Overview

History at The College of Wooster

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 societies we live in; it helps us understand different cultures; it provides a set of rigorous tools for understanding changes and continuities over time; and 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 the best way to study history is to do 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.


Faculty & Staff

Beatrice Adams portrait

Beatrice Adams

Assistant Professor of History

badams@wooster.edu

Jordan Biro Walters

Jordan Biro Walters

Associate Professor of History

jbirowalters@wooster.edu

James Bonk

James Bonk

Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies; East Asian Studies; History

jbonk@wooster.edu

Joan Friedman

Joan Friedman

Lincoln Professor of Religion and Professor of History; Department Chair of History

jfriedman@wooster.edu

gray silhouette outline of a person

Madonna Hettinger

Lawrence Stanley Chair and Professor of Medieval History; Pre-Law Program

mhettinger@wooster.edu

Katherine Holt

Katherine Holt

Associate Professor of History; Latin American Studies; Global and International Studies Department Chair; Liaison to Digital and Visual Storytelling Pathway

kholt@wooster.edu

Margaret Ng

Wee-Siang Margaret NG

Associate Professor of History; Archaeology; Chinese Studies

mng@wooster.edu

Peter Pozefsky

Peter Pozefsky

Michael O. Fisher Professor of History, Global and International Studies; Russian Studies

ppozefsky@wooster.edu

Jeff Roche

Jeff Roche

Professor of History

jroche@wooster.edu

Ibra Sene associate professor of history at college of wooster

Ibra Sene

Associate Professor of History; Global & International Studies

isene@wooster.edu

Greg Shaya

Greg Shaya

Henry J. and Laura H. Copeland Professor of European History; Global Media & Digital Studies

gshaya@wooster.edu

Angela Sponsler

Angela Sponsler

Administrative Coordinator of Political Science, Global and International Studies, History, Latin American Studies

asponsler@wooster.edu

Christina Welsch

Christina Welsch

Assistant Professor of History; Global and International Studies; South Asian Studies

cwelsch@wooster.edu


Latest History News

Head shot of Kurt Russell

Wooster Alumnus Kurt Russell ’94 introduced as 2022 National Teacher of the Year on CBS Mornings

Kurt Russell, a 1994 graduate of The College of Wooster, was named the 2022 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief […]

History alumnus to present lecture on Chinese commander General Tso April 14

College of Wooster Alumnus and Professor of History Kenneth Swope ’92 will present a lecture on General Zuo Zongtang (1812-1885), a famous Qing dynasty […]

Emma Schell ’23

Wooster student recognized for expanding coverage of Latin American topics on Wikipedia

College of Wooster junior Emma Schell ’23 recently received recognition from Wiki Education for her work to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of Latin American topics […]

E. Blake Moore Jr. ’80

Wooster legend celebrates 40th anniversary of Super Bowl XVI appearance

Super Bowl XVI was significant for several reasons. One of those centers around E. Blake Moore Jr., a proud 1980 College of Wooster alumnus, […]

More History Articles

Major

The history major is a flexible program that allows every student to pursue their interests while learning the essential elements of historical thinking and methodology, as well as skills in critical thought, research, and written, oral, and digital communication.

Major requirements: 11 courses total

  • Seven history electives:
    • at least four at 200-level or higher
    • at least one designated pre-1800
    • at least one designated Global Perspectives (focus outside the US or Europe)
  • One section of HIST 201: The Craft of History
  • HIST 401 Junior IS
  • HIST 451 and HIST 452 Senior IS

 

History Course Rubrics and Titles

10100 Introduction to Historical Investigation (3-5 sections offered every semester)
  • 101-01 India 1857: Imperial Rebellion
  • 101-04 Adding Immigrants: Quantitative History
  • 101-05 Introduction to Environmental History
  • 101-32 Crime and Punishment in Historical Perspective
  • 101-61 Russia’s World War II: Film and History
  • 101-65 West Africa and Black America
  • 101-66 The Holocaust
  • 101-76 History of Islam
  • 101-77 Latin American Revolutions
  • 101-82 America in the 60s and 70s
  • 101-83 The Family in Chinese History
  • 101-84 Chinese Medicine
  • 101-87 History of Native America
  • 101-91 History of Sexualities
  • 101-96 Warfare in Global History
  • 10600 Western Civilization to 1600 (alternate years)
  • 10700 Introduction to Modern European History (alternate years)
  • 10800 Introduction to Global History (annual)
  • 10900 Making of the Contemporary World (annual)
  • 11000 The US Experience to 1877 (annual fall)
  • 11100 The US Experience Since 1877 (annual spring)
  • 11500 African American History (annual)

 

