Peter H. Hansen

Welcome to the homepage of Peter H. Hansen, Professor of History and Director of International and Global Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).

As Director of International and Global Studies, responsibilities include enhancing the curricular components of WPI’s global programs, exploring new partnerships, and advising students in global projects. International and Global Studies brings together faculty from the arts and sciences, business, and interdisciplinary studies to enrich students' experience of global engagement on campus and around the world. He enjoys teaching courses in history or international and global studies and working with student project teams around the world. He is director of the Copenhagen Project Center and has advised projects at Bangkok, Copenhagen, London, Lyon, Morocco, Namibia, Venice, Washington DC, and Worcester. Hansen was a Fulbright Scholar in France in 2017 with the Fulbright International Education Administrators Program.

Hansen's research investigates the intertwined histories of mountaineering and modernity. The Summits of Modern Man examined the transformation of the summit position--which had been reserved for God or the King before the eighteenth century--into a symbol of individual sovereignty and enlightenment. Debates over “who was first” in the ascent of Mont Blanc, Everest and other peaks articulated changing definitions of modernity. Hansen has also published on colonialism, cross-cultural encounters, documentary films, and WPI's project program. Currently, he is writing a book on commercialization and Mount Everest for Harvard University Press.

Hansen was a visiting fellow at the Durham University Institute of Advanced Study in the fall of 2018. Previously he has been a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, the Australian National University, and Harvard University. He is a past president of the Northeast Conference on British Studies, and a current director of the Worcester World Affairs Council. At WPI, Hansen has led multi-year efforts to revise the general education requirements in the humanities and arts, to broaden the criteria for promotion in academic rank, and to institutionalize a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion across the university. His research has reached wider audiences as a lecturer at public libraries and museums and as commentator for television programs on the BBC, History Channel, and Discovery Channel.

Watch recordings of a recent events, including the Global School Virtual Event Series: EUROPE, with the panel "Outlook for European Business and the Global Economy Post-Pandemic," an interview on innovative responses to the COVID-crisis in the QS MoveON Weekly Idea Snack webinar, the COVID-19 IQP Project Presentations in Spring 2020 at WPI, or the Tales From the Top discussion of commercialization on Mount Everest at the Museum of Science in Boston.

For further information, see also:

I may be reached at, or at this address:

Department of Humanities and Arts
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609-2280 USA

Tel: +1 (508) 831-5481
Fax: +1 (508) 831-5932