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.

David Hammack Featured in Newsday Article

David Hammack, the Hiram C. Haydn Professor of History Emeritus,  was featured in Newsday recently discussing the formation of modern-day New York City, the result of a massive merger 125 years ago, noting that the new metropolis meant colossal record-keeping headaches for the new city comptroller.



Fourth-year biology and history major wins the nationally-competitive Lynn W. Turner Prize

Nihal Manjila has won the nationally-competitive Lynn W. Turner Prize for best paper by an undergraduate member of Phi Alpha Theta for his paper Substance of Joy: Serotonin Research at the Cleveland Clinic, 1948-1968. Manjila is a fourth-year biology and history major. Phi Alpha Theta is a century-old American honor...

New Student Column About the Importance of Studying History

Observer staff writer Nihal Manjila shares his experiences as a student of history. He writes that while not every person needs to be a history major, everyone can benefit from taking a history course or doing some reading in their free time. It is crucial to be knowledgeable about...

The Daily Celebrates the Accomplishments and Experiences of John Flores

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place each year from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Throughout the month, The Daily highlights members of the university community who are of Hispanic heritage to celebrate their accomplishments and shed light on their experiences at CWRU. John Flores is well versed in how the history...

David Hammack Mentioned in Teen Vogue Article on the Nonprofit Industrial Complex

David Hammack, the Hiram C. Haydn Professor of History Emeritus at the College of Arts and Sciences, was referenced recently an article discussing nonprofit organizations as formal, self-governing, voluntary, private organizations that don’t distribute profits and provide a public benefit. The author notes that Hammack's definition covers a range of...

photo of John Grabowski

John Grabowski Featured on Ideastream Public Media

John Grabowski, the Krieger-Mueller Joint Professor in History, was featured on Ideastream Public Media discussing the pronunciation of “Cuyahoga River,” a river that’s drawn people to the region for centuries. “One person has traced it back to its Native American origins and claims that it's ‘Cuya-HO-guh,’ not ‘Cuya-HOG-uh,’” he said....

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