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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.

Spring 2021 Courses

Photo by Dr. Allison Dorsey of Jery B. Taylor's basket weaving

History 58b: An Extended Stay in Gullah/Geechee Low Country studies the history and culture of the Gullah/Geechee people through the lens of fictive literature and memoir.  The course is eligible for Black Studies.

Photo by Professor Allison Dorsey
Cyborg

History 84: Gender, Science, and Technology will engage with feminist critiques of scientific knowledge and technologies while exploring past and present intersections between science, race, sex, and colonial/postcolonial politics. This course is eligible for Gender & Sexuality Studies.

Traveling monk

History 9a: Premodern China: Silk Roads will explore how the circulation of bodies, things, and ideas along the silk roads connected distant empires, spurred technological changes, forged new cultural practices, and contributed to the production of knowledge about self/other. This course is eligible for Asian Studies.

History 58b: An Extended Stay in Gullah/Geechee Low Country studies the history and culture of the Gullah/Geechee people through the lens of fictive literature and memoir.  The course is eligible for Black Studies.

Photo / Professor Allison Dorsey
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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