by Brett Lance, BGSU History major. This is one in a series of posts written by students in HIST 4800 in Spring, 2020, putting our world into historical context for the public.
My four years of undergrad at Bowling Green State University has been the best years of my life so far. College has brought me friends that I will have for a lifetime. Most importantly though I have received a wonderful education. At first, I was only a Political Science major but I decided to make my minor of History a second major. It is one of the greatest decisions I’ve made here in my time at BGSU.
Starting from a general 1000 level world history course all the way to my capstone I have experienced how to develop history correctly. The History department at BGSU is filled with great professors with vast knowledge and critical ideas on History. Through these professors I was able to equip myself with ways to think and conduct research on historical events. Three professors have really embodied my learning experience while attending BGSU. These professors specialize in different areas of history from Canadian history to the Cold War era. These three professors are Dr. Mancuso, Dr. Greene, and Dr. Sorosiak.
Dr. Mancuso has a specialization in Canadian history and studies, Dr. Greene specializes in the Cold War, and Dr. Sorosiak specializes in Holocoust and genocides. Each professor has put an essential idea or key part in how I do research for history. These essential ideas are emotions, pop culture, and governmental systems and their effect on doing history. Dr. Mancuso taught me that when dealing with history the people we research had emotions and personal feelings during their time. Their experiences during their time helped shape their decisions and actions. When I researched women on the Canadian homefront during World War Two I had to look for the emotions behind these women’s actions to preserve home during war.
When it came to Dr. Greene my understanding of research grew to understand pop culture and its effects on modern history. Researching music and its effects on support or dissidence on the Vietnam War showed me how much popular culture has an effect when researching a topic. Understanding pop culture is instrumental in my experience of doing history. Pop culture has the effect of influencing not only events but people.
Lastly, the biggest experience I had in learning how to do history is from Dr. Sosrsiak. While learning how emotions/ personal feelings and pop culture affect how I have done history. The biggest thing I’ve encountered in doing history is how governmental systems actions have very deep meaning. System actions have many causes and have infinite effects. Whether it was my research on the United States decision on dropping the atomic bomb or the Einsatzgruppen in Eastern Europe. Governments and their systems are set into place for very specific purposes and deep goals. In doing history I have looked how these governmental systems help set the stage on the beginning of historical events.
What my growing passion for history has taught me is there is more than just recording the past. It’s more than just the major events. I think it is about the people of history. History is made by people. Whether its people being on the front lines of history or the ones recording it. History is the people who strive to piece together the past and preserve the truth of it. Through the people who preserve history they pass on their knowledge and trust. These three BGSU professors have now passed some of their knowledge to me.