Cultural History

Tourist taking photos from train

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.