Why Study History?

Detail from Viewing Cherry Blossoms by Kitagawa Utamaro, 1790, Japan. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Detail from Viewing Cherry Blossoms by Kitagawa Utamaro, 1790, Japan. Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

By teaching us about the lives and circumstances of people remote from us in time and space, the study of history helps us understand how our own world came into being—and how to question its assumptions. The study of history also teaches us how to interpret the complex unfolding of events and express our understanding in clear speech and prose, using evidence and narrative to convey our argument. Students who study history go into careers in law and medicine, commerce and public service, the arts and media, research and teaching, and many other walks of life. Our undergraduate major now includes a concentration in global history in addition to our concentrations in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. We also now offer new thematic minor fields in the history of law and crime, environmental history, the history of science and technology, and the history of economics and labor. The Department takes great pride in our excellent course offerings and our prize-winning teaching.