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:

“Early on, I realized that the History Department was particularly suitable for combining different areas of interest, because history has that wonderful quality of being ever-present in one’s life. It permeates every discipline, providing context and perspective. The greatest thing about this department is that it does not limit you in future career goals. I've worked on political campaigns and on Broadway, and I truly believe that it was because of the skills I acquired at Allegheny. I was not limited in the scope of jobs that I looked for, and applied to, after graduation. The skills you acquire through the history curriculum enable you to succeed in a myriad of careers, some that you might never have imagined possible. I have learned how to speak effectively in front a large group, as well as lead in-depth discussions. My professors helped me develop my ability to think on my feet, to master a topic and to fully engage the audience. Most importantly, the drive and initiative that I acquired during my studies in the history department can be attributed, in large part, to the example my professors set and the passion that they modeled.”

—Courtney E. Rice ’12, Account Executive, SpotCo (Advertising); New York City, New York