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Detain from the Battle of Anghiari, a 15th century Italian painting,
Faculties and schools_

Department of History

Exploring the variety of human experience
Encountering other times and other cultures helps us understand change and see the world from different perspectives.

Studying history helps us understand the origins of the modern world and to uncover forgotten people and their paths. History encompasses every aspect of human life in the past. We work with diverse kinds of evidence and each valuable skills in interpretation and analysis.

We are the largest history department in Australia, with units of study on particular cities, nations and regions, especially Europe, Australia, China and North America, as well as thematic and comparative units on topics ranging from scandal to epidemics. Each year we offer a rich array of study options and we continually review and renew our curriculum.

Many of our staff have won awards for their teaching and research. We are committed to giving our students a highly regarded education and a gateway to life beyond university.

Our study offering

The study of history equips you to understand change, to look at things from different perspectives, and to assess diverse kinds of information. It offers a variety of topics, from war to politics, culture and sexuality, the history of ideas and the history of food; and it spans the Middle Ages to the present, from Australia to China, the United States and Europe. 

Undergraduate

*Available to all students studying the Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of EconomicsBachelor of Visual Arts as well as all combined Bachelor of Advanced Studies degrees.

Research

International and Global Studies gives you a rigorous understanding of the paradoxes and complex interconnections of globalisation. This degree will equip you with the ability to work in global society. 

Undergraduate 

Our research

Historians in the department work on a wide variety of times and places, with particular strengths in the history of the United States, Australia and the Pacific, China and Europe. Many of us work in the areas of international and transnational history that have energised and transformed the study of the past. One unifying thread is a curiosity about ideas in action – that is, how ideas and ideals were developed, challenged and lived with in particular situations. How were concepts of freedom tested in practice by African Americans in US cities in the 19th century? By diplomats and international lawyers or by Indigenous people navigating the judicial system?

Our research covers the following areas:

  • Australia and the Pacific
  • Europe
  • Asia
  • Americas
  • Cultural 
  • Intellectual 
  • Political 
  • Social
  • International 
  • Imperial and colonial 
  • Legal
  • War and conflict 
  • Science and medicine
  • Urban 
  • Gender and sexuality 
  • Religion 

Research centres

Our people

Undergraduate coordinator
Professor Penny Russell

Honours coordinator
Dr Andres Rodriguez

Higher Degree Research coordinator
Associate Professor Nicholas Eckstein

International and Global Studies Director
Professor James Curran

  • Professor David Armitage, FAHA
  • Professor Alan Atkinson
  • Dr Robert Austin
  • Professor Alison Bashford
  • Dr Catherine Bishop
  • Dr Judith Bonzol
  • Dr Alexander Cameron-Smith
  • Professor Ann Curthoys, FASSA, FAHA
  • Professor John Docker, FAHA
  • Emeritus Professor Helen Dunstan
  • Professor Sheila Fitzpatrick
  • Professor Brian H Fletcher OAM, FAHA
  • Dr Catie Gilchrist
  • Dr Judith Godden
  • Professor Janet Golden
  • Dr Peter Hobbins
  • Associate Professor Judith Keene
  • Emeritus Professor Roy MacLeod FASSA, FAHA
  • Emeritus Professor Iain McCalman
  • Dr Jim Masselos FAHA
  • Assoc Prof Neville K Meaney
  • Dr Janet Merewether
  • Dr Marianna Moustafine
  • Dr Geoffrey A. Oddie
  • Dr Lynette Olson
  • Dr Jayne Persian
  • Emeritus Professor Roslyn Pesman AM, FAHA
  • Professor Peter Read
  • Dr Anne Rees
  • Dr Kathrine M Reynolds
  • Dr David Robertson 
  • Dr David Rollison 
  • Dr Ricardo Roque
  • Dr Ben Silverstein
  • Dr Julie Smith
  • Dr Daniel Spence
  • Dr Lynne Swarts
  • Dr Blanca Tovias de Plaisted
  • Professor Richard Waterhouse FASSA, FAHA
  • Dr Paul Werskey
  • Assoc Prof Richard White
  • Associate Professor Christine Winter
  • Emeritus Professor John Wong FASSA, FAHA
  • Dr Zdenko Zlatar


Our events

Like all the Departments and Programs in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, the Department of History has a lively research program. 

2020 Sydney Research Webinar in Higher Education: History of University Life

University Education is a Pathway to Employment

What would it take to have a university-led recovery in the post-Covid world? To examine this question and others about the relationship between university education and employment, join our first 2020 History of University Life online seminar with panellists Susan Goodwin, professor of Policy Studies at the University of Sydney, and Ariadne Vromen, professor and political sociologist at the Crawford School of Public Policy (ANU).

Chaired by Julia Horne, University Historian at the University of Sydney and co-convenor of History of University Life.

Wednesday 26 June 2020
4-5pm on Zoom
Click here for more information and to register

printers letters

In Print or Prospect

For more information on the Department's In Print or in Prospect series, please see the SOPHI Events page.

Once complete, we will send you invitations to our attend online seminars. If you do not receive an invitation, please contact sophi.events@sydney.edu.au

 

Learn more about the University’s advice regarding COVID-19 here.

Outreach program

We conduct an outreach program to increase the number of students from low socio-economic and diverse backgrounds studying history at the University of Sydney.

The program initiates and strengthens connections between partner schools and the University. We work with high school students from Mount Druitt, Parramatta, Granville, Campbelltown, Auburn, Liverpool, Coonabarabran and Broken Hill to familiarise them with university life and foster the aspirations within these communities to pursue and excel in tertiary studies. 

Some of our activities include:

  • Historical Investigation Program for Year 11 students
  • Workshops on historical investigations for Year 11 students
  • Workshops on studying history at university
  • Essay prizes
  • Parent talks on studying history and the arts at university
  • Parent talks on subject selection at high school.
More information

If you are a history teacher or school principal interested in a partnership with our department, please email Professor Mike McDonnell, or phone 9351 6733.

Department Chair

School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry

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