History is the connectedness of historical events and human experiences.
By examining the causes, contexts, and chronologies of events, you’ll gain an understanding of the nature of continuity and change in human experiences. Contemporary issues, ideas, and relationships take on new meaning when they are explored from historical perspectives.
As historians, we are guided in our study by a set of questions that are applicable across time and place:
- Why and how does change occur over time?
- How do the local, national, and global contexts affect particular groups of people and influence events?
- What causes specific events to occur (and when does something that happens prior to such an event have no causal link to it)?
The ability to research and answer such questions imparts vital skills for career paths both in teaching (Plan II) and in the broad spectrum of occupations our graduates have undertaken.
Learn More about the Luther College History Department
Over the lifetime of the Luther College History Department, several donors have funded endowed scholarships that the departments awards to deserving students each year. Please note that some awards require an application.
Robert H. Davis History Scholarship
Awarded to entering first year students of high academic promise who intend to major in history.
Awards are based on the student’s involvement in historical activities and completion of an essay describing why the student wishes to pursue a major in history.
The application period for the 2023-2024 academic year closed on March 15, 2023.
This award is not renewable.
This award is available to first-year students who are enrolled full-time and intend to pursue a major in history.
Jodene Evans History Scholarship
Established by Jodene Evans ’84, Collections Manager of the State Historical Society of Iowa, this scholarship is awarded to an upper class student majoring in history, with preference given to individuals interested in pursuing careers in museum studies or decorative arts.
Charles Norby Scholarship
Awarded to an outstanding history student. Student must be enrolled in the upcoming year to receive this award. This scholarship is decided through an application process. (See Haatvedt and Norby Scholarships Application Information for more details.)
Ida and Olaf Fosso Prize
Awarded to the best student senior project on any topic in the History Department.
At the end of each school year, the History Department confers the Fosso Award on the best research paper completed in history at Luther College. The award includes a payment ranging from 250 to 300 dollars. To be eligible for the Fosso Award, you must send three copies of your paper to the History Department Chair (now Professor Robert Christman) with a message that you are submitting these papers for the prize. All History 490 students will receive an announcement of the deadline for submission in April of your graduation year.
Haatvedt and Norby Scholarships Application Information
Each year the History Department awards scholarships to two outstanding history students from a pool of applicants.
Applications for the Haatvedt and Norby Scholarships should be made separately, although students who are eligible for both scholarships may send in a single application, noting in their cover letter the desire to be considered for both awards.
Who is eligible?
Applicants for both awards must plan to return to Luther for the year following the date of application. All history majors, who will return as seniors, with a minimum 3.5 GPA in their history courses, are encouraged to apply for the Haatvedt Scholarship. All history students, with a minimum 3.5 GPA in their history courses, are encouraged to apply for the Norby Scholarship. Students should have completed a minimum of twelve credits of history coursework at Luther at the time of application.
What do I need to do?
Please submit a cover letter and resume. Please use this as an opportunity to develop a cover letter and resume appropriate for a job application. In your future, you will tailor your cover letters to the specific job or award application you are submitting them to. For these particular awards, please reflect on what you’ve achieved thus far in your study of history and how you plan to use your history education in the future.
We strongly recommend you visit the Career Center and workshop your application there. You are also encouraged to ask your academic advisor or a member of the history faculty for their input on your application.
When is it due?
Applications were due as email attachments on March 1 at 5:00 p.m. and the application period is currently closed.
Phi Alpha Theta is an international honor society for history. The Lambda Omega Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta was chartered at Luther college in 1966. The membership is comprised of students and professors elected to membership on the basis of excellence in the study or writing of history. The society seeks to bring students, teachers, and writers of history together both intellectually and socially through participation in campus, regional, and national activities.
Learn more about the organization, Phi Alpha Theta website.
Koren is home to classrooms and offices for the education, history, political science, sociology, anthropology, Africana studies, and social work departments.
The Study of History Defined
Expectations for student learning in the Luther College history department derive from our understanding of the discipline of history as defined by the American Historical Association, the largest professional organization for historians in the United States:
History is an encompassing discipline. Its essence is in the connectedness of historical events and human experiences. By examining the causes, contexts, and chronologies of events, one gains an understanding of the nature of continuity and change in human experiences. Contemporary issues, ideas, and relationships take on new meaning when they are explored from historical perspectives.
Thus as historians, we can investigate any element of the past we choose, but we are guided in our study by a set of questions that are applicable across time and place: why and how does change occur over time? How do the local, national, and global contexts affect particular groups of people and influence events? What causes specific events to occur (and when does something that happens prior to such an event have no causal link to it)?
Students in our courses will acquire a breadth (geographical and chronological) and depth of knowledge of particular landmarks of human history and an understanding of their significance;
- Students will be trained to recognize and appreciated the diversity of people and societies, both historically and cross-culturally;
- Students will learn to use historical methodology, the means by which historians execute their research, with competence and creativity;
- Students will be taught to explore the intersection of the discipline of History with other academic disciplines.
Along with the content of the courses, the study of history at Luther College teaches students the following skills – skills relevant to many occupations and careers. Students will:
- develop the ability to conduct sustained historical research
- analyze a variety of sources critically and synthesize information
- identify the limitations of findings and develop questions for further inquiry
- construct arguments and critique the arguments of others;
to write with fluency, clarity, and coherence
- read, comprehend, and appreciate various types of texts, literature, and material culture
- speak confidently and coherently in both formal and informal settings;
to listen with objectivity and empathy to our sources;
to work productively in a collaborative environment.
In the study of history, students encounter many scenarios and situations in which individuals and groups made decisions that significantly impacted the lives of others. As part of the development of the whole person, we consider such decisions in a way that encourages students to reflect upon diverse human values with a full appreciation of the context and traditions that shape them.
Learning Goals as applied to Department Courses
Although the history department anticipates that all of its courses will include each of these learning goals, we fully recognize that certain courses will emphasize some over others. As a general rule of thumb:
- 100 and 200 level courses will be geared toward the study of history for students early in the program and for General Studies credit and will be accessible to all students regardless of year or major
- 100 level courses will introduce the progression of events of the past over a long period of time, simultaneously introducing the vocabulary of historians and how to approach and read primary sources. Work on concepts of causation will be integral to writing in such courses. Reading will include general surveys of the subject matter and supplemental materials such as document or article anthologies
- 200 level courses will be more narrowly focused in time or place, and they will be based primarily on historical monographs with increased use of primary sources. Writing will focus on critical analysis of secondary and/or primary sources
- 300 level courses will entail the guided study of subject matter that is focused in time, place, and/or topic. It will include significant work with primary sources and the reading and critical analysis of historical monographs. Writing will normally include a research paper or similar product based on both primary and secondary sources
- 400 level courses will focus on independent research which synthesizes ideas based on primary sources, makes judgments about sources and historical interpretations, and produces original research that is presented to classmates for review in an oral and/or written form
Explore the complex world of ancient Greece and Rome through Luther’s classical studies minor. You’ll tackle some of the most fundamental problems of human existence. Studying the classical world will expand your intellectual toolkit. Gain unique linguistic, literary, and historical skills to address modern-day problems.