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Department of History

We believe that the study of human history is critical to global survival; the experiences of others serve as guides to present and future conduct.
Study in London
Study in London
We strongly encourage our majors to expand upon their global perspectives by studying off-campus and abroad. READ MORE about the London study group
History Faculty
History Faculty
Compelling instruction and field-leading research. Meet our history faculty.
Native Amazonian Histories
Native Amazonian Histories
Professor Heather Roller provides important insight into rural Amazonian communities threatened by outsiders. READ MORE about Roller's research
Academic Program in History
Academic Program in History
Our academic offerings will challenge you as a thinker, researcher, writer, and learner.  READ MORE: Academic program in history
Professor Douglas Addresses Convocation
Professor Douglas Addresses Convocation
In 2014, Professor Ray Douglas gave a funny and inspirational address to the Class of 2018 during the Founder's Day Convocation. VIDEO AND TRANSCRIPT

About the History Department

We offer both a major and a minor in history. While it is important for our society to have an understanding of history, the process of studying history is also an excellent way to train your mind. Exposure to rigorous historical method and clear narrative style develops conceptual skills, research competence, writing fluency, and sensitivity to the uses and abuses of language and historical knowledge.

Our curriculum is truly global in reach, including courses on African, Asian, European, North American, and Latin American subjects, and on contact and interaction between these societies. If you are a history major, we will encourage you to take courses in related departments and programs, while competence in at least one foreign language is also desirable.

For Current Students

Resources for current students, including details about the first-day modified schedule, as well as information needed for those declaring a major or minor. Current students


  • Professor Nemes has become our new Department Chair.
  • Explore Colgate history, and participate in bicentennial events, which will continue to be posted as the year progresses. History Professors Harsin and Hull have been part of the preparation for the celebration of Colgate's 200th year!
  • There is a new Field Of Focus path for our majors.

Department Contacts

Chair: Robert Nemes
Administrative Assistant: Kezia Lawler (
Office: 330 Alumni Hall
Phone: 315-228-7511
Dept. Fax: 315-228-7098

Colgate University
Department of History
13 Oak Drive, 330 Alumni Hall
Hamilton, NY 13346-1398

Success After Colgate

Colgate alumni who majored in history are pursuing careers in a variety of fields. Check out just a few of the possibilities out there for our majors. READ MORE about success after Colgate

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Upcoming Events

History Department Statement - February 2017

The history department values free inquiry, free speech, and diversity of both experience and perspective. We view these as fundamental to the liberal arts mission and necessary to the maintenance of a strong civic culture. At the same time, we are committed to certain core principles without which we cannot function either as educators or scholars.

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Among these core principles is a respect for truth and facts. As historians, we are, of course, alert to the ways in which power and knowledge overlap and intersect. Questions of objectivity and subjectivity have always been central to our profession and craft, and there will never be a time when the writing of the past is not contested to some extent. There is, however, an important difference between informed debate on the basis of vetted and broadly accepted facts and defiant, dishonest speech that aims at rhetorical and political control.

“Post-factual” culture and contempt for truth are nothing new. Universities exist, in part, to manage and combat those impulses. To do so, we must commit ourselves to the methods of inquiry and habits of mind which are necessary to bring facts within our reach, where they may be freely interpreted and interrogated for potential meanings. This is and always will be the core mission of our discipline and department.

The rich contributions of immigrants to this country and university, both in the past and present, are a matter of fact. On that basis, we wish to state and affirm our support for the principle of free movement and for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, regardless of their country of origin or religious faith.