Dr. Joshua Rothman Embraces New Role as Department Chair

Headshot photo of Joshua Rothman in front of a bookcase. He is wearing a mauve shirt and tie.
Dr. Joshua Rothman,
Department of History Chair

The History Department is pleased to announce our new Department Chair, Dr. Joshua Rothman. As Chair, he serves as the official liaison between the department and the university administration, assisting with schedule creation, budgeting, and communication between students, faculty, and the dean’s office.

Dr. Rothman hopes to see the the undergraduate program expand during his time as chair and is dedicated to encouraging students to pursue a major or minor in history. “The study of history creates well rounded humans, and it offers practical skills” for students looking into pursuing a graduate degree or launching a career, says Rothman. He believes that the key to growing the department as a whole is to find students who care as much as the faculty, and hopes to continue to attract passionate students to the program.

When not working, Dr. Rothman is looking after his two children, going to the Rec Center, or watching sports. Though he was always interested in history, it wasn’t something he had considered as a career; “It wasn’t something that I anticipated as a kid, or in high school, or even in college.” Originally intending to go to law school after college, he changed his mind because “the prospect of reading, studying history, doing research — and getting paid for it — seemed nice…I’m really lucky I ended up doing something I love doing.” Rothman is the author of Flush Times and Fever Dreams: A Story of Capitalism and Slavery in the Age of Jackson (2012); Notorious in the Neighborhood: Sex and Families across the Color Line in Virginia, 1787-1861 (2003); and editor of Reforming America, 1815-1860: a Norton Documents Reader (2009). Currently, Dr. Rothman is researching domestic slave traders, but he traces one of his earliest history experiences to visiting the King Tut exhibit with his parents when he was seven years old. He remembers poring over the exhibition’s catalog as a kid and adds, “It might still be at my parents’ house!”

We’re excited to see how Dr. Rothman will lead the department and increase our undergraduate presence. “I’m still getting used to this job,” he says. “I hope I do right by the faculty, by the students, and by the university.”