The UCI Department of History is a large and diverse department that allows both undergraduate and graduate students to study a wide array of human experiences. Our Undergraduate Program allows students to cover five centuries or more of American, Asian, European, Latin American, Middle Eastern and African history. We also have a survey in World History that traces the interactions and origins of the globalism that affects us daily as well as courses in American ethnic history that study how Native Americans, Latin Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, and others have contributed to the development of the United States. In addition, a number of faculty study gender and women’s history.
Undergraduates can study the Holocaust, slavery and labor systems, the cold war, the history of science and technology, the age of the samurai, and the history of coffee and capitalism. Our gifted faculty members are experts in their fields, and are interested in the creation of the world economy, conflicts in the Middle East, John Lennon, the Civil War, World War II, global protest movements, the role of television in the digital age, and numerous other topics.
The Graduate Program in History combines a distinctive approach to graduate study. The program is designed to provide students with both advanced historical skills and a rigorous grounding in historical theory. We believe that the best historical research involves the self-conscious use of theory to pose significant questions and to answer them in sophisticated ways. This combination of theoretical study with training in historical method reflects the Department’s conviction that scholars should be encouraged to deal with significant questions about the past and to approach these questions in a methodologically sophisticated way. The Department is small enough to offer close attention to students’ specific needs but large enough to function as an intellectual research community.
We are a disparate group united by our deep curiosity and the desire to try out new ways of thinking and new forms of evidence. We agree with William Faulkner who said: “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” We are caught in a web of past experiences, ideas and lessons that direct our actions everyday. Many things we take for granted have interesting histories; indeed, history provides us with cautionary tales of what to avoid and hope for future improvement. Studying history helps us to be critical and understanding.
We believe that history is fun! Television shows like Mad Men and Downton Abbey, and movies like Lincoln, show that the past still entertains us all. For students, we also know that the study of history is both useful as well as being rewarding in and of itself. Over the years, we have prepared a number of students for professional (law, teaching, business, etc.), graduate, and academic careers. In an era that is rapidly changing, what could be more relevant than a field that studies the process of change over time?
We in the Department of History pride ourselves on our teaching and research, and we invite you to study the world with us!