Dr. Kevin Flatt, professor of history and associate dean of humanities, has spent the last 14 years researching and teaching history at Redeemer. His excitement for history and his passion for teaching from a Christian perspective still shows.
“I can’t believe I get to teach students this stuff!”
Part of this passion flows from the fact that Flatt gets to teach and lead a program that is uniquely balanced and distinctly Christian.
“Our Christian worldview is the standpoint that’s woven through the whole program, no matter what the topics of the courses are,” says Flatt. “That’s really the foundation. We’re more intentional about including courses in the history of the church, the history of Christianity.”
We’re more intentional about including courses in the history of the church, the history of Christianity.
But the intentionality of the program doesn’t stop there. Flatt recently completed a comparison of the program with history programs in public universities in Ontario, as well as Reformed Christian universities in the US. He found that compared with public universities, Redeemer’s history program was designed to more intentionally provide students with a broad foundation on which to build. He also found that most other university history programs tend to have a heavier emphasis on Western history and a heavier modern bias. Redeemer’s program is more chronologically and geographically balanced, in particular offering a higher percentage of courses that cover non-Western history.
“We live in an increasingly global world. Our world is very interconnected. Canada itself is home to new Canadians who have recently come from everywhere,” Flatt says. “They’re our neighbours, and they’re increasingly also our students. So we want to address those kinds of history.”
Flatt says learning about the history of other cultures also helps us to understand ourselves. “It helps you notice the things that are actually unusual about your culture that you would not otherwise notice.”
Some of the program’s focus on non-Western history comes from Flatt’s own interest and specialization in Islamic history, which he gained while completing his PhD at McMaster University in the early 2000s. It was also here that he gained a greater appreciation for how his Christian faith leads him to teach with more purpose and intentionality.
“We want to be able to say why we are doing this and I think ultimately those kinds of deep questions in all of the disciplines at Redeemer drive us back towards our Christian worldview, drive us back to Scripture. So we actually aren’t afraid of those questions. We ask those questions intentionally and try to help students to think that way.”