Affiliation: School of Social & Cultural Studies
The discipline of History as it is practiced today, with its emphasis on meticulous research and dispassionate interpretation of the events of the past, has claimed a central role in the modern liberal arts curriculum since the Mid-nineteenth Century. The working historian draws continuously upon the content and methodologies of other disciplines, while contributing critical dimensions of depth and cosmopolitanism to other scholars’ understandings of their own disciplines by recalling and illuminating the political, economic, and social contexts in which those disciplines and their subjects of study evolved.
At the undergraduate level, History serves much the same function. Historians do not predict the future, but they do help to explicate the present by focusing on the choices that individuals and societies have made as they faced the exigencies of the past; the “winning” choices that carried our human universe to where it is today as well as the “losing” choices – the roads not taken. The undergraduate should carry a familiarity with the history of his/her own and other societies to his/her study of the arts and sciences and to his/her role as a responsible, knowledgeable, active citizen of the cosmopolis.
Besides fostering tolerance, informed civic responsibility, and an attitude of celebration toward the social and aesthetic richness of cultural pluralism, the study of History should aid the undergraduate in developing skills of meticulous research, critical thinking, and lucid, graceful, effective expository writing.
The undergraduate who majors in History at Truman must gain familiarity with the history of the United States, Europe, and the world community. All majors will fulfill four core requirements: a foundational two-semester taken during the first year of study (World History I & II) that ties development of grammatical skills and use of primary source material to knowledge and themes essential to understanding the global community: a two-semester sequence taken in the second and third semester of study (U.S. History and Historiography I & II that ties continued development of grammatical skills and the use of primary source material, along with exploration of historical interpretation, to the knowledge and theses essential to understanding the American society; a research-oriented course and the capstone Senior Seminar; and seven upper-level electives in History selected by the individual student in consultation with his or her assigned advisor, for a total of thirty-nine credit hours of study.
World History I & II ties development of grammatical skills and use of primary sources material to knowledge and themes essential to understanding the global community.
U.S. History and Historiography I & II ties continued development of grammatical skills and the use of primary source material along with exploration of historical interpretation to the knowledge and themes essential to understanding the American society.
The required research-oriented course, chosen from among several offered each term, is designed to provide students the opportunity to complete original historical research involving the use of primary source material as they develop advanced understanding of a given topic, period, region, or nation in a seminar format. Students will sharpen the fundamental skills of historical research to which they were introduced in the World History and U.S. History and Historiography sequences. They will select a research project, identify and locate sources, evaluate their usefulness, and turn their research findings into a written analysis, structured according to the accepted practices of the American historical profession.
Senior Seminar is a capstone experience aimed at drawing on insights from the student’s previous courses and applying those insights to the production of a polished and sophisticated independent research project and presentation.
DEPARTMENTAL HONORS IN HISTORY
Completion of History and Theory.
Overall GPA of 3.00 or higher.
A preponderance of As and no more than one C in History courses.
Applicants must submit a sample of their historical writing at least fifteen pages in length (excluding notes and bibliography) that conforms to the Chicago Manual of Style, is free of grammatical errors, includes a literature review, provides complete references for all primary and secondary sources, and is printed on a letter-quality printer. The essay must clearly demonstrate the student’s ability to write clear, coherent prose, draw conclusions based on primary sources, and perform historiographical analysis. The submission must have been completed in a history course taken at Truman under the direction of a Truman instructor, and the applicant must consult with the project supervisor and academic advisor before submitting a paper to the Honors Committee. The Honors Committee of three faculty members will consider the applicants’ submissions, and those whose academic records and papers meet the above standards will be recommended for Departmental Honors in History to the History faculty. The History faculty makes the final decision.