History, Philosophy, Religion, and Social Sciences

Our offerings span the breadth of human experience past and present, reflecting the call of our age for cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and humanistic approaches to individual self-awareness, personal development, and an understanding of the world.

Amy Foster, Department Head

Sample Courses

United States History

This course is a chronological survey attentive to the political, economic, cultural, social, and constitutional developments by which the United States achieved independence, became a nation, and grew into a world power.

Women's Studies in a Global Perspective

This course engages students in an examination of historical conditions, cultural norms, and social and economic institutions that define women’s status and identity across the globe. Looking at the history of patriarchy and feminist movements, students gain an understanding of the historical forces that shape women today. The course examines how women’s experiences reflect larger social issues, the ways in which activism seeks to address the obstacles women face, and how feminist movements strive to empower women.

Peace and Justice

This course explores the view of various religious traditions and key religious leaders on the important themes of peace and justice. Drawing on some of the central components of religious thought – compassion, neighborly love, repairing the world – the course examines contemporary topics such as poverty, human rights, racial justice, gender equity, peace and non-violence, and environmental sustainability and justice. Utilizing a variety of religious perspectives, students learn basic doctrines from each of the religions to aid in understanding, assessing, and developing solutions for the issues studied.


This course examines basic economic concepts and macroeconomic theory, and serves as the department’s introduction to the field of economics. Students begin by studying the fundamental concepts of scarcity, opportunity cost, production possibilities curves, and supply and demand. They then focus on the U.S. national economy and its links to the global economy by using a variety of measures of economic performance.

Introduction to Sociology

This course introduces students to the field of sociology, the scientific study of society, using team-based and service-learning approaches. The course explores the interaction of the individual and society, the recognition and explanation of social patterns, the causes and effects of social inequality, and social change. Students work in teams, in class and in local community organizations, to apply the theories and methodologies they learn, and use their field experience to develop a culminating term project.