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The study of history engages every dimension of the past, from the human experience to the natural world.  It is the study of change and continuity, of what was different and what was shared, of what was believed and what was done. Concentrators develop original research projects, drawing on Hamilton’s rich library resources and on collections from around the globe.

About the Major

Students will learn to use interdisciplinary methods from the humanities and social sciences to probe the sources of the past for answers to present questions. They will learn to draw comparisons and connections among diverse societies across a range of historical eras. They will further learn to convey their findings through writing that is clearly structured, precise, and persuasive.

The professors at Hamilton will teach you that history is not irrelevant – that it is in fact a living enterprise with tangible consequences for civic life and citizenship in the 21st century.

Jacob Sheetz-Willard ’12 — history major

Hamilton history graduates have pursued careers in teaching, law, medicine, journalism, public policy, and many other fields.

Careers After Hamilton

  • Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Director of Education & Interpretation, National Museum of American History
  • Editor, New York Post
  • Environmental Policy Analyst, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Physician, Texas Oncology
  • Professor of Military History, U.S. Army
  • Executive Director, JPMorgan Chase Bank
  • Director, Information Technology, RBS Global Banking & Markets
  • Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Contact Information


History Department

198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4404 315-859-4649 history@hamilton.edu

Meet Our Faculty

A Sampling of Courses

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Murder, Civil War, and Opera 100F


Ivan the Terrible murdered his heir, and left Russia to face economic collapse and mass hunger without a stable government. Then things got really bad. Did Boris Godunov murder Tsarevich Dmitri? Was the First False Dmitri for real? Only Pushkin knew for sure, but it took Modest Mussorgsky to wrap it up in the greatest Russian opera of all time. This course will explore the relationships between history, art and national identity in Russia. Writing-intensive.

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Europe and its Empires, 1500-1960 104S


A survey of European exploration, imperial expansion and post-colonial society. Examines European debates over the principles and objectives of imperialism in the Americas, the Pacific and Africa. Illuminates changing views toward culture, economics, race, gender and nationality. Stress upon basic skills in the interpretation of historical texts and writing. Writing-intensive.

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Silk Road 124S


The silk roads were a network of trade routes from China to the Mediterranean Sea. This course explores ancient Eurasian trade, language, religion, art and power as Chinese, Turks, Persians, Arabs, Greeks, Mongols and many others interacted across vast distances. We will study how historians think, considering texts, archeology, linguistics, and art as sources of evidence. Writing-intensive.

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Black Metropolis 125F


This seminar interrogates the role of cities in African-American life. Through course readings and assignments, we will develop an alternative genealogy of black urban life that pushes against predominant narratives of urban crisis and dysfunction to consider instead how cities have also fostered black community, culture, and creativity. At the end of course, using census data, newspapers, city directories, novels, photographs, and oral history interviews, students will work in groups to map the history of black social, cultural, and political institutions on the South Side of Chicago Writing-intensive.

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The American Founding: Ideals and Reality 229


An intensive analysis of the philosophical ideals of the Founding Era (1763-1800) and their uneven realization. Social histories of various races, genders and classes will help illuminate the inherent ambiguities, weaknesses, strengths and legacies of the social and political philosophies of late 18th-century America.

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"Cracking India:" Historical and Literary Perspectives on Partition 247


Interdisciplinary seminar investigates the 1947 partition of British India into the independent nations of India and Pakistan from multiple perspectives and drawing on a variety of sources, including conventional and oral histories, memoirs, fiction and film. Focus on gender and class as well as religious differences.

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