The Department of History offers students many and varied opportunities to deepen their historical awareness and to practice the discipline. History is consistently one of the most popular choices for majors and minors at the college, and its faculty members are recognized by Sewanee and its peer institutions for their commitment to and excellence in both teaching and research.
The department's range of introductory and advanced courses for majors and non-majors reflects the broad geographical, chronological, and methodological interests of its professors. Sewanee students may begin their introduction to the field of history by choosing either from a range of 100-level thematic introductions to the study of history or from an array of 200-level national and regional surveys. These courses are designed to teach students to think critically about historically significant events and processes and to analyze and assess primary and secondary sources. Those who choose to continue in the major will work closely with an individual faculty advisor to devise a program that best suits the student's interests and that exposes them to a broadly-conceived understanding of history. The department encourages its students to consider themselves not as narrow specialists, but as history majors who must think across conventional boundaries of time and space.
In 2011, the department implemented a new two-course Capstone Experience. Junior Tutorial provides a formal introduction to the study of history at an advanced level. The seminar explores three interrelated questions: a) What approaches or categories do historians employ to study the past? b) How do historians talk to each other? c) How do historians write history? The senior seminar, which is designated as writing-intensive, asks senior history majors to enter fully into the field of history by making a coherent, well-researched, and well-supported contribution to the field in the form of a substantial research paper.
The department has recently enhanced its major with a summer program entitled "From D-Day to Berlin: World War II Sites in England, France, and Germany," led by Professor Goldberg. An interdisciplinary team led by Professor Willis additionally projects a summer program entitled "Exploring Southern Identities," which will take students beyond the classroom to the major sites of nineteenth and twentieth century history and culture in the Deep South. Interested students, faculty, and members of the broader Sewanee community are encouraged to attend the annual Sewanee Medieval Colloquium, as well as the annual Anita S. Goodstein Endowed Lectureship in Women's History, organized and chaired by Professor Mansker.
In addition to merit awards from the university, history students are eligible for several awards the department offers to recognize scholarly excellence. The Edward B. King Prizes for Excellence in History are awarded each year to history majors who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and research. The Joseph D. Cushman Prizes are awarded annually to junior and senior history majors who exemplify the characteristics of academic achievement, high character, and a sense of responsibility.
Offices of the History faculty are located on the second and third floors of the Walsh-Ellett building.
The Department of History
735 University Ave.
Sewanee, TN 37383-1000
Professor Susan Ridyard
Office Location: Walsh-Ellett 303
Phone: (931) 598-1531