Department of History
Making the Past Come Alive

Welcome to the History Department

History is our collective memory, an understanding of our heritage, of who we are and how we came to be. The history major not only provides students with the knowledge and tools of history, but also provides a sense of roots, as well as a broader perspective on the diverse regions and peoples of the world. Training in history teaches students how to think, how to analyze different kinds of problems, and is solid training for such careers as teaching, law, business, historic preservation, or museums.Watch Video »

»Being a History Major at Chapman

The history major at Chapman University provides students with the knowledge and tools of history, but also provides a sense of roots, and a broader perspective on the diverse regions and peoples of the world.  The BA in history teaches students how to think, how to analyze different kinds of problems, and provides a solid foundation for such careers in teaching, law, business, historical preservation, or archival management.

What makes Chapman’s History Department unique? An award-winning undergraduate student online journal; best history honors society in the nation for the last five years; classroom visits by Eli Weisel (the author of Night and Noble Peace-Prize winner); Hailey Giczy (09) winner of the American Historical Association’s Raymond J. Cunningham Prize for the Best Article by an Undergraduate among numerous other regional student paper awards. These are just some examples of how our majors are not just studying history – they are making it.

For more information about the History Department, download the department's brochure.

+-Students Making History!

David and Emily Winners of Pat AwardsAt the 2014 Southern California Regional Conference of Phi Alpha Theta (National History Honorary Fraternity) held at California Lutheran University on Saturday, April 26 there were four Best Paper Awards given, two graduate and two undergraduate.  Chapman students qualified only in the undergraduate category and won both awards.  The awards were presented to ... Read more!


2012-2013 Cheverton Winner

On Friday, April 26, 2013 at the 5th Annual Campus Leadership Awards, Wilkinson College student Priya Shah (pictured left), a History/Spanish double major, was awarded the Cheverton Award for the 2012-13 academic year. Read more ...





Voce Novae Voces Novae: Chapman University Historical Review Has Done It Again! For the third time the history e-journal, Voces Novae, has won the national prize for Best Electronic Journal by the Phi Alpha Theta History Honors Society.Read more ...


+-History Department Faculty News

Alexander Bay has received a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award from the East Asia and the Pacific Fulbright Scholar Program which will fund two summer trips to Japan, 2014 and 2015. During these visits Dr. Bay grant will undertake archival research for a book-length project, Nation from the Bottom Up: Environmental Hygiene and Disease Prevention in Twentieth Century Japan, that examines the history of sanitary hygiene and asks the larger question of how Japan managed, treated and disposed of human effluent across the long twentieth century.  He recently delivered a talk on this topic at Stanford University for the inaugural East Asia Studies alumni speaker co-sponsored by the Center for East Asian Studies and the Department of History.

Shira Klein has been awarded the Yad Hanadiv/Beracha Foundation Programme of Visiting Fellowships, a year-long grant for recent PhDs in the field of Jewish Studies. She will spend the year working on a book manuscript that explores the lives of Italian Jews, from the time they became equal citizens in the nineteenth century, until after the Holocaust. This study is transnational in scope, spanning Italy, Israel, and the United States. Shira was recently invited to lecture on this topic in Trinity College, CT, where she gave a talk entitled “The Holocaust in Italy: History Vs. Memory.”

Jennifer D. Keene has received an Australian Fulbright Alumni Initiative Grant given to one faculty member nationally each year to develop innovative projects that will foster institutional linkages and sustainable, mutually beneficial relationships. Her project will build curricular, scholarly, and programming collaborations between Wilkinson College new Masters of Arts degree in War and Society and a similar program at the University of New South Wales, Canberra (UNSW Canberra).  Dr. Keene recently delivered the annual Paul V. McNutt lecture at Indiana University; was named an Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lecturer; and appeared in programs hosted by C-Span History and BBC Radio.

The Boy on the Wooden Box: How the Impossible Became Possible on Schindler's List by Leon Leyson with Marilyn Harran and Elisabeth Leyson was number one on the NY Times middle-school best-seller list for several weeks; the book was just recently named the Honor Book (silver prize) in the Sydney Taylor Book Award. It was an Amazon Best Books of the Month, August 2013; and received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly; Kirkus Reviews and Voya.

+-Classes for History Majors

All History Majors take the following classes, in addition to 4-100 level classes, 3-200 level classes, and 4-300 level classes of their choice.

HIST 296 History Seminar

This sophomore-level seminar focuses on the critical reading of texts, developing historical arguments, debates among historians, and changing historical interpretations. Topics vary each semester, and have included “Armenian Genocide,” “Holocaust and Historians,” “Great Issues in American History,” and “Empire and War in East Asia: History and Memory.”

HIST 398 The Historian's Craft

This junior-level course introduces students to the philosophy of history and historical thought, historical methodology, and the craft of doing history. 

HIST 496/HIST 498 Integrated Senior Seminar I & II

This year-long sequence during the senior year serves as the capstone experience for the History major. The central project is a major, original research paper that students will present at the Phi Alpha Theta Regional History conference and publish in Voces Novae, the department’s on-line history journal.

History majors consistently research and write  award winning senior theses  that have won more than 25 Phi Alpha Theta (History Honors Society) regional awards as well as national undergraduate awards.