In defense of history curriculum

To the Editor:

Without commenting on the substance of the op-ed piece by Avi Raina that appeared in a recent issue of The Record, I thought it might be helpful to clarify the purpose of the 100-level courses in the history curriculum. These are small seminars that are intended to introduce students to the study of history at the advanced level; as such, they are directed particularly at first-year students or sophomores who may be interested in pursuing a history major or merely taking several courses in history while at Williams. They are topically oriented because we feel that this format enables us to accomplish most effectively the objectives that these courses are intended to serve.

Our survey courses, which students in any class are able and encouraged to take, are found at the 200-level. There can be found broad surveys on the history of China, Africa, Latin America, the ancient world, the medieval Europe, early modern Europe, modern Europe, Britain, Germany, Russia, Brazil, Japan, the United States, African-Americans, U.S. Latino/as and Asian Americans. We, of course, would like to expand that list in the future and are always open to suggestions from students.

William Wagner

Chair of history department

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