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Meet The GW Historical Review, our first Undergraduate Journal

The History Department is proud to announce a student-led effort to create an undergraduate journal has been approved! Submissions for the Fall 2017 Edition of the newly created The GW Historical Review will be accepted from GW undergraduate students and recent graduates. For more information about this exciting new endeavor and paper requirements, click here.


Senior Daniel Howlett digitally publishes groundbreaking Salem Witch Trial research as a website

Graduating senior Daniel Howlett has conducted groundbreaking research on the Salem Witch Trials over more than three years of work. He graphed the residents of Salem and their interactions with one another through Salem court records from 1692 to 1693. He has identified 1,460 people and 9,870 unique relationships.and published them on his website, Salem Networks.

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Figure created by graduating senior Daniel Howlett in his Honors Thesis

Tyler Anbinder wins Mark Lynton History Prize

Tyler Anbinder's book, City of Dreams: The 400-Year Epic History of Immigrant New York, has been awarded the Mark Lynton History Prize of the Columbia University School of Journalism. Congratulations, Professor Anbinder!

City of Dreams by Tyler Anbinder

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! 



2017-2018 Officers Announced!

The 2017-2018 Phi Alpha Theta Officers have been elected! 

President: Samuel Pfister (B.A. '18, M.A. '19)

Vice President: Annabel LaBrecque (B.A. '19)

Director of Communications: Kate White (B.A. '17, M.A. '19)

Secretaries: Isabella Bucchi (B.A. '19), Alexandria Canon (B.A. '20)

Treasurer: Joseph Hillman (B.A. '19)

Historian: Anayeli Nuñez (B.A. '19)

Director of Membership: Ali Dielmann (B.A. '19)

Interested in joining the Historical Review?

Interested in joining the editorial board of our undergraduate journal, the GW Historical Review? Applications for 2018-2019 position of editor are now open! Click here for more information on how to apply.

Kayser Lecture: Hoover, GWU, and the Birth of the Modern FBI

Kayser Lecture flyer

Historian Beverly Gage of Yale University will deliver a lecture on "J. Edgar Hoover, George Washington University, and the Birth of the Modern FBI." Please join us on Thursday, March 29 at 4 pm at the George Washington Museum. Please RSVP here.

Faculty wins multiple awards!

We're proud to announce that 6 members of our faculty have won awards over the last month!

Congratulations to the following faculty for their awards from GW and the American Council of Learned Societies


Prof. Denver Brunsman has won the 2018 Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Prize for Teaching Excellence

Prof. Diane Cline has won the 2018 Morton A. Bender Teaching Award


Katharine White (Ph.D. '18) has won the 2018 Philip J. Amsterdam Graduate Teaching Award


Prof. Dina Khoury has been awarded a 2018-19 ACLSFellowship for her book project, "Who is a migrant laborer? Migration and Documentation in the Persian Gulf."


Prof. Joel Blecher  has been awarded an ACLS Fellowship for his book project, Profit and Prophecy: Islam and the Spice Trade from Venice to India.  This is Joel's second major external award this year (he also received an NEH fellowship).


Prof. Erin Chapman has been awarded a 2018-19 ACLS Fellowship for her book project, The Truth Demands Its Own Equals: The Art and Activism of Lorraine Hansberry

Joel Blecher Wins 2018-19 NEH Fellowship!

Congratulations to Prof. Blecher! He has been awarded a year-long fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to conduct research for his new book project, Profit and ProphecyIslam and the Spice Trade from Venice to India.  Profit and Prophecy retells the story of the spice trade through the eyes of medieval Muslim scholars, merchants, and scholar-merchants who mixed religion and business along pilgrimage routes and port cities that stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean. The study has the potential to teach us a great deal about the history of globalization and the complex relationship between religion, religious networks, and economics.If this sounds interesting (which it certainly is) to you, consider reading Blecher's piece for the Atlantic on the evolution of Hadith commentary. If you want to read more about other projects that have won the award, click here.

Professor Peter Klaren is honored by the Peruvian Government

Peter Klaren and Sara Castro-Klaren are honored.jpg

Professor emeritus Peter Klaren and Dr. Sara Castro-Klaren were awarded the Decoration of the Order "El Sol del Perú" in the Degree of "Comendador," the highest honor bestowed by the government of Peru. In presenting the award, the ambassador of Peru, Carlos Pareja, cited Prof. Klaren and Dr. Castro-Klaren's important contributions to scholarship on the history and literature of Peru, as well as their efforts to promote understanding about Peruvian culture in the U.S.

