History & Peace Studies

Phd History Landing Page

What are the historical or root causes of violent conflict? How have various social movements evolved over time? In what way is history manipulated for the sake of attaining political goals? How is foreign policy informed by historical information or knowledge?

The History and Peace Studies doctoral program at the University of Notre Dame equips students with the analytical and conceptual tools of history to address these questions and related questions of peace and conflict.

Doctoral students in the joint program choose from a wide range of history subfields including cultural, social, political, gender or religious history. Notre Dame offers particular strength at the intersection of history and religion, offering students opportunity to focus on questions related to colonialism, imperialism, and their relationships to contemporary conflicts, or the historical foundations of socioeconomic inequalities on global and local levels.

With its attention to the elements of time and change and nuanced approach to case studies, history brings a valuable perspective to peace studies and enriches the analysis of conflict. Peace studies, in turn, with its unique concepts, language and body of literature, can enrich a historian’s study of violence and understanding of peacebuilding strategies.

Doctoral students in history and peace studies will be fully credentialed as historians, with the added benefits of exposure to and conversation with doctoral students and faculty from the doctoral program’s six partner departments. 

Student & Alumni Testimonials

"There are few programs today beyond the Kroc Institute which allow students of history to intentionally link their studies of past conflicts and contexts to present day episodes and expressions of violence--whether direct, physical violence or more structural manifestations of social and cultural violence. My historical research on interactions between the United States and Israel-Palestine, by state and non-state actors, has been shaped and strengthened through the interdisciplinary language and concepts of peace studies. Likewise, as a historian of religion, culture, politics, and gender I have come to recognize, both in and outside of the classroom, that my historical training has uniquely contributed to expanding the focus and methods of the field of peace studies studied at Kroc." — Anna Fett, Ph.D. student in history & peace studies