Cultural History

To study cultural history at Duke is to question methodological orthodoxies and engage the challenge of writing history in vibrant and multi-faceted ways.  Coursework in method, theory, and interpretation explore the impact of Critical and Social Theory, Cultural Anthropology, and Literary analysis on the making of Cultural History and its methodology.  Learning different analytical frameworks and interpretive skills, applying them to different mediums (text, image, film), and historicizing the formation of cultural history constitute crucial vectors in students’ training.  The conversation about pressing methodological and interpretive questions continues virtually in all courses offered by the department when students critically explore limits and possibilities of novel and established categories of historical analysis as well as academic discourses on power, knowledge, empire, nation, state, race, citizenship, womanhood, and manhood.  The rich corpus of interpretive tools that cultural historians have produced over past few decades thus serves as an effective languages of intellectual exchange and inquiry and brings together an active scholarly community that works across a broad range of geographical areas and thematic subfields, such as gender history, legal history, military history, history of race and ethnicity, labor history, intellectual history, transnational and comparative colonial history.  

Department and Affiliated Faculty whose interests and research intersects with the study and practice of Cultural History:

Dirk Bonker

War, military, and society in Europe and the U.S.

Laura Edwards

U.S., South, legal, race, women, and gender

John French

Cultural theory; Marxism; politics and culture

Malachi Hacohen

Social and political theory; the Central European Jewish intelligentsia; diasporas and multiculturalism

Anna Krylova

Modern Russia; Stalinist and Soviet culture and identity formation; cultural theory; literary analysis; historical methodology and interpretation

Adriane Lentz-Smith

Modern United States; African-American; identity and encounter; White Supremacy as a Cultural Form 

Sumathi Ramaswamy

Mughal and British Empires, visual history, history of cartography

Thomas Robisheaux

Early modern European political, religious, book and popular culture

Pete Sigal

Colonial Latin American cultural history, transnational/transcultural sexuality

Phillip Stern

Seventeenth- to nineteenth-century Britain and British Empire, particularly in India and Africa; history of politics, political thought, and political culture; cartography and geography of empire

Giovanni Zanalda

History of globalization; economic history; material culture; connected cultures


Additional resources for the study of Cultural History at Duke and in the Research Triangle

Center for Documentary Studies

Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Social Sciences

Duke – UNC – NCSU Intellectual History Monthly Seminar, the National Humanities Center

Duke – UNC – NCSU History of the Military, War, and Society Monthly Seminar

John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute

Duke Women’s Studies

Duke Sexuality Studies

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