What Do Historians Do?

History is more than just knowing what happened in the past. It is about asking good questions that address fundamental aspects of human life, such as race relations, gender expression, political revolution, environmental change, and religious interaction.

Critical Thinking & Research

Starting with robust historical questions, historians seek answers through the rigorous examination of evidence. While we emphasize written documents, historical evidence can take many forms. Oral histories, photographs, art, archaeology, ArcGIS maps, and pop culture ephemera can all show that things are more complicated than they first appear.

Capital building


Sharing our findings is just as important as careful research. Some historians construct written narratives that help us communicate the connections between events. Others build museum exhibits, create digital projects, manage cultural resources, and create materials for the public. Historians also archive materials, produce documentaries, and teach at all levels of education.

repeat photography ppl 2018
Gerakios at Avenir 1 copy

Our Values

At CSU, we believe that historians must understand the perspective of people from other time periods and places. To do this, we resist imposing our own assumptions, ideologies, and biases on others. At the same time, we have a deep awareness of how nostalgia and memory shape how people see, and sometimes distort, the past.

Opportunities at CSU

The History Department at CSU offers students the opportunity to study the past from a variety of perspectives. The department works with Environmental History, Public History, Asian History, and the History of the US West. The department has strong links to the Public Lands History Center and is the home of the Religious Studies Interdisciplinary Minor.

sharing stories and objects at history harvest 2018