Department of History

The Department of History offers undergraduate and postgraduate coursework and research study in a variety of fields, primarily the history of Europe (from the Middle Ages to contemporary Europe and especially the history of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain), Australia, the United States and the Atlantic world, and China. Particularly strong in the department’s research and teaching are the history of imperialism, colonialism and globalisation; international, trans-national and diplomatic history; urban history (Sydney, New York, London and Paris); social and cultural history; the history of gender and sexuality; the history of medicine and health; the history of war (the American Revolution, the US Civil War, the Spanish Civil War, colonial wars, the world wars); the history of genocide; and study of the ‘history wars’ and history and memory. Members of the department also work on such topics as the history of African-Americans, the history of South Africa and the South Pacific, China’s economy and politics, maritime history, the history of travel and tourism, Celtic history, the history of monasticism, biography and historiography. The department prides itself on its research-led and student-centred teaching, and on its outstanding record of international scholarly publication. Collaborative interests link the department to the disciplines of Classics and Ancient History, Gender Studies and Cultural Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, American Studies, European Studies, Jewish Studies, Arabic Studies and Asian Studies.

Founded in 1891, the Department of History at the University of Sydney is the oldest in Australia, and with almost forty members of the academic staff, it is also the largest. Each semester the department has over two thousand enrolments in History undergraduate units of study, and each year between fifty and sixty students complete honours degrees. At present, around eighty students are enrolled for postgraduate MA, MPhil or PhD degree.

Latest News

  • 2016 SOPHI undergraduate guides now available!

    See what units of study you can do in 2016 with the SOPHI undergraduate student guides!

  • Warwick Anderson shortlisted for the NSW Premier's General History Award

    Intolerant Bodies: A Short History of Autoimmunity by Warwick Anderson and Ian R Mackay his been shortlisted for NSW Premier's General History Award.

    Intolerant Bodies is a unique collaboration between Ian Mackay, one of the prominent founders of clinical immunology, and Warwick Anderson, a leading historian of twentieth-century biomedical science. The authors narrate the changing scientific understanding of the cause of autoimmunity and explore the significance of having a disease in which one’s body turns on itself. The book unfolds as a biography of a relatively new concept of pathogenesis, one that was accepted only in the 1950s.

    In their description of the onset, symptoms, and course of autoimmune diseases, Anderson and Mackay quote from the writings of Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Joseph Heller, Flannery O’Connor, and other famous people who commented on or grappled with autoimmune disease. The authors also assess the work of the dedicated researchers and physicians who have struggled to understand the mysteries of autoimmunity.

  • International Research Award in Global History 2016

    The Universities of Heidelberg, Basel and Sydney are proud to announce the International Research Award in Global History, to be awarded for the second time in 2016. The successful applicant will receive up to €10,000 towards the organization of an international symposium on a topic of his/her choice at one of the participating institutions.

    The International Research Award in Global History is jointly advertised by the Department of History and the Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context’ at Heidelberg University (Roland Wenzlhuemer), the Institute for European Global Studies at the University of Basel (Madeleine Herren-Oesch) and the Laureate Research Program in International History at the University of Sydney (Glenda Sluga).

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