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 interested in becoming Engaged Scholars in History should apply to ESP in ASK at the same time that they declare the History concentration – though it is also possible to revise your concentration declaration to add the Engaged Scholar declaration at a later time


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 (2020)

medium_unnamed.pngEngaged Scholar Program History Department Representative: My name is Ivy Bernstein '21 , and I am a senior concentrating in History with a focus in Law and Society.  I am interested in understanding how systems of oppression are reinforced over time and how legal and social codes enable that oppression. I think that studying History equips me to contextualize present situations and conflicts. That’s why the Engaged Scholar Program and the History Concentration work so well together-- understanding the past allows me to be a more engaged student and community member. Outside of academics, I am on the Executive Board of Feminists at Brown, a Research Assistant at the Swearer Center, and the Social Media Head of the BrownStone’s of Brown University A Cappella. 

medium_Zander Blitzer.pngMy name is Zander Blitzer ‘22.5 and I'm a rising junior 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, and I look forward to working with the DUG this year. Outside of history, I'm involved with Brown Political Review, Shakespeare on the Green, Meiklejohn Peer Advising, Ivy Film Festival, and greek life. 

Ilana Brandes-Krug '21

Audrey Buffi '22

Rainbow Chen '21

medium_ed.pngHello! My name is Jeanne Ernest '21 and I'm a senior concentrating in History with a focus on revolutions. I have taken incredible History courses on revolutions with professors that have challenged my conception of what constitutes revolutionary activity. Because my academic interests engage with the revolutionary canon through a historical lens, I see the Engaged Scholars Program as a framework to expand upon these discoveries and apply them to our current state of affairs. All of this work informs research for my undergraduate thesis that I am completing as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. In addition to my academic work, I am also heavily involved in Brown's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), serve as a Women's Peer Counselor (WPC) in the Residential Peer Leader (RPL) program, and volunteer with HOPE's Housing Applications Collaborative (HAC). Please contact me if you want to know more about any of these interests!

My name is Morgan De Lancy ’22 and I’m a junior concentrating in History with a focus on Human Rights and the Politics of Displacement. I love history for the way it combines the personal and the political, connecting us to the stories and experiences of people across place and time, while also providing invaluable insights for the here and now. I’m passionate about understanding the continued legacies of racism, colonialism, and inequality, both personally and politically, while centering People of Color. Participating in the Engaged Scholars program offers a way for me to think critically about my privilege as a Brown student and to put my values and learning into practice. I am particularly interested in scholarship that supports existing community-led efforts to address systems of inequality. Beyond academics, I am a Student Coordinator for Brown’s Community Dialogue Project, a dancer in Brown Dance Extension, and a Meiklejohn peer advisor. I am always happy to share my experiences with any of these interests so please do not hesitate to reach out!

medium_connor jenkins1.jpegI’m Connor Jenkins '22, a junior 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!

Isabella Kearns '22

Zoë Mermelstein '21

Kanha Prasad '21

Megan Zhang '22

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