Graduate Program

The History PhD

The graduate program in history at Washington University is committed to promoting innovative research and preparing students for academic careers. Although the department offers doctoral training in any historical specialization covered by a tenured faculty member, it specializes in the history of African History, American Political Culture; Central Europe: Ideas, Culture and Society, Early Modern Europe, East Asia, International Urban History, Middle East, Religion in the Medieval Mediterranean World, 17th through 19th-Century America: State and Society and Slavery and Freedom in National and Transnational Contexts, Human Rights and Social Justice in the Modern U.S. These core fields draw on the expertise of substantial segments of the faculty and provide significant opportunities for innovative graduate study that bridges conventional historical fields and fosters interdisciplinary research.

The graduate program admits only a small number of graduate students each year to promote a close working relationship between students and faculty. We invite applications from mature and self-directed students with well-defined research interests. Our seminars are small and flexible, and we encourage students to develop creative, self-tailored programs of doctoral study. The History department funds most doctoral candidates for six years at highly competitive levels and is committed to providing additional financial resources to support advanced research.

Our graduates are accomplished professionals in academia, private high schools, non-profits, business, and the public sector.

Fully-Funded Program

WashU provides excellent financial support for the PhD program, including funding for the first six years of graduate study and teacher training.

More about graduate funding

R. W. Davis Travel Grant

Awarded on a competitive basis and subject to the limits of department resources, this funding allows students to present papers at academic conferences.

More about R. W. Davis Travel Grants

Professional Travel Grants

Support for graduate students’ professional development through participation in appropriate conferences, where they may learn of the latest research in their field and make contact with scholars at other institutions. This funding is awarded on a competitive basis and subject to the limits of department resources.

More about professional travel grants

Goldschmidt Research and Language Grants

Support for graduate research and professional development through research-related activities that contribute to the student’s intellectual and academic development. The History Department also supports graduate research by providing funds for summer programs that offer intensive instruction in languages essential to a student’s professional development

More about Goldschmidt grants

applying to the program

The deadline for applying to the PhD program is December 31 for the following academic year. Supported by a relatively small research-focused department, the graduate program admits a limited number of graduate students each year. This low faculty to student ratio allows for a close working relationship between graduate students and their faculty advisors.

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Financial Support

The department endeavors to provide financial support to all students. At present this support normally covers the first six years of graduate study, provided the student is making satisfactory progress toward the Ph.D. as determined by an annual review by the graduate committee. Occasionally, students may be admitted who receive no support or only tuition remission during their first year; they may be awarded more substantial grants in subsequent years.

Except for those who plan some career other than teaching, all doctoral students, regardless of financial support, are normally expected to participate for two years in the department's program of training in teaching.

Learn more about grants and prizes

the faculty bookshelf

Life and Death in a Venetian Convent
Prurient Interests
I Will Not Eat Stone
Women in African Colonial Histories
A Science for the Soul
Fashioning Africa: Power and the Politics of Dress
Tongnaab: The History of a West African God
The German Discovery of the World
When Empire Comes Home
Empires of the Imagination
Medieval Christianity
Formování českého židovstva
Languages of Community
The Louisiana Purchase
The Nation's Crucible
The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245-1246
The Sea of Learning
Florence and Beyond
America's Struggle with Empire: A Documentary History
A Most Holy War
William Clark's World
Dominion: England and its Island Neighbours, 1500-1707
Andrew Marvell, Orphan of the Hurricane
The Limits of Tolerance: Indian Secularism and the Politics of Religious Freedom
Citizenship in Cold War America: The National Security State and the Possibilities of Dissent
"Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia"
William James: Psychical Research and the Challenge of Modernity
Jah Kingdom: Rastafarians, Tanzania, and Pan-Africanism in the Age of Decolonization
A City Consumed
What So Proudly We Hailed
City of American Dreams: A History of Home Ownership and Housing Reform in Chicago, 1871-1919 (Historical Studies of Urban America)
Eating Nature in Modern Germany: Food, Agriculture and Environment, ca 1870-2000
Freedom's Ballot: African American Political Struggles in Chicago from Abolition to the Great Migration
Messianic beliefs and imperial politics in medieval Islam : the ʻAbbāsid caliphate in the early ninth century
The Second British Empire: In the Crucible of the Twentieth Century
Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage
Upriver Journeys: Diaspora and Empire in Southern China, 1570-1850
Organic Resistance: The Struggle over Industrial Farming in Postwar France

