Department of History and Political Science

Description of Major

History, the study of how human beings have lived in the past, tries to describe the past and account both for continuity and change over time. While every aspect of human life falls within the historian's concern, in this department we focus particularly on political and intellectual history. In our history courses, students will interpret historical figures and events; they will study times and places very different from our own, and they will examine the political, intellectual, and cultural forces that produced and now shape the modern world. The overall aim of these studies is to help students better understand themselves and their world. The major in history does not aim to produce specialists in a particular area, but to enliven students' minds with the capacity to think seriously about human affairs and to consider prudently the important social and political questions they will face as citizens. Our strengths are American and European history (both ancient and modern); we also offer courses on particular areas of the world, most notably Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Modern Asia.