Timeline – 1991 – Restructuring History

Congressional Pugilists, etching, 1798. Library of Congress. A crude portrayal of a fight on the floor of Congress between Representative Matthew Lyon of Vermont and Representative Roger Griswold of Connecticut. The row was originally prompted by an insulting reference to Lyon on Griswold's part. The interior of Congress Hall is shown; as are Speaker Jonathan Dayton and Clerk Jonathan W. Condy (both seated), Chaplain Ashbel Green (in profile on the left), and several others. Griswold, armed with a cane, kicks Lyon, who grasps the former's arm and raises a pair of fireplace tongs to strike him
Congressional Pugilists, etching, 1798. Library of Congress.

Until the early 1990s, the administration of the Department of History, like its curriculum, was structured around geographically-defined “caucuses”—European, U.S., and “Third World”—that dated back to the 1960s. Each caucus enjoyed relative autonomy in its graduate program.

In times of declining resources, the old decentralized structure engendered often pitched battles over faculty appointments and graduate enrollments well beyond the department’s ability to provide support.

In 1991, the Department moved—amidst its own version of the “culture wars”—to its present structure of department-wide “councils”: the Faculty Council, the Graduate Council, and the Undergraduate Council.

For details on the councils’ composition and responsibilities, see the Department of History’s Legislative Code (pdf).