Life and Death in a Venetian Convent

These works by Sister Bartolomea Riccoboni offer an intimate portrait of the women who inhabited the Venetian convent of Corpus Domini, where they shared a religious life bounded physically by the convent wall and organized temporally by the rhythms of work and worship. At the same time, they show how this cloistered community vibrated with news of the great ecclesiastical events of the day, such as the Great Western Schism and the Council of Constance.

Prurient Interests

Debate about what constitutes obscenity and how—if at all—it should be regulated has been at the center of the "culture wars" of the past two decades. While literature abounds on the contemporary politics of obscenity, there has been little inquiry into the historic origins of these issues. Focusing on New York City in the first half of the twentieth century, Andrea Friedman's Prurient Interests considers the ways in which the evolution of obscenity debates in decades past has significantly affected today's controversies. 

I Will Not Eat Stone

Focusing on conjugal production and reproduction in colonial Asante, this text seeks to understand how broader social and economic factors - cash cropping, trade, monetization of the economy, British rule and Christian missions - recast the terms of domestic struggle and how ordinary men and women negotiated an ever-shifting landscape. By centring their analysis on Asante women, the authors provide building blocks for constructing a broader social history of a society whose past has largely been understood in terms of the state, political evolution, trade, and the careers of political elites. Based primarily upon the recollections of Asante men and women born during the years 1900 to 1925, the volume reconstructs and preserves for future generations the resiliency and tenacity of a generation of Asante women and their struggles to assert and defend economic autonomy.

Women in African Colonial Histories

How did African women negotiate the complex political, economic, and social forces of colonialism in their daily lives? How did they make meaningful lives for themselves in a world that challenged fundamental notions of work, sexuality, marriage, motherhood, and family? By considering the lives of ordinary African women—farmers, queen mothers, midwives, urban dwellers, migrants, and political leaders—in the context of particular colonial conditions at specific places and times, Women in African Colonial Histories challenges the notion of a homogeneous "African women’s experience." While recognizing the inherent violence and brutality of the colonial encounter, the essays in this lively volume show that African women were not simply the hapless victims of European political rule. Innovative use of primary sources, including life histories, oral narratives, court cases, newspapers, colonial archives, and physical evidence, attests that African women’s experiences defy static representation. Readers at all levels will find this an important contribution to ongoing debates in African women’s history and African colonial history.

A Science for the Soul

In A Science for the Soul, historian Corinna Treitel explores the appeal and significance of German occultism in all its varieties between the 1870s and the 1940s, locating its dynamism in the nation's struggle with modernization and the public's dissatisfaction with scientific materialism. Occultism, Treitel notes, served as a bridge between traditional religious beliefs and the values of an increasingly scientific, secular, and liberal society. Drawing on a wealth of archival materials, Treitel describes the individuals and groups who participated in the occult movement, reconstructs their organizational history, and examines the economic and social factors responsible for their success.

Fashioning Africa: Power and the Politics of Dress

Everywhere in the world there is a close connection between the clothes we wear and our political expression. To date, few scholars have explored what clothing means in 20th-century Africa and the diaspora. In Fashioning Africa, an international group of anthropologists, historians, and art historians bring rich and diverse perspectives to this fascinating topic. From clothing as an expression of freedom in early colonial Zanzibar to Somali women’s headcovering in inner-city Minneapolis, these essays explore the power of dress in African and pan-African settings. Nationalist and diasporic identities, as well as their histories and politics, are examined at the level of what is put on the body every day. Readers interested in fashion history, material and expressive cultures, understandings of nation-state styles, and expressions of a distinctive African modernity will be engaged by this interdisciplinary and broadly appealing volume.

