"Remembering the past is a fundamental human activity."

historyIn his account of the violent conflict between the Persian Empire and the Greek city-states, the ancient scholar Herodotus wrote that his purpose was "to preserve the memory of the past." He called the work his "researches" or "inquiries" — his historia.

At Saint Michael's College, you will work with professional historians to bring the past to life. You'll be offered a diverse array of courses that focus on a variety of geographical regions and time periods, including the United States, Europe (modern, medieval, and ancient), Latin America, East Asia, and the Islamic world.

The faculty members of the Department of History are all active professional scholars in their fields of research, and they bring their expertise and their enthusiasm for their research into their classrooms and seminars. Among the fields in which faculty members have published are 19th century New England and New York, China and its politics in the 20th century, medieval Italy and medieval religion, 20th century US politics and culture, race and society in the Caribbean, and Britain before and during World War II.

You will develop skills in investigation, writing, and critical analysis, weaving together ideas from other disciplines, which will prepare you for a number of career and graduate school options.

The course topics we offer include:

  • Contemporary China and Japan
  • World War II in Asia, Europe, and the United States
  • Saints and religion in 13th and 14th century Italy
  • New England before the Civil War
  • Women in 20th century Britain and the United States
  • The rise and fall of the British Empire
  • The presidency of FDR and the Great Depression
  • Society and culture in Latin America

In all of our courses we emphasize critical thinking, research skills, oral presentations, and good writing. These are necessary skills that are all applicable to a wide variety of professions and occupations in the economy today.

History Learning Outcomes

Sample Four Year Plan for History Majors*

First Year
Fall Spring
HI 101 or 103 U.S. History HI 105, 107, or 108 European History
Foreign Language I    Foreign Language II
First Year Seminar  Liberal Studies course
Liberal Studies course Liberal Studies course
Fall Spring
HI 141 or 143 East Asian History HI 161 or 163 Latin American History
Liberal Studies course Liberal Studies course
  Electives    Electives 
Fall Spring
  Study Abroad?    History seminar 
History seminar History elective
History elective  Junior Seminar
  Elective    Elective
Fall Spring
History electives HI 410 History Senior Seminar
Electives Electives

This is just one example of how you can plan your history courses.  History majors can take courses covering four areas - East Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the United States - during different time periods.  There are a variety of courses covering these fields at each level, and the order in which you take them is up to you.  Your faculty advisor will work with you to choose the courses and sequence that best fit your goals and interests.

* For students who enroll in the fall of 2018.

George Dameron, PhD

Professor of History, Coordinator of Humanities, Chair Phi Beta Kappa
View Curriculum Vitae

Contact Professor Dameron

Durick Library 306
Box 141
View Full Profile

Ph.D. Harvard University
M.A. Harvard University
B.A. Duke University

Areas of Expertise:

Medieval and Early Modern Europe; Medieval Italy, with particular focus on thirteenth and fourteenth century Tuscany (social, economic, cultural, political)

Courses I Teach:

  • Ancient and Medieval Civilization
  • The Black Death
  • Culture and Society in Medieval Italy
  • Early Modern Europe
  • The Franciscans
  • The Historian's Craft
  • Honors Colloquium
  • Joan of Arc (First Year Seminar)
  • Medieval Europe
  • Renaissance and Reformation
  • Senior Seminar
  • Topics in Medieval History: (topics vary and include "Women and Gender in the Middle Ages")

Kathryn Dungy, PhD

Associate Professor of History
View Curriculum Vitae

Contact Professor Dungy

Durick Library 307
Box 344
View Full Profile

M.A., Ph.D. Duke University
B.A. Spelman College

Areas of Expertise:

Social and cultural history of Latin America and the Caribbean; gender and race identity; Atlantic World, Antebellum U.S.

Courses I Teach:

  • Colonial Latin America
  • Early Caribbean
  • Modern Latin America
  • Modern Caribbean
  • Race, Class and Gender in the Americas
  • Slavery in the Americas
  • Senior Seminar

Rowena He, M.A., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of History
View Curriculum Vitae

Contact Professor He

Durick Library 311
Box 384
View Full Profile

Research Associate, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University
B.A., South China Normal University
M.A., University of Toronto
Ph.D., University of Toronto

Areas of Expertise:

Modern and contemporary Chinese history, society, and politics;  Interdisciplinary inquiries into the nexus of history, memory, and power, political socialization, youth values, and social change, and their implications for citizenship, human rights, and democracy; the 1989 Tiananmen Movement and its aftermath; intellectual freedom and censorship; patriotic education and post-89 student nationalism; oral history and life history.

