Studying History offers you access, skills, and opportunity. Studying History provides access to the whole world—not just to the past, but to the present that grew out of the past. Studying History teaches you vital, widely applicable skills—research, analysis, writing, and oral communication. Studying History will help you build a career—anything from business to government to education to the law, and beyond. The following links give various perspectives on the intellectual importance of history. For more on the various career options open to history majors, please see the linked essays on the Careers page.
The following selections are good starting points for exploring in more detail why a major in History provides the heart of a liberal arts education.
A dozen leading historians try to answer the question, “Why Become a Historian?”
Gerald W. Schlabach, a professor of theology, lists the components that make up “A Sense of History.”
Katharine Brooks, Executive Director of WFU’s Office of Personal and Career Development, considers the lasting value of the history major in ”Why Major in History?”
For theoretical reflections on the significance and practice of history as a discipline, peruse the following selections:
Lord Acton, Inaugural Lecture on the Study of History (1906)
Roland Barthes, The Discourse of History (1981)
Natalie Davis, Any Resemblance to Persons Living or Dead (1987)
Louis 0. Mink, Modes of Comprehension and the Unity of Knowledge (1987)