history

Discover how people thought, lived, worked, played, loved, and struggled in the past. Puzzle over why societies, traditions, and ways of thinking change over time. Appreciate and interpret experiences of people around the globe from the ancient world to the present. Grasp the challenges of developing sound insights and understanding about the past.

Freedom Dreams

Faculty member Greg Mullins talks about the history of Capitol Lake during a tour of the downtown murals and the State Capitol. In the 1930s, the mudflats in front of the Capitol were home to a shanty community called Little Hollywood.

Nobel Prize-winning American novelist William Faulkner wrote, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” At Evergreen historical study comes alive in conversation with the present and through collaboration with other fields.

Students of history examine every dimension of the human experience — private life and politics, ideas and the material world, family and public institutions, identity and power, labor and leisure. Programs in history can include the study of literature, political science, economics, philosophy, Native American studies, environmental studies, the arts, and popular culture.

Opportunities to Study

  • Social, cultural, and political history including gender, race, and sexuality
  • Western Europe including Britain, France, and Ireland
  • Eastern Europe and Russia
  • United States, American indigenous peoples, and Latin America
  • North Africa and the Middle East
  • Southeast Asia including Indonesia
  • Ancient Mediterranean cultures

Studying history promotes critical thinking about big questions — what has caused specific revolutions? What is the relationship between individual memory and history? How can artifacts help us understand people from the past? How can documents crafted by people in power reveal both the emergence of dominant cultures and be read subversively?

Since there are no easy answers, college-level history is not primarily about memorizing facts but about making connections, interpreting, and discovering webs of meaning.

Ireland in History and Memory

A group of students present a show called Spaces for Women as an end-of-quarter project for the program Ireland in History and Memory. The project comprised music, poetry and two pieces of papercut art.

When you look at different people and times, you'll consider how people's lives which seem inexplicable to us made complete sense to them, and how understanding and interpreting their experiences helps us make sense of our world. You’ll challenge your assumptions about how individuals and communities live and make meaning with knowledge.

Students who study history at Evergreen develop a historical imagination and cultivate insights that link the present with the past and bring valuable awareness to the future.

You'll prepare for professional work or graduate study by learning how to interpret evidence, create narratives about human experience, and develop sound arguments. You'll learn how historical knowledge is formed by creating it yourself, learning how to do historical research and interpreting what you encounter. You'll learn how to understand secondary sources, research archival materials, practice oral history methods, and shed light on the human experience by honing all these skills.

The analytical, research, and writing skills developed by studying history provide strong preparation for many fields, both in history and related disciplines such as classics and archaeology, European studies, American studies, law, and creative writing.

Evergreen graduates with a history background have gone on to careers as lawyers, college and public school teachers, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, journalists, fiction writers, and historians.

Historical studies prepares students, whatever their professions, to be thoughtful and engaged members of their communities with the ability to appreciate difference, nuance, and context.

Join us in an education that doesn't just change your life — it gives you the tools to change the world.

Sample Program

Culture as History

Students create timelines in the Culture as History program.

Earth Dynamics

Offered Fall 2017–Winter 2018

Human activity shapes the environment. Earth warmed out of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago, enabling our species to develop stable societies and transform the experience of being alive. Agricultural activity emitted greenhouse gases that changed Earth’s air, water, and land. People changed, too, improving technologies and creating written and artistic records of their ideas and histories. Today, we understand our impacts on the environment in ways incomprehensible to our ancestors, and we are challenged to mitigate those impacts with knowledge, skill, and political will.

This program will examine changes in the Earth system, human understanding of those changes, and the history of technological efforts to enhance human flourishing and shape our impacts on the environment. We'll study multiple drivers of climate change such as Sun-Earth interactions, volcanoes, industry, consumption, and greenhouse gases. We’ll consider the changing role of science in providing the understanding required for people and planet to thrive together.

View this program in the catalog.

After Graduation

Leah Olson, class of 2013, is now in her second season at the American School‘s Agora in Athens excavations. She studied classics, history, and archaeology while at Evergreen.

