The study of history is at the core of a liberal arts education. History teaches us how to draw meaning from scattered yet still lingering traces of past peoples’ lives and environments, to apprehend change over time and to account for the variety of the human experience. To understand the present, we have to study the past because the problems, conflicts and questions that previous generations confronted are now ours; they inhabit the world we have inherited.
Why study history at Sewanee?
History involves critical thinking and increased empathy for the human condition. History cultivates an appreciation of complexity and contingency (understanding the world not just for what it became, but also for the multiple possibilities inherent in each historical setting), and the insight that can only be won by thinking over broad timescales. Students of history at Sewanee acquire a skillset of finely honed analytical and rhetorical tools by learning how to read and pose analytical and historiographical questions of diverse and wide ranging materials, both secondary and primary, and how to write argumentative histories of their own that are supported by a firm evidentiary backing.