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Why Study History?

A searching, open-ended, and skeptical spirit of inquiry animates the contemporary historical profession and shapes both teaching and research. The goal of history education goes beyond the desire to impart to students a fixed body of historical knowledge. By its very nature, historical knowledge on any given subject is never fixed, but rather open to continuing acts of discovery and redefinition. This reflects not simply the process of unearthing previously hidden historical evidence, but also the fact that historians are constantly reexamining our understanding of what constitutes such evidence and asking new questions of it.  The study of history seeks to develop the habits of historical thinking that students can use throughout their lives and is therefore of benefit to students regardless of their future career plans. The ability to collect, analyze, and present the evidence behind a persuasive argument, whether verbally or in writing, is recognized as an essential skill in law, business, and diplomacy – and, indeed, in life itself. 

Historians at UC Merced are passionately curious about the world of the past.  We study a wide range of times and places, and ask many different questions, but all of us place local histories in dialogue with wider global ones.   In our ongoing dialogue with the past as scholars and teachers, we  explore how artifacts, objects, and writings open doors to understanding thoughts, beliefs and practices, as well as the multiple shifting  power relations of past societies.  We look forward to sharing our fascination with the past and the pleasure of studying it with you. 

For more information on specific careers for history majors, please click on this link: