History, A field of study that truly puts the liberal arts into practice, history engages students to cultivate their skills in critical analysis and test generalizations about the past as well as the present.
History is a discipline that offers a unique and critical perspective on past events and their relationship to the present. It provides those who study the discipline with a way of understanding the cultural, political, economic, social and intellectual forces that have shaped the world we inhabit together. History sheds light on personal identity by connecting us to our many communities-national, cultural, intellectual-as they have been created and changed over time. While awakening us to a deeper appreciation of a shared heritage, history also opens our minds to the possibilities of other communal and cultural responses to the human condition. History is more than simply the study of the past. It achieves its fullest meaning when the knowledge gained by the student is connected with the concerns of the present and the potential for the future.
Studying history at Hartwick involves more than accumulating information about the past-students are challenged to learn to analyze that information and evaluate other historians' interpretations or accounts of the past. Students learn to formulate questions about the possible meanings of the evidence that has survived from the past. They have numerous opportunities to apply their skills as emerging historians in courses, individual research, group work, internships, and off-campus experiences, both in the U.S. and overseas. All of these experiences culminate in the Senior Thesis, a sustained research project that provides an opportunity for students to showcase their historical expertise. Through close collaboration with a faculty mentor, which begins with conversations the semester before registering for Senior Thesis, each student constructs a historical account on a topic of his or her choosing, based on independent analysis of historical evidence.
The History Department participates actively in interdisciplinary minors such as Women's and Gender Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, U.S. Ethnic Studies, Environmental Studies and Policy, and Museum Studies. Students can enhance their appreciation of history through off-campus programs in Prague, London, France, India, Ireland, and other locations world-wide and in the U.S., or with a semester abroad. Directed studies on campus allow students to explore specialized topics in close collaboration with a faculty mentor. Independent studies often take place off campus in sites that range from the Baseball Hall of Fame in nearby Cooperstown to Australia and South Africa.