About History

Our Program and Courses

History is both a major and a minor at F&M. Our program is designed to provide opportunities to encounter peoples, cultures and political systems from across time and from around the globe. When you study history at F&M, you’ll explore humanity through historical theory and research, inspecting the questions, challenges, successes and failures that have shaped our world. You’ll learn the essential skills of historians, gaining the ability to research thoroughly, read critically, analyze sources accurately, and write and communicate your findings clearly.

By the time you graduate, you will be able to: 

  • Recognize history as an intellectual process involving selection and evaluation of material and construction of arguments. 
  • Understand history as a series of major turning points and the process of change over time.
  • Read and understand primary, secondary and tertiary sources and identify the place and purpose of each for historical study. 
  • Develop critical awareness of your own approach to the past.

Curious about what history classes are like at F&M? Peruse our course catalog to see the depth and breadth of what’s available to you. 

Our Faculty and Staff

Douglas A Anthony

Professor of History, Program Chair of Africana Studies

Africana Studies

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Ilan Benattar

Robert F. & Patricia G. Ross Weis Visiting Assistant Professor of Judaic Studies & History

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Rob W Jones

Visiting Scholar of History

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Gregory J Kaliss

Assistant Professor of History

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Lucy E Marten

Visiting Scholar of History

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Ben R McRee

Professor of History

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Maria D Mitchell

Professor of History

Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

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Ted A Pearson

Associate Professor of History

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Richard M Reitan

Professor of History

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Abby M Schrader

Professor of History, Department Chair of History

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Laura M Shelton

Associate Professor of History

Latin American Studies

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Ann L Wagoner

Academic Department Coordinator

American Studies; Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

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Philip D Zimmerman

Visiting Scholar of History

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Guillaume de Syon

Visiting Scholar of History

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Learning Outside the Classroom

You’ll discover in a short time that the study of history extends far outside the classroom. F&M’s history department has a long tradition of encouraging students’ intellectual growth through research opportunities, off-campus study, independent research and more. Our goal is to provide close supervision and mentoring to students in the classroom and around the world.

Research & Independent Studies 

Do you want to research Lancaster’s history in World War I? Or maybe you want to uncover the complicated history of the women’s suffrage movement? You can at F&M. As you dive into the intricacies of the past, you’ll discover historical areas or ideas you want to further explore. The good news? You won’t have to wait until graduate school to launch your investigation.
Explore research at F&M

Off-Campus Study

At F&M, you’ll find extraordinary opportunities to study abroad. Our history majors have studied in Australia, Austria, China, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Spain, and Tanzania, to name a few places. You, too, can make study abroad integral to your experiences and research.
Explore off-campus study at F&M

The History Club

The History Club, an F&M student organization, is an intellectual and social opportunity to enhance your academic experience. The History Club examines historical events with a critical eye and perspective and provides students the opportunity to discover more about history. 

Museums & Libraries

F&M’s Phillips Museum of Art and the nearby North Museum, a natural historical collection at the southern end of campus, offer comprehensive materials on historical topics. Additional resources for history students include F&M’s two research libraries: Shadek-Fackenthal Library and Martin Library of the Sciences, which houses F&M’s archives and special collections.
Explore the F&M College Library

Success Beyond F&M

By studying history at F&M, you’ll gain a holistic outlook that provides a strong background in critical thinking, analysis, writing and public presentation — skills highly valuable in any post-graduate pursuit. 

Fellowships

It’s not uncommon for history majors to pursue fellowships, which offer often-funded experiential learning opportunities such as advanced study, research, internships, service, travel, and more. Our graduates have pursued teaching and public service fellowships with organizations such as Teach for America and Americorps. They also go on to complete fellowships overseas with the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, for which F&M is recognized as a top-producing institution
Explore fellowships at F&M

Graduate School

Many of our history majors choose to pursue graduate school after F&M, with a significant number enrolling in law school. Our graduates have completed their advanced degrees at the best universities, including:

  • American University
  • Columbia University
  • Drexel University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • New York University
  • Rutgers University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Villanova University

Career Paths

History at F&M provides a strong foundation for many professional professions. Our graduates hold diverse positions such as:

  • Attorney
  • Business executive
  • College professor
  • Editor/publisher
  • Filmmaker
  • Foreign service diplomat
  • Government official
  • History teacher
  • Journalist
  • Judge
  • Law clerk
  • Marketing writer
  • Social worker

Student Spotlight

Student’s Research Investigates World War II Mission in Germany

History and archaeology are Gavin Vogel's twin studies of interest, and for six weeks one summer, he found himself immersed in both. In Germany's Black Forest, the recent grad worked with an archaeological research team uncovering wreckage and possible remains from an American B-17G Flying Fortress, a nine-crew member bomber that crashed there in 1944. "It was right up my alley," he says. "I absolutely love studying the world wars, the 20th century, and the evolution of technology between the two world wars.”

Read More »

Alumni Spotlight

“The wonderful faculty, courses, and peers in the F&M History Department inspired me to never shy away from the hard ‘why’ questions.”

It was at F&M as a history major and Africana studies minor that Hilary Green '99 began honing her interests in the intersections of race, class, and gender in African American history, the American Civil War, Reconstruction, Civil War memory, the U.S. South, 19th-century America, and the Black Atlantic. "The wonderful faculty, courses, and peers in the F&M History Department inspired me to never shy away from the hard 'why' questions and to creatively find socially aware answers to them both in the corporate world and academia," said Green.

Read More »

Related Fields of Study

Africana Studies

Learn to view the world through diverse perspectives, from Africa and the regions of the Diaspora to the lived experiences of Black Americans today. Africana Studies at F&M explores the range of interrelated histories, cultures, and intellectual contributions of Africans and those of African origin, all the way back to the cradle of civilization itself.

American Studies

Engage with the oldest multifaceted major at F&M. As a student of American Studies, you’ll enjoy a true liberal arts experience, exploring several disciplines to develop analytical skills and critical judgment and to examine the range and diversity of American experiences, identities and communities.

Government

F&M’s Department of Government has earned a reputation as one of the finest in the country. Study government at F&M and examine power, politics, justice, equity, and change while developing skills in language, economics, mathematics and philosophy.

F&M History in Action

May 1, 2024

Chilamo Taylor ’24 Forges Unique Path to Japan

How did football and fashion lead Franklin & Marshall senior Chilamo Taylor to a prestigious postgraduate fellowship in Japan? Learn more about his upcoming Princeton in Asia fellowship.

April 17, 2024

My Student Experience: 'Night at the Museum' Could Never Compare

As a double major in French and history, people ask Ruth Axford, "What are you going to do with that?" How about spending a study abroad working in a Paris museum.

February 20, 2024

Record Number of Fulbrights Earns F&M a Top Producer Spot

For the seventh consecutive year, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program has named F&M a top-producing institution. Eleven recent graduates were awarded Fulbright fellowships in 2023, the highest number in F&M history.