20100 The Craft of History (annual: 2-3 sections fall; 3-4 sections spring)
  • 201-01 History of the News
  • 201-04 Latin America and the US
  • 201-07 The Western: Mythmaking in Modern America
  • 201-15 The Body in Chinese Tradition
  • 201-18 American Conservatism
  • 201-19 West Africa-US Connection
  • 201-24 Public History
  • 201-28 The Gilded Age and the Origins of Modern America
  • 201-29 The Family in Chinese Tradition
  • 201-31 Rulers and Rebels in European Empires
  • 201-34 The Mongol Global Century, 1200-1348
  • 201-35 The History of Pain
  • 201-36 Reading and Writing Biography
  • 201-99 West Africa and the World

 

20200 History Workshops (2-3 workshops offered each semester)
  • 202-01 Historical Documentary
  • 202-02 Digital History
  • 202-09 Documentary Filmmaking
  • 202-10 Digital Storytelling
  • 202-11 Archival Research
  • 202-12 Writing Creative Nonfiction
  • 202-13 Podcasting
  • 202-14 Blogs and Online Newsletters
  • 20400 Ancient Greek History
  • 20500 Roman History
  • 20600 Medieval Europe, 500-1350 (annual)
  • 20700 Renaissance Europe 1350-1600 (alternate years)
  • 20800 Europe in the Era of Total War, 1890-1945 (alternate years)
  • 20900 Europe Since 1945: Film and History (alternate years)
  • 21200 Plague in the Towns of Tuscany (alternate years)
  • 21400 Mystics, Popes, and Pilgrims (alternate years)
  • 21500 Colonial Latin America (alternate years)
  • 21600 Modern Latin America (annual)
  • 21700 Modern Brazil (alternate years)
  • 21800 Documentary Film and History in Buenos Aires (alternate years)
  • 22000 Tudor-Stuart England
  • 22100 The Modern British Empire
  • 22300 France in Revolution, War, and Empire (every third year)
  • 22400 The History of India in Global Context
  • 22800 Israel/Palestine: Histories in Conflict (alternate years)
  • 23000 Russia to 1900
  • 23100 The Making of Africa
  • 23200 Africa from Colonization to Globalization
  • 23300 Russia Since 1900
  • 23400 Chinese Civilization
  • 23500 Modern China
  • 23600 Modern Japan
  • 23800 The American West (alternate years)
  • 23900 Recent America: The US Since 1945 (alternate years)
  • 24000 History of the Jews

 

27500 Advanced Topics in History (1-3 sections offered each semester)
  • 275-03 History of Modern India
  • 275-05 Fall of the USSR and Rise of the New Russia
  • 275-07 Iranian History and Cinema
  • 275-11 Plagues in History
  • 275-14 LGBTQ in 20th Century America
  • 275-19 History of South Asia: From the Mughals to Modi
  • 275-25 The Black Freedom Movement
  • 275-26 Jews, Judaism, and Jew Haters in the Modern World
  • 28800 The History of History
  • 29800 Making History: Theories and Methods

 

30100 Colloquium in History (1-2 sections offered each semester)
  • 301-36 The World in 1900
  • 301-51 The Body and the Chinese Nation
  • 301-54 Antisemitism
  • 301-55 Medieval Travelers: Pilgrims and Envoys
  • 301-56 Civil War: Gender and Commemoration
  • 301-57 Seminar: War and Memory in Contemporary Europe
  • 301-58 Paranoid Nation: Conspiracy in American Politics
  • 301-59 Intersectionality: History of a Theory

 

 

Minor

A history minor offers the opportunity for grounding in the essential elements of historical thinking and methodology, as well as skills in critical thought, research, and written, oral, and digital communication.

Minor requirements: Six courses total:

  • Five history electives
    • at least three at 200-level or higher
    • at least one designated pre-1800
    • at least one designated Global Perspectives (focus outside the US or Europe)
  • One section of HIST 201: The Craft of History

 

History Course Rubrics and Titles

10100 Introduction to Historical Investigation (3-5 sections offered every semester)
  • 101-01 India 1857: Imperial Rebellion
  • 101-04 Adding Immigrants: Quantitative History
  • 101-05 Introduction to Environmental History
  • 101-32 Crime and Punishment in Historical Perspective
  • 101-61 Russia’s World War II: Film and History
  • 101-65 West Africa and Black America
  • 101-66 The Holocaust
  • 101-76 History of Islam
  • 101-77 Latin American Revolutions
  • 101-82 America in the 60s and 70s
  • 101-83 The Family in Chinese History
  • 101-84 Chinese Medicine
  • 101-87 History of Native America
  • 101-91 History of Sexualities
  • 101-96 Warfare in Global History
  • 10600 Western Civilization to 1600 (alternate years)
  • 10700 Introduction to Modern European History (alternate years)
  • 10800 Introduction to Global History (annual)
  • 10900 Making of the Contemporary World (annual)
  • 11000 The US Experience to 1877 (annual fall)
  • 11100 The US Experience Since 1877 (annual spring)
  • 11500 African American History (annual)

