About the Department
History is the study of the past — both the official records of crowned rulers and sovereign states, as well as the vernacular accounts of those who have often been rendered, by presumption and sometimes violence, voiceless. It is the study, across time and place, of narratives and counter-narratives captured and preserved in a variety of “textual” sources — written, oral, and visual media; spontaneous actions, structured performances, and ritual enactments; sites and spaces, profane and sacred objects. It is the study of mass movements and isolated action, commodities and fads, production and reception, enslavement and liberation, sexuality and gender, art and obscenity, faith and heresy, empire and revolution, genocide and humanism, discovery and delusion, conformity and transgression, reading, writing, and telling. If the past is a “foreign country,” it is also a window onto the present, and sometimes a cautionary tale for the future.
The faculty of the Department of History range widely across the discipline, in a variety of geographies and cultures, from the ancient to the post-modern world, with teaching and research emphases in political, social, diplomatic, cultural, intellectual, and environmental history.