The Department of History hosts five working groups. Gender and Race, Imperial Encounters, Practices in History, and War and Memory working groups highlight the common thematic interests among faculty who specialize in diverse geographic areas and time periods. Environmental History working group is led by graduate students. We offer at least one graduate seminar that corresponds to a working group theme every semester.
Current offerings include:Fall 2023: HIS 650 001 Empires in World History (Emily Mokros) HIS 650 002 War and Memory (Akiko Takenaka)
Network Map of the Working Groups:In the map below, the brown nodes represent working groups and the gray nodes represent faculty. Click on a node to see to see how the faculty and groups are connected. (The descriptions of the groups are below.)
Gender and Race
The Gender and Race Working Group conducts research and collaborates within intellectual communities analyzing hierarchical and intersectional categories of global systems. Our work scrutinizes power relationships and symbols of power attendant to gendered and racial categories. Furthermore, our work evaluates the agency of historical actors who disrupt or disable methods of domination based in inequality, subjugation, and erasure. When considering gender and race in global systems of power, we ask questions such as: how do different hierarchical categories construct intersections, how does inequality develop, why does inequality endure, and by what means is inequality resisted and disrupted? Our Working Group also actively supports diversity, inclusion, and equity within the History Department.
Empires and their forms of expansion, from conquest to slavery, informal empire to settler colonialism, have always brought distant individuals into close contact—with powerful social and cultural repercussions. By framing our inquiry as “Imperial Encounters,” we connect large political formations with constituent actors and phenomena: the people and material objects that traversed empires, and the stories of daily routines, interactions, and conflicts. Our focus on encounters therefore underscores the politics of difference, identity, and belonging that emerge within and between imperial formations. Given the global presence and enduring legacies of empire, faculty in the working group study and teach in a wide variety of geographic regions and historical periods. Scholars in this group focus on such themes as law and justice, mobility and freedom, information and bureaucracy, and memory and historical legacy. We convene an occasional reading group, open to all faculty and students in the department, to discuss recent scholarship on these themes.
Practices in History
The Practices in History Working Group advocates for the importance of history and historical knowledge in civic life and the essential role both play in a representative democracy. The group supports student education and faculty involvement in fields such as oral history, historic preservation, public history, and digital history/humanities. The group continually evaluates the skills and knowledge needed for success in these fields; supplemental forms of training that may prove useful; the methodological, analytical, and interpretive challenges faced by practitioners working in these and other areas; and opportunities to employ historical methods in non-academic settings for creative and productive purposes. The working group also facilitates collaboration among units across campus; works to develop and maintain partnerships with outside organizations and institutions; and assists in developing and placing students in internships and paid employment. Further, the group seeks to introduce students to the challenges and rewards of sharing historical information with public audiences and the ethical considerations associated with those exchanges.
War and Memory
The War and Memory Working Group engages in teaching and research that address broad themes that are related to war – how it is experienced at the time (by combatants and non-combatants alike), the social and political impact that it generates, and how it is subsequently remembered and commemorated. Some (but by no means all) of the issues that we explore include citizenship and the “national community” (inclusions and exclusions), gender relations, roles, and representations, war and radical othering, total and limited wars. We consider various types of war memories: private, public, and collective memory. How do people who have lived through the trauma of war endeavor to cope with that trauma in war’s wake? What is “collective memory” and why does it so often focus on the commemoration of war? Why and how is the “collective memory” of war contested, and who is included in and excluded from the “collective”? Can there be such a thing as “restorative justice” for crimes committed generations ago?
Environmental History Working Group is a student-led working group that brings together students with interests in environmental history from across the department. The group meets bi-weekly to discuss and share research, field literature, environmental frameworks, and other topics of interest. EHWG also works to facilitate professionalization opportunities and broaden ties with other environmental historians and programs outside of UK. The group is open to all students and faculty with an interest in environmental history
Collaborative Space: https://ehwguky.home.blog/