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Mission Statement

Palmer Hall - 1904The History Department cultivates in our students a passion for and a critical understanding of the past while developing their intellectual, analytical, and rhetorical abilities. Through a variety of courses that examine societies far removed from each other in space and time, students discover the richness, diversity, and complexity of human history. The Department also helps students understand the contested nature of historical knowledge by introducing them to the various ways in which historians have interpreted the past. We engage students in issues that provoke historical debate, and familiarize them with the nature and uses of historical evidence. This critical study of the past allows our students access to a far wider range of human experience than any individual could acquire in a single lifetime, making History essential to a liberal arts education.

History majors who fulfill the Department’s academic requirements will be broadly trained in careful reading, rigorous analysis, effective writing, and oral communication, skills with applications for all students in all fields. By exposing students to many places and times and allowing them to develop expertise in a few regions, epochs, or comparative themes, they will acquire:

  1. Substantial and substantive knowledge of the past.
  2. Conceptual understanding of history as a scholarly discipline.
  3. Professional skills necessary for independent historical research and writing.
  4. A sense of the perspective that historical study provides.