History

History Garret McAinshThe study of history involves the investigation of the past and its interconnection with the present. Students of history realize that the problems we confront today are not unique to our time and place. Issues such as racism, economic turmoil, and political intrigue are age-old. By studying the success or failure of past societies in negotiating similar issues, we may enhance our capacity to deal effectively with them today.

The department offers an extensive list of courses in American and European history as well as classes in African, Russian, and Chinese history. Courses beyond the survey classes involve students in assessing how it might have felt to live in an earlier period, in a different place. Senior-level seminar classes and topics courses provide for in-depth analysis of more narrowly defined historical issues. Throughout the department’s curriculum, students read and write a great deal and are challenged to reflect upon what they read.

The history department offers a course titled Advanced Research and Writing, a two-term intensive class for seniors, which gives them the opportunity to use the knowledge and research techniques they have learned. Students develop extensive research papers on chosen topics. Recent topics include Pico Della Mirandola’s impact on the Italian Renaissance, the suppression of modern art in Nazi Germany, and black female preachers in nineteenth-century America. Students also have the opportunity to conduct independent study projects under the tutelage of history department faculty.

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