Courses I Teach:

Traditional East Asia
Modern East Asia
Honors Program: Tiananmen in History and Memory
Human Rights in China
Senior Seminar

Susan Ouellette, PhD

Professor of History
View Curriculum Vitae

Contact Professor Ouellette

Durick Library 304
Box 136
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B.A. SUNY Plattsburgh
M.A., Ph.D. University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Areas of Expertise:

Early America, including the first settlement up to the American Revolution period; Native Americans; Immigration history, especially the experience of Francophones in the Northeast; Textiles history; Women’s history; diaries and memoirs.

Courses I Teach:

  • The Age of American Revolution, 1763-1815
  • American Society and Culture to 1865
  • History of the American Family
  • Native Peoples of North America
  • The Roots of American Society, 1607-1763
  • Senior Seminar
  • Topics in Women's History and the History of Gender
  • United States History to 1865
  • Women in American Society

My Saint Michael's:

I value the opportunity to work closely with students in the classroom as well as in internship and independent scholarship.

One of the unique opportunities that students at Saint Michael's have is the ability to use the physical world they see around them to study history; I like to incorporate local places, documents, structures, and people to bring class work to life. For instance, a short trip down into Winooski can give students a rare view of early industrial sites; a look at the Mill museum is a chance to imagine life in the beginning of the industrial age.

Jennifer Purcell, PhD

Department Chair, Associate Professor of History
View Curriculum Vitae

Contact Professor Purcell

Durick Library 308
Box 142
View Full Profile

Ph.D. University of Sussex, Britain
B.A., M.A. University of Colorado

Areas of Expertise:

Social and cultural history of 20th century Britain; women and national identity; gender; life history

Courses I Teach:

  • Cultural and Social History of Britain, 19th and 20th centuries
  • Europe in World War II
  • Honors Colloquium
  • Modern Europe
  • Senior Seminar
  • War and Gender in Britain

Roberto Saba, Ph.D.

Henry G. Fairbanks Visiting Humanities Scholar-in-Residence

Contact Professor Saba

Durick Library 309
Box 121
View Full Profile

Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania
M.A. University of Sao Paulo
B.A. University of Sao Paulo

Areas of Expertise:

19th and 20th Century American History; U.S. Foreign Relations; Transnational History; Imperialism; Immigration; Slavery and Emancipation.

Courses I Teach:

U.S. History since 1865
Nineteenth-Century Humanities
American Empire, American Colonies (1840s-1940s)
Immigrant America

Travel and learn

Many of our students study abroad all over the world, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia.

Consider taking our study tour course to Selma, Alabama, where the Society of Saint Edmund (the founding religious order of Saint Michael's College) played a significant role in the struggle for Civil Rights in the 1960's. An academic study tour to Assisi, Italy, focusing on Saint Francis of Assisi, d. 1226, and the Franciscans) is also in the works.

Do an internship

Students have interned at a variety of places, including the Office of the Governor of Vermont, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Vermont Commission on Women, the Hinesburg Land Trust, Shelburne Museum and more.

Become a member of a national honor society

Our department has a chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the international Honors Society in History. Saint Michael's College founded its chapter, Alpha Epsilon Nu, in 1991, and membership is open to all students, regardless of major. Special programs and activities are planned throughout the academic year. Phi Alpha Theta's motto is "seek truth." Every year the local chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Saint Michael's College (Gamma of Vermont) also inducts several history majors and minors into its ranks.

Learn from visiting scholars

Our department sponsors the prestigious and annual Norbert A. Kuntz Memorial Lecture in History. The department established the lecture series to honor Dr. Norbert Kuntz, a long-time Saint Michael's professor and chair of the History Department. This series brings a historian of international stature to Saint Michael's College to address the community. Members of the department also work with other programs and honor societies to bring noted scholars to campus to interact closely with our students. For example, our department cooperated recently with the college Phi Beta Kappa chapter to bring a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar to campus.

Become a double-major or minor

Our department is also closely associated with several interdisciplinary programs - American Studies, East Asian Studies, Gender Studies, Humanities, and Medieval Studies.

