As a humanistic discipline, history increases our limited “here and now” understanding by expanding our experience to include all people past and present. Unlike most scholars, historians usually focus on long-range change, and strive to attain all-encompassing views of men and women. As a result, one can gain an enlarged perspective of human potential.
While an advanced degree in history will not provide all the answers, nor predict the future reliably, studies in history can clarify some options for the future by illuminating those past events and forces which affect one’s life. As the Swiss historian Jakob Burckhardt said, history may make one “not merely smart for the next time but wise for always.” Recent history graduates have become successful in a variety of positions in education, industry, and government.
The Department of History offers both the M.A. and the Ph.D. degrees. There are two programs of study for the master’s candidate. The thesis option includes the satisfactory completion of an extended essay based upon research in one’s area of concentration as well as 24 additional hours of course work. The non-thesis option requires the satisfactory completion of 30 hours including at least six hours in 600-level history seminars and a methodology seminar. A comprehensive examination based on the course work also must be passed.
A master’s degree candidate may concentrate in American, Canadian, European, and East Asian history. The Ph.D. candidate may concentrate in either American, Canadian or International history and must become knowledgeable in two areas of history and in a related discipline. Other than these geographic areas of concentration, several faculty share expertise in borderlands, labor, Native American, environmental, and oral history. Faculty areas of specialization have also yielded much graduate work in women’s history, science and technology, military history, historical geography, intellectual history, trans-national history, cultural history, and ethnic history among others.
A master’s degree candidate may concentrate in American, Canadian, European, East Asian, technology, or environmental history. The Ph.D. candidate may concentrate in either American or Canadian history and must become knowledgeable in two areas of history and in a related discipline. Comprehensive written and oral examinations in these areas usually are scheduled at the end of two years of preparation. The candidate also must submit a scholarly and substantial piece of original research (dissertation) and defend it before his or her committee.
Candidates at both the master’s and doctoral levels are expected to demonstrate competence in a foreign language. The student’s advisory committee is responsible for determining specific requirements.
The Raymond Fogler Library is the historian’s research center. Among its most significant collections are journals, books, and documents in Maine, New England, Canadian, and maritime history. The Maine Historical Society Quarterly is edited out of the Department and provides opportunities for graduate students to learn about the editing, layout, graphics, and printing of a journal. (See HTY 598.) Small travel grants are available for dissertation work at research centers in other cities. In recent years, topics of theses and dissertations have included Canadian-Columbian relations, Maine Indian land claims from Penobscot perspectives, the back-to-the-land movement in Maine, the rhetoric of identity and territory in the Maine-New Brunswick borderlands during the Aroostook War, privateering in the New England-Atlantic Canada region from the American Revolution to the War of 1812, and the evolution of the office of First Lady between Lou Henry Hoover and Elizabeth Bloomer Ford.
Admission to the graduate program in history is based upon the requirements of the Graduate School, including GRE scores. The History Department currently awards on a competitive basis several teaching assistantships annually which pay a stipend and include a waiver of tuition. Students also may compete for other University scholarships.
In recent years, topics of theses and dissertations have included Black reformers and the early civil rights movement in Pittsburgh 1915-1945, managing the river commons in New England 1760-1860, cookbooks and the negotiation of domesticity in Anglo-America 1830-1880, Acadian sorcerers and Mi’kmaw shamans in Acadian folklore, Jonathan Fisher and early American education 1780-1830, the Gospel of the northeastern frontier 1744-1764, Mothers’ Aid in Maine and New Brunswick in the early 20th century, the 1994-1995 public debate over proposed national history standards, and divergent visions of technology within American-Egyptian relations in the 1950s.
Stephen M. Miller, Ph.D. (Connecticut, 1996), Professor and Chair, British Empire, military history, South Africa.
Joel Anderson, Ph.D. (Cornell, 2015), Lecturer, Medieval Europe, Viking and medieval Scandinavia, cultural and religious history.
Libby Bischof, Ph.D. (Boston College, 2005), Affiliated faculty, nineteenth century social and cultural history of New England.
Richard Blanke, Ph.D. (California, 1970), Professor Emeritus. Contemporary Europe, Russia, Modern Germany.
Jay A. Bregman, Ph.D. (Yale, 1974), Professor Emeritus. Ancient, Intellectual, Jazz.
Jacques Ferland, Ph.D. (McGill, 1986), Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator. Colonial Canada, Borderlands, French-Canadian, Franco-American, and Penobscot peoples.
Nathan Godfried, Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1980), Professor. 20th Century U.S., Labor and Economic, Mass Media and Popular Culture.
Alex Grab, Ph.D. (UCLA, 1980), Professor Emeritus. Modern Italy, 18th/19th century Europe, Middle East.
Stephen Hornsby, Ph.D. (University of British Columbia, 1986), Affiliated faculty, historical geography.
Mazie L. Hough, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 1997), Associate Professor. U.S., Women, Political, Legal.
Richard W. Judd, Ph.D. (California-Irvine, 1979), Professor. Maine, U.S. labor and environmental history.
Anne Kelly Knowles, PhD (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1993), Professor. Historical Geography, Holocaust, Antebellum US, Labor and Immigration, History of Cartography, Geovisualization, and Historical GIS.
Michael Lang, Ph.D. (University of California, Irvine, 1997), Associate Professor. Modern Europe, historiography, intellectual history, international relations.
Elizabeth McKillen, Ph.D. (Northwestern, 1987), Professor. U.S., Foreign relations, Labor, 20th Century.
Mark J. McLaughlin, Ph.D. (University of New Brunswick, 2013), Assistant Professor of History and Canadian Studies. Environmental History, Canadian History, History of Science and Technology, Comics Studies.
Vinh-Long Ngo, Ph.D. (Harvard, 1975), Professor. Chinese, Japanese, Southeast Asian history.
Micah Pawling Ph.D. (University of Maine, 2010), Assistant Professor, ethnohistory of Native North America, Native American, Wabanaki, environmental, United States, and Canadian history.
Liam Riordan, Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania, 1996),Professor. Colonial British America, American Revolution, and Early U.S. Republic, cultural and social history.
Scott W. See, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 1984), Libra Professor. Canada, Canadian-American, U.S. History.
Howard P. Segal, Ph.D. (Princeton, 1975), Professor. Science and technology, American history.