Department of History

Lecture Series

Diversifying Historical Epistemologies

The New Direction Lecture Series foregrounds the relationship between histories of systemic racism and knowledge formation; the recognition that some groups of people have not only been excluded from institutions of higher education, but that disciplinary knowledge formations have often provided the institutional mechanisms and intellectual justifications for those acts of exclusion. It therefore considers inclusion and the kinds of questions we ask of the past, different modalities and ethics of research and scholarship, as profoundly intertwined. 

The Lecture Series steers away from focusing on a particular geography or period of history (how our fields have been traditionally defined). Rather we step away from traditional definitions of fields and bring together historians who, by their work on histories of non-European and marginalized peoples, challenge historical practice, consider how foundational questions of history and historical subjectivity are transformed by the politics of inclusion, and are creative in constituting new fields of inquiry. In other words, we seek out historians who are expanding the epistemological boundaries of the discipline and can contribute to transformative work in the world. 

Contact: Evelyn Hu-Dehart

Latinx History Speaker Series

The Latinx History Speaker Series showcases important research by historians in the field and creates a space within the department and university to hold a dialogue about the major themes, recent trends, and future directions of Latinx history. The lecture series sheds light on important perspectives and methodologies to the larger field of U.S. history.

Contact: Mark Ocegueda

William F. Church Lecture Series

The Annual Church Lecture in the Department of History is given in honor of William F. Church, a Professor of History at Brown University for thirty years until his death in 1977.

William F. Church was one of America’s foremost scholars of early modern Europe and one of the most highly regarded professors at Brown. Particularly known for his work in the history of political thought, his books include Constitutional Thought in Sixteenth-Century FranceRichelieu and Reason of State, and Louis XIV in Historical Thought.

The Church Lecture brings to Brown a distinguished scholar in early modern history. Colleagues and students from Brown’s History department as well as specialists in early modern studies from around the campus and New England come together for an evening lecture and reception in honor of Professor Church.

Learn more about the William F. Church Lecture Series

Contact: Caroline Castiglione

The Marjorie Harris Weiss Memorial Lectureship

The Marjorie Harris Weiss Memorial Lectureship was founded in 1971 to provide funds for a "history colloquium or lecture for undergraduate students concentrating in History." Weiss was a History concentrator and graduate of Pembroke College (class of '61); on her premature death a decade later, her parents endowed this lectureship in her honor. Past lecturers have included Daniel Richter (US), Jonathan Spence (China), Robert Dallek (US), Susan Amussen (Atlantic world), Nancy McLean (U.S.), Regina Kunzel (U.S.), and Carol Anderson (U.S.). 

One feature that makes this lecture unique is that the lecturer is chosen in consultation with history students. In 2022, concentrators and graduate students were asked to nominate a scholar whose work they have read and found particularly interesting and topical. In the nomination for Professor Tera Hunter, one student wrote: "Tera Hunter is a pioneer in the field of Black women's histories, and she has broken ground in Southern labor histories. Her work is particularly relevant in the context of the past year's national reflections on structural racism and the debates around memory, exemplified in Confederate monuments and reflections on the Lost Cause of the Confederacy. The chance to engage in dialogue with Tera Hunter would undoubtedly enrich History concentrators' experiences."

Contact: Seth Rockman