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

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.

Dr. Geoffrey Clark named 2014 Thomas L. and Jane D. Russell Distance Education Faculty Excellence Award

The award was established to "recognize faculty who are conducting their courses in an exemplary manner, providing a financial incentive to improve their distance education courses and rewarding faculty members who make their courses available to as many students as possible." Dr. Clark received the $1,000 award for his course titled "Europe Since 1500."

History Association Launches 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 the inaugural issue 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 Major Wins Amelia Morey Essay Contest

Alana Coulum ('14) received this year's Amelia Morey essay award for her senior seminar paper titled, "Consuming the Ideal: A Study of Women as Model Consumers During the Interwar Era."  The essay contest is sponsored annually by the Women's and Gender Studies Program.  Submissions may focus on any topic related to women's and gender issues and experiences, masculinities/feminism, and/or feminist/gender theory.

History degree leads to career in politics

April 11, 2014. ALBANY - Philip Paige ('15) took to the NYS Senate Chamber floor to promote his bill at the 2014 Model Legislative Session, where he also served as President. Each of the 30 interns, almost half of them history majors, debated their original legislative drafts. Philip credits the major for giving him the historical skills to prepare his bill on the state's nearly 50-year-old Medicaid program. Upon his return to the North Country, Philip will be working at the Ogdensburg District Office as Legislative Aide to State Senator Patty Ritchie ('91). The recording of the proceeding is available on YouTube.