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"Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." —George Orwell
History is, along with philosophy and mathematics, one of the oldest academic disciplines still practiced today. History and astronomy are the only contemporary disciplines with their own Greek Muses. (Ours is Clio.)
At Metropolitan State, history is taught in ways that are both fascinating and important to everyone. Our courses tend to balance the actions of leaders and elites with stories of the grassroots movements that have challenged those elites and advanced popular agendas. Survey courses are offered in American history and world history, similar to those applied by history departments at many colleges and universities. However, a more distinctive feature of this curriculum is the large number of courses focusing on more specific topics, ranging from History of the Holocaust to The Vietnam War to Making Revolutions. Many courses in the Metropolitan State history program offer opportunities for students to dig into documents and other archival material, "getting their hands dirty," as it were, like professional historians do, and learning to interpret evidence.
The faculty is comprised of both resident and community faculty members. They are both highly-experienced teachers and distinguished scholars.
The study of history helps students to develop skills, such as reading comprehension, analysis, cross-cultural comparison and written argumentation that are useful in a range of careers and avocations. The practice of law, political activity, policy studies, library science, and museum work are careers that commonly follow from a collegiate study of history. However, the usefulness of historical study is far greater than that of training individuals for a small number of occupations. All citizens—of this country and of the world—have good reason to learn history and to learn about the nature of history. In all classes, students come to see that, as both the powerful and the powerless have learned over and over, history is not a perfectly objective chronicle of the past, but rather an interpretation of that past. It is always partial. It can be no other way. Still, these interpretations sometimes appear merely to tell the simple truth—"just the facts." Perhaps this illusion of objectivity is the source of history's power; perhaps this is why so many have concluded that so much is at stake in the question of who gets to write history and how. Everyone is a part of history, and in that sense, understand themselves only to the extent that the tellers of history allow them to do so. At the same time, historical education broadens students' knowledge and perspective, as they learn about people and places far removed from their own experiences. A goal in history classes is to empower students to turn a discerning eye on the stories about the past that are presented as the simple truth, and maybe to make some history of their own.