The History Department offers forty different undergraduate courses each year. A combination of lecture classes and limited-enrollment seminars, History courses cover two thousand years of human experience in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. The faculty approach these areas from a variety of disciplinary perspectives: Cultural, Economic, Environmental, Ethnic, Gender, Intellectual, Labor, Political, Social, and Urban history.

The History Department has structured its undergraduate concentration both to encourage breadth of knowledge and to allow concentrators to focus their studies on what most interests them. Concentrators must take at least one course in each of four thematic areas: Knowledge & Belief, Power & Conflict, Pre-Modern, Race & Difference. The geographical requirement of two courses (principally focused on Africa, Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East) may overlap with courses taken to fulfill the thematic requirements.

Central to the undergraduate concentration are two junior papers and the senior thesis. All newly-declared History concentrators are enrolled in a research seminar in the fall of their junior year that offers an introduction to the skills of historical research and writing. In stages, concentrators advance toward the writing of the 75-page senior thesis based on original historical research. The Davis Center awards the Stone / Davis Prize to rising seniors who travel to conduct archival research. In past years, the Department has supported travel to Germany, England, and South Africa, among other places.

Thesis titles in recent years include: "Peering Through Half-Shut Blinds: The Declassified History of CIA Intervention in Iran and Guatemala in the Early Cold War"; "Christians and Shang Dynasty Bones: How an Evangelical Movement Contributed to the Study of Ancient China"; "Colored Television, White Press: The Rodney King Story and Modern Journalism's Treatment of Race"; "Evolving the Internet: How Entrepreneurs and Innovators Commercialized the World Wide Web"; "'Vainglory and Worldly Pomp': A Study of England's First Two Sumptuary Laws."

Learn more about majoring in history »


Judie Miller
129 Dickinson Hall
Janet Chen
Professor of History and East Asian Studies
302 Dickinson Hall
Director of Undergraduate Studies