College of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

History Department

Mission Statement

The Department of History provides broad exposure to the complexities that shape the forces of civilization both past and present, and develops the analytical skills necessary to describe, compare, and explain human actions. Through a variety of courses that examine societies across time and space, students learn to see the diversity and complexity of the past. A History major offers invaluable training in the essential skills of a liberal arts education: careful reading, effective writing, critical thinking, and public speaking. In addition, the student of History learns to analyze primary sources and historical evidence, as well as to understand the contested nature of historical knowledge by examining how scholars have interpreted the past. The study of History develops informed, engaged, and thoughtful citizens who can contribute on both the local and the national level. More specifically, a History major is prepared for a wide variety of careers, including teaching, law, journalism, consulting, translation, research, and of course the practice of history as an archivist, curator, or scholar.

Overview/Description

The Department of History currently trains about 160 undergraduate majors as well as a significant number of students who either minor in History or who choose a History concentration through the BLA degree. In the past five years, more than two hundred History majors have graduated from the University. Many of our students choose to teach at the elementary or secondary level as well as in higher education, while others pursue graduate education in other areas or enter the work force directly. Consistent with the University’s mission to “enhance the intellectual, personal, and cultural development of its students”, the Department of History seeks to train students to think both creatively and rigorously about the past, and to identify links between past and present.

The History Department currently includes fourteen full-time faculty with expertise ranging from Ancient Greece and Medieval England to modern Egypt and Latin America. All faculty are actively engaged in teaching, research, and service.  During the past few years, the faculty have published more than a dozen monographs as well as a variety of scholarly articles, review essays, book chapters, historical documentaries, translations, and edited collections. The faculty also work with community organizations, professional historical societies, and foundations to advance the study of History across multiple fields. Both as individuals and collectively, the faculty have won a number of prestigious grants and fellowships, including those from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Philosophical Society, Fulbright Program, and the Russell Sage Foundation.

The Department has a chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the national History honor society) as well as a vibrant History Club that organizes lectures, trips, and events. Service-Learning opportunities, Study Abroad courses (both in the summer and during the academic year), and individual internships offer students the chance to broaden their learning beyond the traditional classroom. The History Department is currently preparing to launch an M.A. program in History in Fall 2015 that will focus on American history and comparative global history.

We invite you to browse our website, to contact us via email or by telephone, and to visit us in person in Dugan Hall.