Tongnaab: The History of a West African God

For many Africanist historians, traditional religion is simply a starting point for measuring the historic impact of Christianity and Islam. In Tongnaab, Jean Allman and John Parker challenge the distinction between tradition and modernity by tracing the movement and mutation of the powerful Talensi god and ancestor shrine, Tongnaab, from the savanna of northern Ghana through the forests and coastal plains of the south. Using a wide range of written, oral, and iconographic sources, Allman and Parker uncover the historical dynamics of cross-cultural religious belief and practice. They reveal how Tongnaab has been intertwined with many themes and events in West African history―the slave trade, colonial conquest and rule, capitalist agriculture and mining, labor migration, shifting ethnicities, the production of ethnographic knowledge, and the political projects that brought about the modern nation state. This rich and original book shows that indigenous religion has been at the center of dramatic social and economic changes stretching from the slave trade to the tourist trade.

The German Discovery of the World

Current historiography suggests that European nations regarded the New World as an inassimilable "other" that posed fundamental challenges to the accepted ideas of Renaissance culture. The German Discovery of the World presents a new interpretation that emphasizes the ways in which the new lands and peoples in Africa, Asia, and the Americas were imagined as comprehensible and familiar. In chapters dedicated to travel narratives, cosmography, commerce, and medical botany, Johnson examines how existing ideas and methods were deployed to make German commentators experts in the overseas world, and how this incorporation established the discoveries as new and important intellectual, commercial, and scientific developments.

Written in an engaging and accessible style, this book brings to light the dynamic world of the German Renaissance, in which humanists, cartographers, reformers, politicians, botanists, and merchants appropriated the Portuguese and Spanish expeditions to the East and West Indies for their own purposes and, in so doing, reshaped their world.

When Empire Comes Home

Following the end of World War II in Asia, the Allied powers repatriated over six million Japanese nationals from colonies and battlefields throughout Asia and deported more than a million colonial subjects from Japan to their countries of origin. Lori Watt analyzes how the human remnants of empire, those who were moved and those who were left behind, served as sites of negotiation in the process of the jettisoning of the colonial project and in the creation of new national identities in Japan. Through an exploration of the creation and uses of the figure of the repatriate, in political, social, and cultural realms, this study addresses the question of what happens when empire comes home.

Empires of the Imagination

Empires of the Imagination takes the Louisiana Purchase as a point of departure for a compelling new discussion of the interaction between France and the United States. In addition to offering the first substantive synthesis of this transatlantic relationship, the essays collected here offer new interpretations on themes vital to the subject, ranging from political culture to intercultural contact to ethnic identity. They capture the cultural breadth of the territories encompassed by the Louisiana Purchase, exploring not only French and Anglo-American experiences, but also those of Native Americans and African Americans.

Medieval Christianity

The fourth volume in A People's History of Christianity series accents the astounding range of cultural and religious experience within medieval Christianity and the ways in which religious life structured all aspects of the daily lives of ordinary Christians. With ranking scholars from the U.S. and the Continent, this volume explores rituals of birth and death, daily parish life, lay-clerical relations, and relations with Jews and Muslims through a thousand years and many lands. 

Formování českého židovstva

Společnost a kultura v českých zemích procházely na přelomu 19. století proměnami, jež navždy změnily podobu českého židovstva. Vyostřený etnický nacionalismus a demografické tlaky vedly ke druhé židovské modernizaci a ke dvěma velkým experimentům - k "českožidovskému hnutí" a "pražskému sionismu". Tato dvě hnutí, ačkoliv podstatně protichůdná, si byla v některých ohledech pozoruhodně podobná. Autor sleduje jejich osudy a ukazuje, v čem předjímala chování Židů ve 20. století a židovskou kulturní adaptaci v prvních letech nové československé republiky. Kniha polemizuje s převládající představou o pražském a českém židovstvu jako baště německé kultury a politického liberalismu v nepřátelském slovanském světě. Formování českého židovstva patří k základním textům moderní historiografie židovstva.

