Examining the Origin, Development and Impact of Ideas

The renowned 20th-century philosopher George Santayana put it well: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

To understand the significance of our beliefs and commitments — even to understand the significance of the questions and problems that beset us — we need to trace their sources and their history.

Because ideas are expressed in social and political institutions as well as in philosophical, scientific, religious and literary works, the History of Ideas program approaches its work through a multidisciplinary lens. In this way, our students gain the skills, knowledge and freedom to construct a focused and rigorous course of study — one that explores the historical transformation of a set of ideas and institutions across several traditional disciplines.

What Distinguishes Our Program