Many of our students choose to double-major or minor with one of these other disciplines to further enhance their academic experience. If you are thinking of becoming a teacher, History will prepare you well to work in the classroom. If you are thinking of becoming a lawyer, History will prepare you well to work in the courtroom.

After graduation, our majors go on to careers like:

  • History Teacher
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Law Clerk
  • Paraprofessional
  • Political Campaign Position
  • Community Integration Specialist

To find out more about what our graduates are doing, visit our History Alumni Profiles.

A degree in history is valuable for a variety of careers and workplaces, including:

  • Law
  • Marketing/Public Relations
  • Insurance
  • Teaching
  • Business
  • Banking
  • Education agencies and foundations
  • Private non-profit organizations
    • Museums
    • State or federal government historical programs
    • Libraries
  • Research institutions
    • Public research agencies
    • University research agencies
  • Foundations or philanthropic organizations
    • State councils on the humanities
  • Private individual or small firms
    • Historic preservation
    • Restoration programs
    • Consulting for business or public agencies
  • Public agencies
    • Planning agencies
    • Libraries and archives
    • State and federal departments of archaeology
    • Resident historians in state or national parks
    • Government service

    For more information, see:

Every History major completes a senior thesis, a significant research project on a historical topic of interest.  Each senior works closely with a faculty mentor who serves as their thesis advisor and helps guide their research.  Each student also becomes a member of a senior seminar class that assists them with completing the project.  Recent senior seminar topics include:

Spring 2019

  • Border Lines and Racial Divides: On the Radical and Cultural Behaviors of the Ninth Cavalry Regiment
  • The First and Second Opium Wars: The Economics of the Conflicts
  • Ideas of the Middle Ages: How Perspectives of the Past are Shaped by One’s Present as Seen Through the Works of Petrarch, Voltaire, and Burckhardt
  • A Life of Unconventional Thought: Comprehending Hanna Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem and Jewish Identity
  • Order in Revolt: Popular Organization and Consciousness from 1323-1381
  • Understanding the Middle Ages: Contemporary Reflections on Revolt and the Meaning of the Medieval Past
  • The Universality and Diversity of the Cinderella Tale
  • Who Lost China? The China Hands and the Demise of Sino-American Relations

Fall 2018

  • The Christian Conversion of Scandinavia
  • The Consequences of Racism in Education: A Case Study of American and South African School Systems
  • Denmark and the Problem of Middle Eastern Immigrants: A Case Study into the Phenomenon of Western Islamophobia
  • Does Place Matter?: The Conflict over the Aptuxet Trading Post Location
  • The Formation of the Kingdom of Portugal and a Portuguese Identity
  • How the Development of Urban America Impacted the Fire Service
  • The Iraq War and the Subsequent Expansion of Executive Power under the George W. Bush Administration
  • Medical Innovations: A History of Wartime Influence on the Profession of Nursing
  • O Museu Nacional: The Formation and Destruction of National Narratives

Spring 2018

  • Beautiful Beasts: Women Perpetrators of the Holocaust
  • Hip Hop Music: From the Marginalized to the Mainstream
  • Homespun Heroes: How Women Fought the American Revolution with Textiles
  • Make 'Em Laugh: Hollywood's American Story
  • The Men Who Could Not Go Home: Austrian Exiles and the Battle against Fascism
  • The New York City Fire Department: The Evolution of Firefighting in New York City
  • Reclaiming the American Midwife
  • The Role of Clergy in the Efforts to Attain Voting Rights for African American Citizens in Selma Alabama
  • The Tiananmen Mothers: The Fight for Truth and Justice
  • Under One Banner: The Unification of Germany and the Consequences of Nationalist Ideology

