The Study of History at Centre
The History Program
Everything has a past, which is why history majors are never bored—or boring. History majors put facts together with a healthy dose of imagination as they seek to enter into the lives of people in the past—to go beneath the surface of historical events to understand why people behaved and events fell as they did. Their studies require open minds, rational thinking, and insatiable curiosity. Every class is at once an exercise in sympathetic understanding and dispassionate analysis. Centre College history majors know that their studies prepare them for success in any field, not just by giving them enough cultural literacy to make them great contestants on Jeopardy, but by teaching them to be articulate speakers, sharp writers, and critical analysts of any situation.
History is so popular at Centre even non-majors can’t keep themselves away. Except for seminars reserved for majors, all history courses are open to the student body at large. Even advanced courses host a large number of students who are there just because they like to talk about history. Bringing together students from a variety of academic majors, discussions in these classes never lack a diversity of viewpoints.
History majors lay the foundation for their work by taking world and American history survey courses as freshmen and sophomores. Upper-level studies include at least one advanced course each in American, European, and non-Western (East Asian, African, Middle Eastern, Russian, or Soviet) history plus one other advanced course of your own choice. Many majors take as much history as their four years allow, while others take the opportunity to add a second major.
Upperclass students often complete an independent study under the guidance of a professor. All majors also take the junior seminar, which allows them to write a major research paper on a topic of their choice, while learning historiography (the history of history) and professional historians’ tricks of the trade. The seminar, which can cover ground from post-modern historical theory to game show take-offs (i.e. “Who Wants to be a Social Historian?”) is often described by students as a “bonding experience."