Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the History and Literature major, students will have developed the analytical and methodological skills to do research that combines and crosses the fields of literature and history, and not simply to do research in one of the fields. Majors will be able to:

  1. Discuss, analyze and engage with professional works of literary analysis and historical analysis
    • Identify, articulate, and assess historical arguments
    • Identify the scholarly significance of such arguments, including the contribution they seek to make to the field and the methodologies they use
    • Identify, articulate and interpret literary techniques
    • Engage with relevant literary approaches
  2. Execute and defend a significant independent research project that combines the techniques of historical and literary study:
    • Formulate a significant research topic
    • Develop and pursue one or more methodologies appropriate to the research topic
    • Create a meaningful exchange or tie between the two disciplines of history and literature
    • Develop and engage with primary and secondary source literature appropriate to the topic
    • Produce a coherent argument supported by evidence
    • Adhere to scholarly conventions in the appropriate field and practice ethical and responsible scholarship, including proper and thorough citation following the conventions of both literary and historical scholarship
    • Independently execute a systematic research project with the support of an advisor
    • Reflect critically on work done and respond appropriately to feedback
  3. Communicate Work Done
    • Write a clear and coherent document that is substantially longer than a traditional term paper or project and produced in a style and format suitable to the conventions appropriate to the approach
    • Orally present, discuss and defend work done

The primary assessment tool for learning in the major at Reed and the level of student achievement in the major area is the senior thesis; the junior qualifying examination, which assesses a student's readiness for thesis, provides a second assessment tool.  See more information on the Junior Qualifying Exam in History and Literature.