Go to m.barnard.edu for the Mobile Barnard web app or download it from the App Store or Google Play.

Economic and Social History

005 Lehman Hall

This program is supervised by the Committee on Economic and Social History:

Program Committee: Alan Dye (Economics), Deborah Valenze (History), David Weiman (Economics), and Carl Wennerlind (History).


The Economic and Social History major is an interdisciplinary major that combines economic reasoning with different historiographic approaches and quantitative analysis. The major encourages students to develop an understanding of the human experience through the record of the past and acquire intellectual tools to analyze historical changes from an economic and social perspective. Students are exposed to different ways of thinking about the origins of capitalism, the structural features of modern economies, regional differences or global diversity in long-run economic performance and socioeconomic well-being, and the challenges and opportunities facing the global economy today. By looking at both the social and the economic dimensions of the histories of one or more geographical regions, students gain a valuable interdisciplinary perspective that enables them to appreciate and think systematically and critically about the complexities of human interaction.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the major in Economic and Social History will be able to attain the following:

  • Show fluency in basic concepts, models and tools of economic theory and economic history.
  • Understand the difference between primary and secondary sources, and use and evaluate these materials through critical reading and interpretation.
  • Demonstrate understanding of institutions, orgainzations and markets in their roles of coordinating economic and social activity.
  • Use concepts or methods from multiple disciplines including economics to analyze the past.
  • Articulate a well-defined research question and conduct independent research using economic reasoning and historical evidence.
  • Communicate economic ideas and historical concepts effectively in written or oral form.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and capacity to do in-depth research on a particular geographic area, time period, or central theme in economic and social history.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the history of economic thought, its relation to historical developments, and influence on past and present economic theory and ideas.
  • Show an appreciation for different historiographic approaches to the study of economic and social history.
  • Show familiarity with varied perspectives on the origins of capitalism and the diversity of economic development across regions.

Students who graduate with a major in Economic and Social History will be prepared to enter graduate programs in history, business, public policy/administration, or to pursue careers such as in public policy or business that call for diverse perspectives and skills.