Major and Minor
Faculty and professional interests
Konrad Hamilton, chair; On-site Director, Buenos Aires program, Fall 2013
American and African-American history
American history, American Indian history, women and gender
Danielle Fatkin (on leave, Spring 2014)
Ancient Roman and Mediterranean history
Michael Schneider (interim chair, Fall 2013)
East Asian and international history
Modern European, German history, Middle East
Early modern European and British history
An historical perspective on contemporary society is a cornerstone of a liberal education. This historical perspective must include a familiarity with our society's origins and antecedents, an appreciation of the variety of historical experiences worldwide, and especially a comprehension of the background to key problems confronting humanity today.
For the student with a major interest in history, the department’s program provides a strong grounding in the discipline of historical method, a familiarity with diverse epochs and national histories, and an introduction to the experience of original research.
For students interested in American history, the research facilities of Seymour Library are an abundant source of original materials, especially the Finley Collection of books pertaining to the Old Northwest Territory in the upper Mississippi River Valley and the Ray Smith Collection on the Civil War.
Students interested in history should study widely in related disciplines, which can deepen their understanding of historical studies with the theoretical perspectives and empirical tools of the social sciences, or the more profound appreciation of human culture through the study of literature, art, music or theater. Any student should obtain a sound working knowledge of at least one foreign language. Further competency in one or more foreign languages is recommended for students who intend to do graduate work in history. Students intending to do graduate work in history also are encouraged to consider honors work in the department.
The departmental curriculum contributes to the College's Key Competency Requirements as follows:
- Writing Key Competency - HIST 202 and almost all 300-level courses in History serve as writing-intensive courses for majors.
- Speaking Key Competency - Students may fulfill the speaking competency in any 300-level course. Arrangements must be made with the instructor at the beginning of the term, with notification sent to the Registrar upon completion of the required work.
- Information Literacy & Informed Use of Technology - Managing information has always been central to the historical enterprise. History majors have a special obligation to adapt traditional skills to the new electronic revolution. They must cultivate skills in searching electronic catalogs and databases, organizing text, audio and visual media, evaluating the quality of historically-focused websites, and presenting historical materials effectively. HIST 285 plays a prominent role within the major in developing these skills, but they are addressed in most other history courses as well.
Departmental Learning Goals
Students completing a major in History will be able to:
- Analyze primary sources
- Formulate an argument using evidence
- Contextualize knowledge/truth claims