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.

Einav Rabinovitch-Fox

Einav Rabinovitch-Fox on the history of school dress codes and the debate over mandating masks for schoolchildren

Einav Rabinovitch-Fox, a teacher of modern American history, as well as women's and gender history in the College of Arts and Sciences, wrote a Washington Post article detailing the history of dress codes in schools, and wonders why masks aren't enforced the same way that clothes are. Read her...

PhD candidate Kimba Stahler named Social Justice Fellow by CWRU Social Justice Institute

To encourage innovation and scholarship, CWRU's Social Justice Institute has established a Social Justice Fellowship Program that, through grants, funds faculty and student activities that advance social justice work, from humanistic inquiry to action research. Kimberly Stahler's dissertation research examines social justice activism in Cleveland from 1960 to 1975, and...

Jonathan Sadowsky featured on NPR affiliate program “Inquiry”

When is sorrow a sickness? Why do so many people seem to suffer from depression today? Do all cultures suffer from depression? These are a few of the questions we will discuss tonight when we talk with JONATHAN SADOWSKY. He is a professor in the history of medicine at Case...

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.