The Department of History matches a rigorous course of study with excellent teaching, the vast majority of which is conducted by tenure-line faculty. We are proud that our faculty includes twenty-three winners of the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Meet our faculty most recently honored for their outstanding teaching and research here! 

Mauricio Tenorio Named the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of History and the College

A prolific author of 15 books and well over 50 papers, many of them with top academic publishers and journals, Tenorio is recognized for his extraordinary range of expertise as well as his unparalleled originality as a thinker. His first book, “Mexico at the World’s Fairs: Crafting a Modern Nation” (1996), set the tone by opening with remarks about how “A Thousand and One Nights” might be seen as a model for historical narrative, given the “chaos” that the historian is presented with by actuality.

Tenorio’s succeeding works on the history of cities, languages, and conceptions of history—from  “‘I Speak of the City’: Mexico City at the Turn of the Twentieth Century” (2013) to “Clio´s Laws: On History and Language” (2019), among others—have similarly shown a remarkable ability to link the whimsical to the profound, the psychological to the sociological, and the intimately particular to the universal.

Most recently in 2023, he published two books,  Elogio de la impureza: Promiscuidad e historia en Norteamérica (In Praise of Impurity: Promiscuity and History in North America), Mexico City, Siglo XXI Editores and La historia en ruinas. El culto a los monumentos y a su destrucción, Alianza Editorial; N.º 1 edición.

Quantrell Awardees, 2023: Leora Auslander and James Sparrow

Professor Auslander “shows how the smallest differences—in style, in food, in manners—can lead to inclusion, exclusion and sometimes violence.” For her, students shouldn’t be expected to already have the skills to exchange perspectives and learn from one another. That, she asserts is part of her job.

Professor Sparrow finds that teaching creates an opportunity to be a model for the students, showing them how to think historically through discussion and asking them to craft their own historical questions. “Historical insight is hard-won, often personal, yet it opens out onto public questions of great importance whose answers transcend mere opinion, theoretical formula or mechanical solution.”

Auslander and Sparrow join several other past Quantrell winners who are currently offering courses in the History Department: Johanna Ransmeier (2022), Emily Lynn Osborn (2016), Matthew Briones (2015), Adam Green (2011), Amy Dru Stanley (2009), Rachel Fulton Brown (2007), Edward Cook Jr. (2003), and Robert Richards (1982). 

Named Professorships Awarded in 2023 to Jonathan Lyon and Tara Zahra 

Jonathan Lyon as the Inaugural Sorin and Imran Siddiqui Professor 

A highly influential scholar and dedicated citizen of our community, Jonathan serves as Director of the Social Science Teaching Fellowship Program and has served multiple terms as the Chair of the European Civilization Sequence. Lyon's scholarly imagination and commitment to undergraduate learning are manifest in his skillful teaching. In 2021 he received the highest teaching honor that the University bestows in the Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education. This professorship was established in 2023 as part of the College’s program of College Chairs. It was generously supported by the Siddiquis; in keeping with university guidance, the chair will be renamed the John W. Boyer Professor at John Boyer’s full retirement. 

Tara Zahra as the Hanna Holborn  Gray Professor 

Widely recognized as the preeminent historian in her field, Tara is the author of four books to date – Kidnapped Souls (2008), The Lost Children (2011), The Great Departure (2016), and Against the World: Anti-Globalism and Mass Politics Between the World Wars (2023) – that have remapped scholarly understandings of migration, politics, and family dynamics in central Europe during the twentieth century. She is the recipient of numerous awards including a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and fellowships from the NEH, ACLS, and other bodies. Zahra is an intellectual leader on our campus, serving as the named the Roman Family Director of the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society and through her engagements with the Franke Center for the Humanities, the Center for East European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, the Center for Jewish Studies, and the Pozen Center for Human Rights, among others.