History (HS)

Professors: M. P. Berg (Chair), A. Kugler, P. V. Murphy, J. H. Krukones (Associate Academic Vice President), D. Kilbride, R. Hessinger, M. Marsilli; Associate Professors: R. W. Purdy, J. M. McAndrew; Assistant Professor: M. Gallo

College-level history is not the memorization of dry facts and dates. It is much more than chronology—putting past events in chronological order to tell a story. Rather, it is a creative process that involves the critical interpretation of the past to answer important questions that deepen our understanding of the past and inform our activities in the present. Questions you might encounter in the classroom include: Why did the North win the U.S. Civil War? How have women contributed to political and cultural life in Japan? How do ordinary people become complicit in genocide? How have colonialism and imperialism shaped modern Latin America? At JCU, history involves discovering, researching, and learning more about your passion, but it also means discovering new interests and refining skills that will enable you to excel in any path you take after graduation.

Besides the specific learning outcomes listed below, JCU history majors will acquire an appreciation for the diversity of human experience. They will engage in serious reflection on questions of social justice and cultivate a competence in a particular area of study. Finally, they will develop an appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of historical research and writing.

Through its Core curriculum course offerings, its major program, and other activities, the History Department fosters the skills, knowledge, and habits of mind that enable students to achieve success at John Carroll and in their later lives and careers. Degree requirements for the History major can be found here, while requirements for the History minor can be found here.

Program Learning Goals in History

Students will:

  1. Think critically:
    1. assess the strengths and weaknesses of historical arguments.
    2. critically interrogate primary and secondary sources.
    3. employ these sources properly in fashioning their own historical arguments.
  2. Research: become competent researchers who can discover pertinent primary and secondary sources.
  3. Write: become effective writers who can clearly and elegantly express a complex, thesis-driven historical argument.
  4. Speak: develop skills in public speaking and oral presentation.

Any single course within the program may emphasize one or more of these goals. Students should start with one or more 200-level courses, which introduce students to the study of significant historical topics or themes through the use and interpretation of primary-source materials and historical arguments. Students should then proceed to advanced courses at the 300 or 400 level. Majors should take HS 300 in the sophomore year, in preparation for HS 490 or 491 in the senior year. A grade of at least “C” must be earned in HS 300 before a student may enroll in HS 490 or 491.

In consultation with their advisor, students majoring in history develop a thematic, regional, or chronologically-based concentration suiting their interests within the framework of a balanced program. Majors are urged to seek experiential learning opportunities that may involve internships through the department at a local historical society or course- or service-related travel components. Pertinent courses from other departments may be included in the major program with the written approval of the student’s major advisor. Foreign language study beyond University Core requirements and/or statistics are recommended for students who plan to do graduate work in history.

Students who combine a history major with a second major or a minor or concentration complementing their interest—and with an experiential learning component or internship—put themselves in excellent positions to enter careers in law, business, secondary education, social service professions, nonprofit organizations, or graduate study in history. The department participates in the following interdisciplinary programs: Catholic Studies; East Asian Studies; Peace, Justice, and Human Rights; and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.

The History Department participates in the College of Arts and Sciences Professional Development Program.