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

Inhabiting the Past: Memory & Politics in 20-C South Asia

On November 4, 2016, Faridah Zaman, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Research Fellow in History, and Daniel Morgan, doctoral candidate in South Asian languages and civilization, co-host a workshop to discuss issues broadly relating to historical writing, memory, myth and oral traditions, the construction of intellectual and cultural narratives of origin and belonging, and the making of "useable pasts" for purposes that are political or otherwise in twentieth-century South Asia.

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Sarah Gronningsater, PhD'14--Interview with "Pasadena Now"

Sarah Gronningsater, PhD'14, assistant professor of history, Caltech, discusses her research with Lori Dajose of Pasadena Now. Sarah's first book,The Arc of Abolition: The Children of Gradual Emancipation and the Origins of National Freedom, is under contract with the University of Pennsylvania Press. An except from that interview follows.

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Alison Winter Memorial Service

A service in memory of Alison Winter (1965–2016) will be held in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Avenue, on Wednesday, November 2, 2016, at 4:00 pm. A reception will follow in the library of Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E. 59th Street.

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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.

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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.

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NEH Awards $350K Grant for PhD Training

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded the University of Chicago a $349,919 grant to support the professional advancement of  humanities doctoral students. "The Next Generation Humanities PhD program NEH expects to play a leading role in helping humanities doctoral programs prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century," said NEH Chairman William D. Adams.

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2016–17 Undergraduate Courses—from the Classics to Culture, and more

This selection is from the many great courses offered in History. Find them all, read course descriptions, and plan your 2016–17 year at our undergraduate pages.

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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.

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