Why study history at Whitworth?

There are many reasons to study history. First of all, it's just plain interesting. Far from being a mere recitation of names, dates and places, the study of history opens windows and doors to cultures all over the world, from the ancient world to the recent past. You can study the fall of the Qing dynasty in China, the impact of the Crusades on Europe and the Middle East, the rise of Mayan and Aztec cultures, the diversity and triumph of African culture, and the culture and influence of the United States. The list goes on and on. History focuses on powerful and influential individuals such as Adolf Hitler, Mao-Tse Tung, Mary Wollstonecraft, Malcolm X, Joan of Arc, Rosa Parks and Elvis Presley. Historians develop interest in cultures, institutions, politics, religions, economics, anthropology, sociology, science and psychology. Historians study dreamers, believers, artists, entrepreneurs, politicians and musicians.

Second, historians ask big questions, such as "Why?" and sometimes "Why not?" We ask why any human being would participate in the killing of 6 million Jews — and whether we could do such a thing ourselves. Historians ask small questions that often have big consequences. We are interpreters of the meaning of events who raise difficult questions and avoid easy answers, and we are careful thinkers who practice empathy and offer critical judgment with humility.

Third, history majors get jobs. We'll help you develop a set of skills in research, writing, speaking and thinking. We'll help you with internships and connections. The history department has guaranteed internship seats to offer annually at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. We prepare history majors and minors for careers in business, public service, law, teaching and public history. Mostly we'll help you develop broader interests and more enthusiasm for the world around you, which is one of the most important steps to meaningful employment.

Mission Statement

The history department strives to embody Whitworth's education of mind and heart through excellent teaching, open and robust debate, scholarship, mentoring, and thorough preparation of students for careers with purpose and potential.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the end of our program, students will build skills in the following areas:

Foundational Knowledge: Students will be able to describe major chronological, geographic and thematic areas of historical study and articulate the significance of these facts for understanding historical context, complexity and change over time. 

Historical Methodology: Students will be able to critically evaluate and interpret primary and secondary sources. 

Historical Argumentation: Students will be able to construct arguments about the past that exhibit evidence-based judgements derived from primary and secondary sources.   

Diversity: Students will be able to apply relevant categories of analysis to explore questions that aim to deepen our understanding of the complexity, richness, diversity and power dynamics within human experience in the past and/or present. 

Faith and Worldview Development: Students will be able to apply historical thinking to personal worldview development and articulate how historical study is central to matters of active citizenship, service to humanity and/or personal faith. 

Experiential Learning: Students will explore how historical study creates opportunities for contemporary cross-cultural engagement, vocation, professional development and/or public outreach. 