 

 

20100 The Craft of History (annual: 2-3 sections fall; 3-4 sections spring)
  • 201-01 History of the News
  • 201-04 Latin America and the US
  • 201-07 The Western: Mythmaking in Modern America
  • 201-15 The Body in Chinese Tradition
  • 201-18 American Conservatism
  • 201-19 West Africa-US Connection
  • 201-24 Public History
  • 201-28 The Gilded Age and the Origins of Modern America
  • 201-29 The Family in Chinese Tradition
  • 201-31 Rulers and Rebels in European Empires
  • 201-34 The Mongol Global Century, 1200-1348
  • 201-35 The History of Pain
  • 201-36 Reading and Writing Biography
  • 201-99 West Africa and the World

 

20200 History Workshops (2-3 workshops offered each semester)
  • 202-01 Historical Documentary
  • 202-02 Digital History
  • 202-09 Documentary Filmmaking
  • 202-10 Digital Storytelling
  • 202-11 Archival Research
  • 202-12 Writing Creative Nonfiction
  • 202-13 Podcasting
  • 202-14 Blogs and Online Newsletters
  • 20400 Ancient Greek History
  • 20500 Roman History
  • 20600 Medieval Europe, 500-1350 (annual)
  • 20700 Renaissance Europe 1350-1600 (alternate years)
  • 20800 Europe in the Era of Total War, 1890-1945 (alternate years)
  • 20900 Europe Since 1945: Film and History (alternate years)
  • 21200 Plague in the Towns of Tuscany (alternate years)
  • 21400 Mystics, Popes, and Pilgrims (alternate years)
  • 21500 Colonial Latin America (alternate years)
  • 21600 Modern Latin America (annual)
  • 21700 Modern Brazil (alternate years)
  • 21800 Documentary Film and History in Buenos Aires (alternate years)
  • 22000 Tudor-Stuart England
  • 22100 The Modern British Empire
  • 22300 France in Revolution, War, and Empire (every third year)
  • 22400 The History of India in Global Context
  • 22800 Israel/Palestine: Histories in Conflict (alternate years)
  • 23000 Russia to 1900
  • 23100 The Making of Africa
  • 23200 Africa from Colonization to Globalization
  • 23300 Russia Since 1900
  • 23400 Chinese Civilization
  • 23500 Modern China
  • 23600 Modern Japan
  • 23800 The American West (alternate years)
  • 23900 Recent America: The US Since 1945 (alternate years)
  • 24000 History of the Jews

 

27500 Advanced Topics in History (1-3 sections offered each semester)
  • 275-03 History of Modern India
  • 275-05 Fall of the USSR and Rise of the New Russia
  • 275-07 Iranian History and Cinema
  • 275-11 Plagues in History
  • 275-14 LGBTQ in 20th Century America
  • 275-19 History of South Asia: From the Mughals to Modi
  • 275-25 The Black Freedom Movement
  • 275-26 Jews, Judaism, and Jew Haters in the Modern World
  • 28800 The History of History
  • 29800 Making History: Theories and Methods

 

30100 Colloquium in History (1-2 sections offered each semester)
  • 301-36 The World in 1900
  • 301-51 The Body and the Chinese Nation
  • 301-54 Antisemitism
  • 301-55 Medieval Travelers: Pilgrims and Envoys
  • 301-56 Civil War: Gender and Commemoration
  • 301-57 Seminar: War and Memory in Contemporary Europe
  • 301-58 Paranoid Nation: Conspiracy in American Politics
  • 301-59 Intersectionality: History of a Theory

Independent Study

All students in History complete three semesters of Independent Study: a one-semester Junior Independent Study, and the two-semester Senior Independent Study.

The goal of History 401Junior Independent Study is to help students develop their skills as historians in order to prepare the way for Senior I.S. The course is taught as a tutorial, with weekly one-on-one meetings. Under the guidance of a faculty advisor, students develop, research, and write about a historical topic. Students have the opportunity to develop a valid historical question, conduct research in primary and secondary sources, frame a historical argument, and write a research paper of significant scope. They also learn the time-management skills that are necessary to complete Senior I.S. History 401 can be taken in the fall or the spring semester.

History 451-2: Senior Independent Study is the culmination of the History curriculum. With the guidance of a faculty advisor, students design a research project, gather evidence, and present their conclusions in a formal thesis. Working one-on-one with a faculty advisor and engaging in the debates of professional historians, History majors develop the practical and analytical skills necessary for tackling problems not only in history but also in matters of contemporary concern.

