The U.S. history program has a long tradition of excellence in research and teaching, with many of its faculty having won prizes for their publications and pedagogy. A close-knit group of ten faculty with broad, overlapping interests, they combine the sensibilities of social history with the insights of cultural history, producing fine-grained studies of lived experience and devoting particular attention to Americans on the margins of the dominant society. In their research and pedagogical endeavors, they share a commitment to interdisciplinarity and transnational approaches. While the Americanists train graduate students in all periods, from the colonial era to the turn of the twenty-first century, they have particular strengths in Early America and the Atlantic World, the economic and legal history of the nineteenth century, and the post-1945 period. The Americanists also work with faculty working in other geographic regions, as well as with faculty in American Studies, to strengthen comparative and transnational approaches. Major thematic strengths include the history of capitalism, political and legal history, the history of civil rights, and the history of domestic and foreign policy. Americanist faculty and their graduate students are currently working in a range of subfields: material culture studies; the history of science, technology, and the environment; the history of social, political, and cultural movements; comparative legal history; histories of children and childhood; the history of sexuality; U.S. in the world, with special emphasis on transnational Asian/American history and transnational labor history; history of education; the history of religion in America; and Native American history.
With strong ties to related programs, centers, and libraries across the Brown campus, the Americanist faculty and graduate students benefit from specialists and resources outside the department as well as within. The John Carter Brown Library, for example, houses one of the finest collections in the world for the study of Early America and the Atlantic World, and it has a large fellowship program that provides an always exciting intellectual community. The Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice, one of the first institutes of its kinds, offers fellowships as well as a steady stream of workshops and lectures. The Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage, the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, and the Watson Institute for International Studies open up many intellectual exchanges between the Americanists within the History Department and those in related programs such as Africana Studies, American Studies, Anthropology, Native American and Indigenous Studies, and Urban Studies.