Temporal Fields of Study

Look below for more information on our temporal fields of research specialities. You will also find faculty who specialize in each field.

Ancient History

Ancient history at the University of Minnesota has a long pedigree of excellence under leading historians. The field includes everything from the emergence of human beings into organized bands and tribes to the rise and fall of ancient civilizations across the world before 1500 CE. Faculty work closely with a number of other departments and centers on campus that study human history, including the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies.

Faculty

Medieval

The field of medieval history at Minnesota has a long tradition of scholarship enlivened by new focuses in social, cultural, and gender studies. We have one of the strongest medieval programs in the country, with numerous graduate students and a large undergraduate following for our survey and topics courses.

The Middle Ages (c. 500-1500 CE) was a period of intense and unprecedented religious, social, economic, political and cultural transformation. Although traditionally defined as an era of European development, our seminars are increasingly moving beyond a Eurocentric focus. Contemporary understanding of this era is being rapidly transformed as scholars continue to critique the still pervasive picture of the “Dark Ages” by exploring the cultural creativity, civilizational exchange and contact, and political ferment that connected groups and peoples across Afro-Eurasia, from Ireland to China to Zimbabwe.

Minnesota is home to several interdisciplinary centers that provide important resources and intellectual community for medievalists at Minnesota, including the Center for Medieval Studies, the Center for Early Modern History and the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World.

Faculty

  • Bernard S. Bachrach: Renaissance and medieval eras, medieval military
  • Iraj Bashiri: Islamic world and literature
  • Ruth Mazo Karras: Medieval Europe, women and gender history
  • Howard Louthan: Early modern Europe; Central Europe; cultural, intellectual, and religious History
  • Michael Lower: Crusades, Medieval Mediterranean, Christian-Muslim relations
  • Helena Pohlandt-McCormick: Africa, South Africa, social and cultural history, comparative women's history
  • Kathryn L Reyerson: Medieval Europe, Mediterranean Europe, Medieval France, social and economic history, legal history
  • JB Shank: Early modern Europe, France, European intellectual, history of science
  • Andrea Sterk: Ancient and medieval Christianity, late antiquity, Byzantium history
Early Modern

Early Modern history at Minnesota draws its faculty from the diverse geographical areas and the varieties of methodological and theoretical approaches represented in the department. Many of the participants teach and write in more than one field, such as medieval and early modern, or early modern and modern. Research and collaboration for early modernists is facilitated by the Center for Early Modern History and the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World, as well as the presence on campus of the James Ford Bell Library.

Comparative Early Modern History

The University of Minnesota has long taken a comparative approach to the Early Modern world, reflecting broad faculty strength for this period, and a common interest in relating the histories of different parts of the globe. These crucial centuries are understood to be the scene of the emergence of problems and processes that include the interaction of cultures and civilizations across the globe; the rise of scientific and technological ways of knowing; and the creation of global capitalist economic processes, to name just a handful of areas.

Early Modern European History

The study of Modern European history since the era of the French Revolution addresses concerns that reverberate throughout the modern world. Europe’s development of industrial capitalism restructured the global economy through markets and imperialism. The emergence of the nuclear family system and the reconstruction of gender relations that typified nineteenth-century middle-class ideals have also had far-reaching consequences.

Modern European political development has been marked by the construction of "public spheres" and civil societies with their concomitant notions of limitations on government, but also by the institution of the nation-state with its potential for totalitarianism and racism. Indeed, at the center of much scholarship in modern European history, including that of our own faculty, are the tensions between the impulse to question and remake human institutions that has been characteristic of European culture and politics since the Enlightenment, and the equally prevalent impulse toward domination and control.

Faculty

  • Margaret Carlyle: Early Modern Europe, France, women, science and medicine
  • Giancarlo Casale: Islamic world, Ottoman Empire, pre-modern and early modern world history
  • Sarah Chambers: Colonial Latin America; gender, cultural, and legal history
  • Tracey Deutsch: United States, women's history, business
  • Kirsten Fischer: Colonial and revolutionary America, United States, social and intellectual
  • Katharine Gerbner: Atlantic world, early America, comparative early modern, Caribbean, religion, race
  • Christopher M Isett: Post-war East Asian political economies, global and post-war capitalism, East Asia's Cold War, comparative economic history, agrarian, 18th–20th century China
  • Howard Louthan: Early modern Europe; Central Europe; cultural, intellectual, and religious History
  • Nabil Matar: Modern Arabic literature; Arab-Islamic civilization
  • Mary Jo Maynes: Modern Germany, European social, women
  • Lisa Norling: American Revolution, 18th and 19th century America, women and gender, maritime
  • Jean O'Brien: Colonial American, Native American
  • Helena Pohlandt-McCormick: Africa, South Africa, social and cultural history, comparative women's history
  • Kathryn L Reyerson: Medieval Europe, Mediterranean Europe, Medieval France, social and economic history, legal history
  • Daniel Schroeter: Jewish, North African, Mediterranean
  • JB Shank: Early modern Europe, France, European intellectual, history of science
  • Theofanis G Stavrou: Russia, modern Greek studies, Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Ann Waltner: Traditional China
  • John Watkins: Sovereignty and queenship, medieval and early modern diplomacy, premodern political culture, classical and medieval origins of the Renaissance
Modern

