If you like history, Wilkes is the place for you. Small classes with subjects that
span time periods and continents, as well as study abroad options, internship opportunities
and individualized mentoring help you meld on-campus scholarship with off-campus experiences.
120 (18 for minor)
Why Study History at Wilkes?
In studying history at Wilkes, you will join a tight-knit community with full-time
faculty historians who bring world perspectives to their classes. They will work with
you one-on-one with individualized attention and mentoring, without sacrificing the
diversity and breadth of programming offered by larger institutions.
The program offers four specialized yet flexible tracks that help prepare for your
Pre-law/pre-graduate prepares you for advanced study in law, history or other related
Public history prepares you for work or study in careers that present history to a
non-academic audience including museum curator, archive manager, museum educator and
Secondary education prepares students for careers as secondary education teachers.
Digital history allows you to learn the skills necessary to present history in a variety
of media, including websites and audio and video documentaries.
What Will You Learn as a History Student?
You’ll develop skills in research and critical thinking, as well as articulating both
written and oral arguments.
Study ancient, medieval and modern world history, early and modern American history,
women’s history, cultural history and political and economic history.
You’ll learn skills that employers are looking for: being able to process large amounts
of information and the ability to sift through what is relevant and what is not.
Learn how to solve problems and construct arguments in support of one course of action
Tell the History Behind Today's News
The History Behind the Headlines podcast allows Wilkes students provide historical context to current events. This
student-led production can provide fantastic real-life experience in historical research
Meet our Faculty
Our History faculty are experts in their specialties and provide hands-on mentoring
and opportunities to gain valuable experience in research, critical thinking and other
valuable skills vital to future academic and career success.
Dr. Amy Sopcak-Joseph is an American historian focusing on early American social,
cultural and economic history, especially the history of the book and women's and
In 2020, her dissertation, Fashioning American Women: Godey's Lady's Book, Female Consumers, and Periodical Publishing in the Nineteenth Century, was awarded the prestigious Zuckerman Prize in American Studies by the McNeil Center
for Early America Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.
Prior to earning her PhD. at the University of Connecticut, she worked as a public
history professional at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester, MA, making
her a tremendous resource for students interested in public history and digital history.
In her classes, she has led trips to the Luzerne County Historical Society and organized
students in the creation of the Wilkes in 2020 collection, to document the life of the campus community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She also facilitates opportunities for students outside the classroom, receiving a
grant for the History Research Lab, mentoring students in primary source research over the summer. Her advisees have
also taken advantage of opportunities in digital history, recent projects include
digitizing Wilkes' yearbooks from 1947-2019.
Dr. Akira Shimizu is a specialist in the history of Japan and East Asia, receiving
his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is particularly
interested in the history of daily life, food and foodways, which is reflected in
his research. His first book, Specialty Food, Market Culture, and Daily Life in Early Modern Japan, and his current research is on the history of saké. Dr. Shimizu brings this interest in food and his experience as a former professional
chef into the classroom teaching courses on global food history, as well as courses
on global history and the history of Japan and East Asia.
Dr. Jonathan Kuiken is specialist in the history of the British Empire and energy
history, focusing on the development of the international oil industry, receiving
his Ph.D. in History from Boston College. He teaches global history courses as well
as a unique “Energy in History” course, which is part of Wilkes’ interdisciplinary
Energy Studies minor and has published articles on the British Empire in post-colonial Africa and British
oil policy in the leading up to the 1973 oil crisis.
Dr. Chelsea D. Chamberlain is a historian of modern America. Her research and teaching
focus on US histories of citizenship, education, medicine and disability. Dr. Chamberlain
earned her PhD in History from the University of Pennsylvania and a MA from the University
of Montana. Her research on the history of institutionalization in Pennsylvania has
appeared in the Journal of Social History and the academic blog Nursing Clio.
Currently, she serves on the advisory board of the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation
Alliance and as the Humanities Advisor for the documentary film The Fate of Human Beings, which explores the history and memorialization of institution cemeteries.
As a history major at Wilkes, I’ve enjoyed learning how to think more critically about
history and how to research historical events. Studying history at Wilkes was one
of the best decisions I’ve made.
William Billingsley '21 - Political Science and History
James Alfano '18 Received Fulbright Award to Teach in Taiwan
Alfano taught English at Hualien City School Districts as part of a project to further
promote cultural understanding and language instruction to Taiwanese students at their
respective schools. Alfano was one of over 1,900 U.S. citizens to conduct research,
teach English and provide expertise abroad for the 2018-2019 academic year through
the Fulbright U.S. Student Program.