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Established in the very early days of the empire, possibly as early as 1400, when the Stofonians for the first time found themselves conquering large nations of people who were extremely unlike themselves. Early conquests had been of relatively similar people such as the Elosians. In countries such as Olgapurj and parts of the former Gulluainian Empire, however, the Stofonians had conquered people with differently colored skin, whose languages and creeds were utterly unrelated, and whose entire mode of life was different from anything encountered closer to home.
The Department was therefore expected to effect the following types of changes on the local populations:
- adoption of the Stofonian language
- recognition of the gods of the Elosian-Stofonian Religions as superior to their own local gods
- abandonment of old socio-economic systems such as tropical hunter-gatherers and nomadic herding, in favor new industries more profitable to the empire
- education of young people in Stofonian-style schools
- support of and eventual participation in the Stofonian military system
Originally just a propaganda campaign, the Department gradually gained the ability to enforce its mandates. The Department came to have its own intelligence-gathering and law-enforcement personnel, whose task was to root out the sources of anti-imperial activity and arrest or otherwise deal with these individuals. Torture, intimidation, and assassination were all employed.
In later years, the department lost its original focus on the "civilizing" or primitive peoples, and became the all-purpose instrument for dealing with internal threats to imperial power.
After the Last War, the Department of Civilization became the main spy agency against insurgent groups in Juturia and elsewhere. The department largely carried out the genocide of the Et-Er. (Most of the slaughter in the former Badingolan Empire, on the other hand, was perpetrated by the regular army)
In the Fracture of the Stofonian Empire, the Department remained loyal to the emperor, and constantly assassinated rebellious provincial commanders.
The Department had no place in the Republic of Stofonia. Those members who were not killed or imprisoned, scattered to work for other new regimes.