The Department of History


The Department of History congratulates Professor Quintard Taylor, chosen as grand winner among the five Washington State Jefferson Award recipients for 2015. Taylor will go on to represent Washington in the national competition later this year.

The Jefferson Awards, established in 1972, are among the most prestigious prizes awarded for public service in the United States. The award aims to recognize acts of volunteerism and public spirit which make our communities, our nation and our world better places to live.

Taylor was celebrated for his work establishing and developing the comprehensive African American and African history site, Launched in 2007, is designed to take the knowledge and resources of the university, and make them available on every computer screen. The site currently offers 10,000 pages of information, documents and resources, and draws an average of 20,000 users every day. 

For more information, see the Washington State Jefferson Awards website:




Alice Newberry as Boudicca, first-century queen of the Celtic Iceni tribe

When UW history major Brittany Freedman arrived for the first session of this winter’s course on the Military History of the Ancient World, she expected to encounter the normal assortment of readings, exams and research papers. But she was surprised to discover that much of her grade would hinge on a very non-traditional assignment: a group project in which she and up to a dozen of her classmates would collaborate on a film depicting an important historical figure or event covered in the class. 

After some initial misgivings, Freedman—whose team portrayed the life of the Celtic queen Boudicca—found that the unusual assignment inspired the class to dive into the past in a whole new way. “This kind of project takes you past the names and dates, to allow you to learn more about the culture and human experiences of the past,” she noted. At the same time, she also liked how the assignment helped her build connections with peers from other UW programs. “The use of different media helped people who aren’t normally so excited about history really engage with the class and with each other.” 

The instructor, Mira Green, who recently earned a Ph.D. from the UW History Department, hoped for just such results when she designed the assignment. “With this project, I wanted to do three things,” Green recalled. “First, to create a vibrant community and a culture of talk within the class; second, to allow students to harness real-world skills, work as co-authors, and showcase their particular skills; and third, to encourage students to question the ways modern filmmakers appropriate the power of historical images.” In pursuit of these goals she designed the quarter-long multimedia assignment to include academic research, primary-source analysis, co-authored historical essays, and advertising collateral, along with the culminating film production.


As early modern Europe launched its multiple projects of global empire, it simultaneously embarked on an ambitious program of describing and picturing the world. The shapes and meanings of the extraordinary global images that emerged from this process form the subject of this highly original and richly textured study of cultural geography. Inventing Exoticism draws on a vast range of sources from history, literature, science, and art to describe the energetic and sustained international engagements that gave birth to our modern conceptions of exoticism and globalism.