History Department

The History Majors Committee is a resource for students and faculty alike to help organize events and communicate ideas to improve the History program at Wes! We organize film screenings, thesis coffee hours, and even helped shape the module system. We are a group of students who are really excited about History and are here to help!

HISTORY MAJORS COMMITTEE FOR 2017-2018

Why Are You Majoring in History?

Connor Cobb '18:  The first class I took when I transferred to Wesleyan halfway through my sophomore year was a history class. Since then I've found the history department to be full of dedicated professors, and equally enthusiastic students. My modules, History and Theory and Food and the Environment, have allowed me to take classes that range in topic from the history of Ecology to Micro and Macro history. During my relatively short time at Wesleyan I've been able to study and attend a conference in Germany as well as work in the archives at the Middlesex Historical Society as a Meigs fellow (all thanks to the generosity of my professors as well as the department!). What makes the history major at Wesleyan so unique is how much freedom students have to choose from a variety of courses while maintaining certain concentrations within the modules. Most importantly though, professors and students maintain a close relationship throughout their time here, which has allowed so many of us to develop both as students and as people. 

Steven Chen ‘18: I am a History and Government double major, and my history modules are North America and Pre-industrial Society. My interests are in the early United States, environmental history, food and agriculture, and political theory. I am currently writing a senior thesis on food conservation and American citizenship during World War One, which is awesome because I see it at the intersection of my various interests. I’ve always loved history, and decided to major in it after taking an incredible class on Ancient Greek History my sophomore year. I love the freedom that the History major provides in being able to take a broad range of classes on various topics, and it’s always wonderful to engage with a close community of brilliant and passionate professors and peers.

Hai Lun Tan ‘18: I’m a History and College of Letters double major. My interests are in transnational history, revolutions, and national identity. My interest in these fields propelled me to write a thesis about the Chinese in Cuba, tracing their socio-political identity from coolies (indentured laborers), to revolutionaries, and then to citizens. Thanks for the generosity and support from the History Department and its dedicated professors, I was awarded the White Fellowship to do summer thesis research in Havana, Cuba. What's unique about the History Department is our effort to be collaborative. Professors who I've never worked with have reached out to me offering thesis and course advice. The History Major has truly been a great place to explore my academic interests while fostering a close relationship with my peers and professors.

Ilana Newman ‘18: I am a History and Environmental Studies double major, with a minor in art history. Within the history major, my two modules are Food and Environment and North America. I am especially interested in culinary and dietary history, environmental history, and material culture. I have known that I wanted to study history ever since I was twelve years old, and I love encouraging that same passion for the subject in my peers. My favorite part about the history major is the unique classes! Creative and engaging courses like “History of the End,” “What is Nature?” and “History of Ecology,” allow me to understand my areas of interest from a variety of different angles.

Christopher Cepil '18: I am a History major, and my modules are War & Violence and Empires & Encounters. My main interests are the British Empire, maritime history, national identity, and the consequences of imperialism. I recently studied abroad in Scotland and conducted thesis research in Edinburgh this past summer. I've loved history for as long as I can remember. I'm honestly not even sure what first caught my interest, but the strength of the history program here was a big reason I came to Wesleyan. Opening windows into the past is exhilarating and I believe it's crucial to learn how history can inform the present. Most of all, though, it's a privilege to be taught and guided by the amazing professors in our department.

Kenneth Pascal '18: My academic interest in history began in high school, and although I started my education at Wesleyan unsure of which major I planned to pursue, after taking a few history courses here my academic calling became clear. My modules within the history major are Pre-industrial History and Empires and Encounters. Areas of study include Spanish history, medieval history, Mediterranean history, Middle Eastern history, European history, art history, and East Asian history. I enjoy exploring how different people with different cultures and ideas behaved and interacted with each other in worlds of the past. I attended History Majors Committee events and history lectures last year and am excited to meet other majors and learn more about the infinitely intricate and wonderful past in my final year at Wesleyan.

Azher Jaweed ‘19: I am a History and Environmental Studies major. On campus, I am the Chair of the Adelphic Education Fund, a nonprofit associated with the Alpha Delta Phi Society and I am also a Mellon Fellow. My primary research interest is the environmental impacts of "developmentalist" ideologies in India, specifically during the 1950s and 1960s. Last summer I had the opportunity to participate in the UChicago Summer Research Program, where I drafted a research proposal that questions the relationship between political ideology, economic impact, and environmental impact of canal irrigation projects during the implementation of the First Five Year Plan in India. Some of my other academic interests include subaltern studies, world history, universal history. I am also very interested in studying Hindi, Urdu, Spanish, and Arabic over the next few years.

KC O’Hara ‘19: I am a history major with a linked Environmental Studies major. My history modules are in Empires and Encounter and Environment and Food. I am particularly interested in the relationship between humans and the environment, how abiotic and biotic environmental systems and human society have interacted and evolved during the rise of empires and of European colonialism. Ever since my first year at Wesleyan, the History Department has always challenged, inspired, and intrigued me. Within the history major, the breadth of classes, expert faculty, and freedom to explore my own interests has allowed me to grow as a scholar.