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Areas of Study

Working with their advisors, graduate students in History, particularly in the Ph.D. program, are encouraged to develop innovative fields of study tailored to their individual interests. Thematic, comparative, and methodological fields that cut across conventional geographical and chronological boundaries are all possible. Below are general descriptions of the various areas of geographical focus of our faculty and their thematic interests and approaches.

Asian history

The Department of History offers graduate programs in East Asian, South Asian and Southeast Asian history. Oregon’s Asianists collectively cultivate a broad-gauged program in Asian history supported by courses in Chinese, Japanese, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and trans-Asian history. We offer a range of courses at all levels on Asian history.

Oregon’s historians of China (Asim, Goodman) focus on the late imperial and modern eras, with a special emphasis on popular culture, Confucian social ethics, print culture, gender, and modern urban society. Its historians of Japan (Goble, Hanes) focus on the premodern and modern eras, with particular emphasis on the history of ideas, medicine, media culture, political economy, and urban society and culture. Its historian of South Asia (Valiani) focuses on the study of organizations, the urban economy, business history, technology, media, health and social movements in the twentieth century and contemporary period.

In addition to the History department’s core faculty in Asian history, there are some seventy faculty members affiliated with the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, including specialists in anthropology, architecture, art history, business, creative arts, film, international studies, law, linguistics, literature, planning, political science, and sociology, among others. In recent years, the Center has held institutional grants from the Asia Society, the Ford Foundation, the Fulbright Commission, the Freeman Foundation, the Jeremiah Fund, the National Endowment for the Humanities, USIA, and other prestigious sources. Additionally, the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies awards Foreign Language and Area Studies grants on a competitive basis. Students can take all levels of classical and modern Japanese and Chinese through the East Asian Languages and Literatures Department. The University Library’s East Asian Collection contains approximately 85,000 volumes of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean materials.

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European history

The University of Oregon offers a comprehensive program in European history, with courses in ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern Europe, spanning most major national histories and methodological approaches.

In addition, our core faculty in European history represent a wide variety of topical interests and approaches, any one of which might form the core of a program of graduate study. These include: European political culture from the Middle Ages to today (Wolverton, Luebke, McGowen, Sheridan, Kimball, Hessler), intellectual cultures (McGowen, McNeely, Kimball, McCole), social change (Luebke, McGowen, Kimball, Hessler), and economic history (Hessler, Sheridan). Regional strengths are concentrated in the history of central Europe (Wolverton, Luebke, McNeely, McCole) and of Russia (Kimball, Hessler).

Our faculty also possess strengths and interests that intersect with colleagues in other historical fields, most notably: urban history (Nicols, McCole, Sheridan), labor history (Sheridan), legal history (McGowen), social history of medicine (Dracobly, McNeely), and history of religion (Wolverton, Luebke).

In addition to these core faculty, who serve as faculty advisors for graduate students and on Ph.D. committees, students may also have the opportunity to take courses with a number of participating and emeriti faculty in European history and historians in other UO departments and programs across the university. In particular, the History Department participates in the following interdisciplinary programs, which offer certification at the master’s level: European Studies, Judaic Studies, Russian and East European Studies, Medieval Studies, and Women’s Studies.

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Latin American history

Research and teaching interests of Latin American faculty range from ethnohistory and the early interactions between indigenous peoples and Spanish religious, military, and colonial authorities (Haskett, Wood) to intellectuals, political cultures, crime, punishment, slavery, and legal institutions in the later colonial and modern periods of Latin American states (Aguirre, Zahler), to migration between Latin America and the United States (Weise).

See the website for Latin American Studies at the University of Oregon for more information on the growing variety of resources centered on the study of Latin America. In addition, number of faculty members in the departments of Romance Languages, Anthropology, Political Science, Geography, the Honors College, and Ethnic Studies offer courses and conduct research on Latin American literature, culture, politics, ethnicity, social movements, and Latino immigration into the United States. Faculty and courses in Women’s and Gender Studies, International Studies, and other inter-disciplinary programs are also available. Academic and cultural activities on campus (lectures, conferences, international events) contribute to the growing visibility of Latin American Studies at the UO.

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United States history

Under the broad general heading of Colonial America and the United States, the Department of History offers graduate work in a wide variety of subjects and approaches, some of which expand into other areas of history and into other disciplines. In addition to traditional chronological coverage, students will find clusters of courses and faculty research interests in such areas as the American West, environmental history, Native American history, gender, colonialism, business history, public policy and social institutions, and ethnicity and race. Doctoral applicants interested in any aspect of the American West may be eligible for the Peggy Pascoe Graduate Fellowship, which supports 4-5 years of study at the doctoral level.  For more information about the Pascoe Fellowship, contact Professor Jeffrey Ostler or Marsha Weisiger.

Our core group of faculty in United States history is augmented by a number of additional participating history faculty and faculty in other disciplines who contribute to the scholarly opportunities in the department.

A complete list of courses in United States history at all levels may be found elsewhere on our website.

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African and Middle Eastern history

The department has had a longstanding commitment to African history. Prospective students should contact Prof. Lindsay Braun for more information. In Middle Eastern history, Sean W. Anthony specializes in the intellectual, religious, and social history of the pre-modern Islamic world and its literature.

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