Welcome to the Department of History

We are a community of scholars engaged in cutting-edge research.  Our expertise spans many centuries and continents: Africa to Asia, Europe and the Americas, ancient Greece and Rome to Byzantium, and modern nation-states around the globe.  We bring different approaches, methodologies, and analytical paradigms to these various places and eras, but share a firm belief that rigorous historical analysis can give us a better understanding of our place in time. 

As a foundational discipline in the humanities and social sciences, history offers a testing ground for assumptions and propositions about human actions, beliefs, and ideas. To study history offers a means to explore our shared humanity and to learn about the particularities of the human experience.

We invite you to explore our website and learn more about our department: the subjects matters that we study, the students with whom we work, the courses that we teach, and the engaging intellectual community that faculty and students have built and share here at the University of Chicago.


 

Latest News and Announcements

Johanna Ransmeier Appointed to Public Intelletuals Program

The National Committee on United States–China Relations has named Johanna Ransmeier a fellow in its Public Intellectuals Program. The program nurtures a new generation of China specialists who have the interest and potential to play significant public roles.

Read the full post


New Fellowships Boost History PhD Students

The Department of History is very pleased to announced the establishment of two new dissertation write-up fellowships for History doctoral students, made possible by a generous bequest from the estate of T. Bentley Duncan, PhD'67, associate professor emeritus of history.

Read the full post


Albritton Jonsson Discusses Climate Change in the Guardian

Fredrik Albritton Jonsson, associate professor of British history and the conceptual and historical studies of science, discusses Amitav Ghosh’s recent book, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, in an extensive article in the Guardian.

Read the full post


A Papal Election Here on Campus

Learning about power politics in the world behind Machiavelli’s Prince.

Ada Palmer has devised a live-action role-playing simulation of a papal election circa 1490 for her course on the Italian Renaissance. Students negotiate, make alliances, trade money and titles, commission art and literature to win the love of the public, and compete to elect a pope, whose influence and military strength then determines the shape of a war, which occurs on the last day of the simulation.

Read the full post


2016-17 Excellent Year for Graduate Awards

History graduate students made an especially strong showing on the 2016–17 honor roll, in both national and university-wide competitions. A full 35 students will further their research or write-up of the dissertation with support from Fulbrights, the Mellon and Quinn Foundations, and the SSRC, among others. Another 10 students will perfect their teaching skills as prize-winning lecturers and preceptors and as teaching fellows.

Read the full post


Brenda Shapiro Gift Will Bring Top PhDs to Chicago

Brenda Shapiro has made an important gift to help us recruit top PhD students to the Department of History. Beginning with the Class of 2017, and continuing for 2018 and 2019, the best five students selected for admission will be named Brenda and Earl Shapiro Scholars in History. The 2017–18 Shapiro Scholars will receive a five-year fellowship, totalling $25,000, on top of the regular fellowship awarded by the Division of Social Sciences.

Read the full post


John Boyer Writes a History of the University of Chicago

In the summer of 1996 John W. Boyer, AM'69, PhD'75, dean of the College, began what he thought would be a small summer research project, never imagining that his efforts would span nearly two decades and result in a history of the University of Chicago. He spent the summer investigating the university’s archives, piecing together the story of the College, its evolving size and demographics, and its ties to the wider university. Boyer presented his findings to the faculty that autumn—and even those who opposed the growth of the College were grateful for the context the report provided.

Read the full post