The past matters. The discipline of history works to understand the past on its own terms and reveals its relevance for the present.
History analyzes human experience in context as it changes over time. It examines the complex intersections between human actions and the social, cultural, economic, environmental, and political forces at work in particular times and places. History uncovers the relationship between past developments and current conditions and it highlights the contingent, constructed nature of contemporary social structures and power relations. Historians construct interpretations of the past that illuminate the commonality and the diversity of individual and group experiences within and across societies. They also explore how human societies remember and represent the past and analyze how historical interpretations change over time. Thus the study of history reveals how people have used the past to create meaning for their lives.
The CSB/SJU History program supports the liberal arts mission by providing students with insight into the human condition while also building skills in critical analysis and effective communication. We lead students into an empathetic encounter with the past and engage them in the practice of historical interpretation. Together we imagine and reconstruct people's lives across place and time and within diverse circumstances. In these ways, the History program supports the colleges' commitment to global education and cultural literacy. We cultivate an understanding of how the past molds but does not determine the present, and we examine how current realities are historically constructed rather than naturally given. By encouraging students to recognize complexity and question the status quo, we prepare them to become effective citizens and contribute to the common good. Ultimately, the History program nurtures the curiosity and careful thinking that prepare students for a thoughtful and aware life.
Students of history develop intellectual skills and habits of mind that prepare them to find meaningful work and become successful in a wide variety of careers. They do so by learning how to interpret the past through the process of historical analysis. The study of history also encourages a lifelong effort to understand the human experience and prepares students to engage with the concerns of contemporary societies.
History students learn to:
Principles of Historical Analysis
History students discover that:
Historical Habits of Mind
History students develop:
History students are prepared to: