At Pitzer, history invites students to understand the contours of their world—its political boundaries, its economic systems, its social structures and its cultural practices—as historical products.  It pushes them to question assumptions and to approach the present through the prism of a rich and variegated past. It uses investigation and interpretation, both to explore the unfamiliar and to reconsider what we think we already know. Thus, courses in history encourage students to analyze documents critically, to evaluate historical arguments thoughtfully and to examine theories of history and culture. Far from being a simple chronicle of facts, history demands that students consider how the past is used and remembered.

Pitzer Advisers: C. Johnson, H. O’Rourke, A. Wakefield, U. Willoughby.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the History major, should be able to:

  1. Identify contingency, particularly through comparisons across space and time; distinguish (for various timescales) phenomena that are relatively invariant from those that are not.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of chronology (what happened when, and how earlier events and ideas influence later events) and the degree of precision needed in giving time locations (e.g., days, months, years, decades, and so on); apply chronological thinking to subject matter in other disciplines.
  3. Identify and critique the deployment of historical narratives and memory in the public sphere.
  4. Distinguish between using a source as a primary source and as a secondary source in reading and fashioning historical arguments.
  5. Understand how choice of sources shapes historical narrative and analysis.
  6. Identify different historiographical approaches when reading works of historical scholarship.
  7. Identify the provenance of social scientific arguments made in the historical literature.
  8. Demonstrate a capacity to distinguish and follow multiple points of view in historical scholarship, as when an author summarizes views she or he is criticizing and/or building on.
  9. Effectively use JSTOR, major databases, and journals in the humanities and the human sciences to gather appropriate evidence for research projects.
  10. Properly and thoroughly document primary and secondary sources in writing both historical narratives and arguments, using a format of The Chicago Manual of Style.
  11. Write a short, coherent historical essay that expresses an original point of view, articulates a clear argument, employs evidence, and identifies and critiques arguments in secondary historical texts.
  12. Communicate confidently and articulately during a class presentation.