Historical Contexts

History defines our past as much as our present and our future.

3 credit hours | As students study actors, events, and cultural artifacts from a defined historical period and geographical area, they learn from primary and secondary historical sources.


classroom and students

The Value of Historical Thinking

Historical thinking is an acquired form of analytical reasoning in which students evaluate data from the past to recognize patterns of action and consequence. Students explore sources and arguments, appreciating the diverse viewpoints enabled by multiple interpretations.

Student Learning Outcome

Students will demonstrate an ability to engage in historical thinking.

Requirement Details

Courses may be found in the departments of History, Anthropology, Art History, Film and Media Arts, English, and World Languages, among others.

  • ARHS 1359 – Impressionism
  • FILM 2351 – International Film History
  • HIST 2315 – Modern China
  • HIST 2337 – US Sports History
  • HIST 3396 – Coexistence and Conflict in the Middle East
  • PLSC 3321 – Congress and the Legislative Process
Course Search

Students will:

  1. Describe main actors, primary sources, and/or events in a defined historical period.
  2. Explain patterns of historical continuity and/or change within a defined historical period.
  3. Situate historical objects, ideas, attitudes, actions, and/or experiences within a defined historical period.

Courses in this category: 

  1. Focus on a defined historical period.
  2. Contextualize the material studied within its social, political, and/or cultural contexts.
  3. Utilize both primary and secondary historical sources.
  4. Expose students to the idea that historical thinking comprises analysis grounded in historical evidence.
  5. Expose students to the idea that historical interpretations are contingent and subject to change as new information becomes available or as perspectives evolve.
  6. Include an assessment assignment that requires students to demonstrate each of the skills in the Historical Contexts Assessment Rubric. This assessment assignment should be one of the following: an objective exam, an essay question on an exam, an essay, or a research paper.