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 Grabowski on Ideastream

Professor John Grabowski recently appeared on Ideastream to discuss a virus outbreak which occurred in Cleveland long before even the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. The illness, which was often referred to as the "ague," infecting many of Cleveland's earliest settlers in the area we now call Whiskey Island. Professor...

History alumnus featured in The Daily

Tarun Jella was featured in The Daily today, offering historical perspective on the current COVID-19 pandemic. Jella, who is currently a student in the CWRU Medical School, graduated from the Department of History in 2017 after completing thesis research on the 1918 outbreak of Spanish flu in Cleveland. Jella...

Satirical article points to the importance of historical context

In a time of global crisis, the importance of historical context gets thrown into the limelight in renewed ways. The satirical online newspaper, The Onion, published an article titled "Historians Politely Remind Nation to Check What's Happened in Past Before Making Any Big Decisions," which, though it was published...

Peter Shulman on washingtonpost.com

Professor Peter Shulman recently published a piece on washingtonpost.com, which traces the history of the Defense Production Act (DPA) in the U.S. during times of national crisis. Professor Shulman speaks to the urgent need for medical supplies in the current COVID-19 pandemic, and calls for President Trump to invoke...

History Department Graduate’s research featured in Cleveland.com article

In light of the current global health pandemic, cleveland.com published an article tracing the history of the 1918 Spanish Flu in Cleveland and comparing it to the current coronavirus outbreak. The article draws heavily on the research done by History Department graduate Tarun Jella, who is currently a senior...

John Broich publishes article in Mel Magazine

Professor John Broich, who specializes in race, colonialism, and nationalism, recently wrote and published an article titled "The Bedside Reading of the Post-Trump Nationalists." The article, which appears in Mel Magazine's online platform, traces the history of Nationalism in the U.S., and the dangerous rhetoric surrounding it today. Read...

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