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

U of C History Dept Features Trump Lecture Series

Except from an article first printed in the Hyde Park Herald.

The Department of History at the University of Chicago hosted part one of a lecture series entitled “Understanding the Trump Phenomenon” on Friday, December 2, 2016, at the Math-Stats Building, 5727 S. University Ave. Five professors gave ten-minute presentations from varying perspectives to understand the 2016 election cycle, the rise of Donald Trump, and what lies ahead for the country.

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Remembering Alison Winter

Alison Winter was remembered for her insightful scholarship, her ready wit, and her love for her family in a service on November 2 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, an event marked with sadness for the passing too soon of a beloved colleague and friend. Winter, AB’87, was a professor of History, the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and the College. Her research focused on Victorian science and medicine, twentieth-century psychology and psychiatry, and medical ethics. She died June 22, 2016, at the age of 50.

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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.

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Eduardo Manzano Returns to Chicago

Eduardo Manzano Moreno, professor of medieval studies, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, Madrid, will deliver a lecture, titled "Power and Institution in Medieval Islam and Christendom," on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, at 1.30 pm in Pick Hall, room 022, 5828 South University Avenue. The lecture is cosponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and the Department of History.

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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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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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