Our strong Modern History faculty adopt a diverse range of methodological and theoretical approaches as they explore developments of all regions of the globe in the last several centuries.

The study of European history since the era of the French Revolution addresses concerns that reverberate throughout the modern world, including the rise of industrial capitalism that restructured the global economy through markets and imperialism, the institution of the nation-state with its potential for totalitarianism and racism, and the reconstruction of gender relations that emerged along with the nuclear family system.

The University of Minnesota has long been at the forefront of modern US history, pioneering advances in social, cultural and quantitative approaches. The Minnesota Population Center, under the direction of Professor Steven Ruggles, provides training and employment for many of our students, and Minnesota has become the premier training ground for quantitative methods in US history. Minnesota is also a leader in the field of migration, housing one of the preeminent archives dedicated to the field of Immigration History, the Immigration History Research Center and Archives, under the direction of Professor Erika Lee. Other faculty members bring considerable expertise in Native American and indigenous history, African American studies, gender and women’s history, and legal history.

We also have a strong program in the histories of the modern Middle East, Latin America, Africa, South Asia and East Asia.

Faculty

  • Juhana Aunesluoma: 20th century Europe, Cold War, Scandinavia, Finland
  • Susanna Blumenthal: American cultural and intellectual history, Anglo-American legal history, history of human sciences
  • Sarah Chambers: Colonial Latin America; gender, cultural, and legal history
  • David Chang: Race and nationalism, American Indian, native Hawaiian, 19th and 20th century United States
  • Anna Clark: British, Irish, European, women, gender, sexuality
  • Gary Cohen: Austria and Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, modern European social and political history
  • Tracey Deutsch: United States, women's history, business
  • Gail Dubrow: United States, urban, women's, Asian-American, public history
  • Kirsten Fischer: Colonial and revolutionary America, United States, social and intellectual
  • J. David Hacker: Demographic history, quantitative history, American Civil War
  • Carol Hakim: Modern Middle East
  • Allen F Isaacman: Central and Southern Africa
  • Christopher M Isett: Post-war East Asian political economies, global and post-war capitalism, East Asia's Cold War, comparative economic history, agrarian, 18th–20th century China
  • Erika Lee: 20th century United States, Asian-American, immigration, American West
  • Mai Na Lee: Southeast Asia
  • Malinda Lindquist: African-American, United States
  • Patricia Lorcin: Modern France, western imperialism, colonial and postcolonial, Mediterranean
  • Michael Lower: Crusades, Medieval Mediterranean, Christian-Muslim relations
  • Saje Mathieu: African-American, American social and political history, comparative immigration
  • Elaine Tyler May: United States, American studies, American women
  • Mary Jo Maynes: Modern Germany, European social, women
  • Patrick McNamara: Latin America, Mexico
  • Hiromi Mizuno: Modern Japan, gender and sexuality, cultural studies of science and technology
  • Kevin Murphy: Urban, gender and sexuality, political and cultural
  • Lisa Norling: American Revolution, 18th and 19th century America, women and gender, maritime
  • Jean O'Brien: Colonial American, Native American
  • Helena Pohlandt-McCormick: Africa, South Africa, social and cultural history, comparative women's history
  • Steven Ruggles: American demographic and social history
  • Daniel Schroeter: Jewish, North African, Mediterranean
  • JB Shank: Early modern Europe, France, European intellectual, history of science
  • Ajay Skaria: South Asia, environmental history
  • Theofanis G Stavrou: Russia, modern Greek studies, Eastern Orthodoxy
  • Paul C Stone: United States trans-Mississippi Western & North American frontier; American church & religious; 20th century Southwestern
  • Igor Tchoukarine: 20th century Europe, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, history of tourism
  • Liping Wang: Modern Chinese social and cultural
  • Barbara Y Welke: American legal and constitutional, American women's, and modern American history
  • Thomas Wolfe: European Union, Soviet Union, history of media and communications, pragmatism