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History courses do not have prerequisites and first year students may take any course offered this fall (except HIST 96 - 98). The following courses are especially suitable for first year students.
Through topics such as migration and borders, computers and society, and race and incarceration, HIST 2 explores the historical roots of current events in the United States to demonstrate how history shapes the fabric of our everyday lives.
HIST 3.01 examines European society, economics, politics, and culture from the 5th to the 17th century, including topics like the fall of the Roman Empire, the emergence of early nation states, the Crusades, religious transformations, and advances in science.
HIST 4.03 examines the diverse nations and peoples that make up the Middle East and North Africa. It covers topics such as the establishment of nation states, anti-colonial movements and decolonization, oil politics, and debates over gender.
HIST 5.04 provides an introduction to Korean culture and history, moving chronologically through major political, economic and social moments that inform modern Korean national identity— from foundation myths and the wars among pre-modern states to Japan's colonial rule, the Korean War, democratization, and the globalization of Korean culture.
HIST 5.05 surveys Japanese history from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, examining the building of a modern state, industrialization and its social consequences, the rise and fall of the Japanese colonial empire, and the postwar economic "miracle."
HIST 5.13 covers the multifaceted histories of Latin America and the Caribbean by focusing on different moments in the region's nation-building processes, revolutions, and capitalist consolidations from the 1791 Haitian Revolution to the present day.
HIST 8.02 introduces students to major economic developments of the last two centuries in global perspective, addressing themes such as the Industrial Revolution, the political economy of war and imperialism, the transformation of the world financial system, and the 2007/2008 crisis.
Want to learn about Kamala Harris' Tamil roots? Take Global South Asia—a course that surveys the history of India, Pakistan, and the broader region. We will discuss histories of trade, migration, technology, and the environment in the one of the world's most dynamic and populous regions.
What are college level history classes like? Why should I take history?
Dartmouth history courses emphasize the study of history as an active and ongoing process. History is not lying out there waiting to be "discovered"; to write history, historians ask new and exciting questions, bring historical sources together in new ways, and engage with and respond to each other. This process of puzzling out and making sense of peoples, times, events, and places different from our own requires creativity, determination, and ingenuity.
In order to encourage students to think historically, our courses focus on asking and answering compelling historical questions, drawing from a wide array of historical materials and historical contexts. In a history class, you will read different explanations about how and why history happened the way it did, and think carefully—orally and in writing—about whether you find these explanations convincing. You will learn how to read and assess diverse historical sources, such as memoirs, speeches, letters, and movies, and to connect them to their larger contexts. Finally, all Dartmouth history courses emphasize critical thinking and writing, encouraging students to write with clarity, conviction, and careful attention to argument and the use of evidence.
The study of history is imperative to understanding the current moment. By studying history, we grasp that contemporary events are not "natural" or "inevitable," but the product of the peoples, events, and choices of the past. Thinking about why the past developed in the ways that it did unfolds new understandings and new possibilities for our present and future.
How are history classes organized? Does a high course number mean the class is more advanced?
History classes are divided into three basic groups. HIST 1 – 8 are introductory level classes organized around a geographic area and/or a broad theme (with the exception of HIST 7, which are first year seminars). HIST 9 – 94 are upper level courses but the number does not correlate with difficulty. To give an example, HIST 90.04 is not a harder class than HIST 11, it simply has a higher number for organizational purposes. Finally, HIST 96 are advanced seminars designed for history majors. These courses do not admit first year students and can be taken only after you declare a history major or minor.
Do history classes have prerequisites?
History classes do not have prerequisites. You may take any class that is being offered this fall with the exception of HIST 96, 97, and 98. However, if you know that you want to take upper level classes in a specific geographic area or theme, we recommend that you take the introductory level class first.
I took AP history classes, does that mean that introductory classes will be too easy for me?
The study of history at the college level is very different from high school history courses, even AP level courses. Our entry level history classes seek to help students learn how to think like a historian. They emphasize critically assessing and analyzing historical documents and sources, placing those sources in conversation with different historical contexts, reading and discussing arguments made by other historians, and creating your own historical arguments based on course materials. These courses provide an excellent foundation for advanced historical work.
How does the history major work?
The history major requires students to take classes in 4 of 6 different geographical regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and the United States) and 2 different time periods (pre-modern and modern). The practice and study of history can differ dramatically depending on the time and place you are exploring, so fulfilling these requirements gives students a broad sense of both historical content and historical practice. Students get to choose the courses that they use to fulfill these requirements and may use the same class to fulfill multiple requirements. History majors are also required to take two advanced seminars, which serve as the culmination of the major. In these small, discussion-based courses, students produce a final project or paper based on original historical research. The department offers a wide array of advanced seminars so that students can choose seminars that interest them and build on their prior coursework.
If I am planning to major in history, where should I start?
Because all classes in the department, with the exception of HIST 7, fulfill at least one of the major requirements, first year students should feel free to choose their classes based on their interests. Any class you choose will count towards the major!
Do first year seminars (HIST 7) count towards the major?
First year seminars (HIST 7) do not count towards the major.
Can first year students take advanced history seminars (HIST 96)?
Advanced history seminars (HIST 96) are reserved for students who have declared a major or minor in history. Generally, students are first eligible to take these courses during sophomore summer.
Does the History Department have a Foreign Study Program (FSP)?
Yes! The History Department runs a unique and popular FSP program in London during the fall term. The program is based at University College London (UCL) and students have access to UCL's library and other facilities. History FSP students choose one course at UCL and take a second course on the History of London with the other history FSP students. For their third course credit, FSP students undertake an independent research project using the many archives and libraries available in the London area. Students develop their research topic and question in conjunction with department faculty. You can see more information about the FSP here: https://history.dartmouth.edu/foreign-study/ and watch a short video about the program here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVfdw5Muyas&feature=youtu.be
I really love history. How can I get more involved in the History Department and the study/production of history at Dartmouth?
A group of Dartmouth history majors recently launched a Dartmouth chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society. Phi Alpha Theta holds events and talks with both historians and history students. It's a great way to get more involved in the study of history at Dartmouth. You can see their website here: https://sites.dartmouth.edu/pat/.
The History Department offers a variety of opportunities for independent research, including the FSP program, the advanced seminars, independent studies, and the honors program in which students undertake a year-long senior thesis research project. Students can receive funding for these projects through the history department and/or the office of undergraduate research. The department also runs the Dartmouth Vietnam Project, which trains students in the art and method of oral history by interviewing members of the Dartmouth community about their experiences during the Vietnam War; this is one of several oral history programs on campus. Students also have opportunities to assist professors with their research, funded by the Presidential Scholars Program and the Junior Research Scholars program.
What can I do with a history degree?
Majoring in history gives you important and valuable critical thinking and writing skills and lays a strong foundation for a diverse array of career paths. Dartmouth history students go on to do just about anything you can think of – including law, journalism and media, tech, healthcare, consulting, film and television, social justice and activism, graduate study, politics, public history and museum work, and education. For more information, the American Historical Association recently released a small booklet entitled "Careers for History Majors"
Where is the history department? Who should I contact for more information?
The history department is located in Carson Hall and is conveniently connected to Baker Berry Library. The department administrator, Bruch Lehmann (firstname.lastname@example.org) is in Carson 300, directly opposite the elevator. For questions about classes and the major, you can also contact the department's Vice Chair, Prof. Jennifer Miller (Jennifer.email@example.com), whose office is Carson 410.