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collaborative relationships with institutions throughout the region, students also have extraordinary access to historical documents at the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the National Security Archive and the Smithsonian Institution.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

Illustration of Tyler Anbinder, Leslie Harris, and Annie Polland

How the Tenement Museum Got a New Tenant

As one of two historians who consulted the Tenement Museum's new exhibition, "A Union of Hope," Professor Tyler Anbinder took a tour of the recently completed project. 

Quito Swan Headshot

Quito J. Swan Brings Global Links to Africana Studies

As the new director of the CCAS Africana Studies Program, Swan strives to make connections—across disciplines, movements and oceans.

History doctoral candidate and U.S. Marine veteran A.J. Cade.

History Restored: The Untold Story of Black Civil War Soldiers

History Ph.D. candidate and Marine veteran A.J. Cade was inspired by a forgotten Civil War regiment of all-Black soldiers and officers. Now, he’s bringing their legacy to life.

Robot in front of blackboard

Artificial Intelligence Is Here to Stay, so We Should Think more about It

Professor Katrin Schultheiss has taken the lead at GW in thinking about the implications of artificial intelligence for the college classroom.


Faculty Books

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.

To Trust the People with Arms book cover

To Trust the People with Arms: The Supreme Court and the Second Amendment

To Trust the People with Arms explores the remarkable and complex legal history of how the right to bear arms was widely accepted during the nation's founding, was near extinction in the late...

Book cover for The Multiracial Promise

The Multiracial Promise: Harold Washington's Chicago and the Democratic Struggle in Reagan's America

Drawing on a rich array of archives and oral history interviews, Gordon K. Mantler offers a bold reexamination of the Harold Washington movement and moment.