The history program at Winston-Salem State University is designed to inspire and challenge students to critically evaluate the world around them and to explain the complexity and diversity of human experiences, activities, affairs, ideas, and institutions over time. This experience and knowledge is necessary to understand the world as it has been shaped in the present and to plan for the future, as history opens up the entirety of documented human experience. Students in the history program use their knowledge of the past to engage with the world around them through research, analysis, and communication in order to create a new generation of informed and critically thinking citizens committed to social justice and equity and well able to express that commitment. To further this end, the history curriculum offers a wide spectrum of courses in African American, U.S., Africa and the African Diaspora, Europe, and wider world history; in the pre-modern and modern eras; in cultural, economic, intellectual, political, religious and social history; and in the specialized areas of applied history, the history of war and society, urban history, and the history of science.
Studying history at Winston-Salem State means reading, writing, working with others in a supportive academic environment, inside and outside the classroom. It means understanding the past, present, and future through both traditional historical methodology, and theories, and interdisciplinary means as well. History students here do scholarly research, develop written and verbal communication skills, and are able to understand issues that affect the world around us and to not only think about those issues critically but also to communicate those thoughts to others.
The history program prepares graduates to pursue graduate studies in a variety of fields such as history, divinity, law, and education. Additionally, our program provides all students with analytical skills necessary for a wide range of jobs and occupations. Many history majors have gone on to successful careers as journalists, writers, and many other creative and professional occupations. A history major teaches the student to empathize and understand how people in the past lived, thought, and acted across a wide spectrum of cultures, and as such instills empathy and creativity, which are important to many fields.
The history faculty at WSSU is committed to several core objectives:
1. To provide the means for an understanding of historical development so students may become aware of the certainty of change and be prepared to meet it.
2. To provide a general foundation for students who plan careers in professional fields outside of history.
3. To prepare students for graduate training in history through the degree option with a deeper concentration in specialized areas of history.
3. To promote social justice through the understanding of humanity’s past and the application of this understanding to the problems facing the current world.
History Learning Outcomes*
To achieve these objectives, history students will learn to command the following learning outcomes:
1. Engage in historical inquiry, research, and analysis.
Students will learn to understand the idea of change and continuity over time and critically assess the idea from a disciplined, skeptical stance and outlook on the world that stresses evidence and sophisticated use of information. This approach demands that students explore the complexity of the human experience, across time and space by evaluating a variety of historical sources for their credibility, position, and perspective over diverse cultures.—This sentence needs to be moved up.
2. Understand the complex nature of the historical record.
Students will learn the craft of the historian in several ways. First and foremost, students learn to distinguish between primary and secondary materials and decide when to use each. They also learn to recognize the value of conflicting narratives and evidence in order to carefully choose among multiple tools, methods, and perspectives to investigate and interpret materials from the past. In order to have a strong foundation in history, students must develop a body of historical knowledge with range and depth. This will allow students to recognize the ongoing provisional nature of knowledge, and interpret the past in context; contextualize the past on its own terms. Most importantly, students will be able to recognize where they are in history and the varying viewpoints on how they arrived at their place. These skills are of utmost importance to lifelong learning and critical habits of mind that are essential for effective and engaged citizenship and a focus on issues of Social Justice.
3. Generate significant, open-ended questions about the past and devise research strategies to answer them.
Perhaps the most important aspect of the historian’s craft is developing a methodological practice of gathering, sifting, analyzing, ordering, synthesizing, and interpreting evidence. This enables the student to ask questions that allow him or her to seek a variety of sources that provide evidence for supporting an argument about the past and identifying and summarizing other scholars’ historical arguments. With this understanding, the historian can then work on solutions to solve questions and problems that arise in the contemporary world.
4. Craft historical narrative and argument.
Students will learn to write complex, original narratives that generate historical arguments that are reasoned and based on carefully selected, arranged and interpreted historical evidence. Most important, students learn to write effective narratives that describe and analyze the past for its use in the present while comprehending the ethical significance of the practice of history as they build on other scholars’ work, peer review, and citation. Students will interact closely with the history faculty and their peers, learn to defend a position publicly, and revise this position when new evidence requires it.
5. Practice historical thinking and historical empathy as central to engaged citizenship, so that our students can use those skills to promote Social Justice, thus fulfilling the University’s motto: ‘Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve’.
In order to prepare students for a life that is committed to achieving a more socially just and equitable world, students engage a diversity of viewpoints in a civil and constructive fashion. In the history curriculum, they work cooperatively with others to develop positions that reflect deliberation and differing perspectives that they can apply to contribute to contemporary social dialogue.
