I recall reading an interesting book where the main POV was from the female character who had a "useless" history degree in pre-space Terran science-fiction. She was accompanying a group of merchant explorers who were visiting various planets and attempting to open trade negotiations with the natives.
Her "useless" degree proved very useful indeed in dealing with the various cultures and problems they ran into, eventually transforming attitudes towards her, and her degree; making her a pretty penny in the end.
I recall one planet where the natives were at war, I think(?), and another dealing with deforestation and loss of the natives tree based habitats.
At least one portion of this story showed up in an Analog magazine as a short story.