"An unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates
History is a way by which men and women come to understand who they are as human beings. It is the mission of the History Department to impart to students a solid knowledge of the past and to develop in them the ways of thinking they will need to make sense of broad patterns of change in different civilizations and cultures.
The History Department prepares students to think critically about the world they live in and their place in it. We want them to pick up a newspaper and have some context for understanding the importance of the stories therein. We want them to make decisions in their careers and lives with an understanding of the moral and political issues that are at stake in those decisions. We believe that this is not merely a function of exercising a skill called "critical thinking," but that it comes from, and actually requires, a specific knowledge of the past that has led to the events they are reading about the moral and political quandaries they are faced with. Thus the history department considers its main duty to be to give students the 'historical literacy" they need in order to think critically about the world in which they live.