Please note: This is NOT the most current catalog.

Historical Perspectives

Director, 2007-08: James J. Farrell (History), American cultural studies, 20th-century America, environmental history

The program in historical perspectives provides students with a concentration in integrative, historical learning. Students who seek to develop both interdisciplinary and historical perspectives about an epoch, a geographical region, or a cultural or intellectual theme may initiate an interdisciplinary concentration in historical perspectives. This program enables concentrators to encounter the past for its own sake and to understand ways in which the past bears upon the present. By studying ideas, institutions, or societies over time, students acquire knowledge of geographical and temporal differences in human life and awareness of conflicting interpretations of events.


The historical perspectives program includes five courses that constitute a coherent concentration focused upon an era, theme, or region of the world. At least two, but no more than three of the five, shall be history courses. At least one course must be from the student’s major. At least one course must be at Level III. Recently completed concentrations have focused on such topics as Reformation Europe, German and French national identities, and African-American studies.

To propose a concentration in historical perspectives, students prepare a rationale and obtain approval of their selection of five courses from a faculty committee of three, one of whom must be a member of the History Department. The history member shall chair the concentration. Proposals should be made in a timely fashion and before all of the course work has been completed. Rationales should address the internal coherence of the proposed concentration, explaining how each course contributes to the integrative learning experience. Students may initiate the approval process by contacting the History Department chair or any member of the History Department.