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History and Politics

Department of History and Politics

The Department of History and Politics at St. Scholastica offers several programs, including a major and minor in History, and a minor in Political Science. The department also contributes to the major in Social Studies Secondary Education, the major and minor in Health Humanities, the minor in Native American Studies, the minor in Women's and Gender Studies, and to the liberal arts component of general education for all St. Scholastica students. It strives to cultivate creative and critical thinking; to foster an appreciation for the richness and diversity of human experience and for the meaning of human dignity in varied historical and social contexts; and to encourage responsible work on behalf of human values, justice, and the fuller realization of human potential.

History, the department's core discipline, is the critical study of the human past. Encompassing all spheres of human experience, inquiry, belief and aspiration, history is the most integrative of humane disciplines. It satisfies a deep need to know who we are, both as individual persons sharing a common humanity and as members of various groups (whether based on gender, class, ethnicity or religion, or whether local, national or global). The deeper is our historical knowledge, the deeper is our self knowledge. Only with this type of knowledge can we formulate wise goals to help guide our future, both as individuals and collectively. The study of history is an indispensable part of a liberal education: it enables students to make informed judgments on a wide range of public issues and to argue their positions cogently.

Political science examines the origins, uses, justification and distribution of power in society, as well as the relationship between power and other social "goods" such as wealth, rights and liberties. The nature, organization and functions of the state, as the sovereign center of political power, are among the main subjects of politics. Political science can be both descriptive and normative. When descriptive, it investigates how power, wealth and rights actually are distributed. When normative, political science (or political philosophy) explores how they ought to be distributed. Politics, in short, is about how societies are governed, how competing ideas about what is best for society are articulated and resolved, and how decisions in one part of the world affect other parts of the world. The study of politics provides an opportunity to understand not just how societies work, but also how to make them better.

History, one of the classic liberal arts, is an excellent preparation for graduate studies as well as many professions: education, law, politics, public policy, civil and foreign service, archival and library science, museum studies, historic preservation and public history. A minor in political science can prepare students for a range of career opportunities not only in law, but in government, journalism, business or interest-group advocacy.

Chair: Randall Poole, Ph.D.

History major

A History major must successfully complete 36 semester credits in history, at least 20 of which must be completed at St. Scholastica. Required courses consist of HIS 3206 (Historiography and Historical Methods) and a 4000-level seminar. In addition, students must complete at least one course from each of the following fields (total of 12 credits): United States history, World history, and European history. At least 20 of these credits must be upper-division credits (3000 or higher). Application process: Students apply for a major in History at the end of their sophomore year; they are expected to have a 2.75 average and should submit a brief essay to the department chairman explaining why they wish to major in history. The History major is a bachelor of arts degree program.

History minor

A History minor must complete 20 credits in history, with at least 12 being completed at St. Scholastica. Required courses consist of HIS 3206 (Historiography and Historical Methods) and a 4000 level seminar. 

Political Science minor

The minor consists of 20 credits, 12 of which must be: POL 2001 (Introduction to Political Science), HIS 3310 (U.S. Foreign Relations), and PHL 2223 (Political Philosophy).The remaining eight credits will be selected from the following courses: CTA 4417 (Mass Media Law and Ethics), GCL 3301 (Human Rights), POL 3331 (American Government), POL 3001 (Politics of Globalization),POL 4402 (Environmental Politics), POL 2280 (Rethinking Religion and Culture after 9/11), SWK 3360 (American Social Welfare Policy),and GCL 3200 (Popular Music and Political Movements). In addition, Political Science minors are strongly advised to study in the Washington, D.C., Semester Program at American University (contact the department chairman for application information).

Social Studies Secondary Education major

This is an outcome-based major approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. It provides Social Studies licensure for grades 5-12. This program requires the completion and assessment of outcomes in the social sciences (anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, sociology); the integration of these disciplines; and teacher education. Basic social science outcomes, as specified by the Minnesota Board of Teaching, are achieved through the following courses: HIS 1101 or 1102; HIS 1110 and 1111; HIS 2201 or 2202, 3206, 3214, and 3327; HUM 1174; POL 2001 or 3331; PSY 1105; SOC 1125; HIS/WGS 2231; SSC 3900 and SSC 3905. In addition to fulfilling these basic outcomes, each student must complete an additional four HIS credits. Students also must complete general requirements for Middle/Secondary licensure listed in the Education section of this catalog. Each candidate will meet with departmental members for an informal evaluation before admission. The Social Studies Secondary Education major is a bachelor of arts degree program.

Departmental outcomes

Students of history:

  1. Express knowledge and understanding of U.S., European, and other areas of world history, as well as of global history, intellectual history and the history of ideas, cultural history, and religious history.
  2. Analyze the role of race, class, ethnicity and gender in history (social history).
  3. Evaluate primary documents and historical scholarship, and demonstrate knowledge of major trends in historiography.
  4. Plan, conduct, and present historical research projects.
  5. Examine how history shapes ideas and practices of citizenship and liberal democracy, struggles for social justice, and human values.