Studying History at Wellesley College

Courses in the History Department at Wellesley College cover almost every region and era of the human past. Every semester, students interested in history are invited to encounter a wide range of subjects and problems in different time periods they can explore in our courses.

History is more than just learned knowledge about the past. Historical knowledge allows one to understand societal developments and contradictions as products of longer processes with deep-rooted origins. In History courses students learn to think about politics and government, economies, war and society, cultural and intellectual life, race, class, sexuality, and gender, among other subjects, in broadly humanistic, rather than narrow technocratic ways. This allows them to develop critical thinking skills and become effective writers by crafting arguments that are based on evidence, are methodologically sound, and speak to broad audiences. As such, the study of history provides excellent preparation for a wide range of careers in many fields, such as law, business and finance, journalism, education, politics, public policy and government, grassroots organizing, and the arts.

Historians in our department study and teach a wide range of subjects, from politics to economy, religion and philosophy, gender and sexuality, race and class, popular, public, and high culture, empire and nation, war and revolution, cultural and social change and exchange, urban transformations, and science and technology, among others. What unites our work irrespective of our subjects of study is a rigorous shared methodology. This methodology entails the close analysis of primary sources in dialogue with existing scholarship, as well as the integration of findings and ideas from a variety of mediums ranging from publications in scholarly journals to academic conference papers, and from public talks and lectures to podcasts.