Political and Policy History
The nation-state and its governing elites and institutions have long dominated historical research and teaching. But in recent decades historians have looked beyond the state and statesmen to arrive at broader understandings of what politics is and where, how, and by whom it is practiced while paying closer attention to how public policy shapes people’s lives. At Northwestern, political and policy historians study changing relationships between government and society by exploring political processes and institutions at local, national, and transnational levels. We examine how race, class, gender, religion, and ethnicity shape political communities; how communities advance their agendas in politics; how ideas about public policy take root and change; how governing works; and how public power has in turn shaped communities.