History

History, as a discipline at Northwestern, aims to assist you in the development of an informed perspective on the human past. Such a perspective is integral to a Christian liberal arts education. Lacking a sense of history, a person skims through life on the thin surface of the present. With the study of history, however, one can begin to comprehend the deep currents of culture which shape our lives and those of others today. With this comprehension, one is well poised not only to reflect on the past, but also to apply insights gained thereby to resolving the problems of the present and future. History is therefore a discipline which looks backward in order to move forward; it is, in the words of one distinguished historian, “the search for a usable past.”

At Northwestern, history is taught consciously from a Christian perspective. Recognizing that there is no such thing as history written or studied from a “neutral” point of view, the department attempts to study history in the light of the Christian faith while appreciating and drawing on the aid of history written out of other commitments.

Students naturally are concerned about vocational opportunities beyond graduation. After graduation, you’ll have a wide variety of options open to you because the study of history provides both basic training in disciplined thought and expression as well as a rich framework of knowledge within which to deal with contemporary challenges. Those who concentrate on the study of history therefore may pursue careers in education at every level. Others may go on to full-time historical research or archive management (whether in the business sector or in public institutions). Still others will find the study of history to provide a desirable foundation for graduate studies in law, pastoral ministry, and business, as well as for careers in political, civil, and diplomatic service.

Northwestern College believes, however, that the serious study of history should not be confined to those who major in the field and so introduces it to all students. The history department agrees with this emphasis, and goes beyond it to welcome all students, regardless of major, to extend their understanding of history through further courses taken as electives.

History department homepage

Major requirements

HIS 150 - Introduction to Historical Inquiry
An introduction to the principles and techniques involved in the study of history. This course will include both reflection and practice, consideration of ideas and actual application, through exercises drawing on primary and secondary materials.Prerequisite: HIS101.(2 credits)
HIS 206 - History of the United States
(4 credits)(American history) The History of the United States introduces students to the broad contours of American civilization, from native societies and colonial founding to the present and in the context of global events. The course focuses on political, social, economic, religious, and cultural continuity and change in U.S. history. Prerequisite: Historical Perspectives course or permission of instructor.
HIS 207 - Europe and the Modern World
No course description available.
HIS 210 - Introduction to Public History
(2 credits)(American history) This course is designed to introduce students to the theory, methods, and practice of history outside the classroom. Students will explore the ways historians research, preserve, and present historical topics to public audiences through museums, archives, interpreters, documentaries, and through electronic media.Prerequisite: HIS150 or permission of instructor.
HIS 435 - Philosophy of History and Historiography
A study of problems relevant to history as a scientific and humanistic discipline. Among the questions considered are the following: What sorts of meaning have philosophers of history ascribed to the overall process of history? What approaches have historians taken to questions of objectivity, causation, and moral values in the study of history? How does philosophy of history relate to the Christian faith?Prerequisites: HIS101 and 102, or a philosophy general education course 100-level.(4 credits)
HIS 436 - The Research Seminar
(2 credits)(American or European/world history) The Research Seminar permits students to develop, research, write and defend a major essay of original historical research on a topic of their choice. This course is the culmination of their major and builds on training and writing completed in the earlier history courses. They will work closely with one member of the history department, but the others will contribute to their work by reading and commenting on drafts. The student will defend and discuss their thesis in a public setting.Prerequisite: HIS435.
History Electives: 8 credits
Choose one course: 4
HIS 320 - Topics in European/World History
No course description available.
HIS 326 - Modern Europe
No course description available.
HIS 327 - Nazi Germany and the Shoah
No course description available.
HIS 328 - History of Medieval Europe
No course description available.
Choose one sequence:
HIS 265 - Colloquium in American History
(4 credits)(American History) This course allows students to investigate broadly a period of history or a historical issue or problem in American history. Students will develop skills necessary to recognize and evaluate the arguments contemporary historians deploy when discussing the topic of the colloquium and to read critically the primary sources related to the topic of the colloquium. Prerequisites: Historical Perspectives course or permission of instructor. Note: May be taken more than once provided a different topic is studied.
HIS 375 - Seminar in European/World History
(4 credits)(European/world history) Building on the skills studentsdeveloped in the Colloquium in European / World history, the Seminar inEuropean/World history invites students to do the work of a historian.Seminars focus more deeply on some period or issue or question, andstudents will write a significant research paper related to the seminartopic that demonstrates advanced familiarity with the historiography andadvanced skills at analyzing and using primary sources.Prerequisite: HIS 207 or permission of instructor.
OR
HIS 275 - Colloquium in European/World History
(4 credits)(European/world history) This course allows students toinvestigate broadly a period of history or a historical issue or problemin European or world history. Students will develop skills necessary torecognize and evaluate the arguments contemporary historians deploy whendiscussing the topic of the colloquium and to read critically the primarysources related to the topic of the colloquium.Note: May be taken more than once provided a different topic is studied.Prerequisite: Historical Perspectives course or permission of instructor.
HIS 365 - Seminar in American History
(4 credits)(American history) Building on the skills studentsdeveloped in the Colloquium in American history, the Seminar in Americanhistory invites students to do the work of a historian. Seminars focusmore deeply on some period or issue or question, and students will writea significant research paper related to the seminar topic thatdemonstrates advanced familiarity with the historiography and advancedskills at analyzing and using primary sources.Note: This course may be taken more than once provided a different topicis studied.Prerequisite: HIS206 or permission of instructor.

Total credits required: 34

Notes:

History majors are required to take at least 12 credits of 300-level (or above) history courses.

For the history teaching major, students must take 16 credits of American history and 16 credits of European/World history. Students majoring in history education must also complete the requirements of the secondary education program (see education department listing for requirements).

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