The analytical, research, and writing skills developed in the study of history are a strong preparation for many fields. Many have continued their education with advanced degrees, both in history and in related fields like classics and archaeology, European studies, American studies, and creative writing.

Evergreen graduates with a history emphasis have gone on to careers as lawyers, teachers, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, journalists, and historians.

Historical studies prepares students, whatever their profession, to be thoughtful and engaged members of their communities with the ability to appreciate difference, nuance, and context.

Cornell Box dioramas

Students in Culture as History presented the Cornell Box dioramas they made for their winter quarter final project.

Facilities & Resources

A History of “Race”

Students in the program A History of “Race” in the U.S. meet in small groups in the alcove space on the ground floor of the Library building. The program encompasses African American studies, history, and political science.

The Library

Evergreen's collection is tailored to support your research with more than 400,000 items including article databases, books, periodicals, films, games, and more. Faculty librarians provide research assistance. You also have access to materials from libraries in the Pacific Northwest and from around the world. Learn more about the library.

Washington State Archives

Students with an interest in Washington state history have convenient access to the state's main archive in downtown Olympia. State archives include papers of all governors and all official records of the state. Find out about the Washington State Archives.

How to Choose Your Path

You’ll choose what you study to earn a Bachelor’s degree that’s meaningful to you. Some students decide their programs as they go, while others chart their course in advance.

Aim for both breadth and depth; explore fields that may be related or that may seem very distant. You'll be surprised at what you discover.

If you're new to college, look for programs where you can gain a foundation, build key skills, and broaden your knowledge (FR only, FR-SO, or FR-SR).

If you already have a foundation in this field, look for programs with intermediate or advanced material (SO-SR, JR-SR, or FR-SR). These programs may include community-based learning and in-depth research. Some of these programs have specific prerequisites; check the description for details.

Talk to an academic advisor to get help figuring out what coursework is best for you.

