Friday, February 28, 2014

History Major Harrison Leone Writes from Prague

Before coming to Prague, one of the many refrains I heard was what a historical place it was. When told this, I would smile and nod and express excitement, thinking "of course it’s historical! It’s been a city for a thousand years!" Through my first two weeks in the city of a hundred spires, I can safely say that I was vastly underestimating the explosion of history that lives on every street corner.

With my personal interest in 20th century history, the Cold War to be specific, Prague seemed to be a natural choice to study abroad and has not disappointed. Whether it’s the Museum of Communism or the memorial to the victims of the Communist regime, evidence of the city’s troubled recent history is everywhere. Even in the tourist shops, some of which are around the corner from the memorial, one can purchase hats, shorts, or t-shirts stamped with the hammer and sickle.

But what is really amazing about the city is that it truly has a wealth of history from every one of the eras since its founding. On a single subway line, you can stop and see a Romanesque rotunda from the 10th century, continue on to the city center with its wealth of Baroque merchant houses and churches, and finally get off outside the city in Soviet Era block apartments. The city truly has something for anyone with even a modicum of interest in the past.
For a lover of medieval history in particular, Prague would be an absolute delight. The city reached its zenith under the rule of Charles IV, the Holy Roman Emperor who made Prague his capital city. The city was flush with imperial power and wealth and developed into an international market place. Some of the city’s best known and most beloved are from this era. Charles Bridge, St. Vitus Cathedral and Old Town Square, complete with Gothic pointed arches and elaborate religious imagery, attract millions of tourists a year.

I challenge anyone to visit Prague and not be moved by the centuries of human history that is visible before them. My experience in Prague has reaffirmed my belief that anyone who condemns history as boring simply hasn’t been taught it properly.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Time as a History Major at Bonaventure by Sam Moore

Ever since I was a child I have always had a passion for history. As I grew older, there was no question that I was going to study history in college. It is an interesting story of how I ended up at St. Bonaventure University. I had initially planned on attending Alfred University, but around February of 2010 my father convinced me to apply to SBU. Looking back, I waited way too long to apply. After taking one tour of the campus that spring, I knew instantly that this is where I was going to school.

I have enjoyed every day as a member of the SBU history program. I discovered very quickly that our history professors deeply care about their students' success not only in class but in life after college as well. The professors here have challenged me every step of the way. They have helped me developed my skills of writing, reading, and, most importantly, my ability to think critically. These three things are arguably the most important skills an individual can possess, and I know I will carry them with me for the rest of my life.

I think the most important aspect of this discipline is the fact that history challenges the way you think. One of the best parts about being a history major is discussing issues with other students. Almost every day, I find myself outside of Plassmann Hall discussing current and historical events with other history majors. I can remember having a conversation about this topic with Dr. Joel Horowitz. We both agreed that one of the best parts of college is that it exposes you to differing opinions, and differing points of view. Being able to acknowledge someone else’s point of view is one of the most important things a person can possess. I think it sets you up for success, and ultimately makes you a better person.

Two of the professors that have had the biggest impact on me are Dr. Maddalena Marinari and Dr. Joel Horowitz. Through the rigor of their course requirements they have molded me into a driven student. My plans for the near future consist of serving as an Active Duty Ordinance Officer in the United States Army. I eventually wish to pursue a Master’s Degree in Business.

Digital History at Work

Students enrolled in History 419:  Digital History and Archival Practices in the computer lab working with GIS for one of their projects.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Upcoming History Club Meeting!

Interested in History? Come to a brief History Club Meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, in Plassmann Lounge. We will discuss events/trips to take place this semester. Take a break from your studies to meet with others interested in history! You need not be a history major. All SBU students are welcome!

Monday, February 10, 2014

History Major Shannon Conheady Writes from Northern Ireland

Whenever anyone mentions Ireland, they almost always define it by its color and its people: “it’s so green,” they say, and “the people are the friendliest in the world.” Well, both of these things are completely true. My first impression of flying over this country was that everything was greener compared to home; the light pollution was almost nonexistent, unlike in the U.S. And the people here are among the kindest people I have ever met; willing to share a story or advice just as long as you’re willing to listen. However, there is a lot more to this island in the Atlantic. I study in the northern part of the island, which still remains part of the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

My Time as a History Major at Bonaventure by Chelsea O'Connor-Rosiek

"So, what do you plan on doing with a history degree?"
                This is the question that every history major has to answer at least forty-seven times a week. It is usually asked with a condescending quality or bewilderment. I know I've heard it, and having to justify a personal choice at every turn gets tiring after four years. But I no longer find this question to be tedious because I could defend my degree until the day I die.
                 I could tell you more about the S. S. St. Louis, the Tango, or the Great Leap Forward than you would probably care to know, but the skills that I've learned as a history major extend beyond facts. I can digest and transmit information well. I can gauge other subjects through a historical lens, from medicine to film, and tell you what implications they convey. The skills I've learned are applicable in many areas of study. Sometimes I get overwhelmed at the prospect of the future but only  because there are so many things I want to do. With my degree in hand, I know I could achieve any of those things.