History explores how societies have changed over time to make our contemporary world. History is essential to understanding the present—and to think about possible futures. International History emphasizes the ways the world has become ever more integrated during recent centuries. The interaction of global processes, national developments, and local lives are key concerns.
History is the pivotal discipline at the intersection of the social sciences and the humanities, instilling rigorous fact-based empirical habits of thought like those of scientists, integrated with social, cultural, and gender analyses of humanists, always recognizing the value of human empathy. Georgetown historians not only bring strengths in political and environmental, social and cultural studies engaging societies across the world—we are developing new emphases at the intersection of science and society.
History is not committed to one analytical perspective, but the integration of many. Historians analyze power, technology, and production, social relations and culture, war and peace, environment and gender, and more. We use textual sources and archival materials, quantitative studies, oral inquiries, and more. Ultimately the goal is the integrated analysis of how societies change—in International History we emphasize how global interactions shape key processes of change.
Students who major in International History emerge from their studies with diverse analytical skills, strong writing skills, and an ability to understand the world and many of its peoples as they have lived often-difficult times of change. They are prepared to engage our difficult times, exploring ongoing transformations while linking questions of power and culture, technology and work, race, gender, ideology, and more.
Students and their families often ask: what are the potential professional outcomes of an International History major? The first response must be this: the goal of all education is to open students to diverse, critical, and innovative ways of thinking about the world. Precisely because of its openness to diverse perspectives and approaches, history does that exceptionally well. Second, history teaches skills of research, critical reading, analytical thinking, and effective writing that are essential to so many roles in our globalizing world. International History opens students to complexities of global interactions and how they impact national and local governments, societies, and cultures.
With such skills, many options open. History majors go on to teach at many levels, from secondary schools through universities. They enter the best law schools and flourish as lawyers. They are journalists, policy analysts, diplomats, NGO workers, global affairs consultants, security analysts and more. With SFS core preparation in economics, International History majors can go to graduate programs in business. With the language skills SFS promotes, they can look toward all this and more in International domains.
In the new economy, digital skills are widely available while spreading automation is rapidly displacing people in the world of numbers. A strong mix of social science skills and humanities perspectives is the route to adaptability, survival, and leadership in the world opening before us. The combination of humanities-fueled free-thinking and intellectual agency, with social science precision, and the language and quantitative skills from the rest of your SFS program, will prepare you not only to work for a global corporation, government agency, or international institution, an NGO, a law firm, or a new media company, but to run it. International History grounds you in the real world, enabling you to see and manage times of rapid and unpredictable change.
International History at Georgetown
The major in International History draws on the resources of the School of Foreign Service, the Department of History, and other departments at Georgetown University to offer a program of study that focuses on historical changes that transcend national boundaries. One of the cornerstones of the major is the history of international relations, a field in which Georgetown is especially rich in resources. International history also addresses themes in social, economic, cultural, and intellectual history and draws on ideas and information from fields as varied as anthropology, philosophy, sociology, political science, economics, religious studies, and literature.
The History Department faculty at Georgetown is uniquely international in its research and teaching interests, and offers a rich choice of courses to undergraduate students. The Faculty includes specialists on virtually every major region in the world. There are courses at both the introductory and the advanced levels on all periods of history and most areas of the world as well as courses that present thematic, comparative, and global perspectives.