Recent faculty publications

Military Force and Elite Power in the Formation of Modern China

In his new book published by Routledge Press, Prof. Edward A. McCord explores the intersection of military force and elite power in the formative years of modern Chinese history.

Citizen Strangers: Palestinians and the Birth of Israel's Liberal Settler State

Prof. Shira Robinson's new book, published by Stanford University Press, chronicles the paradoxical status of Israel's Palestinian Arab minority after 1948, as citizens of a formally liberal state and subjects of a colonial regime.

Iraq in Wartime: Soldiering, Martyrdom, and Remembrance

Prof. Dina Khoury's new book, published by Cambridge University Press, traces the normalization of war in Iraq during the last twenty-three years of Ba'thist rule.

The Last Blank Spaces: Exploring Africa and Australia

Prof. Dane Kennedy's new book, published by Harvard University Press, chronicles the challenge of opening the interiors of Africa and Australia to British imperial influence in the nineteenth century.

The Long, Lingering Shadow: Slavery, Race, and Law in the American Hemisphere

Prof. Robert J. Cottrol's new book, published by the University of Georgia Press in 2013, examines the impact of law on peoples of African descent in the Americas.

The Other Welfare: Supplemental Security Income and U.S. Social Policy

Prof. Edward Berkowitz's new book, co-authored with Larry DeWitt and published by Cornell University Press, offers the first comprehensive history of Supplemental Security Income.

The Evil Necessity: British Naval Impressment in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

Prof. Denver Brunsman's new book, published by the University of Virgina Press, explores how naval impressment helped to make an empire.

Beyond Swat: History, Society and Economy along the Afghanistan-Pakistan Frontier

Prof. Benjamin Hopkin's new volume, co-edited with Magnus Marsden and published by Oxford University Press, explores the culture, society and politics of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Frontier over a broad historical span and their relevance to wider debates about the dynamics shaping this and other comparable 'frontier' spaces.

Prove It On Me: New Negroes, Sex, and Popular Culture in the 1920s

Prof. Erin Chapman's recent book, published by Oxford University Press, explores the gender and sexual politics of this modern racial ethos and reveals the constraining and exploitative underside of the New Negro era's vaunted liberation and opportunities.

Kylan Jones-Huffman Memorial Lecture

The Kylan Jones-Huffman Memorial Lecture honors Kylan Jones-Huffman who was admitted to GW’s PhD program in Middle Eastern history. Sadly, Jones-Huffman was killed in 2003 while on assignment with the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq.  In his memory, family and friends contributed gifts to endow the Kylan and Heidi Jones-Huffman Fund, in support of graduate students in Middle Eastern history.  The lecture is supported by the Fund.

Columbia University Professor Karen Barkey, a historical sociologist who specializes in the Ottoman Empire, was our 2013 Memorial Lecturer.

Department of History

Located in the heart of Washington, D.C., the George Washington University History Department is an intellectual community of faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and many associates and friends. With more than 40 full-time faculty, varied both in specialization and research methods, GW is an ideal place to study fields as diverse as modern Africa, early modern Europe, the history of colonialism and imperialism, modern America, and the Cold War.

Home to some of the most important research repositories and archives in the world, Washington is a unique and exciting place to study history. Studying history at GW provides students with the knowledge and analytical tools necessary for success in a wide range of careers and professions.


James Oakes delivers the 2014 Kayser Lecture

A scorpion, it is said, surrounded by a ring of fire, will sting itself to death.  This metaphor was widely cited by Republicans in the Civil War era, according to James Oakes, Distinguished Professor of History and Graduate School Humanities Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in the 2014 History Department’s Elmer Kayser Lecture delivered on March 5.  His lecture, titled, "The Scorpion's Sting: Antislavery and the Coming of the Civil War" argued that Abraham Lincoln and Republicans believed that by creating a "cordon of freedom" -- free states, free territories and a free ocean -- around the slave states, the South would stagnate, decline and  eventually be forced to abolish slavery.

The Elmer Louis Kayser Lecture began in 2001 with the creation of an endowment by members of the class of 1951, led by Tad Lindner, in honor of their fiftieth reunion and GW historian and dean Elmer L. Kayser. Prof. Kayser, a native of Washington, got both his B.A. and M.A. from GW. He received his Ph.D in history from Columbia University in 1932. He was a Professor of History for many years at GW and served as Dean of Students from 1930 to 1962.

Meet the Chair

Professor William H. Becker teaches and writes about business history, business-government relations, and the institutions of the international economy. His latest book, Eisenhower and the Cold War Economy, co-written with William M. McClenanan Jr., appeared in 2011.

CSPAN broadcast of the 2013 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Lecture

On November 14, 2013, GW hosted the 40th Annual D.C. Historical Studies Conference. The conference was kicked off by the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Lecture, honoring the memory of this pioneering scholar of African American history and a former member of the GW History Department.