Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content


Department of History and Classics

Department of History and Classics

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Passionate faculty. Curious students. 

These are essential ingredients to the best history departments — like ours.

Our faculty members know their way around the world — from the Americas and Europe to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. They’re also authorities on the issues — from the Renaissance and Reagan, slavery and samurais, women and war​, and much more. 

Our students, inside the classroom and beyond it, are captivated by the events and cultures — from Russia and the Reformation to Native Americans and nationalism — that have shaped our world. 

Away from the classroom, internships and our history club bring lessons to life — as does our annual Maymester course, which has taken students to Germany, Poland, Hungary, England, Ireland, and Japan in the past three years.

Whether you want to see the world from your classroom seat or travel it by the se​​at of ​your pants, we want you to take the journey with us.  Take a look at some "Fast F​acts​"​ about our department to learn more!  

​What's New?​​

The Department of History and Classics is extremely excited to ​host the upcoming Rev. Cornelius P. Forster, O.P.​​​ Making History Conference​. ​ It is our signature event of the year, and it features the best original research from our brightest students.  It will be held in Harkins Hall on March 25.  Making History is supported through a generous endowment from the Gladys Brooks Foundation.  We also thank the Dean of Arts & Sciences and the Center for Engaged Learning for additional support.

Set those DVRs!  Dr. Sharon Murphy is going to be featured as the expert historian this Sunday, March 26 on TLC's "Who do You Think You Are?"​ at 10pm.  The celebrity is actor Noah Wylie, famous for his roles in ERFalling Skies, and ​The Librarian.  ​ ​     

Thanks so much to Mark D'Arcy '90 ​, Meg Murray '02, and Kevin Smith '07, all brilliant PC History graduates, for speaking to our students at our second annual Career Forum​.  They represent the fields of finance, higher education, and health services, and they showed us the range of skills one can acquire with a history degree, as well as the amazing variety of careers one could pursue with those skills.  Thank you! 

Our very own Dr. Margaret Manchester is this ​year's Faculty Resident Director in the illustrious PC in Rome program.  And....she's blogging about it. Follow Dr. Manchester's blog​ to see what PC students are up to in Italy! 

Recent Faculty Accomplishments   

Dr. Jeffrey Johnson​, Professor of History and Director of The American Studies Program, was interviewed​ by C-Span​ for its American History TV series. Johnson was interviewed at the 2016 meeting of the Organization of American Historians in Providence and talked about the rise and decline of socialism’s popularity in America.  He was also featured in Time Magazine​​, in an article on the 1916 San Francisco Bombing.   ​

​​Dr. Sharon Murphy is becoming a bit of a celebrity.  An excerpt from her recent book, Other People's Money: How Banking Worked in the Early American Republic ​(Johns Hopkins, 2017) was recently featured ​on Time Magazine's website​.  Murphy was also featured in an interview on "Backstory," which discussed the history of American insurance and gambling (she comes in at the 28 minute mark).  You can also see her on a future episode of TLC's popular show, "Who Do You T​hink You Are?"​ on Sunday, March 26! ​ ​ 

Our department chair and fearless leader, Dr. Raymond Sickinger, has recently published a fascinating biography of Antoine Frédéric Ozanam, a famous French ​thinker, writer, and the primary founder of the Society of St. Vincent DePaul.  Sickinger's Antoine Frédéric Ozanam is now available from The University of Notre Dame Press.    

HUGE congratulations to Dr. Steve Smith, who has a new book coming out this summer: An Empire of Print: The New York Publishing Trade in the Early American Republic​, via the Penn State Series in the History of the Book.  Great work, professor! 

Dr. Patrick Breen recently publ​​ished his groundbreaking book, The Land Shall be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt, with Oxford University Press. The book has been chosen as an alternate in the highly selective History Book Club Series and was chosen for the Military and Library of Science book clubs.  Dr. Breen's insight has recently been featured in ​Smithsonian Magazine​ and NPR.  

Dr. Colin Jaundrill's Samurai to Soldier: Remakin​g Military Service in Nineteenth Century Japan was recently published with Cornell University Press.   Way to go!         

Congratulations to Drs. Adrian Weimer and Edward E. Andrews.  Weimer and Andrews both recently published separate articles in The William and Mary Quarterly, the top journal in the field of early American history.  Weimer’s piece is on “Elizabeth Hooton and the Lived Politics of Toleration in Massachusetts Bay,” while Andrews will publish “Tranquebar: Charting the Protestant International in the British Atlantic and Beyond.”  Furthermore, Weimer also had an article accepted for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia on “Martyrdom in North America,” while Andrews published “Native American Missionaries,” in Oxford Bibliographies in Atlantic History and was elected as a Member of The Colonial Society of Massachusetts.  Well done, you two!  

​Our newest hire, Dr. Alex Orquiza, published an article titled “Cooking as a Classroom: Domestic Science in Philippine Bureau of Education magazines, 1906-1932” in the Fall 2016 issue of Asia Pacific Perspectives

​Dr. Connie Rousseau's article, "Harbingers of the Future: Marriage Cases during the Pontificate of Innocent III and Lateran IV," has been accepted for publication by one of the oldest journals of law and legal history in the world, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung fur Rechtsgeschichte, Kanonische Abteilung (forthcoming, 2017).  

​​Congratulation​s to Rebecca Marisseau! ​

Rebecca, history major and Valedictorian of the Class of 2016​, recently began pursuing a doctoral degree in history at Brown University under Dr. Seth Rockman. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of material culture and American nationalism, and she's presented her work at The McNeil Center for Early American Studies' Undergraduate Research Workshop at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the Making History Conference and PC's Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity. She was also inducted into the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society last spring. ​ 

See Also