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Social Science

The Social Sciences Department offers a wide range of courses, encompassing the social, political, economic, cultural, and intellectual tradition of humankind. The department seeks to inspire students to think critically and creatively by asking historical questions about themselves, their communities, other cultures and society as a whole. Students are encouraged to participate in their own society, to apply historical knowledge to the situations they encounter, and to value the particular privileges and responsibilities inherent in their own lives. Armed with these skills, students are able to view their world in complex ways, not to be swayed easily by simple answers, to critically evaluate information provided by the media, government, or special interest groups. Through a solid background in history, these students become citizens who will think carefully, seek to better their understanding of the world, and have the confidence to act upon their convictions.
At all levels, the department provides students with the tools to think rigorously, to research, and thereby articulate independent ideas about historical events. Throughout courses, close critical reading is emphasized using textbooks, primary sources and literature. Activities and assignments incorporate vocabulary building and encourage students to engage with historical and geographic themes at increasingly complex levels. Similarly, writing instruction in the history department builds from one year to the next to help students develop their expository and analytical writing.