History Department

  • Academic Division: The College
  • Degrees Offered: Bachelor of Arts
  • Academic Programs: Major
  • Course Offerings: Course Offerings

History examines the past through various lenses –– social, political and intellectual; textual and material –– enriching us as individuals and preparing us to engage the complexities and ambiguities of the contemporary world.  Join us!

Our department of a dozen faculty members offers a variety of courses and perspectives on the remote and recent histories of the United States, Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and East Asia. It supports programs in Africana Studies, East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Russian Area Studies, and Women and Gender Studies, and offers courses in the history of science. History courses emphasize careful reading and analysis of original sources in order to approach the past on its own terms. But we also stress that studying history is an interpretive process requiring attention to methods, theories, and scholarly debates. The training students receive in research skills, critical analysis, and expository writing prepares them to pursue careers in business, education, law, public service and a variety of other professions. The History major is compact enough that many students choose to double major, add a minor, or just sample broadly the rest of the W&L curriculum.


William A. Jenks '39, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History Emeritus

William A. Jenks, Professor of History Emeritus at W&L, Dies at 97

William Alexander Jenks, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of History Emeritus at Washington and Lee University, died this past Monday, Oct. 12. He was 97. A 1939 graduate of W&L, he taught at his alma mater for 37 years, from 1946 until his retirement in 1983.

Faculty Focus: Ted DeLaney

Traveling Spring Term course blog: The Freedom Ride
Virtual Learning - The Freedom Ride

Traveling Spring Term course blog: The Art of Command During the American Civil War