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.

Jonathan Sadowsky’s latest publication featured on New Books Network “Book of the Day” podcast

Listen to Jonathan Sadowsky discuss his book, The Empire of Depression: A New History, on the New Books Network Podcast. When is sorrow sickness? That is the question that this book asks, exploring how our understandings of sadness, melancholy, depression, mania and anxiety have changed over time, and how societies have...

Einav Rabinovitch-Fox

Einav Rabinovitch-Fox on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s fashion style for Business Insider

Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, a visiting assistant professor of history, contributed her expertise in a story about how Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has used her fashion style to amplify her political views and empower the next generation of leaders. "The cape jacket for the State of the Union address was sort...

Jonathan Sadowsky on new book “The Empire of Depression: A New History”

Jonathan Sadowsky, Theodore J. Castele Professor in the Department of History at the College of Arts and Sciences, discussed his new book, The Empire of Depression: A New History, which explores how different societies throughout history have interpreted what we refer to now as "depression" and what can be...

Watch Martha S. Jones lecture: “Vanguard: African American Women and the Road from Suffrage to Voting Rights”

Vanguard: African American Women and the Road from Suffrage to Voting Rights by Martha S. Jones, PhD, Johns Hopkins University October 22, 2020 Presented as the Carl W. Ubbelohde Lecture in partnership with the CWRU History Associates and the Department of History https://youtu.be/5oOw4uHhklY

Gillian Weiss on President Trump, COVID-19, and Louis XIV

CWRU historian Gillian Weiss, NYU art historian Meredith Martin, and graphic designer Bonnie Siegler have published "Trump: Superhero or Superspreader?" for History News Network. The authors compare the similar practices of "shameless self-promotion" shared by the President and the French King Louis XIV, and offer a satirical presidential medal...

Peter Shulman

Peter Shulman featured in The New York Times

Peter Shulman, associate professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences and the author of Coal and Empire, discussed how President Donald Trump was focused as much on coal as a convenient symbol as he was the fate of the industry. Read the full article here.

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