History

History is one of the oldest fields of knowledge, but it has never been more relevant than in the fast-changing, interconnected world in which we live. The study of history is the foundation for a complex understanding of the world. It offers a rich view upon the developments that have shaped the society we live in; it helps us understand distant cultures; it provides a set of rigorous tools for understanding changes and continuities over time; it offers a high perspective to make sense of the tumult of current events.

The study of history cultivates skills and habits of mind that are essential to a liberal arts education. Students of history will develop the ability to research complex topics, to analyze evidence, to assess conflicting interpretations, to convey ideas with clarity and persuasion, and to build strong arguments. History encourages a subtle understanding of difference. What is more, the study of history provides a set of deep pleasures. Vastly enlarging our experience, the study of the past is a profound source of personal meaning and collective identity.

At Wooster, we believe that the best way to understand history is to do history. We encourage students to ask questions about the past (and the present), to bring their own skills of critical thinking and interpretation to the sources of history. In their coursework, students will develop a wide knowledge of the past and a practical understanding of the skills of the historian, culminating in the year-long Senior Independent Study. In classes and seminars, in the weekly I.S. meetings, in departmental colloquia, over lunch with students, and in the corridors and offices of Kauke Hall, faculty offer their perspectives, argue over interpretations, challenge students to think in new ways, and encourage students to ask hard questions.