This is content from the Catalog 2019–2020 back issue. Please visit the current catalog for current information.

Department Chair: Jeffrey Smith, Ph.D.
Email: smith808@hawaii.edu

Social Sciences Division Office :
Office: University Classroom Building (UCB), Room 308
Tel: (808) 932-7100

Website: https://hilo.hawaii.edu/depts/history/

Professor Emeritus:

  • Sandra Wagner-Wright, Ph.D.


Associate Professors:

Affiliate Faculty:

  • Gary Y. Okihiro, Ph.D.

The History faculty provides students with an understanding of the past and its application to the present. The curriculum leading to the Bachelor of Arts in History is designed to develop broad historical knowledge and the skills in data analysis and communication of critical importance in all professional endeavors:

  1. The History major provides students with a basic knowledge of history in the United States, Europe, East Asia, Hawaiʻi, and the Pacific Islands; and with a basic knowledge of historiography.
  2. The History major assists students in the development of their ability to communicate clearly, both orally and in writing, and in the development of their ability to gather, process, and analyze information from various sources, including primary and secondary source material found in print and Internet formats.
  3. The History major provides students with the opportunity to apply their discipline-based skills and knowledge in a capstone experience.

The Department’s full-time faculty members each cover one of the five discipline-based specialties in addition to working with students in research and capstone courses. The History major requires a total of 36 upper-division credit hours. The Department also offers a minor requiring 15 credits.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students earning the BA in History will:

  1. Display knowledge of fundamental themes and narratives in history. This implies the ability to:

    • Discuss diverse time periods, peoples, situations, and societies;
    • Perceive past events and issues in an appropriate historical context;
    • Comprehend the interplay of change and continuity;
    • Grasp the complexity of historical causation;
    • Appreciate the nature of judgments about the past;
    • Read critically to differentiate fact and conjecture, evidence and assertion, and thereby to frame useful questions.
  2. Conduct original historical research. This implies the ability to:

    • Design analytical and historiographically significant research questions;
    • Research and analyze historical evidence from both primary and secondary sources;
    • Construct an interpretation that answers the questions posed in the project;
    • Situate the interpretation in the historiography of the topic being analyzed.
  3. Communicate historical knowledge and explanations to others. This implies the ability to:

    • Present a historical interpretation in a well-organized, readable, and logical manner;
    • Follow proper rules of grammar and syntax, and accepted style of the profession (Chicago Manual of Style).

Prospects for History Graduates

History graduates have an excellent foundation for any profession and are actively engaged in the following career paths: education at all levels; preservation and interpretation at museums and historic sites; the National Park Service, civilian historians of the armed forces and government agencies; the legal professions; journalism; film and documentary media; information management; archives and records management; librarianship and information technology; and business careers such as banking, insurance, marketing, and public relations.

Special Aspects of the History Program

History students are eligible for membership in Alpha Beta Omicron chapter of Phi Alpha Theta (the national history honor society). Student members of this society are eligible to present papers at the regional PAT conference and, in past years, have received top honors for outstanding undergraduate writing. Through the History Club students have participated in community activities such as Toys for Tots and food bank drives, excursions to historic sites, and film nights. Students are also able to use the History Resource Room with its library, computers, and study facilities.

Contributions to the General Education Program

The study of History applies directly to important goals of UH Hilo’s General Education program. The Department is committed to offering high quality, lower-division courses directly applicable to General Education requirements. HIST 151 World History to 1500 (3) and HIST 152 World History since 1500 (3) may be applied to the Area Requirement in Social Sciences or to the World Cultures Requirement, but the same course cannot satisfy both requirements.