About History at Emory

The Department of History at Emory University is both very old and very new. So far as we can determine, Emory has never tried to function without a History Department, and our graduate program is now well over a half century old, having been established in 1949. Our tradition is venerable. Some of the very eminent faculty who honored the Department with their presence during the three decades after 1949 were Bell Wiley (American Civil War), J. Harvey Young (American medicine), J. Russell Major (early modern France), George P. Cuttino (medieval Europe), and Rondo Cameron (European economic history). Together they authored and edited more than sixty works of history. The prodigious research record that they and their colleagues produced helps to explain why the Department received a commendation as an excellent department by the American Council of Education just fifteen years after establishing a doctoral program.

Although we have maintained roughly the same level of national prominence attained by our Department in 1975, the faculty and programs we have today are quite different from what we had then and, in most important respects, quite new. Except for Irwin Hyatt's courses on China, the Department then was entirely devoted to the histories of Europe and the United States, with an emphasis on medieval and early modern Europe and the American South. In the 1990s, the Department's operational concept of history expanded geographically: Latin America was added as an area for graduate work in 1991, Africa in 1993, Asia in 2007. Recent years have also witnessed our graduate program's expansion into Jewish History and Ancient History. Thus, although we make no claim even now to teach about all times and places, we do offer rigorous historical study -- at both the graduate and undergraduate levels -- involving five of the world's seven major continents.

In short, since developing our graduate program more than sixty years ago, we have diversified substantially both with respect to faculty research foci and graduate and undergraduate program development. Our undergraduate major, for example, now offers concentrations both in geographic areas (Europe, Latin America/Asia/Africa, and the United States) and in thematic areas such as "Women, Gender, and Sexuality" and "Empires, Nations, and Citizenship." Moreover, we have several further thematic concentrations under development. Our graduate program was also recently revised so as to encourage students to develop their own unique course of study that can take advantage of special resources available at Emory and benefit from the intimacy between faculty and students that a smaller program like ours can uniquely foster.

In addition to our undergraduate and graduate programs, the Department offers a variety of faculty-student seminars both specialized and general. We also have substantial resources of our own to enhance both graduate and undergraduate research. These opportunities are fully described in our web pages devoted to those areas. We encourage you to explore our website to see the full range of opportunities that the History Department at Emory offers its students.