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Department of History

Offering doctoral, master's, public history, and bachelor's programs.

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.

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.

The History Department offers a BA, a combined BA/MA, a minor, an MA in History, an MA in History and Public History, and a PhD.

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Fall Special Topics Courses

HIST 344/JWST 320

3 credits, Dr. Strauss, Thursdays, 5:30–8:00 p.m.

Focuses on Jews involved in American popular culture from early 20th century to the present.  Includes Jewish songwriters, artists, comedians, musicians, fashion designers, filmmakers, and others.  Explores questions of ethnic identity and social change, and the influence of politics, gender, race, and sexual identity on the production of culture.  

JWST 396

1 credit, Dr. Strauss, Wednesdays, 8:20–10:50 p.m.
(six week class: October 6–November 10) 

The colorful relationship between Jews and New York is explored through history, urban studies, and ethnic studies.  Jewish food, theater, religious life, and politics influence the city and vice versa.  Consider how Jews in architecture, media, business and culture impact the city and beyond, helping to shape a multicultural America. 

HIST 473

3 credits, Dr. Nadell, Mon/Thurs, 12:55-2:10 p.m.

Traces the historical trajectory of the evolution of the American Jewish community.  In particular, focuses on successive waves of immigration, the social and economic patterns that define the community, the ways in which American Jews in the past constructed their identities, and the reactions of others to Jews’ entrance into American life. 


  • 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.”

  • 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.
  • Laura Beers authored "What Josh Hawley doesn't get about George Orwell" on CNN. 
  • Mia Owens was featured in an article by WJLA about becoming the first person to recieve the White House Historical Association fellowship that focuses on studying slavery, specifically the untold stories in DC.
  • Daniel Kerr received an award of $100,000 from the Henry Luce Foundation for his project called "Food Security in DC during COVID-19" with the purpose of supporting the activities of the Humanities Truck during the coronavirus pandemic.

Department News

A Star of David

Antisemitism at New All-Time High in US

AU’s Pamela Nadell explains alarming rise of antisemitism and how it’s moving mainstream

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Ernst Posner

Research ·

How AU Aided Refugee Scholars from Nazi Germany

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