The History Department


The study of history helps us to understand the differences and similarities between our own lives, thought, and habits and those of a variety of past and present cultures. It allows us to understand other people better through seeing them in their own contexts, and to understand ourselves through serious self-reflection. We treat history as an interpretive endeavor, investigating from various points of view the ways in which individuals and social groups have sought to order and understand their world across time. As a department, we strive to provide wisdom in particular historical fields, and to assist our students in the development of conceptual skills, critical analysis, research competence, writing fluency, and sophistication in the uses and abuses of knowledge.

Outside the Classroom:

“My years as a student-the small classes and close relationships with both professors and fellow students, the general excellence of instruction, the broad range of curricular and extracurricular opportunities given me, the subtle but pervasive stimulus to seek higher goals-have had a profound effect on my life.”

—Raymond Philip Shafer '38, former governor of Pennsylvania