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:

“While graduate school taught me how to think and write as an archaeologist and an anthropologist, the history classes at Allegheny challenged me to develop the tools necessary to become a critical thinker. Allegheny's engaging and challenging learning environment pushed me to mature intellectually. As history students, we were expected to facilitate class discussions about books that we read weekly, give feedback on our peers’ research, and synthesize what we learned in papers and tests. I expanded my experience at an archaeological field school into my Senior Thesis and have continued to pursue my career as an archaeologist both academically and professionally.”

—Crystal Ptacek ’08, Field Archaeologist, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello