Professor John Merriman (Charles Seymour Professor of History, Yale University), "Massacre: The Life and Death of the Paris Commune"
Thursday, November 6, 2014
History is the systematic examination of the significant events, people, and ideas that have shaped human civilization. The study of history humanizes us by multiplying the range of experiences in which we share. It civilizes us by demonstrating how institutions and ideals, past and present, have developed; at the same time it offers critiques of those institutions and ideals. Finally, the study of history liberates us by freeing us from a narrow view of time and place. It offers a frame of reference for making critical judgments about the present and the future.
History trains our critical faculties to arrive at valid conclusions based on all available sources of information. The historical way of knowing is not narrow or technical. It is applicable to a broad range of human activities from business (case studies) to health (medical case histories). Historical method is a formal but very general means of discovery and insight with nearly universal application.
The department of history enthusiastically supports and contributes to Xavier University's commitment to being an institution for which the intellectual pursuit of the truth, enriched by value-oriented teaching and active scholarship, is the highest priority.
The history faculty engages in research and is active in a wide array of professional and civic organizations. It is, however, first and foremost a teaching faculty. The faculty is readily available to students during regularly scheduled office hours. Students are encouraged to participate in history-related activities outside the classroom. Classes are small, and students and faculty get to know each other on an individual basis.