Department Information

History

Professors I. Binnington, K. Haywood, J. Herrman (Chair), P. Jackson, A. Keysor, B. Miller, R. Orttung, K. Pinnow, A. Ribeiro, B. Shapiro, G. Wu

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.

History Learning Outcomes

The guiding principle behind these learning goals is to create a clear path of student development in keeping with the goals and philosophies outlined in the History Department’s mission statement:

  • Lower level courses (100 and 200s) seek to introduce students to the interpretative facets of history while providing them with a general level of knowledge about particular topics or national histories.
  • Upper-level courses (300s) seek to deepen the awareness of contingency, both culturally and temporally, with greater emphasis on the contested nature of history’s meaning.
  • The 500-level Junior Seminars are meant to prepare our majors for their Senior Projects by fostering more independent inquiry both in and outside the classroom. They also provide our many minors with a capstone experience that reinforces the distinctive practices and outlooks of historians.

Taken as a whole, we believe that these learning goals reinforce the complex relationship between past and present, promote greater awareness of difference, and develop the skills—research, writing, and analysis—that are essential parts of the historian’s craft.

Programs

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