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.

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,...

photo of John Grabowski

John Grabowski featured on COVID-216 Podcast

John Grabowski, the Krieger-Mueller Joint Professor in History in the College of Arts and Sciences, was recently interviewed for the local podcast COVID-216, a program about life in Northeast Ohio during the coronavirus pandemic. Professor Grabowski spoke about Cleveland’s previous pandemic, the Spanish Flu outbreak that killed more than...

photo of Andrea Milne

Andrea Milne receives J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring

Lecturer and SAGES Teaching Fellow Andrea Milne was recently honored with the J. Bruce Jackson, MD, Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Mentoring. Milne is a 20th century U.S. historian specializing in gender, sexuality and patient advocacy around stigmatized diseases, especially HIV/AIDS. She draws a direct line between her chosen...

Professor Emeritus Alan Rocke receives Franklin-Lavoisier Prize

Alan Rocke, a historian of science and The Henry Eldridge Bourne Professor of History Emeritus, was recently named the co-recipient of the prestigious Franklin-Lavoisier Prize. Awarded every alternating year between France and the U.S., the prize recognizes unusually meritorious efforts to preserve and promote scientific heritage. Professor Rocke's co-recipient...

Ted Steinberg’s book featured in Teen Vogue

Professor Ted Steinberg's book titled Down to Earth: Nature's Role in American History was included in a list of inspiring and informative books on climate change, compiled by Julia Fine for Teen Vogue. As part of Teen Vogue's "Green Dream" series, Field reached out to 11 climate activists for...

Vicki Daniel in The Conversation

Vicki Daniel, SAGES Fellow in the Department of History, recently wrote an article for theconversation.com to address the history of mass burials, and contextualize our current crisis, which is overwhelming the death care industry, particularly in New York City. Daniel specializes in the History of American Medicine and the...

Follow Us on Social Media