Liberation from the parochialism of time, place, and circumstance is the underlying purpose of the study of history at Davidson. To this end, the Department seeks to cultivate students’ critical understanding of the past and to develop their intellectual, analytical, writing, and rhetorical abilities. We believe that the study of history enables students to acquire broadly informed perspectives and to master critical thinking and communication skills that will serve them outside the classroom and beyond their college years.
Through its curricular offerings the Department seeks to expose students to the richness, diversity, and complexities of human history during various periods and in different geographic regions, with attention to critical issues such as ethnicity, class, and gender. Regular course offerings include American, African American, British, European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, and Asian history.
The Department’s courses, some of which specifically emphasize scholarly methods, engage students in the historian’s craft by requiring them to analyze primary and secondary sources and to write extensively. The capstone experience takes place in the senior research and honors seminars, in which students write substantial research papers on original topics of their own choosing. Students also have opportunities to engage in collaborative research with members of the Department.
The study of history plays an indispensable role in a liberal arts education and prepares students for a variety of careers. In recent years, history majors have entered careers in areas such as law, medicine, business, politics and public service, the military, publishing, journalism, museum work, library science, and college and secondary education. Members of the Department are confident that the study of history is of critical importance to all students in an ever-changing and increasingly complex world.