The goal of the History Department is to introduce students to the histories of a broad range of cultures, peoples, places, and times while honing their skills in writing, speaking, and research.
About the Major
At Hamilton, the study of history engages every dimension of the past, from the human experience to the natural world. It is the study of change and continuity, of what was different and what was shared, of what was believed and what was done. Concentrators develop original research projects, drawing on Hamilton’s rich library resources and on collections from around the globe. Many students conduct research independently or collaborate with faculty members. Graduates have pursued careers as teachers, lawyers, journalists, medical professionals, curators, and professors, among others, and have received degrees from renowned graduate programs.
Students Will Learn To:
- Summarize historiographical debates within and across disciplinary subfields
- Select and analyze historical evidence
- Create a clear, specific, coherent historical argument
A Sampling of Courses
Race, Science, and the Origins of the Modern World
This historiographical seminar traces theories of race from their origins in the Renaissance to the present. It examines how race, in conjunction with sex and gender, developed as an idea through the natural sciences in the context of Europe’s global imperial expansion. Subjects include natural history, breeding livestock, taxonomy, racial typology, evolutionary theory, and genetics.
Explore these select courses:
This course thinks critically about sound, listening not only to sound recordings but to the resonances of silence, voice, and noise in literary and historical texts. How do sounds come to mean what they do? What happens when sonic concepts travel? How are the soundscapes of daily life, both past and present, structured by race, gender, class, and other social formations? How have writers and artists reconceptualized sound and music to contest hierarchies? We will study James Baldwin, Frantz Fanon, and Zora Neale Hurston, among others. Topics include the relationship of sound to built/natural environments; (de)colonization and the ‘listening ear’; global, diasporic, and local soundscapes; and technologies of sound production and listening
A survey of topics, themes, and methods in environmental history, focusing on Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Provides a foundation and prepare students for advanced coursework and research in history and environmental studies. Examines major events and trends through an environmental framework, illustrating connections over time. Major course themes include biological exchange between regions, the industrial revolution, climate change, and linking historical environmental issues to contemporary concerns.
Meet Our Faculty
Chair and William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History, Director of Russian Studies
Russian and Soviet history, Central Eurasian history, and history of the modern Middle East
Sidney Wertimer Professorship for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring and Professor of History
U.S. history; the old South; Christianity in American history; American colonial history; the American founding era and proslavery thought
Assistant Professor of History, Director of Latin American Studies
history of science; early modern world; Colonial Latin America; environmental history; intellectual history; digital humanities; history of gender and sexuality; animal studies; genetics and history
Visiting Assistant Professor of History
intellectual and cultural history of modern South Asia; history of medicine; Islam in South Asia
Professor of History, Chair of the Department of German, Russian, Italian, and Arabic
social and economic history of the early Middle Ages; history of law and mechanisms of conflict resolution; the perceptions of non-Christian peoples and lands in medieval manuscript culture
Edgar B. Graves Professor of History
the British Empire; modern Britain and Ireland; international humanitarianism
Visiting Assistant Professor of History
environmental history, social history, political economy, modern North Africa, modern Middle East, global history
Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of American History
20th century American radical movements; history of the 1960s; the history of mountaineering and exploration
Celeste Day Moore
Associate Professor of History
African-American history; diasporic and transnational history; race and empire in 20th-century U.S. and France
Visiting Professor of History, Executive Director of Common Ground
military history, Civil War memory, African American military history
Professor of History
cultural and social history of modern South Asia, specializing in the history of nationalism, colonialism, and women
Bates and Benjamin Professor of Classical and Religious Studies, Director of Asian Studies
Chinese history, culture and religion; Confucian ritual and the imperial cults devoted to Heaven and to Confucius
Lecturer in History, Lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing
Lecturer in History
U.S. environmental history, history of food and agriculture, and historical geography
Explore Hamilton Stories
The Levitt Justice Lab: A Program Built to Inspire
The Levitt (Center) Law & Justice Lab, a program designed for students interested in synthesizing perspectives on public policy issues, just concluded a semester focused on exploring policies affecting homelessness in Utica, N.Y. The experience was led by Professors Frank Anechiarico (government), Herman Lehman (biology), Philip Bean (history), and Gwendolyn Dordick (government).
In their Communal Societies seminar, Professor of History Doug Ambrose and Goodwillie supplement discussion of various religious groups by taking students to visit the Shaker Museum in Hancock, Mass., and introducing them to resources from Special Collections.
A Professor’s Battle with Treason and Truth
Retired U.S. Army brigadier general, professor emeritus of history at West Point, and now visiting professor of history at Hamilton, Ty Seidule grew up revering Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Now his views have radically changed.
Careers After Hamilton
Hamilton graduates who concentrated in history are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:
- Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives
- Director of Education & Interpretation, National Museum of American History
- Editor, New York Post
- Environmental Policy Analyst, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Physician, Texas Oncology
- Professor of Military History, U.S. Army
- Executive Director, JPMorgan Chase Bank
- Director, Information Technology, RBS Global Banking & Markets
- Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Explore Our Spaces
The Kirner-Johnson Building, also known as KJ, houses the offices for faculty members in history. The building features an atrium, team rooms for working on group projects, and five case-method classrooms with the latest technology to support teaching and learning.
Shoshana Keller, Chair
Clinton, NY 13323