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History

Do you get lost in stories about the past? Are you that person who asks “how did things get to be the way they are?” If so, History may be the major for you.

Degrees Offered

  • BA in History
  • Minor in History

About History

At Converse, we believe that the study of History is central to understanding the human experience. We delve into the things that motivated people in the past: their passions, their faiths, their beliefs about how societies ought to be governed. Whether we’re looking at the effects of the Black Death on Medieval Europe, the role that American women have played in shaping social welfare policy, or the activism of African Americans in the Civil Rights Movement, we uncover the stories of real people making complex choices in an ever changing world. By learning what worked–and what didn’t work–in the past, we can learn from the mistakes of past generations, see patterns that will affect our future, and gain the knowledge and skills to chart the course to a better future.

Interactive, immersive, and exciting, Converse’s History program provides a strong academic foundation while preparing you for a broad range of careers.

  • Take special topics courses like The History of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the Civil Rights Movement, the History of Disease, Women’s Lives in Africa and Asia, or Filling Your Plate: Food in American History.
  • Participate in “Reacting to the Past” classroom simulations
  • Join Converse Model Programs competitive debate teams
  • Take a study-travel course like The History of the American West or The British Empire in the Caribbean
  • Spend a semester in a foreign country such as Scotland, Qatar or Morocco
  • Gain practical skills and knowledge through internships and field experiences at sites like Historic Deerfield, the Regional Museum of History, the American Independence Museum and the South Carolina Historical Society

HistoryUndergraduate Research

Converse College leads the State in the number of student/faculty research projects funded by the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Consortium. Each student completes a research paper in her senior year with the assistance of a faculty member. Several students have won SCICU Summer Research grants. Converse encourages students to present their research at scholarly conferences.

Working independently or side-by-side with faculty mentors, Converse students have researched and presented topics including:

  • A history of one of Spartanburg’s oldest African American neighborhoods. Students in the African-American History course conducted this work as a team. The research became the basis of two chapters in South of Main published by the Hub City Writers Project, which won an IPPY award, a prestigious international award for the best books by independent publishers.
  • The rage of yellow fever in the South in 1817, a study that received the Margaret C. Watson Award for the best undergraduate paper in South Carolina history.
  • “Living in a Time of Transformation: Spartanburg Women in the Twentieth Century,” a student oral history project and multi-media exhibit.
  • Women’s lives as depicted in women’s magazines during World War II
  • A new interpretation of witchcraft trials in seventeenth century England
  • Confederates who fled to Brazil to reestablish a Southern plantation society after the Civil War
  • The legal status of interracial relationships and mixed race children in the antebellum South

International Model NATO and Model Arab League

PoliticsConverse is the nation’s top Model Programs diplomatic simulation team, winning the top-ranked distinction for more than 20 consecutive years.  Our teams have bested Harvard University, the US Military Academy, University of Cairo, and European universities in Britain, France, Italy, and Belgium. Our two programs, Model NATO and International Model Arab League, are competitive simulations in which students write, debate, and pass resolutions on issues of international concern. Annually for both Model Arab League and International Model NATO the Converse delegation is the guest at the Embassy of the country represented that year.  But our students aren’t just participants, they are internationally-recognized leaders:

Converse students form the permanent secretariat of International Model NATO, filling the positions of secretary-general, chief of staff and all committee chairs.
Converse hosts the Southeast University Model Arab States conference annually on campus.
More than 20 Converse delegates have been awarded full or partially funded study/travel trips to the Middle East and other areas of the globe. Converse graduates, like Holly Jordan ‘06, go on to start Model delegations at other schools.

Learn more about Model NATO and Model Arab League.

Internships

Few things enhance the value of a college education like real-world experience gained in an internship. History majors at Converse have enjoyed highly desirable internships at such national sites as:

  • Historic Deerfield
  • Regional Museum of History
  • American Independence Museum
  • South Carolina Historical Society

Study Travel

The department encourages study-travel opportunities and works to provide experiences for students, especially during our January Term and the summer. Previous study-travel courses include:

  • The History of the American West
  • The British Empire in the Caribbean
  • The American Revolution in the South Carolina Backcountry

History CostumesIn addition to our long-established London Term study-travel trip, you can also study abroad at University of Glasgow and National Council for US-Arab Relations Language Study in Morocco. In recent years, the department has assisted with student travel opportunities to conferences in Dubai, Iceland, Serbia and Uganda.

Learn more about travel opportunities at Converse.

Class Excursions

Students in Dr. Walker’s January term class, American Revolution in the Southern Backcountry, do more than just read about the past. They learn at the sites where the historic events took place! Pictured at right, students have just finished practicing an eighteenth century militia drill.

Read why this January term class is a favorite of both students and their professor!

We offer the full range of courses in American, European and non-Western history. Some individuals connect a major or minor in history with majors or minors in politics, English, religion, music, art history, science, various areas of education, accounting, business and many other fields of study.

Experiential Learning

One of the department’s primary goals is to prepare students for leadership. We put students in situations to develop their analytical, speaking, writing and administrative skills. Most classes are highly interactive seminars that demand student engagement. Other courses incorporate ‘Reacting to the Past’ role plays. Just a few examples include courses in which student teams:

  • researched and conducted the Salem witch trials
  • reenacted the experiences of the Kentucky State Legislature in 1861, as they debated whether to secede from the Union debated the merits of independence from Britain
  • debated the merits of independence from Britain in 1776 New York
  • role-played the actions of Civil Rights activists in 1963 Alabama
  • reenacted watershed 19th century European battles.

Sample CourHistory Classroomses

  • History Goes to the Movies
  • The History of Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
  • The Civil Rights Movement
  • The History of Disease
  • Women’s Lives in Africa and Asia
  • Filling Your Plate: Food in American History
  • The Vietnam Experience
  • Modern Germany

For full course requirements, see the academic catalog.

What are common careers in History?

IBM employs more than 1300 history majors. Bank of America employs 840. The accounting and consulting firm PwC employs over 1,000. And that’s just the history majors who are members of LinkedIn, the business networking site. Your history degree will make you useful just about anywhere, but here are a few favorites:

  • Non-profit administrator
  • International affairs
  • Living history interpreter
  • Archivist
  • College professor
  • History teacher
  • Museum curator

What are History alumnae doing?

Grad Schools

More than 70% of history majors pursue graduate study in fields such as history, political science, historical preservation, religion, public administration, public relations, business, education, art history and library science.

Our graduates gain admittance to places like:

  • Princeton University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Boston University
  • Duke University
  • Emory University
  • Georgetown University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Queens University (Belfast, Northern Ireland)
  • National University of Singapore
  • National University of Ireland

Jobs

Our History graduates forge successful careers in a variety of positions ranging from:

  • Middle East analyst for the Congressional Research Office
  • U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • U.S. State Department
  • FBI
  • Executive Office of the White House
  • Policy analysts
  • Professors
  • Attorneys
  • International development officers
  • Hospital Chaplain

History Stories