Home : Academics : History

HISTORY

Contact

Peter Coogan, chair
(540) 362-6352
pcoogan@hollins.edu

Hollins University
P.O. Box 9722
Roanoke, VA 24020

Students of history do more than study the past.

They learn to think broadly and critically, to look beyond what happened to why. History is not only inherently interesting -- where else can you read about Julius Caesar, Queen Elizabeth, and the Beatles and get academic credit for it? -- it's also good preparation for anything else you do. It's good preparation because what historians teach is how to make arguments based on evidence, which is useful in law, business, advertising, personnel management, journalism -- some of the fields Hollins history majors have pursued after graduation.

One of the assets of Hollins' history department is our attentive and supportive scholar-teachers, who try to be as helpful as they can. Erica Pandapas Myatt says, "That is one thing I really appreciate about the history department and about Hollins: they will support your endeavors and help you push yourself academically, while taking the time to mkae sure you know what you're getting into."

 

Learn to make your own kind of history

You'll learn how to analyze primary sources and to formulate original ideas rather than relying on a rote mastery of facts. We prefer seminars over classroom lectures for most courses. Upper-level classes include instruction in methodology and writing as part of the course work.

The department offers an integrated curriculum: every course leads up to your senior thesis. We stress learning how to locate and use sources and documents creatively, so that by the time you're a senior you'll be ready to undertake a 50-page research paper. The emphasis is on creativity: you pick the topic and the method, so you can use what you've learned in English and sociology and art to help you make your own kind of history. Writing the senior thesis is a challenge, to be sure, but many of our majors describe the thesis as the academic accomplishment of which they are most proud.

In the past, history majors have conducted thesis research at such places as the University of California at Berkeley, the Baltimore City Archives, and the George C. Marshall Library. They have used sources ranging from diaries, letters, and interviews to films and archaeological artifacts. Recent topics include:

  • Magic and the Medieval Church
  • Mexican Society during the Second World War
  • The Desegregation of Roanoke
  • American Women in the Vietnam War
  • Women Revolutionaries during the Paris Commune of 1871
  • Rhetoric in Pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts

 

Internships: The best way to test career interests and build a resume

History students do a variety of internships all over the country. The Roanoke Valley, a metropolitan area of 236,000, also offers a number of valuable internship possibilities. History students have recently interned at the following places:

  • Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, Memphis
  • First Union Bank, Charlotte
  • D.C. United Soccer Team
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Washington, D.C.
  • Southwest Virginia Historic Preservation Office, Roanoke
  • Virginia Department of Archives, Richmond
  • Roanoke Valley History Museum, Roanoke
  • White House (First Lady's office), Washington, D.C.
  • Marriott, Palm Beach, Florida
  • Mardi Gras Museum

 

Expand your horizons with study abroad

Study abroad can be invaluable to history majors because you can visit the landmarks you study in class, tour the museums, and observe the cultural and political dynamics of a country as a resident. Hollins directs two international study programs of its own, one in Paris and one in London. In addition, students can take advantage of a wide range of other study abroad opportunities, including programs in Argentina, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, South Africa, and the School for Field Studies.