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About Peter H. Hansen

Peter H. Hansen is Professor of History and Director of International and Global Studies at WPI. In this role, administrative responsibilities include enhancing the curricular and academic components of WPI’s global projects, exploring new partnerships, and advising students in global programs. International and Global Studies brings together faculty from history, foreign languages, humanities, social sciences, business, and interdisciplinary studies. Courses on campus enrich the experience of students before, during, and after their international educational experiences.  He enjoys teaching courses in history as well as international and global studies, especially research seminars on empires or sports. WPI’s project-based learning program offers faculty a unique opportunity to work with student teams on authentic problems around the world. He has enjoyed working closely with students on these community-based projects in Bangkok, London, Morocco, Namibia, Venice, Washington, DC, and in Worcester.

The Summits of Modern Man investigated the intertwined histories of mountaineering and modernity over the last three hundred years. The summit position, which had been reserved for God or the King before the eighteenth century, became a symbol of individual sovereignty and enlightenment during the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786. Debates over “who was first” over the next two centuries in France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria, Britain, India, Nepal and New Zealand articulated a mutually constitutive relationship of mountaineering and modernity. Hansen has also published on colonialism, cross-cultural encounters, documentary films, and WPI's project program. Currently, he is working on the commercialization of Mount Everest, the history of the Alps, and the implications of the Anthropocene.  

Hansen has been a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, the Australian National University, and Harvard University, and is a past president of the Northeast Conference on British Studies. His research has reached wider audiences as a lecturer at public libraries and commentator for television programs on the BBC, History Channel, and Discovery Channel.


Present Director of International Studies, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Present Professor of History, Humanities & Arts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


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Contact Information

Department of Humanities and Arts
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609 USA
Phone: +1-508-831-5481
Fax: +1-508-831-5932

Books (1)

Recent Works (1)

Articles (11)

Contributions to Books (7)

Other (3)