Department of History

If you enjoy the study of the past, you've found a home in the history program at SUNY Potsdam.

Our eleven full-time department members teach a variety of courses ranging from the Ancient World to the present, and from Africa and Asia to Europe and the Americas. We're all inquisitive scholars whose passion for history enlivens our classrooms.  Just ask any history major. 

We hope you'll join us in starting your own lifelong quest for historical understanding.


Dr. Thomas N. Baker, History Department Chair

History Association Publishes The Potsdam Historian

The Potsdam Historian is an annual history journal edited and published by the History Association.  The journal features original student work and showcases the diversity of undergraduate research projects at SUNY Potsdam.  See past and present issues here.  For submission guidelines and information about the History Association, visit its webpage, or contact Dr. Axel Fair-Schulz, faculty advisor to the student-run organization.

History Professor Contributes to Commemorative Book

Dr. Axel Fair-Schulz has published a book chapter on the German chemist, anti-Fascist, and critical Marxist Robert Havemann, titled "Robert Havemann: Marxistischer Moralist und Kritiker des DDR ,Staatssozialismus‰" (Robert Havemann: Marxist Moralist and Critic of East Germany's "State Socialism"). Havemann was imprisoned by the Nazis and later put under house arrest by East Germany's post-Stalinist SED regime. The piece appears in a collection of essays in honor of the 100th birthday of Theodor Bergmann, published by VSA Verlag & the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

Dr. Baker Publishes in Ohio Valley History

Dr. Thomas Baker recently published an article in Ohio Valley History titled "John Wood Weighs in: Making Sense of the Burr Conspiracy in the Western World."Dr. Baker explores the role of the press and writers, especially like John Wood, in shaping the progress and outcome of Aaron Burr's purported schemes.Ohio Valley History is a leading historical journal of the region, a collaboration of The Filson Historical Society, Cincinnati Museum center, and the University of Cincinnati.

History Major Honored with 2015 Chancellor's Award

Brady Turner ('15) was the recipient of this year's Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence.  Created in 1997, the award is presented to outstanding students who "excel academically and show involvement in leadership roles.

Dr. Shiho Imai Wins D. Kim Foundation Travel/Research Grant

Dr. Imai was awarded a travel/research grant from the D. Kim Foundation for the History of Science and Technology in East Asia for 2015-2016.  The Foundation provides fellowships and grants to encourage and to support graduate students and young scholars in the field.  Several grants are awarded annually to scholars who are traveling for short-term research projects. Dr. Imai's proposed project, “Japan in the Space Age: History and Memory in Early Space Development” explores Japan’s foray into space in the 1950s through the 1970s, as it relates to issues of national memory and identity.

History Faculty to Speak at the Happiness Lecture Series

Dr. Sheila McIntyre will be presenting a talk titled, "On Happiness in History" on Tuesday, February 10 for the "Thinking Across the Disciplines" series, hosted by SUNY Potsdam's Honors Program.  The lecture will be offered from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. in Raymond Hall in either the 8th floor dining room or lounge.  All are welcome!

Dr. Libbie Freed Voted Favorite Professor 

The History Association presented Dr. Libbie Freed with the Favorite Professor Award on Monday, February 2.  Dr. Freed teaches African history, the history of science and technology, and world history.  The History Association meets on Mondays at 7 p.m. at the Satterlee Hall boardroom.

Dr. Ari Kelman, winner of the 2014 Bancroft Prize, speaks to history majors

On Monday, November 10, Dr. Sheila McIntyre's Fighting Words class was treated to a FaceTime discussion with Dr. Kelman on his award-winning book, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sandy Creek (Harvard, 2013). The acclaimed work is a study of history and memory, which traces the "long contentious effort to understand and commemorate one of the most infamous cases of state-sponsored violence in U.S. history. "Fighting Words: History and Story (HIST302) introduces majors to the theories and methods that historians employ as they seek to construct plausible and compelling interpretations of the past.

Department Welcomes NEH Fellow

Andew Chaikin, award-winning science journalist and space historian, joins the department this fall as the NEH Visiting Scholar. He is the author of A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts and numerous books and articles about space exploration and astronomy. A Man on the Moon was the basis for Tom Hank's 12-part HBO miniseries, From the Earth to the Moon, which won the Emmy for best miniseries in 1998. He will be offering a course titled, "History of Space Exploration" and a series of public lectures throughout the semester.