HI 102 The Pacific World3
One of four courses in world history, Pacific World introduces China as the focal point of a network of trade and culture that includes the Asian steppes, India, and the rise of Japan, Korea and Vietnam. Also listed as AS 102. Also listed as EMS 102.
HI 104 Political History of Beijing3
Provides historical understanding of the political and social history of China's capital city, Beijing. Listed in both Political Science and History. Also listed as AS 104.
HI 105 Cultural Odyssey of China3
Provides historical understanding of the cultural and religious history of China through its imperial and modern eras. Listed in both Political Science and History. Also listed as AS 105.
HI 110 Pilgrimage: Mediev Pract & Contemp World Medieval Practice in the Contemporary World3
In our own time, pilgrimage remains an important religious practice, and in many cases, is experiencing a revival. We will start with historical exploration of this practice. We will then look at continuing events outside the Christian tradition, like the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, and compare to similar practices in the Byzantine and Roman Catholic tradition that have their origin in the medieval world. The course is presented as a look at the practice as one connected to personal and identity issues. The students are asked to design their own pilgrimage, secular or religious, as course component.
HI 131 American History Before 18773
Discovery and settlement of North America; the Enlightenment and the American Revolution; early democracy and reform movements; Western expansion and slavery; the sectional crisis and causes and results of the Civil War. Course taught with a biographical focus.
HI 182 American History Since 18773
Historical analysis of the development and maturation of the United States from its emergence as a hemispheric power after the Civil War to the present. Particular emphasis on the sectional, national, and international movements that influenced or were influenced by the American democratic experience.
HI 202 Roman Empire3
This history of Roman society as it dominated the Mediterranean focuses on the celebration of the military power of the Greeks and Romans and the unashamed colonial aspirations of both societies. It also offers countering views from Roman subjects, including Europeans, Africans, Egyptians, Persians, and Jews.
HI 203 Global Christianity3
This course provides a survey of the history of Christianity in the global south. This course will introduce students to the history of Christian mission and colonization outside of Europe and the United States; the emergence and practice of Christianity in non-western regions; unique expressions of Christian mission and activism in non-western cultures; and an awareness of the most prominent social and political challenges faced by contemporary Christians in the global south. Particular attention will be paid to theories and debates about translation and indigenization, the development of liberationist and anticolonial Christian movements, the history of internal Christian debates and denominational fractures, the experiences of Christian women, the emergence of Pentecostal and charismatic traditions, and the growing influence of expressions of global Christianity on the western world (including migrations, "reverse" missions, and activist movements critiquing western expansion).
HI 204 The Crusades3
This course offers an introduction to two civilizations in conflict: the Byzantine Christian empire based at Constantinople and the Islamic empire based at Baghdad, from the seventh century. It culminates with an examination of the first four crusades in the twelfth century and an examination of how the language of crusading is still in use today.
HI 206 Introduction to American Women's History3
Explores the history of women in the United States from the colonial period to the 20th century, emphasizing the changing roles of women and their contributions to and participation in American society. Key themes include women's work, politics, religious experiences, and social reform movements. The course also explores gender roles in American history and ways that race, class, region, and the passage of time alter those expectations.
HI 207 Crime & Punishment in American History3
This course explores the history of American criminal justice, from the colonial era to the present. Students will learn to articulate how understandings of crime and systems of punishment are embedded in various cultural, political, economic, and religious contexts throughout American history. Students will become familiar with major concepts, individuals, and debates in the history of American crime and punishment, such as the origins of the penitentiary system, Prohibition and vice laws, debates about the rise of mass incarceration, "the prison industrial complex," prison abolition, and restorative justice.
HI 208 African American History3
This course surveys the 400 years of African American history, with particular focus on African-American politics, culture, intellectual life, and religion. The course proceeds in a broadly chronological manner, from the colonial period to the present. Topic covered in the course include experiences of enslaved Africans in the colonial period and the development of the trans-Atlantic slave trade; the development of African American cultures in the eighteenth century and revolutionary period; African American abolitionist movements and experience of the Civil War; Black food and musical cultures; Black institutional and intellectual life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century; the Civil Rights movement; and recent Black political and activist movements. We will explore African American history by reading primary sources, watching films, and exploring scholarly interpretations of complex subjects. We will work on thinking and speaking together about how to best interpret and understand historical subjects, and we will work to consider the import of African American history for understanding our present moment and its various political, moral, and theological challenges.
HI 210 Becoming a Historian3
Foundational course for students considering a history major or minor. The course introduces students to ways historians interpret the past. Emphasis on preparing students to use primary sources, to write history, and to evaluate the work of other historians. Students will be introduced to careers that might be pursued with a history degree.
HI 220H French Civilization & Culture3
A survey of historical, religious, ethnic, philosophical, artistic and pop-cultural life in France. Periodic offering.
HI 228 Identity, Race, and Power in American Life3
History and culture of major ethnic and racial groups in American life. Special emphasis on the role of race and nationality in the pursuit and achievement of "the American Dream."
HI 231 World at War: 1900-19453
Comparative analysis of world cultures during the first half of the century of total war. Special emphasis on the broader cultural contexts of the world wars of the twentieth century and their aftermath. Sophomore status strongly recommended.
HI 236 Monsters and Angels of the American Past3
A historical overview of how American ideas about good and evil - the angelic and the monstrous - created cultural and social values that shaped the nation. Themes include zombies and witch hunts in the colonial era, utopian and millennial community experiments in the early republic, scientific monsters in the progressive era, and obsession with the supernatural in the modern period. The course uses these and related topics to interrogate the cultural logics and irrationalities of anxiety, belonging, and difference that defined the American past. Special attention is paid to how race, gender, and religious belief influenced the creation of ideas about the monstrous and angelic.
HI 237 United States History Through Film3
Explore the history of the United States through films depicting the colonial period through the Civil War. Situating itself within the tension between history, memory, and legend, this course equips students with the skills required to become discerning consumers and creators of cultural narratives about the nation's past. This course will not teach a history of film, but rather enable students to encounter U.S. history through a contextualization and critical viewing of historical films, with particular emphasis on themes of diversity and representation in the creation of cultural narratives.
