A Historic Setting
Excellent Teachers, Excellent Students
Pioneers in Research and Teaching
Bringing Publicly-Funded Research to the People
Making Sense of Peace and War
A Beautiful Setting
The Department of History at the University of Kansas.
KU historians train individuals to appreciate the complexity and diversity of the human experience, to question simple explanations, to evaluate evidence in multiple forms, and to offer insightful interpretations with clarity of expression. As a nationally prominent department at a major research university, the Department of History seeks to
By adopting this mission, the Department of History will work with other units across the University of Kansas to prepare people to understand the complex origins of today's world and its challenges and prepare them to make intelligent decisions about the future.
When I arrived fifteen years ago at the Department of History, they put me in the basement. From that position, I could see above me a vigorous group of senior scholars, some of whom had been publishing widely and molding young minds since the 1960s. They had shepherded the Department of History through its transformation into a modern, nationally recognized program. I looked up to them figuratively as well as literally. Below me, in the sub-basement of Wescoe Hall, I could observe the graduate students toiling quietly in their scholarly netherworld. I could not look down on them, for I had been a graduate student not so long before, and I knew that they, too, would someday emerge into the sunlight. And everywhere, I saw hundreds of eager, fresh-faced undergraduates hurrying to (from?) their classes. The Department of History was a vibrant place.
True to our understanding of historical change, we have conserved the best of that past, and built upon it. The Department of History now consists of about thirty-five tenured and tenure-track faculty, some eighty graduate students, and hundreds of undergraduates. While most of the names and faces have changed, we are as vibrant as ever. For proof, take a look at our terrific recent faculty hires: Marie Grace Brown in Middle Eastern history, Mariana Candido in African history, Sara Gregg in environmental history, Robert Schwaller in Latin American History, Erik R. Scott in Russian History, Benjamin T. Uchiyama in modern Japanese history, and finally, our new Hall Family Distinguished Chair in American History, Edmund Russell.
I invite you to click through the rest of the Department of History website. If you are a History student, or thinking about becoming a History student, follow the links to the Undergraduate Program or the Graduate Program.
Above all, I welcome you to keep before you the importance of History as a discipline – as a view unto a wider world, a method for analyzing changes large and small, and, though we don't like to admit it, as a guide to a better future.
Welcome to our department!
Jeffrey P. Moran
Professor of American History and Chair
Pivotal Events in History brings the work of the Department to the general public through teaching sessions, guest speakers, and open discussions devoted to particular historical turning points. The program is open to our alumni, friends, and students to attend and focuses on historical events that transformed the world. Professor Jonathan Earle delivered the inaugural address, "Contingency and the Canvass: Abraham Lincoln and the Pivotal Election of 1860," in fall 2010. The program commemorated the U.S. presidential race of 1860, in honor of the sesquicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's election. In 2011, Professor Hagith Sivan delivered the Pivotal Events in History talk on “A Roman Cleopatra: Princess Galla between Alaric and Attila.” Using coins as illustrations, Professor Hagith Sivan discussed Galla Placidia (390-450 CE), an unjustly forgotten princess who should be as famous as Cleopatra.
Professor Theodore A. “Ted” Wilson, KU’s venerable historian of the American military and foreign relations, will deliver this year’s Pivotal Events in History lecture. Professor Wilson’s lecture, “The War of 1812: Was it a Second American Revolution?,” will use the bicentennial of America’s first declared war to revisit its causes and reckon with its consequences. Drawing from his wider consideration of the long history and evolution of coalition warfare, Professor Wilson’s lecture promises to illuminate one of the most fascinating and least understood aspects of the War of 1812.
Possible topics for future programs include the John F. Kennedy Assassination (2013) and World War I (2014).
In 2007 the History Department moved into our new offices in a newly refurbished section of Wescoe Hall with commanding views of the Wakarusa Valley south of Mount Oread. Contact information for individual History faculty members can be found here. A staff directory can be found here.
Department of History / 3650 Wescoe Hall / 1445 Jayhawk Blvd. / The University of Kansas / Lawrence, KS 66045
Phone: (785) 864-3569 Fax: (785) 864-5046