College-level history is not the memorization of dry facts and dates. It is much more than chronology — putting past events in chronological order to tell a story. Rather, it is a creative process that involves the critical interpretation of the past to answer important questions that deepen our understanding of the past and inform our activities in the present. Questions you might encounter in the classroom include: Why did the North win the U.S. Civil War? How have women contributed to political and cultural life in Japan? How do ordinary people become complicit in genocide? At JCU, history involves discovering, researching, and learning more about your passion, but it also means discovering new interests and refining skills that will enable you to excel in any path you take after graduation.
Besides the specific learning outcomes listed below, JCU History Majors will acquire an appreciation for the diversity of human experience. They will engage in serious reflection on questions of social justice and cultivate a competence in a particular area of study. Finally, they will develop an appreciation for the interdisciplinary nature of historical research and writing.
The Department of History has established the following learning goals for history majors. History Majors will:
- Think critically by a) assessing the strengths and weaknesses of historical arguments; b) critically interrogating primary and secondary sources; c) employing these sources properly in fashioning their own historical arguments;
- Become competent researchers who can discover pertinent primary and secondary sources;
- Become effective writers who can clearly and elegantly express a complex, thesis-driven historical argument;
- Develop skills in public speaking and oral presentation.