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, seminars on the history of sports or empires, and working with student project teams in Bangkok, London, 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 will be 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, he is also co-chair of Project Inclusion and co-director of the Copenhagen Denmark Project Center. 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 the YouTube recording of a recent event Tales From the Top: A Panel Discussion on the Commercialization of Mount Everest at the Museum of Science in Boston.

These pages contain information about the following areas:

See also my professional page maintained by Humanities and Arts and International and Global Studies.

I may be reached at, or in the usual way at:

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

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