Offering doctoral, master's, public history, and bachelor's programs.
The World Is Open to AU History Majors
History classes hone our students' research, writing, and analytical skills. Our home in Washington, DC, offers students unparalleled resources for research, internships, and jobs. The nation's capital is our classroom.
Our outstanding faculty are not only exemplary teachers and scholars, but they are also actively involved with archives , museums, government institutions , and non-profits in DC, across the United States, and around the world. Whether you are interested in working in government, private industry, non-profits, or academia, AU's Department of History offers a stepping stone to a promising career.
Fast-Track Your Way to a BA and MA in History
American University's Combined BA/MA Degree program allows students to complete both their BA and MA in History in 5 years. Students in the BA/MA program save upwards of $22,000 in tuition costs by sharing credits between the two degrees.
Students may pursue either the General MA program or the Public History program. Inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our BA/MA program.
HIST 296 001
3 credits, Dr. Kondoyanidi, Mondays & Thursdays, 11:20 AM - 12:35 PM
Since the eighteenth century, the idea of revolutionary social change has been a central element in the Russian understanding of history, in what may be called the historical and cultural mythology of Russia. This course explores how Russian authors viewed revolutionary epochs. Students read literary works by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Ivan Bunin, Mikhail Bulgakov, Vasily Grossman, Boris Pasternak, and Alexander Solzhenitsyn, among other Russian writers. Although these writings engage the mythology of revolutionary change, Russian writers do not describe these transitional moments as triumphant or glorious; instead, they portray the new social worlds as bizarre, ruthless, painful, and confused fusions of the past and future.
HIST 344 001
3 credits, Dr. Sperling, Tuesdays & Fridays, 12:55 PM - 2:10 PM
This course traces the long history of antisemitism in America and the myriad ways it has shaped American Jewish experiences. Subjects include barriers such as immigration and hiring quotas, violence committed by gangs and Nazi sympathizers, and the religious and cultural negotiations Jews made to 'fit in' as Americans.
HIST 396 001
3 credits, Dr. Partovi, Mondays and Thursdays, 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM
This course considers the history of urban male associations in the Middle East from the early Islamic period to modern times. Course materials and class discussions examine how gangs and guilds have both organized and disrupted public life in the region, including contemporary manifestations like the Mahdi Army and Islamic State.
HIST 412 001
3 credits, Dr. Giandrea, Tuesdays and Fridays, 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM
The course of European history was changed forever when the Vikings began to take an interest in their neighbors. What began as a series of small but devastating raids in the late eighth century soon mushroomed into a mass movement of Scandinavians to Ireland, Britain, France, and beyond, forever altering the landscapes of these kingdoms. To their victims they were heathen pirates who killed without regard for age, gender, or status. But the Vikings also impacted Europe in more positive ways, opening up long-distance trade routes and encouraging urban development, among other things. This course takes a broad view of the Viking world by considering the evidence for the Vikings themselves as well as their impact abroad. Students use material evidence (i.e., archaeology) and primary sources to better understand Viking society and religion, technology, ways of warfare and influence across time and space.
PhD Student Paul Kutner released a 5-episode podcast with Yeshiva University, Distorted: An Uncoordinated Campaign Against Holocaust History and Memory. The Podcast discusses the various manifestations of Holocaust distortion with distinguished guests who work to ensure accurate teaching of the Holocaust. All 5 episodes are available on Spotify.
Professor Dan Kerr and the AU Humanities Truck were featured in a community profile in the Fall 2023 issue of American Way of Life (AWOL) magazine, a student-run publication.
- PhD Candidate Reza Akbari presented at the Middle East Studies Association's annual conference in Montreal, Canada. His presentation, Etched in Mistrust: Continuity and Change in US-Iran Nuclear Negotiations (1969-1978), argued that America's drive to keep Iran's nuclear program peaceful began decades before the establishment of the Islamic Republic.
- AU History Alumna Kelly Maranchuck was awarded the prestigious Milken Educator Award for her hard work and dedication as a BASIS DC Public Charter School administrator.
