North America, United States
New directions in the field of early US history involve the reconceptualization of the old US colonial history to a new broader focus on North America in the early modern Atlantic world, and bridge the divide from the colonial to the post-Revolutionary periods. The new approaches draw on international, comparative, and interdisciplinary perspectives on the interactions between Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans in North America. They focus on borders, encounters, and frontiers; and explore questions of authority, identity, meaning, practice, relationship, and causality in economic, political, religious, social, and cultural arenas. Our faculty adopt many of these approaches in their research and teaching, and the department is particularly strong in the social and economic history of early America, specializing in race and gender.
Modern US history is an exciting and rapidly changing field. The University of Minnesota has been at the forefront of these changes and is well positioned to continue that leadership. Social and cultural history, in particular, have been central to the reshaping of historical approaches and interpretations, fields in which this department has long been very strong. Our thematic sub-fields, in addition, link faculty and students to comparative workshops within the department and a wide range of interdisciplinary programs throughout the university.
The University of Minnesota has become the premier training ground for quantitative methods in US history, with an emphasis on social, economic, and demographic studies. The Minnesota Population Center, under the direction of Professor Steven Ruggles, is creating one of the largest historical population databases in the world. The Center offers a collaborative space for faculty and provides training and employment for many of our students.
Scholars of modern American history research and teach on a wide variety of topics including comparative and global histories of migration and immigration, gender, sexuality, class, nationalism, Native Americans, race, the law, and American capitalism.