The Study of History is the exploration of the thoughts, aspirations and achievements of every human life. As historians, our role is to sift the records of accumulated years through research. As the record of the past grows, we make sense of it, each of us in our own way, guided as we are by what Carl Becker referred to as our own unique “culture baggage.” As the search progresses, we report our findings in a clear and useful way, sharing the experience of previous generations. We pursue this goal, not only in the realm of academia, but in the wider world as well. The skills to find and make sense of information, and then to communicate the results efficiently and to effect, are valuable in any field of endeavor and critical to citizens of the new global century.
At New England College, students of history apprentice as researchers, analysts, and communicators. They also have the opportunity to experience history as it is being made. After all, the quadrennial presidential campaign season begins in New Hampshire and reminds us that democracy in America was born in the towns and woods of New England. Internships in historical societies, living history sites and political campaigns are just a few of the ways in which our students gain experience and confidence.
Historical inquiry begins by prescribing parameters. Once a time period is identified, the apprentice historian establishes a sense of place within those temporal bounds. Intrinsic to the events that result from human action is the relationship such activity has with the landscape. From the daily activity of every community to the extraordinary impact of war, our history is influenced by the natural environment to the same degree that our actions have the capacity to alter the course of nature. The study of human history is one thread in the great tapestry of natural history.
Each course in the history curriculum embraces this awareness of time and place. The student of history has the added joy of exploring the cumulative thoughts and actions of the millions of men and women of all races, creeds and nationalities which, taken together, constitute the story of human interaction through the centuries. A major in history connects a student’s life today directly and intimately with those who have lived before.
Students majoring in History at New England College will:
- acquire a cultural vocabulary and become familiar with terminology peculiar to the historical profession;
- identify and locate sources of data pertaining to a particular inquiry;
- gain competence in the critical analysis of source materials;
- develop competence in writing for the profession;
- construct and defend a substantive argument;
- accumulate breadth and depth of content knowledge in the area of concentration;
- become aware of the ongoing controversies in the profession.
- experience the historian’s art through multiple types of civic engagement and/or internships;
Experiential Learning in History
Students in History embark on their experiential journey early on, finding the content classes embedded with field trips, hands‐on projects (siege weaponry to colonial agriculture) and the required internship at historic sites, museums archives and other locations. The culmination of the apprentice historian’s career at New England College is the Senior Thesis. The thesis project is an independent, mentored research project drawing from primary and secondary sources and producing a piece of original scholarship carefully crafted and situated within the public discourse relevant to the thesis. In some cases, the thesis may be a significant project developed in the sphere of public history - a curated exhibit for instance or a project produced in another medium than writing. Regardless of the medium, completion sets the student apart, and demonstrates an achievement as a practitioner of the scholarly art, a contributor to our knowledge of the past.
All undergraduate courses are 4 credits unless otherwise noted.