BA (Honours) History
History is a multifaceted chronological study of the past based on extant sources and physical evidence. Besides using secondary sources, that is either survey or specialised texts in our History courses, we seek to inculcate a nuanced understanding of the past through primary sources that date back to the time period under discussion. Hence, despite the fact that History faculty at LUMS have different specialisations, there is pedagogical consistency across History courses at LUMS as students learn to read historical documents and become attuned to the process of narrative construction.
Besides the study of History for its own sake, History is a core discipline within the Humanities and Social Sciences. Across different disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, students continuously encounter multiple discourses over the course of their studies. Discourses are narratives that embody relationships of power and structures of authority; they are never ‘neutral,’ and there is never a singular discourse.
For students outside the discipline, and even for those who do not have a focused academic interest in History, at least some training in History is invaluable as it allows students to distill competing narratives. In addition, by studying History, students can appreciate how narratives are created by probing the following issues: What are the extant sources on which we base a claim to knowledge? Where is this information archived? Is there more than one way of reading a historical document? Do multiple readings contribute to multiple discourses? Are these discourses complementary or irreconcilable? These are thorny debates that explicitly or otherwise influence most disciplines of the Humanities and Social Sciences. History – with its emphasis on physical and documentary evidence, and its insistence on a careful reconstruction of chronology – offers the best chance to unravel these debates. Without History, one is left with competing narratives in the present, each making claims to an objective truth.
A BA in History equips a student with analytical tools. Besides a broad-based knowledge of the past, a student of History shall have read seminal historical texts, be knowledgeable about important scholarly contributions in her/his area of specialisation, have developed the skill to read carefully, be able to argue – both orally and in writing – with power and conviction. A student of History would also be cognizant that the discipline requires patience, rigour, and extreme attention to detail before any substantive claim to knowledge can be made. Finally, the most important aspect of training in History is that it inculcates a life-long love for learning that contributes to our individual and collective selves in ways that are impossible to quantify.
* The medium of instruction at LUMS is English for all degree programmes offered. Assessments are accepted in English only.