Skip navigation

Welcome to History at NIU! We are a community of scholars committed to studying the past in all its diversity. Our award-winning faculty excels in teaching, research, and engagement. Our students are deeply involved in historical study in and out of the classroom, and our alumni use their historical studies in a wide variety of careers. Our undergraduate program offers a fascinating, flexible major that permits study of the broadest possible range of human experience, while our graduate programs support advanced study at both the M.A. and Ph.D. levels. Aspiring and current teachers advance their careers through our educator licensure program in history and social sciences. 


Latest Faculty Books


Dr. E. Taylor Atkins has published  A History of Popular Culture in Japan, From the Seventeenth Century to the Present with Bloomsbury Academic.




Dr. Damián Fernández has published Aristocrats and Statehood in Western Iberia, 300-600 C.E. with University of Pennsylvania Press.

Dr. Andrea Smalley has published Wild By Nature: North American Animals Confront Colonization with Johns Hopkins University Press.


Latest Awards

  • Professors Emma Kuby and Amanda Littauer have both won NIU's Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Awards for AY 2017-18; History faculty won two of three awards given this year!
  • Professor Damián Fernández has won a fellowship from the Cornell University Society for the Humanities for AY 2018-19, to work on his second monograph, on rebellion and political culture in the Visigothic kingdom of Toledo. He has also won a prestigious fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies, to work on a translation of the Book of Judgments (Liber ludiciorum), a law code issued in 654 by Recceswinth, king of the Visigoths, for the territory of Iberia and southern France.
  • Professor Andy Bruno has won the 2017-18 HSS/NASA Fellowship in the History of Space Science, to study the history of the mysterious Tunguska explosion of 1908 that happened over a desolate region of Siberia and the efforts by amateurs, scientists, and even science fiction writers to understand it.


  • Ph.D. candidate Nicole Dressler has received the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center.
  • The Division of International Affairs will host a workshop about the Student Fulbright Program on Thursday, April 5, 12:00-1:00 PM, Campus Life 100.
  • We are pleased to announce that associate professor Valerie Garver will be our department chair starting on July 1 this year. The History faculty and staff are grateful to Professor Garver for her willingness to serve, and to Professor Jim Schmidt for five years of conscientious leadership during a difficult period for NIU.
  • Professor Taylor Atkins was interviewed for the BBC World Service documentary "Jazzing Up Japan." His research on the Korean folk song "Arirang" was cited in a New York Times article on the song's ubiquity at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
  • We sadly announce the passing of our former colleague David Wagner on January 17, 2018. Professor Wagner taught at NIU for 42 years, founded and coordinated the Concentration in Medieval Studies, and served as faculty advisor for Phi Alpha Theta. He also created a Medieval Studies Endowment Fund to support student research in the Concentration. He is survived by his wife Renie B. Adams. Contributions can be made to the David L. Wanger Distinguished Leadership and Symposium Fund for Humanistic Inquiry at the Newberry Library.

View more news and events

Department Events

Professor Emily Skidmore, "True Sex," April 9, 6:00-7:30 PM, DuSable 276 (sponsored by the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality)

Professor Emily Skidmore, "Writing While Cis: The Politics of Non-Trans Scholars Doing Transgender Research," April 10, 12:00-1:00 PM, Reavis 103 (sponsored by the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality)


Contact Us

Northern Illinois University
Department of History
Zulauf 715
DeKalb, IL 60115
Faculty and Staff Directory
Advising Staff