You are here: American University College of Arts & Sciences Department of History

Department of History

Offering doctoral, master's, public history, and bachelor's programs.

The World Is Open to AU History Majors

History classes hone our students' research, writing, and analytical skills. Our home in Washington, DC, offers students unparalleled resources for research, internships, and jobs. The nation's capital is our classroom.

Our outstanding faculty are not only exemplary teachers and scholars, but they are also actively involved with archives , museums, government institutions , and non-profits in DC, across the United States, and around the world. Whether you are interested in working in government, private industry, non-profits, or academia, AU's Department of History offers a stepping stone to a promising career.

The History Department offers a BA, a combined BA/MA, a minor, an MA in History, an MA in History and Public History, and a PhD

Fast-Track Your Way to a BA and MA in History

American University's Combined BA/MA Degree program allows students to complete both their BA and MA in History in 5 years. Students in the BA/MA program save upwards of $22,000 in tuition costs by sharing credits between the two degrees. 

Students may pursue either the General MA program or the Public History program. Inquire at history@american.edu to learn more about our BA/MA program.

Spring 2024 Special Topics Courses

HIST 296 001

3 credits, Dr. Kondoyanidi, Mondays & Thursdays, 11:20 AM - 12:35 PM

Since the eighteenth century, the idea of revolutionary social change has been a central element in the Russian understanding of history, in what may be called the historical and cultural mythology of Russia. This course explores how Russian authors viewed revolutionary epochs. Students read literary works by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Ivan Bunin, Mikhail Bulgakov, Vasily Grossman, Boris Pasternak, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, among other Russian writers. Although these writings engage the mythology of revolutionary change, Russian writers do not describe these transitional moments as triumphant or glorious; instead, they portray the new social worlds as bizarre, ruthless, painful, and confused fusions of the past and future.

HIST 344 001

3 credits, Dr. Sperling, Tuesdays & Fridays, 12:55 PM - 2:10 PM

This course traces the long history of antisemitism in America and the myriad ways it has shaped American Jewish experiences. Subjects include barriers such as immigration and hiring quotas, violence committed by gangs and Nazi sympathizers, and the religious and cultural negotiations Jews made to 'fit in' as Americans.

Crosslist: JWST-396-001.

HIST 396 001

3 credits, Dr. Partovi, Mondays and Thursdays, 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

This course considers the history of urban male associations in the Middle East from the early Islamic period to modern times. Course materials and class discussions examine how gangs and guilds have both organized and disrupted public life in the region, including contemporary manifestations like the Mahdi Army and Islamic State.

HIST 412 001

3 credits, Dr. Giandrea, Tuesdays and Fridays, 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM

The course of European history was changed forever when the Vikings began to take an interest in their neighbors. What began as a series of small but devastating raids in the late eighth century soon mushroomed into a mass movement of Scandinavians to Ireland, Britain, France, and beyond, forever altering the landscapes of these kingdoms. To their victims they were heathen pirates who killed without regard for age, gender, or status. But the Vikings also impacted Europe in more positive ways, opening up long-distance trade routes and encouraging urban development, among other things. This course takes a broad view of the Viking world by considering the evidence for the Vikings themselves as well as their impact abroad. Students use material evidence (i.e., archaeology) and primary sources to better understand Viking society and religion, technology, ways of warfare and influence across time and space.

Crosslist: HIST-612-001.

Bulletins

  • Dan Arbell spoke with BBC News about Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Israel. He also spoke with CGTN and Channel News Asia about conflict in the Middle East.

  • Peter Kuznick spoke with RTVI, The World Radio (Boston), Radio Sputnik, Izvestia newspaper, NTV, Zvezda, Japan’s Newspaper Asahi Shimbun, WION News, acTVism Munich, REN TV, Channel One (Russia), NTV, and TVC about a variety of topics ranging from the upcoming United States presidential election to ongoing conflicts in the world.

  • Rebecca Graham wrote an article for Time Magazine about the antisemitic symbolism and imagery in the movie Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town

  • PhD Student Paul Kutner released a 5-episode podcast with Yeshiva University, Distorted: An Uncoordinated Campaign Against Holocaust History and MemoryThe Podcast discusses the various manifestations of Holocaust distortion with distinguished guests who work to ensure accurate teaching of the Holocaust. All 5 episodes are available on Spotify. 

  • Professor Dan Kerr and the AU Humanities Truck were featured in a community profile in the Fall 2023 issue of American Way of Life (AWOL) magazine, a student-run publication.

  • PhD Candidate Reza Akbari presented at the Middle East Studies Association's annual conference in Montreal, Canada. His presentation, Etched in Mistrust: Continuity and Change in US-Iran Nuclear Negotiations (1969-1978), argued that America's drive to keep Iran's nuclear program peaceful began decades before the establishment of the Islamic Republic.
  • AU History Alumna Kelly Maranchuck was awarded the prestigious Milken Educator Award for her hard work and dedication as a BASIS DC Public Charter School administrator.
 

Department News

To the Point

Government & Politics ·

To the Point: What Are the Implications of Trump’s Shocking NATO Comments?

Read More

To the Point

Government & Politics ·

To the Point: What Are the Implications of Trump’s Shocking NATO Comments?

Read More

Top image credit: Teddy Roosevelt (right of man in white vest) watches the laying of the cornerstone for AU's McKinley Building, 1902.
AU Archives. Read more about AU's presidential past.