Examining the Past to
Understand the Future

Studying history through today's lens

Who We Are


With an unparalleled location in the nation's capital, award-winning faculty and access to some of the most important research repositories in the world, the GW Department of History offers an ideal platform from which to explore our past. Undergraduate and graduate students are exposed to a diversity of topics, from the Africa diaspora to the Cold War, from imperialism to urbanization, from the founding of Islam to Jewish history, from race relations to labor, law and politics. Students graduate with the knowledge and analytical tools necessary for success in a wide range of careers.


Where We Are

the national mall

The Washington, D.C., area offers a front-row seat to history. Students are immersed in their surroundings through trips to museums, battlefields and historical sites including the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Jamestown Settlement, the Gettysburg Battlefield, the Society of the Cincinnati and George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.

Through the department's collaborative relationships with institutions throughout the region, students also have extraordinary access to historical documents at the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the National Security Archive and the Smithsonian Institution.

News and Events


Max Skidelsky

"Thanks to the History Department, I was able to learn fascinating subjects, conduct important research, conference with knowledgeable and attentive professors, and graduate feeling prepared for the future as a historian."

Max Skidelsky
BA '20

 History by the Numbers

100+ students in the major


50+ students in the minor


~40 full-time faculty members


Our Highlights 


Department Headlines

Diane Harris Cline

New Endowment Memorializes Beloved Professor’s Impact

History and Classics’ Professor Diane Harris Cline was remembered as a devoted educator. A gift honoring her legacy will aid students.


Professor Kim Selected as Harvard Radcliffe Fellow

History Professor Jisoo M. Kim will be part of the 25th anniversary class of fellows.


Revolutionary Tales: Demetrius Apostolis’ Pride is Full Speed Ahead

Demetrius Apostolis, a History major and president of GW's Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society chapter, is a member and ally of GW's LGBTQIA+ community.

An 1850 illustration depicts Irish immigrants sailing to the U.S. on an overcrowded ship during the potato famine.

History Detectives: Following the Lives of Potato Famine Immigrants

For a decade, History’s Tyler Anbinder and his student researchers dug through 100 years of long-lost bank records from Irish immigrants. What they found rewrote a historical tale.


Faculty Books

Book cover for Weapons in Space by Aaron Bateman

Weapons in Space: Technology, Politics, and the Rise and Fall of the Strategic Defense Initiative

In Weapons in Space, Aaron Bateman draws from recently declassified American, European, and Soviet documents to give an insightful account of the SDI.

Book cover for Plentiful Country

Plentiful Country: The Great Potato Famine and the Making of Irish New York

Acclaimed historian Tyler Anbinder presents for the first time the Famine generation’s individual and collective tales of struggle, perseverance, and triumph.

Book cover for Mungo Park's Ghost

Mungo Park's Ghost: The Haunted Hubris of British Explorers in Nineteenth-Century Africa

Telling the full story of two failed British expeditions for the first time, Dane Kennedy argues that they provide fresh insight into British ambitions in Africa.

Book cover of The Tarikh-i Ḥamidi

The Tarikh-i Ḥamidi: A Late-Qing Uyghur History

The Tarikh-i Ḥamidi is an epic and tragic history from the region of Xinjiang in northwest China, the homeland of the Muslim-majority Uyghur people.