- PhD Student Andrew Sperling published "A Halloween Party in Boston Turned Ugly when a Gang Hurled Antisemetic Slurs and Attacked Jewish Teenagers," detailing the events of an antisemetic attack on Jewish teens at a Halloween party in 1950.
- Theresa Runstedtler's new book on how Black ballplayers of the 1970s and '80s set the once-troubled NBA up for success:Black Ball: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Spencer Haywood, and the Generation that Saved the Soul of the NBA (2023). She discussed the book on The Ringer's Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air podcast.
- MS Alumna Katrina Lashley spearheads Anacostia Community Museum’s new Center for Environmental Justice.
- AU’s Pamela Nadell explains alarming rise of antisemitism and how it’s moving mainstream.
- Video: The Crisis in Ukraine: Faculty Roundtable and Teach-In
- Malgorzata J. Rymsza-Pawlowska appeared in Netflix’s D.B. Cooper: Where Are You?! to give expertise on 1970s history and culture.
- M.J. Rymsza-Pawlowska published “The value of looking forward as we mark America’s next big birthday” in the Washington Post.
- Laura Beers published “Opinion: George Orwell is exactly the right voice for our time” on CNN discussing how “1984” and terms like “Orwellian” have been used and abused for decades, and how they relate to current events.
- Peter Kuznick spoke to CGTN, Political Misfits, RT TV, Postscript TVC, Sputnik News about a variety of topics ranging from rising tensions between the US and China to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
- Pamela Nadell spoke to the Christian Science Monitor about the great replacement theory in “Replacement Theory: The view from an immigration-wary Georgia district.”
- Michael Brenner published In Hitler’s Munich: Jews, the Revolution, and the Rise of Nazism (Princeton University Press).
- Doctoral alumna Wendy Lower won the 2021 National Jewish Book Award in Holocaust Studies for The Ravine: A Family, A Photograph, A Holocaust Massacre Revealed. See her 2021 AU Book Talk.
- Doctral alumna Rebecca DeWolf has published Gendered Citizenship: The Original Conflict over the Equal Rights Amendment, 1920-1963 (University of Nebraska Press).
- Pamela Nadell discusses how antisemitism fuels white nationalism on PBS’ “Exploring Hate: Antisemitism, Racism and Extremism.”
- Alumna Rebecca DeWolf published Gendered Citizenship: The Original Conflict over the Equal Rights Amendment, 1920-1963.
- Alumnus John Schmitz (CAS/PhD '07) published Enemies Among Us.
- Pamela Nadell featured in Set the World on Fire: How Antisemitism Fuels White Nationalism from PBS.
- Andrew Demshuk published Three Cities after Hitler: Redemptive Reconstruction across Cold War Borders.
- Justin Jacobs completed filming 24 episodes for his Great Courses series on UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A Chinese translation of his latest book, The Compensations of Plunder: How China Lost Its Treasures is being published serially in the journal Xiyu wenshi.
- Malgorzata Rymza-Pawlowska has been named to the board of directors of DC Humanities and served as program chair of the DC History Conference and as series editor for the NCPH and NPS’s American Revolution 250th commemoration forums.
- Kate Haulman was named a distinguished lecturer by the Organization of American Historians and her book exploring the long “afterlife” of Mary Washington is under contract with Oxford University Press.
- Jonah Estess (PhD student) presented his paper, "Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: The American Revolution and the National Origins of the Politicization of Money" as part of the panel at this year's Business History Conference.
- Public history students Leah Baer, Jack Cunningham, Sarah Fling, and Cameron Sandlin presented their practicum project, "Behind the Arch: Residency, Resilience, and Relevance in DC's Chinatown," at the annual National Council on Public History conference in March.
- PhD candidate Carmen Bolt worked on an NEH-funded project mapping the impact of the interstate highway system across the US.
Top image credit: Teddy Roosevelt (right of man in white vest) watches the laying of the cornerstone for AU's McKinley Building, 1902.
AU Archives. Read more about AU's presidential past.