Students who choose the history option will learn how to do history—how to think critically about past societies and their development, how to read evidence closely, and how to express arguments in writing. Students taking the option will explore the range of human experience in the realms of politics, culture, religion, and economics, as well as science and technology. They will learn both to challenge and revise existing historical narratives and question their own ideas and assumptions about the past. Students will develop the writing skills that will enable them to use historical sources to make effective arguments.
In the senior tutorial, students will have the opportunity to explore in depth an historical subject of particular interest to them. They will learn how to carry out historical research and engage critically with historical sources. Finally, they will learn to organize and to write an extensive research paper, of at least 30 pages, that makes an original, clear and persuasive scholarly argument.
The history minor is designed for students who want to pursue concentrated study in history without the extensive course work and the senior thesis required by the history option. Students cannot use history minor requirements to satisfy a different option or minor.
History Coursework at a Glance
H 131. History of Extinction. Humans are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction-the first to be caused by human activity. Extinction has been viewed in changing ways over the past 200 years, and this course takes an interdisciplinary approach to learning about the extinction process from a historical as well as a modern perspective. Our focus will be on the extinction of biological entities, but we will also touch on other systems that have disappeared: languages, technologies, habitats, and ways of living. Central to our endeavors will be asking what it means to live in this time of loss: Should we mourn? And if so, how do we mourn for what many or most of us do not see, but only read about? Finally, we will scrutinize what the practical effects of extinction have been, are, and will be. We will also make at least one visit to a natural history museum to view some extinct species behind the scenes.