Languages of Community

With a keen eye for revealing details, Hillel J. Kieval examines the contours and distinctive features of Jewish experience in the lands of Bohemia and Moravia (the present-day Czech Republic), from the late eighteenth to the late twentieth century. In the Czech lands, Kieval writes, Jews have felt the need constantly to define and articulate the nature of group identity, cultural loyalty, memory, and social cohesiveness, and the period of "modernizing" absolutism, which began in 1780, brought changes of enormous significance. From that time forward, new relationships with Gentile society and with the culture of the state blurred the traditional outlines of community and individual identity. Kieval navigates skillfully among histories and myths as well as demography, biography, culture, and politics, illuminating the maze of allegiances and alliances that have molded the Jewish experience during these 200 years.

The Louisiana Purchase

The Louisiana Purchase combines documents and analytical essays timed for the bicentennial year in 2003. This timely collection will explain how and why the United States acquired the massive territory that more than doubled the size of the country, the profound social and political changes that came in the wake of the Purchase, its impact on such far reaching topics like the Constitution, slavery, federalism, political behavior, nation building, transportation, the media, and global affairs, and how major historical figures like Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and James Madison, were influenced by the Purchase.

The Nation's Crucible

In 1803 the United States purchased Louisiana from France. This seemingly simple acquisition brought with it an enormous new territory as well as the country's first large population of non-naturalized Americans - Native Americans, African Americans, and Francophone residents. What would become of those people dominated national affairs in the years that followed. This book chronicles that contentious period from 1803 to 1821, years during which people proposed numerous visions of the future for Louisiana and the United States. The Louisiana Purchase proved to be the crucible of American nationhood, Peter Kastor argues. The incorporation of Louisiana was among the most important tasks for a generation of federal policymakers. It also transformed the way people defined what it meant to be an American.

The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245-1246

Mark Gregory Pegg builds a richly textured understanding of social life in southern France in the early thirteenth century. The Corruption of Angels shows how heretical and orthodox beliefs flourished side by side and, more broadly, what life was like in one particular time and place. Pegg's passionate and beautifully written evocation of a medieval world will fascinate a diverse readership within and beyond the academy.

The Sea of Learning

In 1817 a Cantonese scholar was mocked in Beijing as surprisingly learned for someone from the boondocks; in 1855 another Cantonese scholar boasted of the flourishing of literati culture in his home region. Not without reason, the second man pointed to the Xuehaitang (Sea of Learning Hall) as the main factor in the upsurge of learning in the Guangzhou area. Founded in the 1820s by the eminent scholar-official Ruan Yuan, the Xuehaitang was indeed one of the premier academies of the nineteenth century.

The celebratory discourse that portrayed the Xuehaitang as having radically altered literati culture in Guangzhou also legitimated the academy’s place in Guangzhou and Guangzhou’s place as a cultural center in the Qing empire. This study asks: Who constructed this discourse and why? And why did some Cantonese elites find this discourse compelling while others did not? To answer these questions, Steven Miles looks beyond intellectual history to local social and cultural history. Arguing that the academy did not exist in a scholarly vacuum, Miles contends that its location in the city of Guangzhou and the Pearl River Delta embedded it in social settings and networks that determined who utilized its resources and who celebrated its successes and values.

Florence and Beyond

This volume celebrates John M. Najemy and his contributions to the study of Florentine and Italian Renaissance history. Over the last three decades, his books and articles on Florentine politics and political thought have substantially revised the narratives and contours of these fields. They have also provided a framework into which he has woven innovative new threads that have emerged in Renaissance social and cultural history. Presented by his many students and friends, the essays aim to highlight his varied interests and to suggest where they may point for future studies of Florence and, indeed, beyond.