HI 238 Arthurian Literature3
Traces the development of the Arthurian legend from its earliest appearance in chronicles through narrative romance, focusing on medieval texts. Also listed as EL/EMS 238.
HI 250 History of Buddhism3
Examines the historical and cultural birth and development of Buddhism in East Asia. Provides a comparative view of religious practice East and West.
HI 251 History & Culture of Rome3
An investigation of the emergence of various civilizations on the Latium plain, paying special attention to the Etruscan to Christian Baroque cultures. While living in Rome, classes explore Rome's structures of government, its society, architecture, and its art.
HI 300W Christianity in Asia3
This course confronts the Christian message and experience as it transcends national and cultural boundaries. Readings and lectures center on the history of Christian missions and the resulting indigenous Church in Japan and China, and examines how Asian Christianity has conformed to and transformed Christian belief. Also listed as AS 300W.
HI 301 Oxford and the Christian Imagination Preparation Course1
This one-credit preparation course covers important details regarding the "Oxford and the Christian Imagination" program in Oxford, England.
HI 304W Political History of Beijing3
Provides historical understanding of the political and social history of China's capital city, Beijing. Listed in both Political Science and History. Also listed as AS 304W.
HI 305W Cultural Odyssey of China3
Provides historical understanding of the cultural and religious history of China through its imperial and modern eras. Listed in both Political Science and History. Also listed as AS 305W.
HI 307W History of Chinese Literature3
Explores the history and development of Chinese literature during the late-imperial era. Focuses on China's most famous novel, Dream of the Red Chamber. Also listed as AS 307W.
HI 315 Medieval Europe3
Caesar through Charlemagne: European civilization in the first through the eighth centuries will be investigated, with an emphasis on ideas and institutions such as the medieval papacy, feudalism and the concept of Christendom. Also listed as EMS 315.
HI 323 Religion in American Public Life3
The major themes, movements, problems, people and institutions in American Christian history, with emphasis on the public practice of the Christian faith. Fall semester, even years.
HI 328 European Myths of Identity3
Traditional stories form an important part of the national identity of contemporary European states. Tourists viewing the Tower of London learn the basics of the British story, carrying the lesson away as part of their understanding of English culture. The best- and least-known national stories, from Galway to Budapest, will be examined for their historicity and contemporary influence.
HI 345 Cultural History of China and Japan3
Illustrates how cultural heritage can explain the current behavior and character of the Chinese and Japanese. Religions, philosophies, arts, politics, and social organizations as basic elements of Asian culture. Also listed as AS 345. Also listed as EMS 345.
HI 346 Modern China and East Asia3
Interpretation of recent events in China, Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. Chinese revolution of 1911, warlord era in China, Japanese militarism, communist revolution on the mainland, Japanese invasion of China, American occupation of Japan, normalization in China, Japan's economic ascendancy. Also listed as AS 346.
HI 348 Medieval Islam3
This course covers the foundation of Islamic civilizations from Arabia through North Africa, Europe, and Asia from the life of Muhammad through the origins of the Ottoman Empire.
HI 351 Oxford and the Christian Imagination3
This course explores the historical legacies of Oxford's most influential Christian writers. The works of such writers as J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Edward Bouverie Pusey, and John Henry Newman have transformed the historical contours of global Christianity. Students shall live at Oxford and critically engage with the ideas and publications of these writers. Visiting their homes, churches, and archives in and around Oxford, we will consider how their Christian imagination has changed the world.
HI 354 Colonialism and Globalization3
The major European nations move from constitutional monarchy to representative government. Their empires founder in the wake of World War I and II. European institutions and society are examined from 1848 to 1950.
HI 362 Slavery and the Civil War3
Evolution of the American slave system, its central importance in the development of sectional rivalries, and the great national crises of 1848-1877.
HI 364 Medieval Russia: Mongols and Madmen3
Survey of Russian civilization from earliest times to 1600. Evolution of the tsarist state from its roots in Byzantine and Mongol autocracies through the reign of Ivan the Terrible and the following Time of Troubles. Emphasis on culture and religion. Also listed as EMS 364.
HI 375W Road to Revolution: Early American History3
Journey through colonial America and witness the birth of the United States. This course explores indigenous cultures prior to European invasion, exchanges and clashes between the peoples who eventually lived together in North American, and the significance of race, gender, and religious beliefs to the colonization process. This course also examines the causes and consequences of the American Revolution from political, social, and religious perspectives. Discover the wartime experiences of patriots, loyalists, and undecided Americans, while critically examining the ideologies that drove the rebellion and gave rise to the republic.
HI 377 The French Revolution3
A focus on the French Revolution as the culmination of trends in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European culture. Students will discover how projects of absolute monarchs in France, Germany, and Russia led to the violence of the Reign of Terror in France and the career of Napoleon I.
HI 384 Pacific Northwest History3
Explores the Pacific Northwest as a geographic culture area from prehistory to the present. Perspectives of the various peoples who have lived there: Native Americans, Europeans and Americans. Modernization and contemporary issues in the Pacific Northwest. Role of regionalism, international conflict and ecological issues. Also listed as ENS 384.
HI 390 Internship1-4
HI 410W American Intellectual History3
Focus on major thinkers and periods in American history. Special emphasis on Puritanism, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Social Darwinism, and the major currents of 20th-century thought.
HI 425W Holy War in Europe3
Holy War in Europe begins with the later Crusades and flourishes during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, long known as "The Age of Religious Warfare." A survey of propaganda and context for conflicts in England, Germany, France and the Netherlands, the course looks at the rhetorical stance of Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, and Ottomans during a period of endemic warfare. A major research paper is required. Also listed as EMS 425.
HI 438W Women in the Early Modern World3
Explores early modern Atlantic world history (c. 1400 to 1800) through the female experience, with particular attention to Europe and the Americas. The course examines how women lived, worked, reproduced, believed, and thought in the early modern era across multiple geographic contexts, while comparing and contrasting how contemporary societies in Europe and the Americas encouraged or persecuted such experiences. The course will also include an analysis of the use of gender as a theoretical framework and expose students to the major historiographical trends in the sub-field. A major research paper is required.
HI 490 Internship1-3
HI 494 Research Assistantship1-3
HI 497 Medieval and Early Modern Studies Senior Portfolio1
Students will submit a portfolio by April 15 of their final year (or mid-way through their final term). The portfolio will include a selection of work from 3 to 4 courses in the minor. Also listed as EL/EMS 497.

