The Department of History offers students many and varied opportunities to deepen their historical awareness and to practice the craft of “making” history . History is consistently one of the most popular choices for majors and minors at the college, and its faculty members are recognized by Sewanee and its peer institutions for their commitment to and excellence in both teaching and research.


The department's range of introductory and advanced courses for majors and non-majors reflects the broad geographical, chronological, and methodological interests of its professors. Sewanee students may begin their introduction to the field of history by choosing either from a range of 100-level thematic introductions to the study of history or from an array of 200-level national and regional surveys. These courses are designed to teach students to think critically about historically significant events and processes and to analyze and assess primary and secondary sources. Those who choose to continue in the major will work closely with an individual faculty advisor to devise a program that best suits the student's interests and that exposes them to a broadly-conceived understanding of history. The department encourages its students to consider themselves not as narrow specialists, but as history majors who must think across conventional boundaries of time and space.


With their faculty advisors and mentors, History majors identify themes or fields of interest that cut across geographical regions and time periods. They will take at least one course at the 300 or 400 level --linked to a theme of interest-- before enrolling in the senior seminar (HIST 452).  In the context of a HIST 300 or 400 level course, majors will create a foundation for the capstone project they will develop in the seminar.  We understand this to mean that the major’s senior project will emerge from engagement with primary source materials or relevant historiography explored in the context of a 300 or 400 level HIST course. Majors are encouraged to take more than one course at the 300 or 400 level as they decide what kind of project to pursue in the capstone seminar. This seminar, which is designated as writing-intensive, asks senior history majors to enter fully into the field of history by making a coherent, well-researched, and well-supported contribution to the field in the form of a substantial research paper.

The department is proud to host the college’s annual Anita S. Goodstein Endowed Lectureship in Women's History, which most recently has been co-organized and co-chaired by Professors Molly Brookfield and Anthony Donaldson.

In addition to merit awards from the university, history students are eligible for several awards the department offers to recognize scholarly excellence. The Edward B. King Prizes for Excellence in History are awarded each year to history majors who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and research. The Joseph D. Cushman Prizes are awarded annually to junior and senior history majors who exemplify the characteristics of academic achievement, high character, and a sense of responsibility.


Offices of the History faculty are located on the second and third floors of the Walsh-Ellett building.


Mailing Address:

The Department of History
735 University Ave.
Sewanee, TN 37383-1000

Department Chair:


Professor Kelly J. Whitmer
Office Location: Walsh-Ellett 302
Phone: (931) 598-1723