America's Struggle with Empire: A Documentary History

Drawing from a wide range of primary sources, this fascinating new reference brings unparalleled focus to the history of U.S. attempts to govern foreign territories and noncitizens. With the help of introductory essays and explanatory headnotes, the volume examines how these encounters have been viewed by Americans, and how they have shaped the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world. The volume explores how a democratic republic that proclaims a commitment to personal and national independence has gone about governing foreign territory and foreign people.

A Most Holy War

In A Most Holy War, historian Mark Pegg has produced a swift-moving, gripping narrative of this horrific crusade, drawing in part on thousands of testimonies collected by inquisitors in the years 1235 to 1245. These accounts of ordinary men and women, remembering what it was like to live through such brutal times, bring the story vividly to life. Pegg argues that generations of historians (and novelists) have misunderstood the crusade; they assumed it was a war against the Cathars, the most famous heretics of the Middle Ages. The Cathars, Pegg reveals, never existed. He further shows how a millennial fervor about "cleansing" the world of heresy, coupled with a fear that Christendom was being eaten away from within by heretics who looked no different than other Christians, made the battles, sieges, and massacres of the crusade almost apocalyptic in their cruel intensity. In responding to this fear with a holy genocidal war, Innocent III fundamentally changed how Western civilization dealt with individuals accused of corrupting society. This fundamental change, Pegg argues, led directly to the creation of the inquisition, the rise of an anti-Semitism dedicated to the violent elimination of Jews, and even the holy violence of the Reconquista in Spain and in the New World in the fifteenth century. All derive their divinely sanctioned slaughter from the Albigensian Crusade.

William Clark's World

William Clark, co-captain of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, devoted his adult life to describing the American West. But this task raised a daunting challenge: how best to bring an unknown continent to life for the young republic? Through Clark's life and career, this book explores how the West entered the American imagination. While he never called himself a writer or an artist, Clark nonetheless drew maps, produced books, drafted reports, surveyed landscapes, and wrote journals that made sense of the West for a new nation fascinated by the region’s potential but also fearful of its dangers. William Clark’s World presents a new take on the manifest destiny narrative and on the way the West took shape in the national imagination in the early nineteenth century.

Dominion: England and its Island Neighbours, 1500-1707

Dominion: England and its Island Neighbours c.1500-1707 is a rich narrative history of England's increasing dominance over the cluster of territories that became known as the British Isles. It brings alive a period and a geography remarkable for repeated religious wars and a long colonial struggle as well as for London's emergence as a political, economic, and cultural hub. While Dominion concentrates on English actions and purposes, it pays careful attention to interactions in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and to the pressures of European competition. It does so by drawing on the vibrant recent scholarship of the separate nations and considerable primary research, and also on the language of the actors, from Henry VIII and Elizabeth, Spenser and Shakespeare, to Oliver Cromwell and John Milton. 

Andrew Marvell, Orphan of the Hurricane

Andrew Marvell, Orphan of the Hurricane studies the poetry and polemics of one of the greatest of early modern writers, a poet of immense lyric talent and political importance. The book situates these writings and this writer within the patronage networks and political upheavals of mid seventeenth-century England. Derek Hirst and Steven Zwicker track Marvell's negotiations among personalities and events; explores his idealizations, attachments, and subversions, and speculate on the meaning of the narratives that he told of himself within his writings -- what they call his 'imagined life'. Hirst and Zwicker draw the figure of an imagined life from the repeated traces Marvell left of lyric yearning and satiric anger, and suggest how these were rooted both in the body and in the imagination. 

The Limits of Tolerance: Indian Secularism and the Politics of Religious Freedom

This book provides a critical history of the distinctive tradition of Indian secularism known as Tolerance. Since it was first advanced by Mohandas Gandhi, the Tolerance ideal has measured secularism and civil religiosity by contrast with proselytizing religion. In India today, it informs debates over how the right to religious freedom should be interpreted on the subcontinent. Not only has Tolerance been an important political ideal in India since the early twentieth century; the framing assumptions of Tolerance permeate historical understandings among scholars of South Asian religion and politics. 