A history degree prepares successful candidates for jobs and for graduate school in a broad range of disciplines, including some for which there are tests such as the Praxis (education certification), the LSAT (law school admission), and the GRE (required by most graduate schools in most fields). Majors are urged to speak with their advisors about online or other preparation for such tests.

Requirements for a History Major, B.A. (45)

HI 102The Pacific World3
HI 131American History Before 18773
HI 182American History Since 18773
HI 210Becoming a Historian3
One W course in history at the 400 level3
Two upper-division American history courses:6
Religion in American Public Life
Slavery and the Civil War
Pacific Northwest History *
American Intellectual History
*For teacher certification in Washington state, HI 384 is required
Two upper-division European history courses:6
European Myths of Identity
Colonialism and Globalization
Medieval Russia: Mongols and Madmen
The French Revolution
Holy War in Europe
See advisor for additional approved courses.
Two upper-division courses selected from the following:6
Christianity in Asia
Political History of Beijing
Cultural Odyssey of China
History of Chinese Literature
Cultural History of China and Japan
Modern China and East Asia
Four elective courses in history (with advisor approval one history-related course may be from another department)12
A minimum of two courses in the major must be at the 400 level.
Require one of the following: field experiences (e.g., student teaching), or internship, or study abroad, or foreign language (at least two years of one language or one year each of two languages).

History/Social Studies Major, B.A.

The Whitworth Department of History desires to equip the next generation of public and private school teachers with a broad interdisciplinary education rooted in a solid foundation in history appropriate to the K-12 programs. We provide coursework that will give students the necessary background in history and the social sciences and thus prepare them for the Washington state competency exams in the social sciences. Students are encouraged to pursue website practice opportunities prior to taking the state exams.

