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.

John Grabowski

John Grabowski featured in local News 5 special on the civil rights movement in Cleveland

John Grabowski discussed the history of the Sidaway Bridge, a structure that become a de facto symbol of racism in Cleveland, located on what is now the Kinsman neighborhood on the north side from the North Broadway-Slavic Village neighborhood to the south of the bridge. Read more here.

John Broich on Spanish Civil War veterans who continued combat in World War II

John Broich, associate professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, penned a piece about a group of Spanish Civil War veterans who continued combat into World War II. The group hoped to bring representative freedoms to their country, but they found democracy was abandoned following the...

A Conversation on Race, Slavery and Freedom with Noel Voltz

Noel Voltz is an assistant professor of African American History and a scholar of African American and African Diasporic History. Her particular research interests focus on women of color in slavery and freedom in the United States and the Atlantic World. Her talk focuses on the meaning of Juneteenth...

Einav Rabinovitch-Fox

Einav Rabinovitch-Fox featured in The Wall Street Journal

Einav Rabinonvitch-Fox spoke to the Wall Street Journal about historical precedents in the use of clothing components to create a wide berth around wearers—helping to create social distance and therefore stave off the spread of communicable diseases like smallpox. Read "Need Help Social Distancing? Try These Giant Summer Dresses"...

Peter Shulman

Peter Shulman featured in Gizmodo experts and answers series

Peter Shulman recently participated in "Giz Asks," a Gizmodo series that asks questions about everything and gets answers from a variety of experts. Weighing in on the question, "What Technology Has Accidentally Killed the Most People?" Professor Shulman proposed that the technology that led to the greatest number of...

photo of Gillian Weiss

Gillian Weiss co-writes Great Plague piece for Platform

Gillian Weiss, associate professor in the Department of History, co-wrote a piece with Meredith Martin of New York University examining artwork during the Great Plague. The piece, titled “The Art of Plague and Panic: Marseille, 1720” and published in Platform, outlines the relationship between artwork and the plague’s history,...

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