Ethnohistory is the study of cultures, combining research techniques and theoretical approaches from the fields of history and anthropology. The core of ethnohistory lies in the realization shared by practitioners of the benefits obtained through the use of multiple lines of evidence to study history and culture. Ethnohistorians recognize that documents, archaeological findings, oral histories, and ethnographies can be profitably compared, contrasted, and integrated to elucidate the histories and cultural contexts of groups that have been ignored in conventional historical accounts. By juxtaposing multiple lines of evidence in an interdisciplinary manner, ethnohistorians can at once examine the distant and the local, the general and the particular, bringing human experience into better focus.
Western Michigan University is a center for ethnohistorical research on a global level, including the United States, Canada, West Africa, South Asia, and Europe. Particular areas of expertise include culture contact, colonialism, material analysis, historiography, oral history, gender, historical archaeology, ethnography, tribalization, globalization, and modernization. These topics are not restricted to any particular geographic area nor any particular societal structure.
This certificate program is open to any student admitted to a graduate degree program at Western Michigan University.