Global Connections and Historical Comparisons (History Major)

Note: For students who entered Johns Hopkins fall 2016 and later, this track is no longer available. Students may still double major with the History Department.


The history major with a specialization in Global Connections and Historical Comparisons (GCHC) is geared toward international studies students who are interested in developing a historical perspective on the processes, institutions, and ideas that are shaping the contemporary world. Students pursuing the GCHC track will double major in international studies and history.

Students will explore the historical lineage of globalization and its impact on contemporary geopolitics and international institutions, political ideologies, and asymmetries of political and economic power. Global migration also has a long history, and this track investigates the cross-cultural exchanges and cultural innovations that result from the interactions of peoples in the new contact zones created by commerce, warfare, and empire.

Key topics and themes include:

  • Oceans, empires, and circuits of commerce, goods, and commodities
  • Borderlands, cross-cultural encounters, and migration
  • Slavery and other coerced labor regimes
  • Transformations of kinship, family, and gender
  • Origins and development of capitalism
  • Late modernity, cosmopolitanism, and diaspora
  • Political ideas and religious beliefs in global perspective
  • Decolonization, “Neo-Imperialism”, and the post-colonial condition
  • Nations and the transnational in the contemporary world

Declaring the Track

International studies students wishing to declare the GCHC track must complete the following steps:

  1. Declare History as your second major by completing an “add major” form, which can be obtained from the Registrar’s Office.
  2. Make an appointment with Prof. Angus Burgin ( to officially declare the GCHC track and have him sign your history major form. He will also assign you to one of the GCHC advisers in the History Department.
  3. Inform your international studies adviser. In many cases, there will be significant advantages for international studies majors who complete the GCHC specialization. These advantages might include replacement of the international studies focus area requirement and opportunities for double counting courses toward other requirements.


The GCHC requirement is a specialization within the history major designed to facilitate double majoring with international studies. A maximum of four courses toward the history major may be chosen from among courses taught by other JHU departments and programs that are cross-listed with the History Department and/or a maximum of two pre-approved courses given by programs at other institutions, including pre-approved summer school and study abroad programs. Students should confer with Prof. Paquette to determine which non-History Department courses taught at JHU involving the study of past societies and cultures might be eligible to count toward the requirements of the history major. Pre-approval for non-JHU courses must be obtained from both the student’s faculty adviser in the History Department and the director of undergraduate studies in History while the student is still on campus.

Students should refer to the history major requirements for additional details. History majors seeking to complete the GCHC specialization must fulfill the following additional requirements:

  •  At least two courses should focus on historical eras prior to 1850. Students should consult with their faculty adviser if they are unsure as to whether a course fits this requirement.
  • Five of the eight introductory and advanced courses in history must be chosen from the approved list of globally oriented history courses published on the GCHC specialization page of the History Department website each semester. Courses taken outside of the History Department may be counted on a case-by-case basis.

History Department

The History Department’s many small, seminar-style courses encourage in-depth interactions with faculty and other students. The GCHC specialization provides concentrated training in historical interpretation and methods, including the use of primary sources in conjunction with sustained historical research. The history major is also writing intensive and provides the analytic and organizational skills that are prerequisites for post-graduate degrees and careers in business, law, and public affairs.


History majors who seek to graduate with honors must complete a senior honors thesis, a substantial two-semester independent research project that provides the opportunity to work with a single faculty adviser in the History Department. Students with an outstanding record of scholarly accomplishment may also apply to the Department of History’s BA/MA program.