Message from the Chair

I am privileged to be the current Chair of the History Department at Stony Brook. Our program has achieved remarkable success over the past two decades. Our faculty have compiled an exceptional record of productivity, as measured in article and book publication; moreover, the quality of that work has been exceptional as well, reflected in the strong record of fellowship and grant support. Stony Brook faculty have received awards from virtually every major public and private foundation that supports history, from the National Science Foundation to the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center to the Wilson Center. Among the current faculty are four recent recipients of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, a record that even our Ivy League counterparts have to envy.

This record of scholarship has not come at the cost of their teaching. The History Department has a strong culture of teaching excellence at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The department now has almost 700 majors and minors, where it is one of the most popular humanities majors at the university. It also runs a large graduate program, awarding the MA, the MAT and the Ph.D. In the late 1990s, the department radically changed its graduate program to reflect a more comparative, thematic approach to graduate training. We have been in the vanguard of a more transnational approach to history, and our program is now being taken as a model by other universities.

At our last external review, our department was evaluated by a team of distinguished historians, and here’s what they had to say about us:

“Rankings are notoriously subjective, but the “buzz” about Stony Brook among academic historians in the United States is highly positive both in terms of the value and rigor of its graduate training program and the impact of its members’ scholarly work, the two factors that weigh most heavily in such impressionistic evaluations. Its historians have received major national fellowships and other awards that generally go to scholars at top-ranked universities; this record of national and international recognition confirms the widespread recognition of Stony Brook’s history faculty as in the very top tier. There is much to admire in both the program and the graduate student population, most notably the new design of the program which focuses on thematic or topical fields of specialization. Whereas most schools present only national or regional options for major fields, Stony Brook has worked to develop thematic fields based on the expertise and scholarly interests of its faculty and on the evolution of knowledge in the discipline itself.”

The History Department represents an ideal setting for studying history at any level. It is a department known not only for its scholarly achievement but also a strong tradition of collegeality. Our new website reflects those values as well. I hope you enjoy visiting it.