RELEVANCE OF HISTORICAL STUDIES IN TODAY’S WORLD

RELEVANCE OF HISTORICAL STUDIES IN TODAY’S WORLD

Geography, History

RELEVANCE OF HISTORICAL STUDIES IN TODAY’S WORLD

“Historical knowledge is no more and no less than carefully and critically constructed collective memory.” –

William H. MacNeill, former president of the American Historical Association

 

Let us start with the basic and boring question: What is History and what is the relevance of studying the subject? One may say that history is the record of the past, while others will argue that history maps human evolution. But how is it relevant even today? Studying history enables us to comprehend the relationship between previous events and their impact on the present state of affairs. By studying historical lessons, we get insights into our origins and identity, while also acquiring the capacity to prevent errors and forge better trajectories for our communities. From the way we speak to the dress we wear everything is conditioned by our society and its answer is hidden in our past. History sheds light on the most important issues we face today. Take the idea of race: The writer James Baldwin wondered, in 1965, why we see people as black and white. Racism is not natural, but most people take it for granted; they do not recognize that their ideas about race were shaped by history. As Baldwin observed, “The great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us, are unconsciously controlled by it in many ways, and history is present in all that we do. It could scarcely be otherwise since it is to history that we owe our frames of reference, our identities, and our aspirations.” Today, the subject has become very inclusive and interesting. It refrains from writing only the history of kings and wars. Rather now everything and all is a part of historical studies. We learn histories of dance, sports, food and painting.

 

Every time a student opts for history as his/her honours Major, he/she faces innumerable questions from his/her peers regarding the job prospect of pursuing the same. The parents refrain from encouraging their children to take up history as they feel that the subject is not suitable for providing their children with a prospective future. Several school students, passionate about knowing the past, abstain from taking up History thinking the subject is irrelevant to the job market. In the present scenario, such conceptions are archaic and erroneous since the study of history plays an important part in creating the intellectual development of a student and enhances his/her career skills for research, writing, argumentation, and documentation. A student with a History Major possesses a critical outlook which makes him/her fit for several jobs.  It should be noted here that not all History Majors go on to be professional historians. Instead, many pursue careers as journalists, editors, writers, public servants, social activists, etc.

The Objective of the Department of History, Adamas University, Kolkata is to enlighten history lovers regarding the array of job opportunities which an honours degree in History can provide them. They can now learn about the historical past without worrying about their professional future. Here we train our students through various workshops where various eminent personalities from myriad professional fields illuminate the students about the prospect of a History Major. By the conclusion these sessions, students get insight into other career paths for History Majors outside the traditional field of education.

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