In offering a disciplined study of the past, the History department challenges students to think, read, and write about issues arising from the tensions societies face in every generation—tensions between freedom and authority, reason and faith, individual agency and impersonal structures. The ultimate goal: to become imaginative and resourceful human beings engaged with the world.
Our faculty cultivates understanding rather than memorization. The history student becomes immersed in the study of the past and develops the skill and ability to read critically and write elegantly. The faculty welcomes budding historians who love history, as well as students from other disciplines seeking a broad view of the world, and students who might simply be curious about a specific time, country, topic, or issue.
The history faculty specializes and does research in a wide range of topics: utopias in the United States; women activists in the 1960s; the oil industry in Mexico; Medieval European monasteries; California women workers; nurses in Europe; pandas in China; the United States in world history; the American Civil War; and environmental history, just to name a few. We also offer courses in interdisciplinary majors, including Women's and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, Environmental Studies, and International Area Studies. To find out more about our professors, please see their profiles. For questions, contact the department chair.