History students are asked to create meaning from our past and present, developing an ability to understand a historical framework for the world evolving around them. Classes emphasize discussion and oral skills, writing with an emphasis on analytical essays and critical thinking. Students are asked to write history—to formulate, support and document their own views of the past. The use of primary texts is critical in all courses, and student research builds from primary document analysis.
American Environmental History
Students in Environmental History will study themes in American environmental history and consider approaches to historical thinking that meet at the interface of nature and culture. This course would augment our elective offerings and introduce interdisciplinary approaches to historical research and inquiry. It should especially appeal to students interested in both history and natural sciences, human relationships to the natural world, or ways of rethinking traditional historical narratives. This course will introduce students to key themes in American environmental history by exploring various approaches in the field. At the center of the course will be two deceptively simple questions: What is environmental history, and how might it change our understanding of American history? To answer those questions, students will become familiar with some of the most influential and accessible works in the field. They will also be able to reflect on the intersection of environmental considerations with other aspects of modern American society in ways both obvious and not, ranging from industrial capitalism, conservation politics, and ideas about wilderness to seemingly unrelated topics like urban governance, gender constructions, and racial politics.
Students in Comparative Religions build understanding of the traditions of religious belief and the nature of the divine in history and across cultures. Students will read religious texts in their historical and cultural context. Writing will include both analytic and personal response. Readings include Huston Smith, The World’s Religions; The Gilgamesh Epic; Herman Hesse, Siddhartha; selections from the Bhagavad Gita, the Old and New Testaments, Dostoevsky, the Koran, Rumi, and the Tao Te Ching.
Trends and Forces
1.0 credit 10th Grade Course Requirement
European Colonialism and its Global Impacts explores how colonialism was implemented by European countries to extract wealth and dominate other regions of the world politically, culturally and economically. Students in this course will focus on colonialism's impact in Africa, then turn their focus to the implementation of colonialism and genocide under the Nazi regime in Eastern Europe, and the destruction that resulted in both regions. Students will practice strategic reading skills with a focus on using these skills to build a strong foundation for thesis driven argumentative writing.
Trends and Forces -B
The Fight for The World Economy in a Multi-Polar Political World explores the globalization of the economy and how this process has been driven by ideological struggles. Students in this course will focus on anti-colonial independence movements and how they reveal the broader trends and forces in world history, particular the battle between capitalist and communist economic and political theory. A particular focus will be on China and its re emergence as a global power in the context of its history. Students will continue to practice strategic reading skills with a focus on using these skills to build a strong foundation for thesis driven argumentative writing.
History of Democracy
Not Currently Offered
Students in this course will explore the history of democracy through case studies from around the world. Students will become well versed in the ways democracy intersects with key areas of public life, including religion, the press, markets, and the environment; they will understand the ways democracy manifests in both liberal and illiberal contexts, and how societies have become - or ceased to be - democratic. We will use a range of course materials, including readings, interviews with local figures, films, and more.
Introduction to Economics
The term economics is derived from the Greek “rules of the household.” In this course, we look at the way in which economics governs our lives and homes, as well as our political institutions. We will consider the way in which economic actors (ourselves included) make decisions. The course includes a survey of basic economic concepts and terminology. We will take a thematic approach to economics. Articles from the newspaper and news magazines will serve as the backdrop for the class. Students will gain a greater ability to use economic terms and concepts to understand the world. The class concludes with a research assignment in which students design and produce an independent work centered around primary research.
Social Documentary Studies
This course is an opportunity to study the way in which art reflects the world around us. Students will study documentary photographers with a focus on specific bodies of work which are central to our understanding of history and have changed our perception of truth. We begin by using documentary photography to look at the self, move on to an exploration of the "other," and end with social issues. We will focus on photography, but complementary materials will include literature, historical texts, census data, video, as well as sound and music. Project-based work forms the centerpiece of this course and students should be prepared to create their own documentary work. Each student will complete a major self-designed capstone piece that combines photography with research. In addition to exploring the world of social documentary photography, we will also have a chance to meet a number of local photographers as well as use local historical resources. This course is intended for juniors and seniors. Students can take this course for humanities credit.
How does a social context shape the way we understand, influence, and relate to ourselves and to one another? How do we understand ourselves? How do we maximize the degree of choice we exercise in our lives? And what are the purpose(s) served by our behavior? The field of social psychology looks at how these questions and their answers stretch when the context shifts from the individual to the group or social level. This course will focus on three core areas: social thinking, social influence, and social relations. The course will begin with a half dozen key research studies in their original form, from which students will weave initial questions and interests. From there, with individual questions in one of the three core areas, students will embark on reading through literature and other studies, teaching one another the key concepts, and building an experiment and research project. Students will build this course working together, sharing skills and interests to animate a seminar that pursues both individual and group goals. While much of of the learning will happen collaboratively, the formal written assignments will be designed as individual assessments. This class satisfies a humanities credit.