History

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Mission Statement: The major is designed to introduce the students to the principles of historical study, to provide them with the tools to become an effective researcher and writer, and to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the past.  Significant emphasis is put on reading original texts and scholarship written by historians.  Most courses also emphasize the interpretation of the past and the ability to present one's analysis in persuasive prose.

Learning Outcomes:

Content Goals:

  • Provide students with a broad and deep understanding of past societies and cultures and the forces that shaped them.
  • Instill students with an understanding and appreciation of the past.
  • Foster a wider, more cosmopolitan view of the contemporary world in our students by studying the world's peoples, cultures, and institutions in an historical context.
  • Challenge students' prevailing assumptions that the human condition always improves or that progress is inevitable.

Skill and Process Goals:

  • Introduce students to a wide variety of historical sources (primary and secondary, print and online) and teach them how to assess their merits and use them for historical analysis.
  • Hone student writing skills by teaching students how to present their analysis in persuasive prose.  All of our courses require extensive written work.  Some are specifically designated as "writing intensive."  We expect that students' writing will grow in clarity and sophistication as they move through our curriculum.
  • Promote student's critical thinking skills. We aim to develop students' higher order reasoning abilities by teaching them how to synthesize and analyze disparate forms of information.
  • Provide students with basic and advanced historical research skills, including fluency with relevant printed source materials and bibliographies, as well as online databases, primary source collections, and research engines.

The History Major At Muhlenberg

The history major at Muhlenberg has recently been revised. The major is designed to introduce the students to the principles of historical study, to provide them with the tools to become an effective researcher and writer, and to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the past. Significant emphasis is put on reading original texts and scholarship written by historians. Most courses also emphasize the interpretation of the past and the ability to present one's analysis in persuasive prose.

The History major is a nine-course major.  Students take two required 400-level courses: the Senior Reading Seminar and Senior Research Seminar.  In addition, majors take seven additional courses in history, no more than one of which may be at the 100 level.  Students may take courses in any of the following areas of study:  Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East, United States, but must complete at least one course in United States, one course in European, and one course in an additional world region.  At least one of the seven courses must have content whose focus is primarily in the pre-Modern era. Minors are required to take the two Senior Seminars and four additional courses. 

The History Department offers a wide range of courses that span geography and time.  Our faculty includes specialists in most regions of world history.  Most advanced history courses are offered every other year.