Program Description

The Engaged Scholars Program in History is geared to History concentrators who are invested in thinking about – and helping to shape – the role that the study of history plays in social and cultural change. Engaged Scholars in History should be interested in not only learning about how societies and cultures across the world change over time, but also understanding the social and public role of the past in the present, studying public perceptions and attitudes towards history, and connecting these theoretical and academic approaches with meaningful and respectful engagement with communities and organizations outside of Brown. Engaged scholars combine hands-on experiences such as internships, public service, humanitarian and development work with their academic learning in order to develop a deeper understanding of and appreciation for social engagement.

Requirements for Engaged Scholars in History

Students in History--and any other concentration--can submit a declaration for the Engaged Scholarship Certificate (ESC) in ASK. The declaration is now open to eligible fifth and sixth semester students. In Fall 2021 only, seventh semester students can petition the Committee on Academic Standing (CAS) for an override to declare ESC; the final deadline for them to do so is September 13, 2021. Interested seniors must first meet with Julie Plaut to develop their ESC Program Plan (students can claim an advising appointment here or email her), then submit their plan through this form.

The ESC builds on the strengths and core elements of the ESP but allows undergraduate students to define the public, civic, and/or social justice issue on which they will focus. Each student will take SOC 0310: Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship and propose a set of three experiences—a three-course interdisciplinary elective sequence, a community-based practicum, and a capstone—related to the issue they define as their focus. Detailed information about the ESC can be found at, on Swearer’s website, and in the ESC Student Handbook. If you have questions about the program, you can address them to [email protected]

Requirements for the Engaged Scholars Program in History are:

  1. Engaged HIST Course(s): Students must complete one ESP-designated HIST course (see list below). Students may wish to take more than one of these courses, but only one is required.  
  2. ESP Seminar: Completion of the Engaged Scholar seminar, SOC 0310 Theory and Practice of Engaged Scholarship (ESP Seminar), ideally in the Fall of Junior Year. If students have questions about this requirement they should discuss with ESP staff.
  3. Practicum: A 150-250 hour ESP practicum (overseen by the Engaged Scholars Program), defined by significant experiential work with community partners and/or non-academic stakeholders and completed as a volunteer, a paid internship (paid by the partner organization or via Brown funding such as a LINK award), or through an academic internship.  See ESP website for more information.
  4. Capstone: The ESP capstone must be a HIST class (ideally, but not limited to HIST capstone courses, 1960s- or 1970s-level) in which student would get consent of the instructor to have the semester-end capstone project be one that includes an outward-facing, engaged component. (As concentrators, students must still fulfill the HIST capstone requirement).
    1. Student would need also to discuss plans with the Swearer Center and the History DUS, but the project must have guidance and support of the instructor.
    2. The student, not the instructor, needs to identify an organization outside the university for which the capstone project serves some sort of useful purpose (oral histories, organization history, etc.)

ESP-designated History Courses

ESP designated courses in History allow History-ESP concentrators to make one of the major assignments for the course be a project involving community engagement that relates to course content. The History-ESP student must arrange the project and get approval from the faculty member teaching the course.

Current list of ESP-designated HIST Courses

HIST 150C “Locked Up: A Global History of Prison and Captivity” (Professor Amy Remensynder)
HIST 150D “Refugees” (Professor Vazira Zamindar)
HIST 225 “Emancipation to Obama” (Professor Françoise Hamlin)
HIST 1381 “Latin American History and Film: Memory, Narrative and Power” (Professor Daniel Rodriguez)
HIST 1530 “The Intimate State: The Politics of Gender, Sex, and Family in the U.S., 1873-Present” (Professor Robert Self)
HIST 1967L “Politics and Culture under the Brazilian Military Dictatorship, 1964-85” (Professor James Green)
HIST 1968 U “Islam in America: A Global History” (Professor Faiz Ahmed)
HIST 1972F “Consent: Race, Sex, and the Law” (Professor Emily Owens)
HIST 1979B “Feathery Things: An Avian Introduction to Animal Studies” (Professor Nancy Jacobs)

Current Engaged Scholars (2021)

medium_Zander Blitzer.pngMy name is Zander Blitzer ‘22.5 and I'm from Westport, Connecticut concentrating in History (Labor & Economic) and Renaissance & Early Modern Studies (Literature). I am particularly interested in studying legal history, capitalism, political economy, and both colonial and modern American history. I have loved being part of the history department thus far because of the eye-opening classes, caring professors, and passionate concentrators. I am also excited to be an Engaged Scholar because the program has pushed me to incorporate community engagement into my academic work in a thoughtful and responsible way, as well as bringing my work outside the classroom. Beyond history and the ESP program, I'm involved with Brown Political Review, Shakespeare on the Green, Meiklejohn Peer Advising, Ivy Film Festival, the WomenStats project, the History DUG, and Greek life. Always happy to discuss concentrating in history, the ESP program, or any of my other interests so please feel free to reach out!

medium_IMG_9838_Original.jpgMy name is Morgan De Lancy ’22 and I’m concentrating in History with a focus on Human Rights. I love how history classes at Brown have allowed me to think critically about larger systems and structures by centering the experiences of individuals and their communities. I’m particularly interested in the study of displacement and diaspora, and what these histories can tell us about race, immigration, and imperialism today. I am grateful for the opportunity the Engaged Scholars program has provided to engage with these issues beyond the classroom and to think critically about how to do so ethically and responsibly. In addition to ESP, I’m involved with Brown’s Community Dialogue Project, Extension Dance Company, Meiklejohn Peer Advising, and the Refugee Dream Center. I am always happy to share my experiences with ESP or any of these interests so please do not hesitate to reach out!

medium_connor jenkins1.jpegI’m Connor Jenkins '22 and I'm studying History and Africana Studies with a focus on cultural histories of captivity/incarceration at the nexus of race and gender. I love the History department because I see storytelling about the past as a prerequisite for realizing a world beyond structural injustices and violence. It is nearly impossible to study in the History Department and fully disentangle historical learning from how this materializes in the Providence community. I see performing a community-oriented function and purpose as central to any scholarly work, and I see engaged scholarship as the avenue by which this is possible. Outside of classes, I work at the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice and tutor in the Rhode Island prisons through the Petey Greene Program. I’m more than happy to chat about any and all things related or unrelated to the Engaged Scholars in the History Department!

Contact in History: The Director of Undergraduate Studies and ESP Liaison, Prof. Holly Case
Contact at Swearer Center: [email protected] and [email protected]