Welcome to History

Looking forward to the past since 1894

309 Gregory Hall, 810 S. Wright Street, Urbana, IL 61801
Office Hours: M - F, 8:00 AM - 12:00 and 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM


Letter from the Chair

Welcome to the History Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Why study history? Because it is the foundation of a liberal arts education whose critical engagement with the past teaches us how to confront the way we live today. Here at Illinois, we take great pride in the teaching we offer to undergraduates, in the training of graduate students to carry on the work of historians, and in the history writing produced by our renowned faculty members. Our website is your gateway to the department, whether you are interested in the careers history majors can pursue, or upcoming departmental lectures and conferences, or the work of our faculty, or how you can help support the department to maintain its excellence. We need the critical insights that studying history provides, now more than ever. Please join us!

Diane P. Koenker
Professor and Chair

News & Announcements

Professor Adrian Burgos, Jr., expert on sports history, has been busy with several media interactions regarding the death and legacy of Chicago White Sox legend Minnie Minoso. He did an interview and in-studio appearance on "Chicago Tonight" on WTTW (Chicago Ch. 11) that can be viewed here. An appearance on The Morning Shift, WBEZ Chicago and wrote as a contributor with sportingnews.com Always so proud to see our own experts being called on for their insight. (if you have any problems opening a link, please try a different browser)

We are mourning the death of our colleague Mark Leff, who passed away on Sunday, February 22.

Mark H. Leff
(January 23, 1949 - February 22, 2015)
Mark H. Leff, 66, of Urbana, died in his home on Sunday, February 22, after a year of living with cancer....
Mark, son of Sam and Melitta Leff, was born in 1949, in Cincinnati, Ohio, and grew up in Washington DC. He received a B.A. in Economics from Brown University and a Ph.D. in History from University of Chicago. He taught American History at the University of Illinois from 1986 to 2012. He married his wife of more than forty years, Carol Skalnik Leff, in 1971.

He will be remembered and deeply missed by Carol and the rest of his loving family including: his daughter Alison Leff Washabaugh, her husband Bill Washabaugh, and their son Rowan; his son Ben Leff and Ben's fiancee Melissa Schoeplein; his sister Deborah Leff; and his stepmother Adele Leff.

Mark was a passionate, devoted and challenging teacher who was beloved by his students and believed the study of history helped create informed, engaged citizens. Among numerous teaching awards, he was named the Carnegie Professor of the Year for the state of Illinois in 1998. He cared deeply for his family and many friends and constantly reminded them how much he loved them. Mark was a kind, warm, person with a quirky sense of humor who routinely put others before himself in his personal life as well as in involvement in community social justice organizations. And he was self-effacing to a fault; if given the chance, he would have quickly (and incorrectly) pronounced himself unworthy of the preceding praise.

The date and location of a celebration of Mark's life will be announced later. In lieu of other gestures of condolence, gifts may be made to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank or the ACLU of Illinois.

Mark Leff


Congratulations to Rebecca Mitchell who has recently accepted a postition as Asst Professor (tenure track) at Middlebury College, Vermont.

We proudly share Ph.D. candidate Kyle Mays' article from Indian Country Today Media Network.com. Kyle is a scholar of urban history, Indigenous Studies and Indigenous popular culture. In this article he speaks of Black-Indigenous Histories Beyond the Norm.

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Recent Faculty Publications


Antoinette Burton (editor)

Ten Books That Shaped the British Empire. Creating an Imperial Commons


Maria Todorova (editor)

Remembering Communism: Private and Public Recollections of Lived Experience in Southeast Europe


Antoinette Burton (editor)

The First Anglo-Afghan Wars


Antoinette Burton and Tony Ballantine (authors)

Empires and the Reach of the Global 1870-1945


Clare Crowston and John McKay (authors)

A History of Western Society


Keith Hitchins (author)

A Concise History of Romania


Clare Crowston (author)

Credit, Fashion, Sex: Economies of Regard in Old Regine France


Antoinette Burton (editor)

The Feedback Loop: Historians Talk about the Links between Research and Teaching


Diane P. Koenker (author)

Club Red: Vacation Travel and the Soviet Dream


Diane P. Koenker (editor)

The Socialist Sixties: Crossing Borders in the Second World

View other publications from our Faculty