The History Department contributes courses to a number of interdisciplinary undergraduate programs at the University. While History provides a fascinating field of study in its own right, we strongly encourage our students to explore the possibility of pursuing a double major or a major/minor combination with one or more of these interdisciplinary fields:
Justice and Peace Studies
American Culture and Difference
Such combinations ensure a rich and meaningful educational experience that will lay the foundation for lifelong learning and intellectual growth without sacrificing the practical realities of preparing for a career in education, law, communications, business, government, or the non-profit sector.
This major seeks to give the student a basic understanding of the contemporary international system. It combines study in economics, history and political science with a concentration in one of these fields, along with the study of a foreign language beyond the College’s general education requirement. The program enables students to relate international interests to a broad range of careers including government, international business, nonprofit associations and teaching.
Students graduating with a major in international studies should have adequate preparation for their professional lives, and the capacity for intellectually stimulating lives. They will be capable of critical thought and writing in the discipline. They will have pursued opportunities for broader governmental and international experience, and should be well prepared to undertake post-baccalaureate studies.
Justice and peace studies is an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students to be responsible critics of contemporary societies and effective agents for positive social transformation. Core courses for the major and minor, and the pattern of the program in general, make use of the four stages of the Circle of Praxis:
- Experience (actual and vicarious) of poverty, injustice, violence and marginalization.
- Descriptive analysis: Empirical study of the economic, political, social, and cultural realities of society, and the historical events that produce them.
- Normative analysis: Moral judgment on existing societies; study of alternative possibilities; and analysis of the moral values at stake.
- Action possibilities: Strategies and skills for transforming society from its present condition to a better condition.
Students graduating with a major in justice and peace studies will understand how the circle of praxis works, as well as the role of each of its components (see above). They will also know how to use skills associated with each component. They will know the principles of active nonviolence, how it operates to promote social change, and several historical examples of its use. Students will also learn the techniques and uses of other methods of social change and how to judge when to use each method effectively.
The major in the social sciences is intended for the liberal arts student who wishes to become familiar with the perspective of the four disciplines traditionally defined as the social sciences – economics, history, political science, and sociology & criminal justice – and who wishes at the same time to study more intensively one of those disciplines. In requiring both introductory and advanced courses in each of the disciplines, irrespective of the area of concentration, the major provides both opportunity and challenge for the student seriously interested in understanding the order, structure and interrelationships involved in human behavior.
The Department of Catholic Studies allows students to encounter the broad and diverse expressions of Catholic culture. While grounded in Catholic philosophy and theology, the curriculum engages students with the imaginative and sacramental expressions of Catholic life in literature, the arts, social systems and personal experience. The interdisciplinary dimension gives students insight into Catholicism’s dynamic interaction with and interpenetration of cultures, traditions, and intellectual life throughout history. By examining the role it has played in various cultures, students are challenged to take seriously Catholicism’s transforming power in every aspect of intellectual, spiritual, and social life.
Students graduating with a major in Catholic studies will have a knowledge of the living Catholic tradition, and will be conversant with resources from the Catholic intellectual tradition that will permit them to explore critically the history and contemporary significance of Catholicism. They will be familiar with major Catholic figures from a variety of cultural and historical settings, and will be able to demonstrate knowledge of the complex and broad history of the Catholic intellectual tradition.
American culture and difference is an interdisciplinary minor that offers students a critical perspective on the diversity of “American culture.” Students consider ways in which music, film, advertisements, folklore, literature, television, and art shape daily life in the United States, form cultural and national identity, construct racial and ethnic identity, and create a sense of “high” and “low” culture.
Given its emphasis on the diversity and multiplicity of cultural experience and its interdisciplinary focus on the various strands that comprise the fabric of a given culture, the minor in American culture and difference is particularly suited to provide students with the critical framework necessary to be effective and ethical participants in an increasingly globalized civic and economic environment.
The minor in legal studies enables students to undertake a multidisciplinary examination of the relationship of law to culture and society. Understanding the foundations and nature of law and legal process is an integral element of a liberal arts education. Several departments within the university offer courses that examine the sociological, political, philosophical, journalistic, historical, economic and business aspects of legal behavior and legal systems.
The legal studies minor is not intended as a pre-law program, although it may prove especially attractive to students interested in careers in law, public administration or related professions. Its objective is to allow students to undertake an examination of law and legal process within a liberal arts context.