Requirements for a History/Social Studies Major, B.A. (44)

All endorsements subject to change; see School of Education for updated requirements. Students must take EDU 453. In addition to EDU 453, one W course in history at the 400 level is required.
HI 102The Pacific World3
HI 131American History Before 18773
HI 182American History Since 18773
HI 202Roman Empire3
HI 210Becoming a Historian3
HI 384Pacific Northwest History3
EDU 350General Methods Secondary3
Two upper-division courses in European history **6
One upper-division course in American history3
One upper-division course in non-Western history **3
Three approved, upper-division history electives **9
**One of these upper-division history courses must be a W course at the 400 level
The following capstone course is required:2
Social Studies in Secondary School (Prerequisite of EDU 350)


Allied Programs with Other Departments

Requirements for an American Studies Major, B.A. (45)

American studies is an interdisciplinary major. Students will examine American society through the study of history, politics, literature and sociology. Graduates are encouraged to pursue employment in a broad number of professions, as well as graduate studies in a wide variety of fields.
EL 205American Literature Before 18653
HI 131American History Before 18773
HI 182American History Since 18773
PO 102American National Politics3
Two courses in an other-disciplinary view of American culture:6
Identity, Race, and Power in American Life
Introduction to Sociology
Religion in American Public Life
Two 300-level American literature courses6
Two of the following:6
Gender, Politics and Law
Slavery and the Civil War
Two courses in American intellectual development:6
American Intellectual History
American Constitutional Law
Two approved electives chosen in consultation with an advisor6
The following capstone course is required:3
Senior Seminar
At least one W course in history at the 400 level is required to graduate. An internship, if possible, is highly recommended.


International Studies, History Emphasis, B.A.

The Whitworth Department of History offers this interdisciplinary program designed to encourage the development of a solid foundation of history coupled with coursework in foreign languages, political science, area studies and economics that will assist the students in developing skills necessary for work in the international context of non-governmental organizations, business, military, diplomacy, travel and other forms of international work.

Requirements for an International Studies Major, History Emphasis, B.A. (45)

HI 182American History Since 18773
HI 210Becoming a Historian3
PO 151International Relations3
PO 240Comparative Politics3
One W course in history at the 400 level3
One of the following:3
The Pacific World
Roman Empire
One economics class from among the following:3
Principles of Microeconomics *
Principles of Macroeconomics *
Environmental Economics
* Prerequisite of MA 158 or MA 171
Two electives from among the following, with one course in history and one in political science:6
The Crusades
World at War: 1900-1945
International Development,Justice and Difference in Contemporary Political Theory
Colonialism and Globalization
The French Revolution
International Political Economy
Six semester credits of world language6
(Courses must be at the intermediate level in Chinese or Japanese, or at the advanced (300+) level in German, French or Spanish. The goal is to become functional in the use of language.)
Three courses in area or regional studies:9
(A two-course sequence is recommended.)
Christianity in Asia
Political History of Beijing
Cultural Odyssey of China
History of Chinese Literature
Cultural History of China and Japan
Modern China and East Asia
Colonialism and Globalization
Medieval Russia: Mongols and Madmen
African Politics
Contemporary South Africa
Contemporary China and East Asia
Sociology of Middle-Eastern Society
One course from among the following theory and concept courses:3
Economic Development
European Myths of Identity
Asian Philosophy
International Political Economy
Revolution in History
Intercultural Communication
World Religions
Study abroad is strongly recommended for this major. Courses taken during study-abroad programs may be substituted via petition for some of the above-listed requirements.

Requirements for a History Minor (18)

Six history courses, at least three at the upper-division level18

Asian Studies Minor (18)

Requirements for an Asian studies minor are listed under the Asian studies page.

Medieval & Early Modern Studies Minor (19-20)

Requirements for a medieval & early modern studies minor are listed under the medieval & early modern studies page.

Public History Minor

Public history is a rapidly growing field. Students are introduced to museum studies, archival development, and the making of documentaries. Graduates are encouraged to pursue graduate studies in a variety of fields as well as to think broadly about the application of these skills to other professional areas.

Requirements for a Public History Minor (21)

HI 210Becoming a Historian3
HI 384Pacific Northwest History3
Complete one course from the following:3
The Pacific World
American History Before 1877
American History Since 1877
Roman Empire
Two upper-division history courses6
One history W course at the 400 level3
Public History Internship3
Placement is dependent on the recommendation of the supervisor for public history internships.
Dean of Arts & Sciences






Assistant professors