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Thematic Interests and Areas of Excellence

With nearly forty full-time faculty members, the Vanderbilt History Department trains graduate students in a wide range of fields and methodological approaches. Our temporal and regional strengths span from antiquity to modern history, with faculty members and graduate students focusing on the Americas, Eurasia, or Africa, as well as interconnections across the Atlantic, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian Ocean. Our thematic and methodological interests are wide and varied, and they include the following fields:


African Diaspora

African American

Atlantic World




Citizenship / National Identity / Nationalism

Comparative / Transnational


Digital Methods

Diplomatic / International

Disease and Public Health


Economics: Labor, Business, Capitalism



Gender, Sexuality, LGBTQIA

Historiography / Historical Theory and Method

Iberian World





Material Culture

Mediterranean World



Peace and Conflict


Popular Culture

Race & Ethnicity



Social Movements



Science, Medicine, and Technology

United States and the World

World / Global / Transregional


At the same time, in line with university-wide challenges and initiatives, the History Department has decided to invest special resources in three areas of excellence that offer unique opportunities for advanced interdisciplinary training as well as trans-departmental and trans-institutional collaboration.


  1. Legal History
  2. Economics: Labor, Business, Capitalism
  3. Race and Diaspora


Details and requirements have yet to be spelled out, but applicants to our graduate program should bear in mind that they may be asked to take a methods course or write a seminar paper in one of these areas of excellence. In addition, applicants are strongly encouraged to reach out to prospective advisors to figure out how their interests could connect with our areas of excellence initiative and to explain in their Statement of Purpose how they envision benefitting from it.

Please click on the links to the right of this page to learn about the research of our faculty and graduate students. Information about recent Ph.D. recipients can be found by clicking on Recent Graduates for each section.