About the Major

At Hamilton, 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. Many students conduct research independently or collaborate with faculty members. Graduates have pursued careers as teachers, lawyers, journalists, medical professionals, curators, and professors, among others, and have received degrees from renowned graduate programs.

Students Will Learn To:

  • Summarize historiographical debates within and across disciplinary subfields
  • Select and analyze historical evidence
  • Create a clear, specific, coherent historical argument

A Sampling of Courses

Florentine Codex

Race, Science, and the Origins of the Modern World

This historiographical seminar traces theories of race from their origins in the Renaissance to the present. It examines how race, in conjunction with sex and gender, developed as an idea through the natural sciences in the context of Europe’s global imperial expansion. Subjects include natural history, breeding livestock, taxonomy, racial typology, evolutionary theory, and genetics.

Explore these select courses:

This course explores European history through a photographic lens. In the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars, Europeans experienced momentous changes driven by the new politics of liberty and rights, the rise of nationalism, and industrialization. Photography, a new industrial technology and a revolution in sight, enabled Europeans not only to chronicle these changes but also to reconceive time and their place in the world. This course addresses photographs as windows upon the past and as texts and objects requiring historical scrutiny.

This course examines the design of buildings and cities by professional architects, urban planners, and developers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also addresses utopian projects and theoretical texts that have influenced modern design. We will furthermore illuminate in western and non-western contexts the relationships between the architecture of cities and economic and political processes.

This course thinks critically about sound, listening not only to sound recordings but to the resonances of silence, voice, and noise in literary and historical texts. How do sounds come to mean what they do? What happens when sonic concepts travel? How are the soundscapes of daily life, both past and present, structured by race, gender, class, and other social formations? How have writers and artists reconceptualized sound and music to contest hierarchies? We will study James Baldwin, Frantz Fanon, and Zora Neale Hurston, among others. Topics include the relationship of sound to built/natural environments; (de)colonization and the ‘listening ear’; global, diasporic, and local soundscapes; and technologies of sound production and listening

A survey of topics, themes, and methods in environmental history, focusing on Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Provides a foundation and prepare students for advanced coursework and research in history and environmental studies. Examines major events and trends through an environmental framework, illustrating connections over time. Major course themes include biological exchange between regions, the industrial revolution, climate change, and linking historical environmental issues to contemporary concerns.

Meet Our Faculty

Shoshana Keller

Chair and William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History


Russian and Soviet history, Central Eurasian history, and history of the modern Middle East

Douglas Ambrose

Sidney Wertimer Professorship for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring and Professor of History


U.S. history; the old South; Christianity in American history; American colonial history; the American founding era and proslavery thought

Mackenzie Cooley

Associate Professor of History, Director of Latin American and Latine Studies


history of science; early modern world; Colonial Latin America; environmental history; intellectual history; digital humanities; history of gender and sexuality; animal studies; genetics and history

Sabrina Datoo

Visiting Assistant Professor of History


intellectual and cultural history of modern South Asia; history of medicine; Islam in South Asia

John Eldevik

Professor of History, Director of German Studies


social and economic history of the early Middle Ages; history of law and mechanisms of conflict resolution; the perceptions of non-Christian peoples and lands in medieval manuscript culture

Kevin Grant

Edgar B. Graves Professor of History


the British Empire; modern Britain and Ireland; international humanitarianism

Rebecca Gruskin

Visiting Assistant Professor of History


Environmental history, social history, political economy, modern North Africa, modern Middle East, global history

Maurice Isserman

Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of American History


20th century American radical movements; history of the 1960s; the history of mountaineering and exploration

Celeste Day Moore

Associate Professor of History


African-American history; diasporic and transnational history; race and empire in 20th-century U.S. and France

Ty Seidule

Visiting Professor of History, Executive Director of Common Ground


military history, Civil War memory, African American military history

Lisa Trivedi

Christian A. Johnson Excellence in Teaching Professor of History


cultural and social history of modern South Asia, specializing in the history of nationalism, colonialism, and women

Thomas Wilson

Bates and Benjamin Professor of Classical and Religious Studies


Chinese history, culture and religion; Confucian ritual and the imperial cults devoted to Heaven and to Confucius

Christian Goodwillie

Lecturer in History, Lecturer in Literature and Creative Writing


Chao Ren

Lecturer in History


Southeast Asia, South Asia, global history, environmental history, legal history, history of capitalism

U.S. environmental history, history of food and agriculture, and historical geography

Careers After Hamilton

Hamilton graduates who concentrated in history are pursuing careers in a variety of fields, including:

  • 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

Explore Hamilton Stories

Quinn Brown ’24 in front of the Glen House, home of Hamilton's Outdoor Leadership Program.

Brown ’24 Carves a Unique Path in His Time at Hamilton

Quinn Brown ’24, a history concentrator, carved a distinct path for himself at Hamilton. The faculty selected him as winner of this year’s James Soper Merrill Prize, awarded to the senior “who, in character and influence, has typified the highest ideals of the College.”

2024 Gilman Scholars

Six Awarded Gilman Scholarships

Six Hamilton students — including history concentrator Lara Barreira ’25 — are studying abroad during the spring 2024 semester thanks to assistance from Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships.

Maurice Isserman

Isserman Reviews American Communism History in The Guardian

Maurice Isserman, the Publius Virgilius Rogers Professor of American History, wrote an essay titled "I spent years studying American communism. Here’s what I learned" for The Guardian published on May 16.


Department Name

History Department

Contact Name

Shoshana Keller, Chair

Office Location
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323

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