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Areas of Study

In addition to the geographic areas of study, the Department of History offers students the ability to take classes in a number of thematic areas of study.


Public History

Public history explores history in the public sphere, including the ways that popular audiences engage with history.  Public historians work in museums and archives, historic preservation organizations, state and federal agencies, film and media centers and in a wide variety of other settings.

Borderlands History

Borderlands History explores the rich and unique history that emerges in places where distinct societies meet, such as the US-Mexico border. Borderlands History emphasizes the contested and contingent nature of social life and culture in zones where cultural amalgamation, social interchange, and economic exchange structure daily life.

Race and Identity

Students and faculty in the Race and Identity cluster explore the fundamental role of race and identity in the making of the modern world. These scholars explore the origins of racial concepts and identities and how they have changed over time; the historical roles they have played as both a way to subordinate "others" and as a source for positive individual and collective self-identifications; and how they have both shaped and been shaped by social, political, and economic history in different epochs and regions of the world. 

Gender and Sexuality

The Gender and Sexuality cluster explores the ways that what it means to be a man and a woman has a past that historians can trace. The History of Gender and Sexuality emphasizes the socially-constructed nature of gender roles, women’s contributions to the past, and the ways in which sexuality has been organized.

Atlantic World

The history of the Atlantic World maps the interactions among peoples and empires from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth century. It emphasizes the exchange of peoples, commodities, and ideas between the four continents that border the Atlantic Ocean.

Empire, Colonialism, and Postcolonial Studies

Many of our faculty explore empire, colonialism and postcolonial studies. Courses offered can be global in scope or may focus on one particular empire or region.