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 Flores discusses the development of Mexican identities in Chicago

John Flores, a professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, discussed his research into 3,110 naturalization records from 1900 to 1940 in Chicago—the largest “Hispanic” U.S. naturalization historical census to date. Read about his findings here.

John Broich on Trump and the American press for The Daily Chronicle

John Broich, associate professor of history at the College of Arts and Sciences, discussed Donald Trump’s presidency through the lens of historical perspective, noting that in the years leading up to WWII, American media covered Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler as “objective journalists.” Read his interview with The Daily...

Amanda Mahoney on Cuyahoga County’s historic polio vaccine distribution in the 1960s

Amanda Mahoney, chief curator of the Dittrick Medical History Center at the College of Arts and Sciences, partnered with the team behind the university's Encyclopedia of Cleveland History, to help tell the story of Cuyahoga County’s best-in-U.S. record in vaccinating residents against polio in the early 1960s. Read more...

Jonathan Sadowsky

Jonathan Sadowsky on “The Empire of Depression” for Psychology Today

Jonathan Sadowsky spoke to Psychology Today about the history of depression—a malady that has gone by many names throughout human history—and the modern approach to identifying and treating the condition. Read his interview here.

Peter Shulman

Peter Shulman on the Defense Protection Act

Peter Shulman, associate professor of history at the College of Arts and Sciences, discussed the invocation of the Defense Production Act as part of President Joe Biden’s strategy to combat the spread of the coronavirus that has killed more than 400,000 Americans. Watch the interview with Professor Shulman here.

Jonathan Sadowsky

Jonathan Sadowsky discusses the social construction of depression for Medium

Jonathan Sadowsky, the 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...

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