Skip to main content

History

Department Overview

The courses and seminars offered by the History Department attempt to give students a sense of the past; an acquaintance with the social, cultural, and institutional developments that have produced the world of today; and an understanding of the nature of history as a discipline.

The discipline of history is a method of analysis that focuses on the contexts in which people have lived and worked. Our courses and seminars emphasize less the accumulation of data than the investigation, from various viewpoints, of those ideas and institutions--political, religious, social, economic, and cultural--by which people have endeavored to order their world. The History Department's curriculum introduces students to historical methodology and the fundamentals of historical research and writing.

With strong analytical, writing, and research skills, history majors are prepared for a wide range of occupations and professions. Swarthmore College history majors can be found pursuing a broad range of career paths, ranging from government service to the world of medicine, from elementary and high schools to trade unions and public interest foundations, from journalism and publishing to consulting, and from the private to the public sector. Many find that studying history is excellent preparation for law school and business. And others have gone onto graduate school in history and now teach at universities and colleges in the United States and overseas.

Fall 2021 Courses

Three immigrant women in indigenous clothes, modern day.

HIST 065. Cities of (Im)migrants: Buenos Aires, Lima, Philadelphia, and New York is a course about how migrants adjust in four American cities: Buenos Aires, Lima, New York, and Philadelphia.

A smoking prevention poster from Mexico, where cigarettes stand in for candles in a scene with a casket.

HIST 067T. Digging Through the Big U.S. Tobacco Archives: Public Health, Corporate Deception, and Cigarette Smoking in Modern Latin America aims to research American tobacco corporations’ efforts to expand cigarette consumption and confront the recent medicalization of the cigarette smoking habit worldwide.

Political cartoon depicting Napoleon hanging onto a two-headed eagle with a broken sword falling beneath him over his empire.

HIST 003A. Modern Europe, 1789 to 1918: Revolutionaries, Citizens, and Subjects in Europe's Long 19th Century surveys European history from the French Revolution to the aftermath of World War I, exploring topics such as empire, nationalism, revolution, and industrialization.

An immigrant family just arrives with their bags. Black & white photo.

HIST 065. Cities of (Im)migrants: Buenos Aires, Lima, Philadelphia, and New York is a course about how migrants adjust in four American cities: Buenos Aires, Lima, New York, and Philadelphia.

Political cartoon of an eagle with its feet planted in the US and its wings outstretching the globe, captioned "Ten thousand miles from tip to tip.—Philadelphia Press"

HIST 005B. Modern American History is an introductory survey of U.S. society, culture, and politics from Reconstruction to the present. 

Air Algérie tourism poster promoting travel to Algeria from France.

HIST 031. France in Algeria, France and Algerians, 1830-present: Examining the complex relationship between France and Algeria, this course is a deep dive into empire, with a focus on one of the most consequential settler colonies of the modern era, the war that ultimately liberated Algeria from French rule, and the ongoing contact between the two states and their peoples.

Smoking prevention from the US, but in Spanish, where a rooster is pictured smoking but hunched over and seemingly unhealthy.

HIST 067T. Digging Through the Big U.S. Tobacco Archives: Public Health, Corporate Deception, and Cigarette Smoking in Modern Latin America aims to research American tobacco corporations’ efforts to expand cigarette consumption and confront the recent medicalization of the cigarette smoking habit worldwide.

Immigrants disembark from a boat.

HIST 065. Cities of (Im)migrants: Buenos Aires, Lima, Philadelphia, and New York is a course about how migrants adjust in four American cities: Buenos Aires, Lima, New York, and Philadelphia.

An image of a commune. Flags are tattered but flown in the dilapidated streets flanked by buildings in a smoky scene.

HIST 003A. Modern Europe, 1789 to 1918: Revolutionaries, Citizens, and Subjects in Europe's Long 19th Century surveys European history from the French Revolution to the aftermath of World War I, exploring topics such as empire, nationalism, revolution, and industrialization.

A Mexican grocery in New York City.

HIST 065. Cities of (Im)migrants: Buenos Aires, Lima, Philadelphia, and New York is a course about how migrants adjust in four American cities: Buenos Aires, Lima, New York, and Philadelphia.

MLK marching peacefully with other leaders, with a placard behind them reading, "If we kill men with whom shall we live" in both English and Vietnamese.

HIST 005B Modern American History is an introductory survey of U.S. society, culture, and politics from Reconstruction to the present. 

A group of people wait in a terminal.

HIST 065. Cities of (Im)migrants: Buenos Aires, Lima, Philadelphia, and New York is a course about how migrants adjust in four American cities: Buenos Aires, Lima, New York, and Philadelphia.

A family takes a photo under an Algerian flag.

HIST 031. France in Algeria, France and Algerians, 1830-present: Examining the complex relationship between France and Algeria, this course is a deep dive into empire, with a focus on one of the most consequential settler colonies of the modern era, the war that ultimately liberated Algeria from French rule, and the ongoing contact between the two states and their peoples.

HIST 065. Cities of (Im)migrants: Buenos Aires, Lima, Philadelphia, and New York is a course about how migrants adjust in four American cities: Buenos Aires, Lima, New York, and Philadelphia.

Photo /
1 of 13
More
  • Loading events...

Indian Country: A History of Land 1790-Present

The student-run course organized by Daniel Orr '16 and overseen by Professor Bruce Dorsey, Indigenous Communities and the Lands They Belong To (HIST099SR) created a website documenting the allotment of tribal lands in the United States with help from Nabil Kayshap in the library. The website is now housed in Swarthmore's digital scholarship collection online.

View the website