There are few limits to the kinds of subjects that can be pursued for a Senior I.S. In the last few years, students have studied Japanese animation, the “Lost Cause Mythology” of the Civil War, conflict diamonds in Africa, British seaman and their pranks in the Napoleonic era, the CIA in Cold War Berlin, cemetery preservation in Wayne county, the economy of Côte d’Ivoire, and many, many other topics.

There are alternative models for the presentation of historical research as well. Wooster students have successfully completed their Senior I.S. by producing a film documentary, mounting a public history exhibition, writing a historical novel, and developing a high school curriculum.

 

Search the I.S. Database

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Alumni

If you love the study of history, you will find the history program at Wooster to be an excellent preparation for your future.
Our graduates have gone on to prominent careers in academia, law, medicine, business, government, intelligence,
print and broadcast journalism, political advocacy (environmentalism, poverty, civil rights, peace activism, etc.), foreign service, politics, work in museums and archives, public history, foundation work, library science, teaching at the primary and secondary levels, and more.

Recent graduates have gone on to advanced studies in prestigious programs at Columbia University, Cornell University, Indiana University, New York University, The University of California, the University of Michigan, Vanderbilt University, and elsewhere.

Read more stories about Wooster history graduates on The Department of History blog.


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Wooster Alumnus Kurt Russell ’94 introduced as 2022 National Teacher of the Year on CBS Mornings

Kurt Russell, a 1994 graduate of The College of Wooster, was named the 2022 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of Chief […]

E. Blake Moore Jr. ’80

Wooster legend celebrates 40th anniversary of Super Bowl XVI appearance

Super Bowl XVI was significant for several reasons. One of those centers around E. Blake Moore Jr., a proud 1980 College of Wooster alumnus, […]

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Kurt Russell ’94 named one of four finalists for National Teacher of the Year

Kurt Russell, a Wooster ’94 graduate, has been selected as a finalist for the 2022 National Teacher of the Year by the Council of […]

Antwan Chambers ’14

Relationships at Wooster guide Antwan Chambers ’14 in mentorship position

Antwan Chambers ’14 learned about The College of Wooster for the first time upon entering an introductory interview with the Posse Foundation. After doing some research on the school he […]

Prizes & Scholarships

Prizes

The Robert G. Bone History Prize is awarded to that person having completed the junior year with a major in history who best exemplifies the qualities of Robert G. Bone ’28: enthusiasm for learning; unbridled curiosity about life; and unbounded kindness toward others.

The Cummings-Rumbaugh History Prize honors the memory of Mildred Rumbaugh Cummings and Clarence W. Cummings. Mr. Cummings was a member of the class of 1912. It is awarded to seniors with high academic standing.

The Aileen Dunham Prize in History was established in 1965 in honor of Professor Aileen Dunham, Chairperson of the Department of History, 1946-1966. It is awarded annually to the senior major who has attained the highest rank in history.

The James R. Turner Prize in History was established in his memory in 1986. Professor Turner was a member of the History Department from 1969 to 1986. The History Prize is awarded to the student with the most distinguished Junior Independent Study Thesis.

Endowed Funds

The Lawrence Stanley Summer Research Program Endowment in History was established in 2007 by Laura Stanley Gunnels in honor of her father and the 50th anniversary of the class of 1958. Mrs. Gunnels shared with her father an interest and passion for history and established the summer research endowment to support student research in history. Her intent is for students to develop the passion and habits of mastery that will advance the study of history in perpetuity. First preference is given to students following their first-year at Wooster. Each student is partnered with a faculty research advisor.

Scholarships

The Aileen Dunham Scholarship in History was established in 1965 in honor of Professor Aileen Dunham, Chairman of the Department of History, 1946-1966. It is awarded annually to a student who has achieved excellence in history courses and who demonstrates financial need.

The Helen K. and Ernest S. Osgood Scholarship Fund was established in 1984 by Helen Kaslo Osgood, a member of the History Department for thirty years beginning in 1951. In 1958 she married Ernest S. Osgood, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Minnesota. His activities at Wooster included advising Independent Study students in history, which gave him much pleasure. The scholarship is awarded annually, in consultation with the Department of History, to a junior or senior history major who has demonstrated high academic achievement and financial need.

The David O. Wise Endowed Scholarship was established by David Wise, a member of the Class of 1969, to honor his 50th reunion and the outstanding faculty mentors he had as a student at the College. Income from the fund shall be awarded each year to a rising senior History major who has demonstrated the highest academic achievement within the Department of History, including Junior Independent Study, and who also has demonstrated financial need.