Planned offerings for 2017–18
Class Standing Quarters Offered Credits
Activist, Student, Citizen. FR-SR
  • Spring
16
African/American: Afrofuturism JR-SR
  • Spring
16
Against all Odds: The Black Experience - Global Seasoning, Resistance, and Re-incarnation FR-SR
  • Winter
4
Against All Odds: The Black Experience - Rebirth, Renaissance, and Kabby Mitchell lll FR-SR
  • Spring
4
Against all Odds: The Black Experience - Studies in Resiliency, Ancient Egypt to Enslavement FR-SR
  • Fall
4
Alternatives and Resistance to Global Capitalism: Mexico, U.S., and Beyond SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Archaeology FR-SR
  • Summer
8
Asian/American: Pop Culture Crosscurrents JR-SR
  • Fall
16
Barely Modern: Aesthetics and Philosophies of Disillusionment FR-SR
  • Spring
12, 16
Botany: Plants and People FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Chekhov, Stanislavski, and Modern Drama FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
12
Chinese - First Year I FR-SR
  • Fall
4
Chinese - First Year II FR-SR
  • Winter
4
Chinese - First Year III FR-SR
  • Spring
4
Cityscapes SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Crime and Punishment (online) FR-SR
  • Summer
12
Culture as History FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
8
Dangerous Ladies in Changing Times: An Investigation of Significant Women of American Identity in the 20th Century FR-SR
  • Summer
8
Earth Dynamics: People, Place, Technology, and History FR-SO
  • Winter
16
Europe Since 1500 FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 6, 8
Feminist Jurisprudence SO-SR
  • Spring
16
Financial Heartland FR-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Foundations of Washington State's Governance System JR-SR
  • Fall
4
Framing Your Work: Projects in History, Art and the Humanities JR-SR
  • Spring
16
From Black Liberation to Solidarity Economics: Social Movements in the Neoliberal Era FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Fundraising for an Equitable Future FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Gateways for Incarcerated Youth SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
God(s): An Inquiry SO-SR
  • Winter
16
Greece and Italy: An Artistic and Literary Odyssey SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
History of Agriculture in Washington State (1880-1980) JR-SR
  • Winter
4
Images of Japan: Arts, Literature, and Cinema FR-SR
  • Spring
12, 16
Imagined Futures: Indigenous Speculative Fiction FR-SR
  • Spring
4
Immigration and American Culture FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Independent Readings in the French Revolution FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 6, 8
Introduction to European Opera FR-SR
  • Summer
2, 4
Inventing the Citizen: The History of Political Action and its Limits SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Latin: An Intensive Introduction FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 8
Mapping Histories Through Writing FR-SR
  • Winter
4
Native Pathways Program: Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development (Olympia Hybrid) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
9
Native Pathways Program: Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development (Olympia) JR-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development (Peninsula) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development (Quinault) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Rebuilding Native Nations: Strategies for Governance and Development (Tacoma) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Olympia, Tacoma, Seattle, Portland: Researching Neoliberalism in Local Neighborhoods FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 8, 12, 16
On Liking SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
12, 16
Pacific Northwest and U.S. History: Society, Environment, and Change FR-SR
  • Summer
6
Photography from Above FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Political Economy and Social Movements FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Power in American Society SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Seeds of Change: Food, Culture, and Work FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Slavic and Celtic Folklore: Heroic, Spiritual, Practical FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Student-Originated Studies: Culture, Community, and Disability SO-SR
  • Winter
16
Student-Originated Studies: how to do things with words JR-SR
  • Spring
16
Student-Originated Studies: Social Sciences, History, Multiculturalism, Diversity SO-SR
  • Winter
16
Survival of Indigenous Art FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12, 16
The Evolution of Constitutional Law Beyond the 20th Century FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
The Making of Global Capitalism, 1500–1914 JR-SR
  • Winter
16
The Nature and Culture of Natural History FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Understanding Israel in the Jewish Community FR-SR
  • Summer
4, 8
Understanding the Economic Crisis: Vanishing Jobs, Shrinking Middle Class FR-SR
  • Summer
4
Walking to Santiago de Compostela FR-SR
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
With Liberty and Justice for Whom? JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Planned offerings for 2018–19
Class Standing Quarters Offered Credits
A People's Geography of American Empire SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Adornment: Tradition, Innovation, and Power FR-SO
  • Fall
16
Africa Is Not a Country FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Asian/American: Japanese Americans in the Pacific Northwest SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Asian/American: Pop Culture Crosscurrents FR-SR
  • Spring
16
Botany: Plants and People FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Cities and Suburbs: Advocacy and Writing for Social and Ecological Justice SO-SR
  • Fall
8
Dangerous Readings FR
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Ecological Agriculture: The Science, Justice, and Policy of Food Systems SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Education and Empowerment: Understanding Culture and Qualitative Research JR-SR
  • Spring
16
Epic Journeys: From Homer to Dante SO-SR
  • Spring
16
European Ethnobotany in Historical Context FR-SO
  • Spring
16
Flight of the Firebird: What Ignites Russia's Imagination in Literature and Culture SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Future History: Indigenous Speculative Fiction FR-SR
  • Fall
4
Gateways for Incarcerated Youth: Critical Literacy and Critical Numeracy SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Global/Local Realities and Alternative Visions JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Housing and Community Development SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
8
Language and Power in Indigenous Communities FR-SO
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Native Pathways Program: Foundations for Sustainable Tribal Nations (Olympia) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Foundations for Sustainable Tribal Nations (Peninsula) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Foundations for Sustainable Tribal Nations (Quinault) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Native Pathways Program: Foundations for Sustainable Tribal Nations (Tacoma) JR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
Political Economy of Public Education: History and Philosophy SO-SR
  • Winter
16
Teaching through Performance FR-SO
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Teachings of the Tree People: American Indian Culture FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
The Age of Irony: U.S. History in the 20th Century FR-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
12
The Making of Global Capitalism, 1500-1914 JR-SR
  • Winter
16
The Spanish-Speaking World: Cultural Crossings SO-SR
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Spring
16
Theory and Practice of Painting SO-SR
  • Fall
16
Unmasking the Material World: Discovering Objects as Stories FR-SO
  • Fall
  • Winter
16
Who Gets What?: Political Economy of Race, Class and Gender FR-SO
  • Fall
16
Writing for Your Life FR-SR
  • Fall
16
Writing the South FR-SR
  • Spring
16