Historical Context

Hindsight is 20/20. You can easily see the mistakes individuals in the past made. However, an understanding of the political, social, cultural, and intellectual milieu of the time will help you to move from judging to understanding. Without digging deep into the back story, facts and figures have little meaning and can be misused and misrepresented.

When you look at the ideas, values, traditions, belief systems, and convictions about race, gender, and class, you can develop a more sophisticated appreciation of past actions. You can interpret texts, including letters, speeches, books, films, articles, and advertisements, to better understand their origin and significance. The ability to analyze context is a skill that transfers over to a variety of disciplines and careers.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  • develop a framework of historical knowledge with breadth of time and place and depth of detail.
  • describe past events from multiple perspectives. 
  • master chronology in order to assess how the study of the past helps one to make sense of the present.