately creating their own narratives about the past—alongside faculty. History is something we do together.

  • The Department of History is composed of a diverse range of scholars specializing in the histories of Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States. Many of us also challenge traditional geographic boundaries in our work, exploring interactions between nations, regions, and empires. Our methodologies range from economic, social, and political history to gender, cultural, legal, and environmental history. Faculty in the Department of History forge active connections between our scholarship and our teaching.
  • History students gain a fundamental understanding of the world and the diverse forces that shape it, and learn to recognize the powerful impact of the past on contemporary issues and problems.
  • Students learn a great deal about a diversity of past worlds, even as they experiment with different approaches within the discipline and learn the skills necessary for research, analysis, writing and public history practices. Students do original research in several of our courses, including our methods and capstone courses, and often win campus-wide writing awards.
  • History students are encouraged to think and study across disciplinary boundaries and often take classes in subjects ranging from Classics to Politics and Government, from Biology to Latinx Studies, and our courses complement or supplement a variety of other academic programs.
  • Majors can make the wider world their classroom by learning about and from the community and taking history courses while studying abroad.

As creative thinkers, skillful analysts, and expert researchers and writers, history students possess the skills needed to succeed in a wide range of careers. Whether they work in schools, high-tech or government offices, courtrooms, libraries, non-profit organizations, or academia, our students stand out for their ability to tackle difficult problems, evaluate evidence, and work collaboratively, all skills at a premium in our changing economy.