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March 29, 2001 Studying history is often underestimated here






by Barbara Black

The fact that his department has seen a decline in enrolment in recent years doesn’t surprise Professor Stephen Scheinberg, though he wishes it were otherwise.

“At a university like Concordia, where many students are in the first generation of their families to go to university, it’s not seen as a priority,” he said. “At the big elite universities like Yale, it’s different. Those students understand the depth that studying history provides.”

However, as chair of the History Department, Scheinberg is looking forward to an increase in enrolment as the general education requirement is introduced over the next few years. This will require new undergraduates in Arts and Science to choose from a 12-credit core of courses.

Students in the humanities will have a better opportunity than ever to sample history courses, and Scheinberg is sure they’ll respond. “We’ll get to display our wares,” he said.

About half the students taking History courses at Concordia are in History programs, while the other half are taking the courses as electives. The department is grounded in conventional, broadly-based survey courses, but specialized courses have also proved highly popular.

Professor Frank Chalk is an internationally acknowledged scholar in genocide studies, and Professor Graeme Decarie, a well-known social historian of Quebec and Canada, has developed a course on Canadian military history.

Members of the History Department have been active in the new Irish Studies program, and there are plans to develop an Asian studies core. Professor Frederick Bode will introduce a course next year that will look at how film has affected our understanding of history.