Brown’s Department of History is one of the university’s oldest academic units. Historical studies have been an essential part of Brown’s curriculum since the university’s founding in 1764. Today, we are a diverse community of scholars and students committed to the values and ethics of rigorous education in the humanities. We conduct research, teach 3000 students each year, and sponsor dozens of events, both at Brown and beyond, every academic year. To explore the department and the study of history in greater depth, we invite you to watch this brief film and peruse the department newsletter.

Why study history? Studying the past introduces us to the people and societies who made the world we inhabit. Understanding their lives and identities, their choices and beliefs, and the circumstances and constraints they faced is an essential first step in understanding ourselves. Devoted to the study of humanity’s vast and diverse past, the department’s research and teaching is global and integrative. Its award-winning faculty members are acclaimed scholars who excel in the classroom and take great pride in their teaching.

What do historians do? The department trains students in the fundamentals of historical thinking and practice, skills and habits of mind that provide a foundation for excellence in a wide range of careers and professions, including teaching, law, medicine, business, public service, and advanced historical research. Brown’s history graduates can be found in virtually every profession, where their critical thinking skills, their capacity to analyze context and causality, and their experience working with documentary evidence are prized.



Home page banner image courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library.
Source: Shirley, R.W. Mapping of the world, 99, plate 85; Gallo, R. "Antonio Florian," Imago Mundi VI: 35-38; Tooley, R.V. "Maps in Italian atlases," Imago Mundi III: 23.