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History spans across many different disciplines. It inspires students to consider any given region and its people in all its aspects—cultural, political, social, aesthetic, and economic. Most importantly, history teaches an understanding of change and continuity over time. Courses in history help develop skills in phrasing and communicating ideas and assessing arguments. No matter what focus students choose, they learn to form and to defend clearly interpretations grounded soundly in fact and theory. What is more, historical analysis trains students for careers demanding the making, articulation, and implementation of sound decisions. Finally, historical study also provides a preparation for attentive citizenship in an increasingly globalized world.
The Department of History at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies offers a range of courses designed to familiarize students with the past and foster their ability to think clearly and critically, to write effectively, and to read intelligently. Departmental courses cover the breadth of the human experience across the entire North American continent as well as the region’s interaction with the rest of the world -- a complex subject matter that can be retraced in a wealth of archival sources, intricate literature and diverse teaching styles. Students begin by taking introductory survey courses, then sign up for classing helping them to narrow down their specific interest. Courses focus on the history of United States, Canada, the Atlantic World, and the region’s interaction with Africa, the Middle East, Australia and the Pacific Rim. Subjects include politics, diplomacy, minorities, women, economics, intellectual ideas, and law.