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.
Studying history at the University of Kansas is fun. A sampling of our course offerings will introduce students to Roman generals, medieval witches, Samurai warriors, Native American prophets, conspiracy theorists, and Chairman Mao. Students can take courses on the history of sexuality, or if that is not exciting enough, we offer courses on natural disasters, wars, and plagues. Studying history can be an entertaining adventure, but it is much more than that. Through individual research, writing, and teaching, our faculty collectively prepares students to understand the complicated origins of today's world and its challenges. Studying history trains one to appreciate the complexity and diversity of the human experience, to question simple explanations, and to make intelligent decisions about the future.
The KU History Department offers an outstanding undergraduate program. Students graduate with an in-depth knowledge of the major events and movements that have shaped our world. They will develop the analytical abilities to identify weak and strong arguments as well as the communication skills to write and speak effectively in support of their own points of view. Such training will prepare them for a variety of different careers and is especially useful to students planning to pursue graduate training in law, public policy, and education. Click for information on the Undergraduate Program.
Our graduate program is also strong, and offers both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in standard areas such as the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America as well as global fields such as military, environmental, and gender. Our doctoral program has been consistently rated in the top-25 among public research universities, and our recent Ph.D. recipients have gone on to tenure-track positions at both research universities and liberal arts colleges. Click for information on the Graduate Program.
There is much more information about our program on this website. Please follow the links for more details about particular faculty members and programs, and please feel free to contact any of us about questions you might have.
Welcome to our department!
Paul Kelton, Ph.D.
Associate Professor 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