Congratulations professor Klaren for the great work!

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

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 [email protected].

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Sara Matthiesen joins the History Department!

Matthiesen, Sara

Sara Matthiesen works on modern U.S. history, with an emphasis on gender, race, sexuality, and reproduction after 1945. Her current book, Reproduction Reconceived (University of California Press), examines battles over the right to family making since the 1970s. This project traces a number of debates between activists and public institutions in order to understand how family making was reconceptualized as a choice by the end of the 20th century. Matthiesen has taught courses on the history of reproductive politics, the history of criminal sexualities, feminist theory, and critical legal theory. Prior to joining the faculty at George Washington she was a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University. Matthiesen also teaches in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at The George Washington University.

Joel Blecher discovers new source on the evolution of Islam

Joel Blecher

Professor Joel Blecher's research has led him to find an early draft of Ibn Hajar's Fath al-Bari, one of the most important Sunni commentaries on hadith. Dated 1419, the early draft of the manuscript shows significant differences from the final copy completed 20 years later. Professor Blecher's research shows that interpretations of  hadith continued to change and evolve even over the course of Ibn Hajar's life and that Islam "can't be reduced to a single sacred book, frozen in time." Instead, "it's a dynamic and complex tradition that was continually revised and re-revised over many lifetimes, and even within a single lifetime." The broader implications of Professor Blecher's discovery are detailed in The Atlantic, here. The original study, published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Near Eastern Studies, is available to the public, here.


Alumnus creates new annual scholarship for GW History Department

 Ron and Gail Denham
Ron Denham (Class of '67) and his wife Gail

The History Department is pleased to announce the creation of the Dr. Charles Herber Annual Scholarship. This scholarship, supported by alumnus Ron Denham '67, will be awarded to an undergraduate majoring in History with a preference for a student who is the first in their family to attend college. Providing this scholarship will help alleviate some of the financial strains facing our students, allowing the recipient to more thoroughly engage in the History curriculum and pursue their academic interests.

Dr. Charles Herber, Associate Professor Emeritus of History and International Affairs, has instilled lifelong learning in countless of his students. We are privileged to receive this support on behalf of our students and in honor of Dr. Charles Herber and his years of dedication to his students and the department.

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! 

        The Civil War in America, edited by Andrew Zimmerman

Jisoo Kim earns GW a major grant from the Korean government

Jisoo M Kim

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!

Meet the Chair

Katrin Schultheiss

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. MEDIA CREDIT: HATCHET FILE PHOTO BY DAN RICH | PHOTO EDITOR

Why study history?

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. Diane Cline wins CCAS Prize for Teaching!

Diane Harris Cline

Dr. Diane Cline, professor of History and Classics, won the 2016-2017 CCAS Columbian Prize for Teaching and Mentoring Undergraduate students! The Columbian Prize is an incredibly competitive award open to all faculty and is only given to one professor each year who "demonstrates excellence in the teaching and mentoring of advanced undergraduate students." Congratulations Professor Cline on doing such a great job!

2016-17 Graduate Student Awards

Congratulations to our graduate student prize winners!

Herber Prize for Excellence in Graduate Student Instruction - Robert Isaacson

Herber Prize for Best Teaching Assistant - Brittany Lewis

Sachar Prize for Best Graduate Research Paper - Kieran O'Keefe, "The Loyalists of Newburgh, New York"

Kayser Prize for Best MA Thesis - Ashley Somawang, "A Russian Mennonite Nation in Ukraine, 1917-1926:  The Public Sphere and Strategies of Differentiation in a World of Coeval National Imaginings"

Andrew Zimmerman receives John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship

Andrew Zimmerman was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship for his current book project, Conjuring Freedom: A Global History of the American Civil War. Read more here.

Andrew Zimmerman

Jennifer Bertolet receives 2017 Bender Teaching Award

Jennifer Bertolet

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!

Recent faculty books

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.

Innovative Partners: The Rockefeller Foundation and Thailand

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

The Greeks, An Illustrated History

On the culture that brought us democracy, the Olympics, Socrates, and Alexander the Great, Professor Diane Cline's lavishly illustrated reference,

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.

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.

The Scientific Revolution in Global Perspective

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

Other faculty publications

From Shame to Pride

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