The major in history offers unconventional approaches to the academic engagement with the past. Students pursue their interests both in the classroom and outside of it. The past is constantly being represented, reenacted, and employed in the streets of New York: in museums, monuments, and the arts, in political exchanges and global encounters. At Lang, these experiences are embedded in a rigorous research-based pedagogy that is international in its outlook but rooted in the extraordinary city we call home. Acting as a bridge between the social sciences and humanities, the history program at Lang enables students to approach history critically and in multidisciplinary settings.
History at Lang is empirically grounded and theoretically informed and is primarily commitment to developing research skills and experience that enable historical thinking. The program features opportunities for internships and hands-on projects in the realm of public history through a unique partnership with the New York Historical Society and other New York City-based institutions.
Students majoring in history benefit from the partnership between Lang and The New School for Social Research (NSSR), whose graduate faculty is internationally renowned for its distinctive and critical approach to social theory. Most faculty members in the history program at Lang also teach at the graduate school or in other departments or colleges at The New School. These relationships mean that at Lang the approach to history is truly interdisciplinary, with strong ties to cutting-edge research in the social sciences and humanities. Upper-level students at Lang can take selected graduate-level classes at NSSR. In addition, an accelerated BA-MA option in history (as well as other disciplines) exists through the partnership between Lang and NSSR. Students interested in the joint-degree program should consult with the chair of the relevant NSSR department and the Lang Academic Advising Office before their junior year.
The very first history courses students take address E.H. Carr’s deceptively simple question “What is history?” From this perspective students consider a variety of major historical themes and processes and research methodologies including the rise of New World slavery, the origins of the modern world, Islamic fundamentalism, and the history of epidemics. They may consider the history of the Spanish conquest of Mexico and Peru, the history of the Holocaust, or the role of women and gender in early America. Advanced students undertake committed research projects in relation to either large overarching themes or a specific set of questions with attention to the methodological and theoretical premises that inform them. All students complete a senior work project, under the direction of a graduate student preceptor and in consultation with a history faculty member. Upon graduation, students majoring in history go on to graduate school and pursue careers in law, politics, and the arts and sciences.
Students can study history as a major (BA), a minor (non-Liberal Arts majors), or a guided area of study (Liberal Arts majors).