Fall 2017

  • As the World Turns: Carthusian Practices Throughout the Centuries
  • Building Dreams: The Biography of my Father, Len Whitehouse
  • The Claws of It All: The Pharaohnomenon of the Cat in Ancient Egypt
  • Creativity and Curiosity Have Led Us Here: Looking at Hildegard’s Healing, Visions, and Music
  • From Mercenaries to Kings: How the de Hauteville Normans Were Able to Construct a Monarchy in Medieval Sicily and Southern Italy
  • Hippocrates and the Plague: How Hippocratic Medicine Influenced the Physicians of the Middle Ages
  • Human and Animal Relationships Through a Middle School Lens
  • Insieme (Together): The Eurovision Song Contest and its Attempts to Unite Europe
  • Is Music Worth Listening To? Analyzing the Lives of Three African American Musicians and the Deeper Meaning Behind Their Notes and Lyrics
  • Milton Friedman and the World's Dumbest Idea: How Supply-Side Economic Policy Transformed American Political and Economic Practices in the Late 20th Century
  • Not Just Black and White - How the Family Is Depicted Through the Lens of Television Sitcoms
  • Rain on the American Soul: What America Chose to Remember about Vietnam
  • Sail Ho! The Value of American Privateers in the Revolutionary War
  • True Soldiers: Female Warriors in the American Civil War
  • Understanding the Origins of World War Two: Analyzing the Interwar Political Cartoons of David Low and Dr. Seuss

Spring 2017

  • Charles the V and the Diet of Worms
  • Crooked Partnerships: The Recent History of Colombia, Its Right-Wing Paramilitary Movement, and the American Foreign Policy that Made It All Possible
  • Girls Just Want To Have Fun: The Role Oppressive Gender Expectations Played in the Deaths of Anne Boleyn and Joan of Arc
  • Guerilla Rhetoric and Lyrical Resistance: The Formation and Emergence of Rap Music and Hip Hop Culture in Urban America
  • The Haitian Revolution: A Product of its Time
  • Kent State: Examining the Deaths of Four Martyred Students and the Celebratory Effects of May 4 on Subsequent Student Movements
  • Laying the Smackdown: How Professional Wrestling Influenced Reality Television
  • Orwell, Roosevelt and Machiavelli: How Rhetoric Affects History
  • Le Prophète and al-Mahdi: Anti-Colonial Millenarianism in the Late 1800s
  • Protecting the American People: The Origins of the FBI
  • The Shock of the News: A Historical Comparison of Traumatic Events in American History
  • The Spirit of the 1980 Gwangju Uprising: How They Lost the Battle, but Won the War
  • Taxonomy of Maritime Piracy Through Sixteenth to Eighteenth Century Seafarers, and the Principles For Which They Sailed
  • Trailblazers of the Law: The Emergence of Women into America's Legal Sphere

Fall 2016

  • Adolph Hitler and Franklin Roosevelt: Health and Decision-Making in World War II
  • Blind Pigs and Bootleggers: The Tale of the Roaring 20s’ for Folks in Connecticut and Beyond
  • Creating a Winning Strategy: Ronald Reagan’s Political Odyssey from New Deal Democrat to Conservative Icon
  • The Early Women’s Rights Movement: How Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and the Seneca Falls Convention Shaped History
  • The Green Mountain Club: The Evolution of the National Environmental Movement in Vermont
  • Has Increased Use of Social Media Caused a Shift from Traditional Collectivist Society to Individualistic, Westernized Society in South Korea?
  • In their remaking of the Russian people, Lenin and his followers began not with Adam, but with Eve!: Interpretations of Soviet Womanhood in Interwar Britain
  • Singing Galatea and Crumbling Aqueducts: In Defense of Medieval Intellectual Wonder
  • Tenuous Relations: An Analysis of Race, Class and Gender in South Carolina Before, During and After the Stono Rebellion
  • Through the Eyes of British and German Artists: Expressions of the Psychosocial Impact of World War One in Radical Art Movements
  • Understanding the Fall of Rome: Age of Regression or Transition?
  • A Woman’s War: The Second World War as Told by Muriel and Josephine 

Spring 2016

  • The Black Death and the Progression of Medicine
  • Command and Control: An Analysis of Leadership during the Cuban Missile Crisis
  • The Decline of Heavy Industry in Northern New England
  • The Development of Allied Air Strategy during the Second World War
  • An Economic History of the Sugar Trade
  • Jackson, Polk and the Western Expansion of the United States
  • Pearls, Pralines, and Progress: A History of the Girl Scouts
  • Rediscovering the Past through Material Culture: The Essential Role of Object-based Learning in Museums
  • Secondary Education in the US since 1945
  • A Well Kept Secret: Bletchley Park and Signals Intelligence in World War II
  • The Zenith of the Empire Where the Sun Never Sets: A Historiographic Discussion on the Rise and Fall of the British Empire


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