Mission Statement

The Department of History introduces students to the richness and complexity of the human experience through a curriculum covering all major geographic areas and time periods. We emphasize both the unity of the human experience and the diversity of cultural, social, economic, gender, political, and individual differences throughout history. We seek to develop knowledge of the past and to advance history as an intellectual discipline by employing different research and teaching methodologies in our efforts to understand and teach history.

We fulfill our educational mission by teaching students how to work as historians, emphasizing critical thinking skills and analysis of primary and secondary sources. Our students learn to appreciate the complexity of historical issues and the differing historical perspectives of all human societies and of historians.

In studying history, we study continuity and change over time in societies and in our natural and built environment. Some of this involves the study of the way multiple identities (such as gender, race, and ability) intersect.

History majors acquire essential historical knowledge, written communication skills, and analytical thinking, preparing them for careers after graduation in a wide range of professions in the private and public sectors, and for advanced study in history through our MA and PhD programs. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

The History Department of the University of Memphis is strongly committed to embracing and promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity among all our faculty, students, staff, and the community as a whole. This mission extends to every aspect of our teaching, research, community outreach, and day to day operations. We understand diversity as the intersection of multiple factors including age, class, color, culture, (dis)abilities, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, health status, immigration status, language, national origin, political and philosophical points of view, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and veteran status, among others. We celebrate the differences among us, our students, and the broader community to support the dignity, worth, and value of all individuals. We recognize that over the course of American and world history, broad swaths of the human population have been subjected to legal discrimination, systemic bias, and deep economic and social inequalities. In the study and teaching of history, and as members of the community, we of the History Department seek always to address diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice for all by challenging prejudice and discrimination and by creating an open, supportive environment where everyone is respected, welcomed, and valued.

We recognize and acknowledge that our department and university is located on the historic Homeland of the Chickasaw Nation and that this fact is the result of direct coercion, forced dispossession, and deliberate colonization: Territorial Acknowledgement Statement.