Research Fields

Faculty and graduate students in the History Department work in a variety of fields. The following are fields in which PhD students can specialize for their comprehensive exams. For more information see the Graduate Regulations Guidebook.

United States History

UA promotes robust inquiry in all periods of United States history. Our strength in social, cultural, and political history is complemented by specializations in African American history, Native American history, military and diplomatic history, intellectual history, religious history, economic and business history, and gender and women’s history.

European History

The department has a longstanding history of excellence in areas of German, Central European, Russian, French, English, Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern history. Faculty specializations range across political, diplomatic, social, cultural, gender, intellectual, religious, imperial, and economic history, as well as the history of science and medicine.

Latin American History

Stretching from the early Atlantic world to modern and contemporary Mexico, UA has great strengths in South American, Central American, and Caribbean history. Issues of cross-cultural relations, race and ethnicity, national and regional identity, and popular and political culture are widely investigated. Latin American History also benefits from the Alabama-Cuba Initiative, which gives faculty and students opportunities to study in Cuba and the Latin America, Caribbean, and Latino/a Studies Program.

Gender and Women’s History

Women’s and gender history is an active field of study at UA. Faculty teach courses in a variety of geographic locations and time periods, enabling students to gain transnational and comparative perspectives on the diversity of gender roles and on how a gendered analysis changes our understanding of historical problems.

History of Race

Students in this field investigate how racial identities have been constructed and contested over time, shaping social interactions and setting the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion in various regions of the world. Faculty strengths lie in early modern understandings of difference, slavery in the Americas, Native American history, free people of color in the United States and Latin America, and the role of race in shaping the Jim Crow and Civil Rights eras in the United States.

Military and Naval History

Students in military history study the full range of conflict, from the ancient world to contemporary problems. Graduate study of military history at UA is especially strong in colonial and Civil War America and Early Modern and Modern Europe, with a strong emphasis on naval history, diplomacy, international relations, and the home front.

Religious History

Graduate students will find the History Department an intellectually stimulating environment for studying the role of religious ideas, behaviors, people, and institutions of the past. The department offers a wide variety of courses in religious history, and students can work on religious history topics in many subfields, including Southern history, Early and Modern American history, and Medieval and Early Modern European history.

Southern History

The history of the U.S. South is an area of particular strength, as the department boasts seven specialists in the field. Course offerings and faculty research investigate all areas of southern history, from politics and labor relations to the history of race, gender, religion, and the environment. UA is also uniquely located near many important archival resources for the study of the South.