About the Department of History and Archaeology
The Department of History and Archaeology is one of the oldest departments in the University having been established in 1956 under the then Royal Technical College which later became the University of Nairobi. Its syllabus was geared to inculcate a deep interest, among its students, of the origins, growth and development of human societies and cultures.
Our coverage has always been worldwide for we believe that there is no human culture whose history cannot contribute to a deeper understanding of human development. It has since expanded to its present strength of highly trained and internationally recognized members of academic staff.
Our programmes are available at undergraduate and postgraduate diploma, bachelors, masters and Ph.D. levels. The department opens its doors to all prospective students with the relevant university entry qualifications and a good history background. This is because we believe in the efficacy of the study of history in the broadening of the mind both for those who wish to pursue the study of history to the highest levels and those who merely wish to be informed citizens.
With the recruitment of the first African historians a process began which has continued and deepened over the years. We have endeavored to give a special highlight to the continent of Africa and to Kenya. The process was initially instigated by efforts to redress the lop-sided scholarship which denied the continent a worthwhile past. In these efforts, history linked up with archaeology and pre-history to unearth the major contributions made by Africans in the political, social, technological and cultural development of human kind, including the provision of the cradle of homo sapiens. Since then African historical research has taken on a life of its own in the development not just of the content of African history but also of methodologies and sources and a philosophy of historical enquiry, which have helped inform research elsewhere.
Simultaneously, we have continued our interest in the history of as many world societies as we can cover at any given time. Our syllabus bears witness to this. In recent times we have tried to keep pace with the new areas of interest in history research.
Department of History and Archaeology: Chairpersons
- Dr. Kenneth Ombongi (2019 – Present)
- Prof. Ephraim W. Wahome (2011 – 2013)
- Prof Milcah Amolo Achola (2000 - 2011)
- Prof. V. G. Simiyu (1997 - 2000)
- Prof. Macharia Munene (1996 - 1997)
- Prof. H. W. Mutoro (1991 - 1996)
- Prof. Idha Salim (1989 - 1991)
- Prof. G. Muriuki (1975 - 1989)
- Prof. B. A. Ogot (1965 - 1975)
- Prof. A. J. Hanna (1964 - 1965)
- Prof. H. P. Gale (1962 - 1964)