The History Department teams up with History News Network (HNN)

The History News Network (HNN)

The History Department is excited to announce a new partnership with History News Network (HNN), a website devoted to putting current events in historical context.  Among other things, HNN endeavors to expose politicians who misrepresent history; to point out bogus analogies; to deflate beguiling myths; and to remind us all of the complexity of history. Their mission states, "Because we believe history is complicated our pages are open to people of all political persuasions. Left, right, center: all are welcome."  Visit to see what it's all about! 



Why study history video

Students and professors at the University of Utah describe why a history major is the most relevant degree students can get in the 21st century. Click the video below to find out more.

Dr. Fred Cooper gives 2017 Kayser Lecture

Dr. Fred Cooper, Professor of History at New York University, gave the 2017 Kayser lecture on March 2, 2017  in the Gelman Library 7th floor Teamster's Room. His lecture, titled "Locating Citizenship: Empire, Nation, Federation," looked at conceptual issues in the study of citizenship and the historical question of where it has been located. Read more here.

David Silverman publishes book with Harvard University Press

Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America by David Silverman

Congratulations to Professor David Silverman whose book, Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America, was just published by Belknap Press (Harvard University Press). The book "reframes our understanding of Indians’ historical relationship with guns, arguing against the notion that they prized these weapons more for the pyrotechnic terror guns inspired than for their efficiency as tools of war." Congratulations, Professor Silverman!

Christopher Klemek delivers 2016 Trachtenberg Distinguished Teaching Lecture

As recipient of GW's Prize for Teaching Excellence, Christopher Klemek delivered the 2016 Trachtenberg Distinguished Teaching Lecture on Thursday, October 13 at the George Washington University and Textile Museum.  His talk was entitled "Urban Past, Public Present, and Digital Future: Teaching Civic Engagement through DC History.” 

Christopher Klemek

Bulgarian Ambassador presents Theo Christov at Library of Congress lecture

Ambassador of Bulgaria Elena Poptodorova introduced Professor Theo Christov at the Library of Congress where Christov delivered a lecture on “The 'Law of Nations' in America's Independence.” You can watch the video here.

Recent faculty books

The Greeks: An Illustrated History

Diane Cline's lavishly illustrated reference about ancient Greece presents the amazing history through gripping stories about the powerful legacy left by ancient Greece for the modern world.

Decolonization: A Very Short Introduction

Dane Kennedy's Decolonization: A Very Short Introduction aims to give readers a better understanding of the process of decolonization, as well as its impact on contemporary international relations.

City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York

Tyler Anbinder’s City of Dreams provides a vivid sense of what New York looked like, sounded like, smelled like, and felt like over the centuries of its development and maturation into the city we know today.

Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America

In Thundersticks: Firearms and the Violent Transformation of Native America, David Silverman evaluates Native Americans' historical relationship with firearms.

How Empire Shaped Us

How Empire Shaped Us, edited by Dane Kennedy, tackles the subject of Britain's imperial past by bringing together some of the leading figures in the field, historians of different generations and nationalities, different methodological and theoretical perspectives and different ideological persuasions.

The Emotions of Justice: Gender, Status, and Legal Performance in Choson Korea

Jisoo Kim challenges the typical portrayal of premodern Korean society.

Before Anarchy: Hobbes and his Critics in Modern International Thought

Theo Christov explains how the 'Hobbesian state of nature' and the 'discourse of anarchy' came to be seen as virtually synonymous.

The Scientific Revolution in Global Perspective

William Burns places the Scientific Revolution--and its causes and effects--in a global context.

Military Force and Elite Power in the Formation of Modern China

Edward A. McCord explores the intersection of military force and elite power in the formative years of modern Chinese history.

Innovative Partners: The Rockefeller Foundation and Thailand

Bill Becker explores the century-long relationship between the Foundation and Thailand.

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

Shira Robinson 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.

Other faculty publications

From Shame to Pride

Recently published journal articles, book chapters, and media contributions.

Marcy Norton receives Guggenheim Fellowship

Congratulations to Marcy Norton, who received the 2016-2017 Guggenheim Fellowship! The fellowship will support the completion of her upcoming book about the history of human-animal interactions in Western Europe and indigenous America between 1500 and 1800. Read more here.