*Adapted from the most recent history discipline core guidelines of the American Historical Association
The History program offers four degree options:
Option 1—the History Major with a minor
Option 2—the History Major with a deep concentration in a specialized area of History (for students planning to pursue graduate studies in History
Option 3—the History Major with a Social Science concentration
Option 4—the History Major with a Humanities concentration
The following 30 credit hours in the areas of foundation, breadth, and depth are required for all four History degree options:
Required Foundation Courses-9 Credit Hours:
HIS 2306 US to 1865 or HIS 2307 US since 1865
HIS 2311 Historical Thinking & Methods
One Additional 2300 course in History (See course options below)
Foundation Course Options:
HIS 2308 African World Cultures
HIS 2320 History of Britain
HIS23?? Historical Foundations of a Just Society
Students take an additional 21 Credit Hours of History breadth and depth courses to meet the 30 required basic Credit Hours for all four options of the Major. These 21 Credit Hours must include one History course in each of the three following geographical/topical areas, which can be taken either at the 3000 or 4000 level: African American History; European History; and Wider-World (non-U.S. and non-European History).
Required Breadth Course:
HIS 3316 Historiography or HIS 3347 African American Materials & Methods Research
Breadth Course Options (Students select courses from below to meet the geographical/topical area and depth and breadth coursework requirements):
HIS 3301 The World at War, 1914-1945
HIS 3303 Early Islamic Societies, Culture and Thought
HIS 3304 Islamic Societies, Culture and Thought in the Modern World
HIS 3307 Latin American Economic History
HIS 3309 Black Revolutionary Movements
HIS 3310 American Military Experience
HIS 3312 History of the Indian Subcontinent
HIS 3313 US Diplomatic History
HIS 3320 Oral History
HIS 3332 Cultural Dimensions of the African Experience in the Caribbean
HIS 3333 Africa to 1808
HIS 3334 Africa since 1808
HIS/SOC 3335 American Social/Intellectual History to 1865
HIS/SOC 3336 American Social/Intellectual History to 1865
HIS 3341 African American History to 1865
HIS 3342 African American History since 1865
HIS 3345 Modern African American Urban History
HIS/BIO 3351 History of Science
HIS 3352 African Presence in Mexico
HIS 3353 African Presence in the Americas
HIS 3354 Modern Latin America
HIS 3356 Modern Russian History
HIS 3361 Urban History
HIS 3370 Applied History I
HIS 3371 Applied History II
HIS 3372 Colonial Latin America
HIS 3381 Public Archeology
Required Depth Course:
HIS 4314 Senior Seminar
Depth Course Options (Students select courses from below to meet the geographical/topical area and depth and breadth coursework requirements):
HIS 4041 Independent Study
HIS/POS 4301 Latin American Political Thought
HIS 4302 Special Topics in History
HIS 4303 Age of the Crusades
HIS 4305 The Ancient World
HIS 4306 The Classical World
HIS 4307 The Early Middle Ages
HIS 4308 History/North Carolina
HIS 4309 Renaissance/Reformation
HIS 4310 Modern European Cultural History
HIS 4311 Modern European Intellectual History
HIS 4318 Rome & Early Christianity
HIS/JUS 4320 Roman Justice
HIS 4321 History of Genocide
HIS 4323 Special Topics/Latin America
HIS/JUS 4328 Victorian Justice
HIS/ENG 4326 American Studies
HIS/POS 4332 History/Politics of East Asia
HIS 4346 Economic History of the US
HIS 4351 Recent History of the US
HIS 4355 African Experience in the Americas
HIS 4356 African American History Seminar
HIS 4371 American South in Pop Culture
HIS 4372 Latin America since 1824
HIS 4373 Topics-History
History Majors must take the following additional coursework in their chosen option (beyond the 30 basic Credit Hours in Foundations, Breadth and Depth):
Option 1: History Major (30 hours) with a minor course of study
Additional 18 hours or more hours required for the chosen minor.
Option 2: History Major (30 hours) with a History Area Concentration
Additional 18 hours of 3000/4000 level history courses with a concentration in one area of history.
Option 3: History Major (30 hours) with a Social Science Concentration
Additional 18 hours in the Social Sciences:
2 courses (6 credits) in Economics
2 3000-4000 level courses (6 credits) in Political Science
2 3000-4000 level courses (6 credits) from African/African American Studies, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, Justice Studies, Economics, and/or History
Option 4: History Major (30 hours) with a Humanities Concentration
Additional 18 hours in the Humanities:
2 courses (6 credits) in Art History
4 3000-4000 level courses (12 credits) from Art History, Literature, Music History, Philosophy, History, Religion, or AAS/HIS 3332 (Cultural Dimensions of the African Experience in the Caribbean) or SOC 3314 (Social Anthropology)
The History Minor-18 Credit Hours in History*
One 2000 level HIS elective
HIS 2311/Historical Research and Methodology [Research and Writing I course]
Two 3000 level HIS electives
Two 4000 level HIS electives
*Students must have at least one course in African-American History, one course in European History, and one History course in another geographic area.