History asks fundamental questions about the nature of change over time. History is our collective memory; studying the past reveals the enormous complexity of the human experience and highlights the contingency of our contemporary world. Because no contemporary political, cultural, or economic issue can be understood outside of its historical context, History offers an ideal foundation for students interested in law, medicine, international relations, public policy, and women’s studies, as well as an intellectual complement for students pursuing science and engineering. Indeed, the history major at CWRU, as nationally, is traditionally one of the preferred preparatory paths for admission to law school. Thinking historically means learning how to frame complex problems, sift through multifaceted evidence, and develop carefully argued writing. Our students carry these skills far beyond graduation, pursuing careers in the professions, business, government, as well as advanced doctoral study.

Our department has a long and prestigious tradition that stretches back to the origins of Western Reserve University in 1826. Today, our faculty specialize in a range of thematic and regional subjects. We have a strong tradition in the study of social, cultural, legal, policy, and political history, which together constitutes a major component of our graduate program. Our other focus of graduate study—the history of science, technology, the environment, and medicine (STEM)—has its roots in Case’s pioneering graduate program in the history of technology in the late 1950s (the first of its kind in the United States), as well as its role in founding the Society for the History of Technology. Our department also maintains a strong international focus with faculty who specialize in European, Asian, African, and Latin American history.

Image of grad student Sara Gaines

History grad student Sara Gaines awarded the 2022 Inamori International Thesis Prize in Military Ethics

Congratulations to Sara Gaines for winning the 2022 Inamori International Thesis Prize in Military Ethics. She will be traveling to Budapest, Hungary to present her paper, "Artificial Intelligence as Clinician: An Argument for Ethical use of Future Technology in a Medical Setting at the Euro-ISME (International Society for Military...

Jonathan Sadowsky’s book mentioned in New York Review of Books

Jonathan Sadowsky's book, The Empire of Depression, was recently reviewed in the New York Review of Books in the essay "A Mind in Pain" by Gregory Hays. In his review, Hays wrote: "As Sadowsky shows, depression still holds many mysteries. Indeed, virtually everything we know about it is open to...

photo of John Grabowski

History’s John Grabowski discusses origins and spelling of street names in Northeast Ohio

On WKSU, John Grabowski, the Krieger Mueller Associate Professor of Applied History, weighed in on the origins—and correct spellings—of certain street names in Northeast Ohio. “I think the interesting thing about old names is not only to investigate which ones are right or wrong, but as we’ve been discussing—what...

Kenneth Ledford explains the history behind Russia-Ukraine conflict

Recently on WKYC, Kenneth Ledford, associate professor of law and associate professor and chair of the Department of History at the College of Arts and Sciences, discussed the fraught history between Russia and Ukraine. Link to the segment How we got here: The history between Russia and Ukraine

Department of History Co-Sponsored Expert Panel on Russia’s War in Ukraine After One Month

Dr. Ken Ledford was featured on an expert panel of Case Western Reserve University faculty presenting an analysis of Russia’s war in Ukraine one month after the invasion. The event took place on Thursday, March 24. Click here for more details.

Encyclopedia of Cleveland History highlights the deep connections between Ohio and the Ukrainian people.

According to the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, the first Ukrainians arrived in the Cleveland area in the mid-1880s, settling mainly on the west side in the Tremont neighborhood area. Subsequent waves of immigrants arrived between World War I and World War II and consisted of former fighters for Ukrainian...

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