Citizenship in Cold War America: The National Security State and the Possibilities of Dissent

In the wake of 9/11, many Americans have deplored the dangers to liberty posed by a growing surveillance state. In this book, Andrea Friedman moves beyond the standard security/liberty dichotomy, weaving together often forgotten episodes of early Cold War history to reveal how the obsession with national security enabled dissent and fostered new imaginings of democracy. 

"Pioneers and Partisans: An Oral History of Nazi Genocide in Belorussia"

Through oral histories with several survivors, video testimonies, and memoirs, Anika Walke reveals the crucial roles of age and gender in the ways young Jews survived and remembered the Nazi genocide, and shows how shared experiences of trauma facilitated community building within and beyond national groups.

Pioneers and Partisans uncovers the repeated transformations of identity that Soviet Jewish children and adolescents experienced, from Soviet citizens in the prewar years, to a target of genocidal violence during the war, to a barely accepted national minority in the postwar Soviet Union.

William James: Psychical Research and the Challenge of Modernity

In this insightful new book on the remarkable William James, the American psychologist and philosopher, Krister Dylan Knapp provides the first deeply historical and acutely analytical account of James's psychical research. While showing that James always maintained a critical stance toward claims of paranormal phenomena like spiritualism, Knapp uses new sources to argue that psychical research held a strikingly central position in James’s life. It was crucial to his familial and professional relationships, the fashioning of his unique intellectual disposition, and the shaping of his core doctrines, especially the will-to-believe, empiricism, fideism, and theories of the subliminal consciousness and immortality.

Jah Kingdom: Rastafarians, Tanzania, and Pan-Africanism in the Age of Decolonization

From its beginnings in 1930s Jamaica, the Rastafarian movement has become a global presence. While the existing studies of the Rastafarian movement have primarily focused on its cultural expression through reggae music, art, and iconography, Monique A. Bedasse argues that repatriation to Africa represents the most important vehicle of Rastafari’s international growth. Shifting the scholarship on repatriation from Ethiopia to Tanzania, Bedasse foregrounds Rastafari’s enduring connection to black radical politics and establishes Tanzania as a critical site to explore gender, religion, race, citizenship, socialism, and nation. Beyond her engagement with how the Rastafarian idea of Africa translated into a lived reality, she demonstrates how Tanzanian state and nonstate actors not only validated the Rastafarian idea of diaspora but were also crucial to defining the parameters of Pan-Africanism.

A City Consumed

Though now remembered as an act of anti-colonial protest leading to the Egyptian military coup of 1952, the Cairo Fire that burned through downtown stores and businesses appeared to many at the time as an act of urban self-destruction and national suicide. The logic behind this latter view has now been largely lost. Offering a revised history, Nancy Reynolds looks to the decades leading up to the fire to show that the lines between foreign and native in city space and commercial merchandise were never so starkly drawn.

What So Proudly We Hailed

What So Proudly We Hailed looks at the War of 1812 in part through the lens of today's America. On the bicentennial of that formative yet largely forgotten period in U.S. history, this provocative book asks: What did Americans learn—and not learn—from the experience? What instructive parallels and distinctions can be drawn with more recent events? How did it shape the nation?

City of American Dreams: A History of Home Ownership and Housing Reform in Chicago, 1871-1919 (Historical Studies of Urban America)

In this vivid portrait of life in Chicago in the fifty years after the Civil War, Margaret Garb traces the history of the American celebration of home ownership. As the nation moved from an agrarian to an industrialized urban society, the competing visions of capitalists, reformers, and immigrants turned the urban landscape into a testing ground for American values. Neither a natural progression nor an inevitable outcome, the ideal of home ownership emerged from the struggles of industrializing cities. Garb skillfully narrates these struggles, showing how the American infatuation with home ownership left the nation’s cities sharply divided along class and racial lines. 

