Marcus Cicero observed that history “illuminates reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us the tidings of antiquity.” Historical knowledge is fundamental to an appreciation of humanity’s common bonds as well as its distinctive tapestries. An understanding of history illustrates how past values and experiences inform today’s world. This understanding helps people forge a sense of identity and create blueprints from which to construct a community.
The department of history has a deep commitment to the study of global urban cultural and social history and the Atlantic world with special attention given to the areas of gender, race, class, and historical grass-roots social movements. Transformational learning, internships, and study abroad opportunities prepare students for graduate school as well as life in an increasingly interconnected and complex world in diverse fields that include education, law, business, journalism, and not-for-profit organizations. Small class sizes encourage deep critical engagement with faculty and fellow students. The program focuses on history from a local and national as well as a global perspective and offers undergraduate sequences in the fields of African, World, African American, Latin American and United States history, with individual courses in other fields. Students in the history program may also take advantage of the resources of the University’s Center for New Deal Studies and the St. Clair Drake Center for African American Studies.