History professors recognized at GW Faculty Honors Ceremony

Professors Denver Brunsman and Christopher Klemek were recognized at the GW Faculty Honors Ceremony on April 20. Professor Brunsman received the Bender Teaching Award while Professor Klemek received the Writing in the Disciplines Distinguished Teaching Award and the Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence. The annual Honors Ceremony recognizes a diverse group of talented GW faculty who have shown extraordinary dedication to teaching, scholarship, and the university. Congratulations to Professors Brunsman and Klemek on their outstanding achievements!

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.


Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Recent events have heightened concern among many about tolerance for diversity in American society and at GW in particular.  The strong feelings and fears that many in our community have voiced—and the accounts of deeply troubling incidents that are now part of our daily reading—must not simply be acknowledged; they must also be taken very seriously.
While the History Department does not take positions on matters of partisan politics, we are very insistent on matters of principle, including those enunciated in the University's Statement on Diversity and Inclusion: “Leveraging diversity is rarely achieved by accident. As individuals and as an institution, we must intentionally act to create the diverse and inclusive community that enables everyone to flourish. All members and units of the George Washington University community must advance the institution’s commitment to diversity and inclusion as a strategic priority.”  

I write now to affirm that statement and to assure you that the History Department remains dedicated to the principles of inclusiveness and tolerance; we see them as essential to the scholarly mission of the university.
If you have any particular concerns that you wish to bring to our attention, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I can be reached at  I also call your attention to the message from GW’s Vice Provost Caroline Laguerre-Brown, Office for Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement in which she says that members of our community should “know that we stand ready to support you with a variety of services should you need them." Her message contains a very helpful list of resources available to students on campus.

Katrin Schultheiss

Denver Brunsman teaches week-long course in São Paulo, Brazil


Professor Denver Brunsman traveled to São Paulo, Brazil as a visiting professor at São Paulo State University, Campus Franca. He gave the inaugural lecture entitled "Pirates vs. Press Gangs: The Battle for the Atlantic" to open a new term for the university's graduate program in history and also taught a week-long graduate course on "The American Revolution in Atlantic Context." 

Arie Dubnov Joins History Faculty

Professor Arie M. Dubnov joined the department in Spring 2017 as our new Associate Professor of History and Max Ticktin Chair of Israel Studies. Professor Dubnov is a historian of twentieth century Jewish and Israeli history, with emphasis on the history of political thought, the study of nationalism, decolonization and partition politics, and with a subsidiary interest in the history of Israeli popular culture. Prior to his arrival at GW, Dubnov taught at Stanford University and the University of Haifa. His current research project seeks to trace the genealogy of the idea of partition in the British interwar Imperial context, and to uncover other alternative, neglected federalist political schemes that were circulating at the time. Welcome, Professor Dubnov!

Read more about Professor Dubnov's work here.

Summer 2017 History Courses

Check out the Summer 2017 graduate and undergraduate history course offerings here. Students can now browse syllabi and course descriptions for upcoming classes.

History Department Announces National Park Service Research Grants

National Park Service logo


The Department of History welcomes applications for grants to fund research in the parks, archives, and collections of the National Capital Region of the National Park Service. The NPS Research Grants will be awarded in the amount of $250.00 to GW undergraduate and graduate students on a rolling basis during the spring semester and summer terms of 2017. The grants are made available through a generous donation by Frances Kennedy in memory of her husband Roger G. Kennedy, director of the National Park Service from 1993 to 1997. Submissions should be sent to Denver Brunsman ( More information and application here


Quadruple book launch honors Diane Cline, Dane Kennedy, and Andrew Zimmerman

The History Department hosted a quadruple book launch honoring the recent releases of Diane Cline's book The Greeks: An Illustrated History (National Geographic), Dane Kennedy's two publications, Decolonization: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press) and How Empire Shaped Us (Bloomsbury Publishing), and the new edition of  Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' book, The Civil War in the United States (International Publishers), edited by Andrew Zimmerman. Congratulations, Professors Cline, Kennedy, and Zimmerman, on these exciting achievements! 


Bernie Sanders Chief Strategist Tad Devine speaks to students about history and politics

Tad Devine, Chief Strategist for the Bernie Sanders for President campaign

Chief Strategist for the Bernie Sanders for President Campaign Tad Devine spoke on "How to Break into Politics with a Degree in History" on Wednesday, Nov. 2. He discussed the skillsets he learned as a history student and how they have served him throughout his 35-year career in political campaigns. 

