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Academics > Majors & Minors



Catherine Denial

Bright Professor of American History

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Major, Minor

The historian's task is to see any subject (including one's self and contemporary society) in historical context and in relationship to others. The skills of critical analysis and contextual understanding developed doing historical work are applicable in all of life's arenas -- from the courtroom, classroom, boardroom and newsroom to social relationships and family life.

Knox offers you the opportunity to study history in the context of a comprehensive, challenging liberal arts education, with nationally recognized professors, spacious facilities, state-of-the-art equipment, and one of the country's most active and sophisticated programs of undergraduate research.

If you have a major interest in history, the department 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.

The Program

Requirements for the major in history include introductory courses that focus on the analysis of primary documents, the "Historian's Workshop" methodology course, and a range of electives through which majors develop both depth and breadth in the subject matter of history.

Electives give depth of experience in one field as well as a range of experience in methodology and subject. The senior research paper, required of all majors, explores in depth a subject of your choosing, using primary sources in the context of contemporary scholarly debate.

If you are interested in history, you should study widely in related disciplines, which can deepen your 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 theatre.


Many history courses make use of the rare print and manuscript materials housed in Knox's Special Collections and Archives. There, the Finley Collection maintains every important primary source on the American Midwest printed since 1820. The Strong Collection of 18th- and 19th-century maps and photographs is also held there, as is the Ray Smith Collection on the Civil War, among others.

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Printed on Saturday, April 29, 2017

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