History and Philosophy are disciplines at the core of a well rounded, liberal arts education. The department of History and Philosophy boasts a number of programs and a strong, committed faculty. Though the two disciplines share a department, they are relatively autonomous; thus, the department is divided into two sections - the History Section and the Philosophy Section - that have their own set of advisors, programs, and requirements.
Our mission is to increase historical knowledge and understanding and to prepare our students for lives of learning, citizenship, and professional success. In addition to a history major and minor, we offer a wide variety of history and social studies programs to prepare students for careers as teachers at the middle and high school level of history, social studies, political science, economics, and geography. Finally we oversee an interdisciplinary minor program in religious studies, as well as ones which focus on various regions of the world: Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.
The expertise of our eighteen professors and four full-time lecturers enables us to offer courses covering a broad range of historical topics every semester. We regularly offer classes on the history of Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Latin America, the United States, and Canada, as well as courses in African-American and Native American history, women's history, and LGBT history. Course offerings reflect faculty expertise in military history, social and intellectual history, the history of religion, and state and local history. We make these classes available in a variety of formats, including online, weekend, one week, evening, and travel classes.
We limit enrollment to 25 or 33 students in our upper-level undergraduate classes and 15 students in our graduate classes. Professors are also available outside of the classroom for everything from advice on research to the letters of recommendation so important to their future success. These contacts often continue long after students graduate.
Philosophy is unique among academic disciplines in the scope of its subject matter and in the truly fundamental importance of the skills it teaches. Philosophy has always had as part of its subject matter the deepest questions we ask as human beings. These are questions such as, "What is the nature of knowledge?" and "Can there be a rational argument for the existence of God?" In addition to pursuing these traditional questions, philosophers seek to clarify and evaluate the deep assumptions underlying other, more specialized fields of study, including psychology, history, and political science, as well as the natural sciences.
For more than two thousand years it has been one of the central tasks of philosophy to identify the forms of correct, as well as incorrect, reasoning, to instill the former in its students, and to equip them to recognize and avoid the latter. Though students may refine their communication and reasoning skills while pursuing other disciplines, it is only in philosophy that these skills hold a central place in the teaching and learning process itself. Because the skills developed in the study of philosophy are applicable to any profession, students who want to specialize in another field often choose a minor in philosophy to complement their major.
The Philosophy Section at Eastern is characterized by methodological pluralism. Our faculty members apply an uncommonly wide assortment of philosophical methods—e.g., analytic, continental, Chinese—to fundamental questions of human concern. A major commitment of the Philosophy faculty at Eastern is attention to problems of social justice in an increasingly globalized world. The critical examination of injustice and inequality related to gender, race, class, sexuality, immigration, food production and consumption, and climate change and the global environment are among the research and teaching specializations of the Philosophy faculty at Eastern.