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.

Book by history’s Jay Geller named a runner-up for Sachbücher des Monats prize

Die Scholems: Geschichte einer deutsch-jüdischen Familie, a book by Jay Geller—the Samuel Rosenthal Professor of Judaic Studies—was named a runner-up for the Sachbücher des Monats prize, given to the best non-fiction book in Germany each month. The prize is awarded by an independent jury of scholars, journalists and critics. It...

photo of John Grabowski

John Grabowski on Cleveland’s resilient ‘Roaring 20s’ and future post-COVID life

John Grabowski, the Krieger-Mueller Joint Professor in History at the College of Arts and Sciences, discussed Cleveland’s resilient past in the face of global pandemics. Read more from News 5 Cleveland here.

Jonathan Sadowsky

Conversations in Critical Psychiatry: A People’s History of Depression with Jonathan Sadowsky

Jonathan Sadowsky, the Theodore J. Castele Professor in the Department of History at the College of Arts and Sciences, spoke about the novel nature of looking at depression from a historian’s point of view, in book form. Read his interview with Psychiatric Times here.

The Dittrick Museum’s Amanda Mahoney on Covid-19 and collecting pandemic artifacts

Amanda Mahoney, chief curator of the Dittrick Medical History Center, discussed some of the exhibits and medical disposables of the past—related to pandemics of another era—at the museum. She’s said she’s weighing whether to add to the collection—either a pristine N95 mask or one that a nurse had kept...

Noël Voltz: 24 Hours in Higher Ed, One Year into the Pandemic

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently spoke with Noël M. Voltz, assistant professor of history at the College of Arts and Sciences. Professor Voltz discussed her experience balancing child care and her new role here at Case Western Reserve University. Read the piece from The Chronicle, or find an...

What is fascism? John Broich on the term and its history for The Conversation

John Broich, an associate professor in the Department of History at the College of Arts and Sciences, explored the definition of facism, including many historical examples of how fascists have viewed the world through a lens of race and acted violently against ethnicities different from their own.