history

Why Confederate monuments are coming down now

As Confederate monuments and memorials are toppled across the United States, Stanford historian James T. Campbell says it is important to think historically not only about the past but also about our own time and what future generations might say about us.

How the meaning of the Declaration of Independence changed over time

When the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, it was a call for the right to statehood rather than individual liberties, says Stanford historian Jack Rakove. Only after the American Revolution did people interpret it as a promise for individual equality.

Learning from the history of vaccines, disease

In a graduate seminar taught by Stanford medical anthropologist S. Lochlann Jain, students examined how previous epidemics – such as yellow fever, smallpox, polio and AIDS – can illuminate the social dynamics and politics of the era.

World War II’s contradictory lessons

On the 75th anniversary of World War II ending in Europe, Stanford historian James Sheehan discusses the challenges that persisted and the legacies that remained at the end of the war.

How pandemics catalyze social and economic change

Throughout recorded history, pandemics have been effective levelers of social and economic inequality – but that might not be the outcome this time around, says Stanford historian Walter Scheidel.

New outbreak, familiar anxieties

Stanford historian Kathryn Olivarius discusses her research into antebellum New Orleans and how the yellow fever epidemic shaped the region economically and socially – at a devastating and deadly cost.