History

Major Minor

History Department Website

Why Study History at K?

Everything and everyone has a history. By learning how to critically examine the past, you will be able to trace personal, societal, and national development in order to shape the future. 

Telling the stories of the past, you can give voice to people and experiences who may not have had the agency to do so themselves. However, studying history at K is more than just understanding what happened in the past; you will learn how to connect modern problems, situations, and institutions to the historical contexts in which they originated. By understanding the successes and failures of the past, you will be equipped to analyze and understand the present. 

You will gain these skills by synthesizing and evaluating various sources and viewpoints in classes like Unsettling Colonial America; Women in Classical Antiquity; History of Science, Magic, and Belief; and Occupiers/Occupied in Post-World War II East Asia. In these courses, you will explore the diversity and similarity of the human experience across time and place by critically examining evidence and theories. 

As a history alum, you will enter the world as a more informed global citizen. The skills and tools you will develop during your four years as a history student will prepare you to enter a variety of professions or continue your studies in graduate school. Past students have led successful careers in history, law, policy, foreign relations, and non-profit work. 

What can you do with a history degree?

Below are some of the careers, employers, and graduate schools our history alumni have worked for.

Careers

  • Attorney/Law Clerk
  • Archivist
  • Professor/Teacher
  • Curator
  • Grant Specialist

Employers

  • The Obama Foundation
  • Library of Congress
  • U.S. District Court
  • AmeriCorps
  • American Public Health Association

Graduate Schools

  • University of Michigan
  • Michigan State University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • New York University
  • University of Rochester

Program Spotlights

Take a Deep Dive into History at the Edward Moritz Lecture 

Named after a late history professor who taught at the College from 1955 to 1988, the Edward Moritz Lecture is a celebration of excellence in teaching and research in history. The lecture provides you the opportunity to learn about aspects of history from the field’s leading researchers, who are invited to campus to share their scholarship. In 2020, Dr. Lewis Siegelbaum from Michigan State University spoke about national identity formation and othering in his presentation “Bumping Up Against Ukraine as a Historian of Russia.” 

Showcase your knowledge with your Senior Integrated Project (SIP) 

Whether you completed your Senior Integrated Project (SIP) within the History Department or not, we are proud of our seniors and want to showcase all you have learned. In that spirit, the annual History SIP Colloquium is an opportunity for all our majors to revel in their accomplishments and present their final projects in front of their classmates, professors and families. For example, Laurel Thompson ’14 conducted primary source research at the National Archives for her SIP, “Common Ground, Cooperation, and Controversy: The Partnership of SCAP and Suspected War Criminals in Occupied Japan”. 

Meet the Current Departmental Student Advisor

Meaghan Kelly

Meaghan Kelly (She/Her/Hers)

Major: History

Minor: Theatre

Concentrations: American Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality

What is the best thing about being part of this department?

The diversity of subjects! Taking classes within an area of history that interests you makes the class even more fun.

What has been your favorite class at K? Why?

My two favorite classes have been Historical Methods (HIST 299) and The Stuff of Everyday Life (HIST 391). Both of these classes made me think deeply about the way we write about history and helped me figure out what I want to do after K.

How have you taken advantage of the open curriculum or experienced breadth in your education?

I’m a Theatre minor and have participated in a lot of shows during my time here at K! I’ve really loved working as a Dramaturg, the show’s historian or researcher. It has taught me how to apply what I’ve learned in my history courses in a very different way.

What experiential education opportunities have you participated in?

I work in the Rare Book Room in the library, which has allowed me to get hands on experience assisting with the curation of exhibits!

What is your Senior Integrated Project (SIP)?

I’m looking at three women from the early 19th century and examining how they empowered themselves through physical spaces and material culture objects.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?

I’m hoping to go to grad school to study material culture, and then work in museums!

History Department News