Majors & Minors

History

The Southwestern History program provides students with a strong global perspective and a solid grounding in the methods and fields of history, while also encouraging interdisciplinary connections.

Contact

Melissa K. Byrnes

Associate Professor and Chair of History

Phone

512.863.1501

Melissa K. Byrnes

Associate Professor and Chair of History

(Credit: Southwestern University)

The Southwestern History program provides our students with:

  • A global approach. We place the study of history in its global context, exploring the essential inter-connections and entanglements that tie regions of the world together, alongside their specific regional histories. We have faculty with expertise in Europe, Latin America, East Asia (China and Japan), Africa, the U.S., the Atlantic World, and the Mediterranean world (including North Africa).
  • Interdisciplinary connections. We connect the discipline of history with many interdisciplinary interests, including the natural sciences, feminist studies, international studies, art, race/ethnicity, environmental studies, and social justice.
  • Diverse interests and approaches. Members of our faculty work on issues of politics, economics, social processes, culture, and intellectual developments. They also have specific interests in histories of race, empire, gender, rights, science, religion, and the environment.
  • Research opportunities for students. Our senior Capstone enables students to research and write an original piece of historical scholarship. Students may also apply for departmental honors, which includes an even more substantial individual research project.
  • Lifelong skills. We help prepare students to explore the human condition in all its wonders, even as we provide them with reading, writing, analytical, and critical thinking skills essential for careers in such fields as law, medicine, education, journalism, and business, as well as in nonprofit organizations(including museums and libraries) and in the public sector.
How do we accomplish these goals?

Historians learn to appreciate both the limits and the possibilities of our own age by poring over the stories of those who have come before us, piecing together the powerful elements of social movements and scientific innovation, and developing an understanding for how modern cultures and societies evolved out of the confluence of their past conditions.

Beginning with introductory courses in world history and area studies, the History curriculum prepares students for advanced courses on a range of topics, themes, and methods of history, and for historical research experience. The Department strongly encourages students to pursue off-campus international, intercultural, and academic internship experiences as a part of their curriculum, in order to experience the power of exploring another culture and its history firsthand.  

With their understanding of the past and the historical insight gained through their studies, History students typically go on to careers in all levels of education and government, as well as in law, social service, communications, museum and archival work, and business.



AFTER SOUTHWESTERN

Featured Alumni Stories

Cordez

Laura Cordes ’91, Distinguished Humanitarian

For advocating for the rights of sexual assault victims, the Southwestern University Alumni Association proudly presents Laura Cordes with the 2016 Distinguished Humanitarian Award.

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Emily Grover '16, Junior Fellow at the Library of Congress

Alumna Gains Hands-on Experience at the Library of Congress

Prestigious internship affords 2016 graduate rare opportunity to work with historical objects.

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Gender and Race in Antebellum Popular Culture

SU History alumna publishes book

Sarah Roth (SU Class of 1994) published a book on Gender and Race in Antebellum Popular Culture.

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EXPLORE SOUTHWESTERN

History News

Carol Levin

World-Renowned History Scholar Carole Levin Visits Southwestern

Dr. Levin will deliver a public lecture—and students and faculty will stage a reading of her new play—during the 2018 History Colloquium.

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Southwestern Professor Joseph Hower Receives National Endowment for Humanities Stipend for New Book

Historian will use $6000 award to fund research trips and writing this summer.

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Four Receive Sumners Scholarships

Four Southwestern students have been selected to receive Hatton W. Sumners Scholarships beginning in fall 2017.

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EXPLORE SOUTHWESTERN

History Events

Dr. Sarah Snyder “From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy”

From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy

Dr. Sarah Snyder, (American University), in a discussion of her new book: From Selma to Moscow: How Human Rights Activists Transformed U.S. Foreign Policy

In From Selma to Moscow, Sarah B. Snyder traces the influence of human rights activists and advances a new interpretation of U.S. foreign policy in the “long 1960s.”  She shows how transnational connections and social movements spurred American activism that achieved legislation that curbed military and economic assistance to repressive governments, created institutions to monitor human rights around the world, and enshrined human rights in U.S. foreign policy making for years to come.  Snyder analyzes how Americans responded to repression in the Soviet Union, racial discrimination in Southern Rhodesia, authoritarianism in South Korea, and coups in Greece and Chile.  By highlighting the importance of nonstate and lower-level actors, Snyder shows how this activism established the networks and tactics critical to the institutionalization of human rights.  A major work of international and transnational history, From Selma to Moscow reshapes our understanding of the role of human rights activism in transforming U.S. foreign policy in the 1960s and 1970s and highlights timely lessons for those seeking to promote a policy agenda resisted by the White House.

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Dr. Monica Munoz Martinez

The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas

Professor Muñoz Martinez will discuss her recent book, The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas prior to her talk later that evening. 

This event is an opportunity for students to interact with Dr. Muñoz Martinez prior to her 7 PM talk in Olin 105 that evening called “The History of Racial Discrimination Against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in Texas.”

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Cover image of book: Dr. Monica Munoz Martinez, The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas (Harvard University Press, Sept 2018)

The History of Racial Discrimination Against Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in Texas

An Educational Symposium Co-Sponsored by Courageous Conversations Georgetown and the Race and Ethnicity Studies Program at Southwestern University

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