Global Connections and Historical Comparisons (History Minor)

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


The history minor with a specialization in Global Connections and Historical Comparisons (GCHC) is designed for international studies students who are interested in developing a historical perspective on the processes, institutions, and ideas shaping the contemporary world. Students who complete this specialized minor will benefit from rigorous training in historical methods and close mentoring from history faculty members.

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 focus area 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 Focus Area

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

  1. Declare the history minor by completing an “add minor” 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 minor form. He will also assign you a faculty adviser.
  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 international studies requirements.


Students are required to take six courses to complete the minor with the GCHC specialization. Five of the six courses must be selected from an approved list of history courses with a global or transnational orientation published each semester. In many cases, these courses can be double-counted toward the international studies major requirements. The history minor replaces the focus area requirement for the international studies major.

  • Two courses at the 100-level from the History Department (100.1xx)
  • Four additional courses:
    • A minimum of three must be at the 300-level or above. One may be at the 200-level.
    • Three of the four must be from the History Department (100.2xx-100.4xx). One may be given by another JHU department or program with the approval of the History DUS.

History Department

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