The study of history offers students an opportunity to investigate the past, gain perspective on the present, and develop their critical faculties and their imaginations. History provides an integrating principle for the entire learning process, and students gain a sense of human development and interrelatedness and an understanding of social processes. History demands a confrontation with the mythologies and achievements of our own society and with the reality of "otherness," both at home and in the larger world.
Classes are small--usually twenty-five to thirty students. Junior seminars (twelve students per section) provide intense training in research and writing. In addition to its strength in research, some of the University's most gifted teachers are in this department, receiving the University's top teaching awards. The department's courses include rich offerings in ethnic and women's studies and in the history and culture of the American Southwest.