Members of the history faculty at Beloit College believe that the study of history is the study of humanity, society and culture. History invites us to consider how our present ways of doing and thinking have their origins in the past and lay a foundation, perhaps, for an unknowable future. We are especially attuned to the ways that issues of power relations, social justice, and equity in earlier times have shaped contemporary societies around the globe, and many of our courses have evolved to reflect those themes in the specific times and places that we study. Other courses focus on interactions among people and cultures in addition to analyzing change over time within a particular society.
Our sense of what it means to “do history” includes an explicit focus on how historians use archival documents, material artifacts, and an increasing variety of digital resources and tools. Beloit history students practice public history in courses that involve partnerships with museums and archives (including our own College Archives and the Newberry Library in Chicago), local parks and historical societies, citizen action groups, and even intensive internships in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. We also encourage our students to study languages and to take advantage of opportunities to study abroad, since we firmly believe in the value of learning about the history and cultures of other countries.
Reading and writing are the primary tools of historical inquiry, and some historians evaluate oral and material sources as they set out to discover the past. The history major at Beloit emphasizes that these skills are at the heart of what it means to think critically about past and present, about our own society and those that are foreign to us, as well as about what distinguishes our own cultural or individual perspective. We welcome you to explore the courses and the opportunities offered through our department.