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Cornerstone Seminars: History (3 credits)

History (3 credits)


The primary goal of the history learning outcomes is to provide students with an ability to understand the past on its own terms and how it has shaped and continues to shape the present while exploring their own beliefs and values. Students are introduced to history as an ongoing debate, as they discover how historical controversies often reflect competing constituencies’ attempts to define the past or close off rival or opposing interpretations.  Students also explore basic research methodologies, typically through an extended research project combining primary and secondary sources.  As part of this process, students are introduced to the contingent nature of historical knowledge and learn how to read both primary and secondary sources critically and contextually. 

History Learning Outcomes

Key Strategies

  • Courses fulfilling the History Requirement will introduce students to the methodology of history research and interpretation through a variety of means, including development of a chronological understanding of history, the examination and interpretation of primary sources, the critical reading of key secondary works, and the exploration of new approaches to history.
  • Courses fulfilling the History Requirement will place an emphasis on critical analytical reading and discussion.  All sections will incorporate close reading of primary and secondary sources to gain insights on such topics as the contested nature of historical interpretation or the ethics and motivations of historical figures of the past.
  • Courses fulfilling the History Requirement will place an emphasis on critical writing requiring reflection on and analysis of sources, rather than just reporting on their contents.  Each section will assign analytical writing that includes research.   Peer review and draft analysis of written work may also form an essential component for such writing.
  • Courses fulfilling the History Requirement will help students, through opportunities for practice with feedback, to develop logical arguments and critical analysis in both written essays and class discussions.  All sections and seminars will emphasize class discussion, oral presentation and debate with the intent of developing stronger public speaking skills.

Key Outcomes:

  • Historical thinking. Begin to understand the contingent nature of historical knowledge and demonstrate a familiarity with basic problems of historical interpretation. Begin to identify how causation relates to continuity and change in global frameworks. Acquire both a sense of time and of place which implies the ability to locate people and events in history (time) and in space (place).  Develop an understanding of human diversity and how historical forces shape human communities.
  • Information literacy. Formulate historical questions and develop basic skills and knowledge to answer those questions.   Identify and use both printed and electronic research sources.   Discriminate among sources and develop protocols of utility and relevance.
  • Text and Context. Critically analyze, evaluate, and contextualize different types of primary and secondary sources and engage historical research which synthesizes/integrates those sources.  Recognize, authenticate, and interpret multiple forms of evidence (visual, oral, statistical, and artifacts).  Gain a sense of historical context so as to avoid both presentism and anachronism.
  • Argument and Expression. Develop the ability to present, orally and in writing, the results of historical research and reflection by constructing sustained historical analysis, argument, and narrative. Format research and document sources according to the Chicago Manual of Style.

Evidence of Student Learning

Students demonstrate competency in these areas through active participation in class discussion, oral presentations, examinations, and a variety of written assignments that respond to course reading, incorporate primary and secondary sources, and explore historiographical themes and concepts.

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