Eating Nature in Modern Germany: Food, Agriculture and Environment, ca 1870-2000

Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian and the Dachau concentration camp had an organic herb garden. Vegetarianism, organic farming, and other such practices have enticed a wide variety of Germans, from socialists, liberals, and radical anti-Semites in the nineteenth century to fascists, communists, and Greens in the twentieth century. Corinna Treitel offers a fascinating new account of how Germans became world leaders in developing more 'natural' ways to eat and farm. Used to conserve nutritional resources with extreme efficiency at times of hunger and to optimize the nation's health at times of nutritional abundance, natural foods and farming belong to the biopolitics of German modernity. Eating Nature in Modern Germany brings together histories of science, medicine, agriculture, the environment, and popular culture to offer the most thorough and historically comprehensive treatment yet of this remarkable story.

Freedom's Ballot: African American Political Struggles in Chicago from Abolition to the Great Migration

Freedom’s Ballot is the history of three generations of African American activists―the ministers, professionals, labor leaders, clubwomen, and entrepreneurs―who transformed twentieth-century urban politics. This is a complex and important story of how black political power was institutionalized in Chicago in the half-century following the Civil War. Margaret Garb explores the social and political fabric of Chicago, revealing how the physical makeup of the city was shaped by both political corruption and racial empowerment―in ways that can still be seen and felt today.

Messianic beliefs and imperial politics in medieval Islam : the ʻAbbāsid caliphate in the early ninth century

Messianic Beliefs and Imperial Politics in Medieval Islam analyzes the role of Muslim messianic and apocalyptic beliefs in the development of the 'Abbasid Caliphate to highlight connections between charismatic authority and institutional developments in the early ninth century. Hayrettin Yücesoy studies the relationship between rulers and religion to advance understanding of the era's political actions and, more specifically, to illustrate how messianic beliefs influenced 'Abbsid imperial politics and contributed to the reshaping of the caliphate under al-Ma'mun (809–33) after a decade-long civil war.

The Second British Empire: In the Crucible of the Twentieth Century

At its peak, the British Empire spanned the world and linked diverse populations in a vast network of exchange that spread people, wealth, commodities, cultures, and ideas around the globe. By the turn of the twentieth century, this empire, which made Britain one of the premier global superpowers, appeared invincible and eternal. This compelling book reveals, however, that it was actually remarkably fragile. Reconciling the humanitarian ideals of liberal British democracy with the inherent authoritarianism of imperial rule required the men and women who ran the empire to portray their non-Western subjects as backward and in need of the civilizing benefits of British rule. However, their lack of administrative manpower and financial resources meant that they had to recruit cooperative local allies to actually govern their colonies. 

Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage

In her new book Slavery at Sea: Terror, Sex, and Sickness in the Middle Passage, historian Sowande' Mustakeem reveals the forgotten world of 18th century slave ships. Here, she shares the tragic story of one enslaved woman and discusses why it's so important for Americans to confront this foundational, brutal chapter of history. Mustakeem's research focuses on the experiences of those most frequently left out of the history of the Middle Passage - women, children, the elderly, and the diseased.

Upriver Journeys: Diaspora and Empire in Southern China, 1570-1850

Tracing journeys of Cantonese migrants along the West River and its tributaries, this book describes the circulation of people through one of the world’s great river systems between the late sixteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries. Steven B. Miles examines the relationship between diaspora and empire in an upriver frontier, and the role of migration in sustaining families and lineages in the homeland of what would become a global diaspora. Based on archival research and multisite fieldwork, this innovative history of mobility explores a set of diasporic practices ranging from the manipulation of household registration requirements to the maintenance of split families.

Organic Resistance: The Struggle over Industrial Farming in Postwar France

France is often held up as a bastion of gastronomic refinement and as a model of artisanal agriculture and husbandry. But French farming is not at all what it seems. Countering the standard stories of gastronomy, tourism, and leisure associated with the French countryside, Venus Bivar portrays French farmers as hard-nosed businessmen preoccupied with global trade and mass production. With a twin focus on both the rise of big agriculture and the organic movement, Bivar examines the tumult of postwar rural France, a place fiercely engaged with crucial national and global developments.

contact

If you have questions, please reach out to Nancy Reynolds, the director of graduate studies.

Email Nancy Reynolds