Congratulations to our 2016 Undergraduate Departmental Prize Winners!

The 2016 Special Departmental Honors for Undergraduate Seniors in History are awarded to:

Peri Buch
James Fondin
Olivia Franklin
Nicholas Holy
Matthew Maresca
Michael Paganelli
William Roche
Caroline Sandri
Robert Wasserstein
Jacob Weber
Chance Williams


The Jesse Fant Evans Prize for Excellence in Contemporary History is awarded to Madeline Crispell, Robert Hansen, Emily Niekrasz, and Jennifer Sherman.

The Gardiner G. Hubbard Memorial Prize for Excellence in American History is awarded to Nicholas Holy, Matthew Maresca, and Edward Rickford.

The Thomas F. Walsh Prize for Best Essay in Irish History is awarded to Ross Berry and Caley Donovan. 

The Deixler/Swain Prizes for Best Undergraduate Theses are awarded as follows:

  • Honors Thesis in an American History topic - Olivia Franklin and Robert Wasserstein
  • Honors Thesis in a Non-American History topic - Caroline Sandri
  • Senior Thesis in an American History topic - Charlotte Prenn and Farieha Shah 

Congratulations, students!

Jisoo Kim earns GW a major grant from the Korean government

Five-Year grant will establish the GW Institute for Korean Studies

Professor Jisoo Kim's tireless efforts have resulted in GW's being awarded a major five-year Core University Grant by the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS), a division of the Ministry of Education, Republic of Korea. This grant will enable the university to establish the GW Institute for Korean Studies (GW-KIS). It will also fund conferences, workshops, lecture series, graduate fellowships, adjunct teaching, summer programs, Korean collection cataloging, staff support, and outreach. The new institute will be housed at the Elliott School. Thank you for making this incredible opportunity possible, Professor Kim!

Joel Blecher Joins History Faculty

Professor Joel Blecher joined the department in Fall 2016 as our new specialist in the History of Early and Medieval Islam.  Professor Blecher's current research focuses on the social and intellectual life of hadith commentary.  His book project, In the Shade of the Hadith: Islam and the Politics of Interpretation across a Millennium, finds that the meanings of hadith (the collected sayings of the prophet Muhammed) were shaped as much by commentators’ political, cultural and regional contexts as by the fine-grained intellectual debates that developed over long periods of time.  His next project, Profit and Prophecy: Islam and the Spice Trade from Venice to India, will explore how Muslim scholars and merchants in the Mamluk period (13th-15th centuries) mixed religion and business along trade and pilgrimage routes that stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Arabian Sea and beyond. In the fall, he will be teaching History 3801: The Formation of Islam to 1500. Welcome, Professor Blecher!

Read more about Professor Blecher's work here

Meet the Chair

Professor Katrin Schultheiss specializes in the history of modern France, gender and women's history, and the history of medicine.  She is currently finishing a book on the nineteenth century French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot, whose research on hysteria and hypnosis deeply influenced the work of Sigmund Freud.

Jennifer Bertolet receives 2017 Bender Teaching Award

Professor Jennifer Bertolet has been awarded a 2017 Morton A. Bender Teaching Excellence Award! The Bender Teaching Awards recognize undergraduate, graduate, and professional teaching at GW. Endowed by Morton Bender and the George Washington University, each award provides a $1,000 prize to be used by the recipient for professional development. Congratulations, Professor Bertolet!

Tyler Anbinder's new book receives rave reviews in Boston Globe!

Professor Tyler Anbinder's new book City of Dreams (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016) received rave reviews from the The Boston Globe! Check out the article here.

Italian immigrant family at Ellis Island (Getty Images)

PhD student Ben Young receives 2016-17 Fulbright Fellowship

PhD student Ben Young has been awarded a 2016-17 Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research in South Korea for his dissertation on "Globalizing the Korean Conflict: North and South Korean Competition in the Third World, 1965-1992." Congratulations, Ben!

PhD student Kate Densford receives 2016-17 Fulbright Fellowship

PhD student Kate Densford has been awarded a 2016-17 Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research in Austria and the Czech Republic for her dissertation on "The Collapse of Provincial Austria in the First World War." Congratulations, Kate!