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.

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.

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.

Quick Links


  • Jonah Estess (PhD) will be presenting his paper, "Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: The American Revolution and the National Origins of the Politicization of Money" as part of the panel at this year's Business History Conference!
  • Leah Baer, Jack Cunningham, Sarah Fling, and Cameron Sandlin (Public History MA) are presenting their practicum project, "Behind the Arch: Residency, Resilience, and Relevance in DC's Chinatown," at the annual National Council on Public History conference in March!
  • Carmen Bolt (PhD) is working on an NEH-funded project mapping the impact of the interstate highway system across the US!
  • Laura Beers authored "What Josh Hawley doesn't get about George Orwell" on CNN. 
  • Mia Owens was featured in an article by WJLA about becoming the first person to recieve the White House Historical Association fellowship that focuses on studying slavery, specifically the untold stories in DC.
  • Daniel Kerr received an award of $100,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation for his project called "Food Security in DC during COVID-19" with the purpose of supporting the activities of the Humanities Truck during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Andrew Demshuk and the AU History Department have been accepted to the Leibniz Research Alliance “Value of the Past” (Wert der Vergangenheit).
  • Jack Cunningham (Public History MA) started a new internship with the Capital Jewish Museum!
  • Claudia Vinci (Public History MA) started a new position as Graduate Coordinator for AU's Department of Literature!
  • Kathryn Morgan (Public History MA) will be presenting with Public History alum Mylessa Laureano ('19) at the National Council of Public History conference. Their project focuses on DC Preservations League's new series of bus tours on DC historic sites!
  • Alexandra Zaremba (PhD) is a semi-finalist for Fulbright Study Research in Serbia! She was also recently awarded the Central European Historical Society’s Research and Travel Grant.
  • Michael Brenner authored an article in Forward about CNN anchor Christiane Amanpour apologizing for comparing President Trump to Nazis.
  • Alan Kraut gave several recent presentations, including "The Natural World and the Border," "Immigration and the Lessons of the 1918-19 Pandemic," and "Immigration and Epidemics: An Historical Perspective.”
  • Kathy Franz and Kate Haulman's exhibit "All Work, No Pay: A History of Women's Invisible Labor" received a Smithsonian Institution Secretary's Research Prize.
  • PhD candidate Maurizio Recordati won first prize in an essay contest organized by The Strategy Bridge.
  • Gautham Rao presented “Slavery National: The Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and the Transformation of the American State” at the Missouri Early American History Seminar.
  • Dan Kerr has become the President of the Oral History Association. 
  • "Polls are not predictors," says Allan Lichtman, who also weighed in on whether America is a failed state in Salon.
  • Donald Earl Collins wrote about the joy of being Black in America in NBC THINK.
  • Donald Earl Collins argued that America is a failed state in Al-Jazeera.
  • Donald Earl Collins described the weight of American racism upon BIPOC.
  • On ABC’s The Signal, Donald Earl Collins discussed protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd and whether America might be permanently broken.
  • Allan Lichtman offered his prediction for the outcome of the 2020 presidential election based on his "13 Keys."
  • Throughout the summer, Alan Kraut advised the American Civil Liberties Union on cases of refugees being denied the right to appeal their exclusion on public health grounds as defined in the Quarantine Act of 1893. He also discussed the impact of pandemics, past and present, on immigration on NPR, sponsored by the Zolberg Institue on Migration and Mobility.
  • Lindsay MacNeill has taken a federal job as a historian in the Division of the Senior Historian in the Mandel Center at the Holocaust Museum.
  • Allan Lichtman contributed expertise to The Hill, predicting that Trump would question the legitimacy of the election rather than delaying it.
  • Pamela Nadell wrote on Bella Abzug, activist and congresswoman, for The Conversation.
  • Allan Lichtman spoke to The Hill about how voter unhappiness could translate into political consequences beyond the presidential elections.
  • Allan Lichtman was quoted in a Voice of America article on current demonstrations for racial justice.
  • Katherine Kitterman cowrote Champions of Change: 25 Women Who Made History and spoke on the book on Utah Public Radio.
  • Allan Lichtman compared the coronavirus pandemic and World War II on the Christian Science Monitor's Precedented.
  • Alan Kraut appeared on The Kojo Nnamdi Show to discuss the 1918 pandemic.
  • AU PhD candidate Katherine Kitterman wrote an article on women's voting rights in Utah for the Washington Post.

Department News

Gabriella Folsom on Kizhi Island, Russia.

History Thesis Forged over a Russian Winter

Gabriella Folsom's thesis explores Kizhi Island history through Carmel Institute travel and research support.

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Lonnie G. Bunch III

Announcement ·

Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III Awarded 2020 Cyrus A. Ansary Medal

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Girlhood (It's complicated)

AU’s Kathleen Franz Curates New “Girlhood” Exhibit at Smithsonian

Amplifies Role of Girls in History During 100th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage

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Joe Biden and Donald Trump

Does Allan Lichtman stand by his “13 Keys” Prediction of a Joe Biden

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Nguyet Nguyen

Inaugural Postdoctoral Fellow

Nguyet Nguyen brings new perspective to the Vietnam War.

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Fall 2021 Course Preview

Learn about three of our special fall courses.

New York & the Jews (JWST 396)

1 credit
Dr. Strauss
Wednesdays, 8:20–10:50 p.m. (six week class: October 6–November 10) 

The colorful relationship between Jews and New York is explored through history, urban studies, and ethnic studies.  Jewish food, theater, religious life, and politics influence the city and vice versa.  Consider how Jews in architecture, media, business and culture impact the city and beyond, helping to shape a multicultural America. 

American Jewish History (HIST 473)

3 credits
Dr. Nadell
Mon/Thurs, 12:55-2:10 p.m.

Traces the historical trajectory of the evolution of the American Jewish community.  In particular, focuses on successive waves of immigration, the social and economic patterns that define the community, the ways in which American Jews in the past constructed their identities, and the reactions of others to Jews’ entrance into American life.