Research

Research Fields

researcher viewing an old photo through a magnifying glass

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.

    • Margaret Abruzzo – Specializes in U.S. intellectual, cultural, and religious history, with an emphasis on the moral/intellectual debates surrounding enslavement.
    • David Beito – Specializes in Twentieth-Century African-America History, with an emphasis on social and urban history.
    • Julia Brock – Specializes in public history and the history of the U.S. South, with an emphasis on the evolution of hunting and game law after the Civil War. Her public history work includes research topics that move across southern history.
    • Lawrence Cappello – Specializes in Twentieth-Century U.S. Legal, Social, and Political History, with an emphasis on the history of the right to privacy.
    • Kari Frederickson – Specializes in Twentieth-Century U.S. History, with with an emphasis on the political, social, and cultural history of the U.S. South.
    • Lesley Gordon – Specializes in the U.S. Civil War era, with an emphasis on the antebellum South and Nineteenth-Century Military History.
    • Sharony Green – Specializes in Antebellum U.S. History, with an emphasis on correspondences between that era and other eras as well as transnational topics involving race, space, and gender.
    • Andrew Huebner – Specializes in post-1865 U.S. History, with an emphasis on the history of war and society in the twentieth century.
    • Heather Miyano Kopelson – Specializes in Race and Gender in the colonial Atlantic, with an emphasis on the history of marginalized peoples.
    • Lisa Lindquist-Dorr – Specializes in the Twentieth-Century U.S. South, with an emphasis on topics involving gender and race.
    • Joshua D. Rothman – Specializes in Nineteenth-Century U.S. History, with an emphasis on the histories of slavery, race, capitalism, and the U.S. South.
    • Harold E. Selesky – Specializes in Military History, with an emphasis on Eighteenth-Century British North America and the American Revolution.
    • Jenny Shaw – Specializes in Early Modern Atlantic World History, with an emphasis on the histories of slavery, race, and the English Caribbean
    • Sarah Steinbock-Pratt – Specializes in Modern U.S. History, with an emphasis on the U.S. in the world, empire, race, and gender.

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.

    • John F. Beeler – Specializes in the Social and Cultural History of Victorian Britain, with an emphasis on public opinion and defense policy, and imperial defense administration.
    • Holly Grout – Specializes in the history of modern France, with an emphasis on the histories of gender and sexuality, culture, beauty, consumerism, and celebrity.
    • Lucy Kaufman – Specializes in Early Modern British History, with an emphasis on the social, popular political, and religious history of Elizabethan England.
    • James Mixson – Specializes in the history of religion and culture in late-medieval Europe, with an emphasis on the histories of religious movements, reform, and crusade in the fifteenth century.
    • Margaret Peacock – Specializes in Soviet and Middle Eastern Cold War History, with an emphasis on the histories of propaganda, childhood, and media.
    • Erik Peterson – Specializes in the History and Philosophy of Science in the nineteenth and twentieth-century US, UK, and Germany, with an emphasis on race science & eugenics, Darwin & evolutionary theory, genomics & epigenomics, anthropology, geology, scientific education, and religion & science.
    • Daniel Riches – Specializes in Early Modern European History, with an emphasis on the intersection of political, diplomatic, and military history with religious, cultural, and intellectual forces.
    • Janek Wasserman – Specializes in Modern European Intellectual History, with an emphasis on the history of the Austrian School of Economics.

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.

    • Steven Bunker – Specializes in Nineteenth-Century Mexican History, with an emphasis on the history of consumption, politics, culture, and commercial entertainment.
    • Teresa Cribelli – Specializes in Brazilian History, with an emphasis on the Nineteenth-Century Brazilian press and the comparative historical narratives of progress and frontier expansion between Nineteenth-Century Brazil and the United States.
    • Heather Miyano Kopelson – Specializes in Race and Gender in the colonial Atlantic, with an emphasis on the history of marginalized peoples.
    • Juan Ponce-Vazquez – Specializes in Colonial Latin American and Spanish Caribbean History, with an emphasis in social history, slavery, race, and smuggling.
    • Jenny Shaw – Specializes in Early Modern Atlantic World History, with an emphasis on the histories of slavery, race, and the English Caribbean.

Asian History

The department offers opportunities to study the history of Asia. Faculty research interests cover a range of topics, including political, social, and cultural change in modern China, empire and war in Southeast Asia, and revolutions and their aftermath, as well as textual and visual culture.

    • Di Luo – Specializes in the history of modern China, with an emphasis on the histories of education, communication, and everyday life during the twentieth century.

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.

