|Faculty:||Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences
|Description:||Historical study explores a wide range of subjects, from political and social life to culture, technology, and thought. Historians establish and challenge interpretations of the past, examining new evidence and arguments to attempt to comprehend the relationship between ideas and actions, and between individuals and social institutions. The study of history provides education about the society in which we live and its past development. Since it involves examination of people in an almost unlimited variety of situations, it also deepens the understanding of people's capacities and failings. Properly pursued, it trains the mind to generalize on the basis of evidence and to distinguish propaganda from fact.
Offering study opportunities in history from the dawn of civilization to the present day and covering all of the continents, this program helps students understand political, economic, and social change and give them the tools to analyse and form opinions based on the multiple sources of evidence that can be gathered from each historical era. It develops students' abilities to think critically about the past and to appreciate the contested nature of historical knowledge. Beyond comprehending chronologies or collecting names and dates, students learn how to analyze texts and documents; how to frame research questions and conduct independent inquiries; and how to organize and write historical analyses to make them engaging and persuasive.