    • Lesley Gordon – Specializes in the U.S. Civil War era, with an emphasis on the Antebellum U.S. South and Nineteenth-Century Military History.
    • Holly Grout – Specializes in the history of modern France, with an emphasis on the histories of gender and sexuality, culture, beauty, consumerism, and celebrity.
    • Andrew Huebner – Specializes in post-1865 U.S. History, with an emphasis on the history of war and society in the twentieth century.
    • Heather Miyano Kopelson – Specializes in Race and Gender in the colonial Atlantic, with an emphasis on the history of marginalized peoples.
    • Lisa Lindquist-Dorr – Specializes in the Twentieth-Century U.S. South, with an emphasis on topics involving gender and race.
    • Sarah Steinbock-Pratt – Specializes in Modern U.S. History, with an emphasis on the U.S. in the world, empire, race, and gender.

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.

    • David Beito – Specializes in Twentieth-Century African-America History, with an emphasis on social and urban history.
    • Lesley Gordon – Specializes in the U.S. Civil War era, with an emphasis on the Antebellum South and Nineteenth-Century Military History.
    • Heather Miyano Kopelson – Specializes in Race and Gender in the colonial Atlantic, with an emphasis on the history of marginalized peoples.
    • Juan Ponce-Vazquez – Specializes in Colonial Latin American and Spanish Caribbean History, with an emphasis in social history, slavery, race, and smuggling.
    • Joshua D. Rothman – Specializes in Nineteenth-Century U.S. History, with an emphasis on the histories of slavery, race, capitalism, and the U.S. South.
    • Jenny Shaw – Specializes in Early Modern Atlantic World History, with an emphasis on the histories of slavery, race, and the English Caribbean.
    • Sarah Steinbock-Pratt – Specializes in Modern U.S. History, with an emphasis on the U.S. in the world, empire, race, and gender.
    • Erik Peterson – Specializes in the History and Philosophy of Science in the Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century US, UK, and Germany, with an emphasis on race science & eugenics, Darwin & evolutionary theory, genomics & epigenomics, anthropology, geology, scientific education, and religion & science.

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.

    • John F. Beeler – Specializes in the Social and Cultural History of Victorian Britain, with an emphasis on public opinion and defense policy, and imperial defense administration.
    • Holly Grout – Specializes in the history of modern France, with an emphasis on the histories of gender and sexuality, culture, beauty, consumerism, and celebrity.
    • Lucy Kaufman – Specializes in Early Modern British History, with an emphasis on the social, popular political, and religious history of Elizabethan England.
    • James Mixson – Specializes in the history of religion and culture in late-medieval Europe, with an emphasis on the histories of religious movements, reform, and crusade in the fifteenth century.
    • Margaret Peacock – Specializes in Soviet and Middle Eastern Cold War History, with an emphasis on the histories of propaganda, childhood, and media.
    • Erik Peterson – Specializes in the History and Philosophy of Science in the Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century US, UK, and Germany, with an emphasis on race science & eugenics, Darwin & evolutionary theory, genomics & epigenomics, anthropology, geology, scientific education, and religion & science.
    • Daniel Riches – Specializes in Early Modern European History, with an emphasis on the intersection of political, diplomatic, and military history with religious, cultural, and intellectual forces.
    • Harold E. Selesky – Specializes in Military History, with an emphasis on Eighteenth-Century British North America and the American Revolution.
    • Janek Wasserman – Specializes in Modern European Intellectual History, with an emphasis on the history of the Austrian School of Economics.

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.

    • Margaret Abruzzo – Specializes in U.S. intellectual, cultural, and religious history, with an emphasis on the moral/intellectual debates surrounding enslavement.
    • John M. Giggie – Specializes in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century U.S. History, with an emphasis on religion and the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. South.
    • Lucy Kaufman – Specializes in Early Modern British History, with an emphasis on the social, popular political, and religious history of Elizabethan England.
    • Heather Miyano Kopelson – Specializes in Race and Gender in the colonial Atlantic, with an emphasis on the history of marginalized peoples.
    • James D. Mixson – Specializes in the history of religion and culture in late-medieval Europe, with an emphasis on the histories of religious movements, reform, and crusade in the fifteenth century.
    • Daniel Riches – Specializes in Early Modern European History, with an emphasis on the intersection of political, diplomatic, and military history with religious, cultural, and intellectual forces.

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.

  • Margaret Abruzzo – Specializes in U.S. intellectual, cultural, and religious history, with an emphasis on the moral/intellectual debates surrounding enslavement.
  • Julia Brock – Specializes in public history and the history of the U.S. South, with an emphasis on the evolution of hunting and game law after the Civil War. Her public history work includes research topics that move across southern history.
  • Kari Frederickson – Specializes in Twentieth-Century U.S. History, with with an emphasis on the political, social, and cultural history of the U.S. South.
  • John M. Giggie – Specializes in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century U.S. History, with an emphasis on religion and the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. South.
  • Lesley J. Gordon – Specializes in the U.S. Civil War era, with an emphasis on the Antebellum South and Nineteenth-Century Military History.
  • Lisa Lindquist-Dorr – Specializes in the Twentieth-Century U.S. South, with an emphasis on topics involving gender and race.
  • Joshua D. Rothman – Specializes in Nineteenth-Century U.S. History, with an emphasis on the histories of slavery, race, capitalism, and the U.S. South.