US History

Rigorous historical analysis conducted through discussion, debate and writing develops students’ abilities to harness historical evidence and construct meaning from it. They not only meet the actors, events and trends of the past, but they also learn methods for understanding the impact of these on their lives and the world in which they live. The department’s objectives include a lifetime love of learning, the growth of the analytical mind and a skepticism of dogma.

American History

First semester will provide students with a survey of American history beginning with theories on the earliest settlement of the New World and moving through the colonial period toward the Civil War. The second semester will cover Reconstruction to the present day. This course attempts to achieve a broad awareness of events and ideas essential to an understanding of American history and to develop and maintain an interest in the historical relevance of current events necessary in order to become an active citizen and succeed in college-level history courses.

Ancient World Civilizations

Ancient World Civilizations explores ancient cultures in Asia and the Mediterranean, including Egypt, China, Greece and Rome from the rise of city-states to the fall of the Roman Empire. This course assists students in refining study skills and critical thinking while comparing the ways in which each civilization approached government, religion, social structure and the arts.

Ancient World History Honors

Ancient World History Honors surveys the ancient cultures of Egypt, China, Persia, Greece and Rome. In this course, students will learn to articulate their own cross-cultural comparisons of government structures, social hierarchies, monumental architecture, burial practices, military tactics, etc. Along the way, they'll reconstruct ancient Egyptian tombs and temples, ponder the wisdom of Confucius' Analects, reenact the trial of Socrates and argue the merits and miscues of the Roman emperors. Emphasis is placed on writing persuasively, understanding information within its broader context and interpreting primary sources.

AP Art History

This yearlong course provides the senior student with an overview of painting, sculpture and architecture which reflects the interests, anxieties and concerns of people throughout the world and throughout the centuries. Although the focus is on Western art, we will also study the non-European world including Indian, Chinese, Japanese, African, Native-American and Pre-Columbian cultures. The student will develop a very specific vocabulary that is in constant use for written and spoken analyses of the aesthetic and technical aspects of works of art. Works are examined within their historical contexts and as unique visual creations.

AP Comparative Politics

AP Comparative Politics focuses on five countries covered on the AP exam: England, France, Russia, China and Nigeria. Students master basic political science terminology and study political performance in these five countries. An additional unit on the Middle East allows students to look at the historical roots of conflict and prepare for the Model Arab League.

AP Macroeconomics

The purpose of this course is to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to national income and price determination, economic performance measures, economic growth, and international economics. The course places primary emphasis on the measurement of economic performance; national income and price determination; inflation; and unemployment and stabilization policies. Other topics studied include the financial sectors, economic growth and productivity, and international trade and finance in the open economy.

AP Microeconomics

The purpose of this course is to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision-makers, both consumers and producers, within the larger economic system. The course places primary emphasis on the nature and functions of product markets and includes the study of market structures, factor markets and the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy.

AP Modern European History

This course seeks to satisfy two objectives at the same time: one, prepare students to score well on the AP European exam and two, give students an excellent grounding in the history of Western civilization. Though these two goals may not be mutually exclusive, they are not necessarily complementary either. However, this course seeks to balance these two objectives while also giving students an appreciation of both the contingency and the controversies surrounding this history. Like the art, literature and music of the West, the history of the West has also changed through time. This is called historiography. The term not only describes the changing interpretations through time but also the controversies that still animate the historical discipline. The AP exam often takes as its questions issues of historiographical debate and transforms them into essay questions.

AP U.S. History

This course traces the history of American civilization from America’s first Revolutionary War, through the "Second Revolution," the Civil War, to present day. We will trace the economic, political, social and cultural changes that transformed this largely rural nation to the one with which we are familiar today: urban, suburban, technological and economically powerful. Today, for better or worse, the English language, American pop culture, American business and the U.S. military demonstrate a dominance seldom recorded in world history.

AP World History

This course provides a rapid survey of human societies from c. 8000 BCE to the present that prioritizes breadth over depth in an effort to identify broad patterns. Global coverage is unified by five central themes: the interaction between humans and the environment; the development and interaction of cultures; state-building, expansion and conflict; creation, expansion and interaction of economic systems; and the development and transformation of social structures. By exploring a wide array of cultures over centuries of their development, students develop new insights about the impact of shifting trade patterns, technological advances and the spread of ideas. Unlike more regional studies, this course emphasizes how societies affect each other. For example, students will see how the fall of the Mongol Empire disrupted land-based trade along the Silk Roads, sparking a wave of exploration as nations sought sea-based alternate routes. As a whole, the class provides students with a broad understanding of human history that will give context to their future studies in a wide range of disciplines.

Business Law and Ethics

This one semester course provides students with an understanding of the legal framework and ethical evolution of our society within the confines of the business environment, both consumer and producer side. The topics covered include the history, development, and classification of laws, personal and business law related to everyday life, contract law, the court system and courtroom procedures, legal and ethical terminology, constitutional rights, ethics, agency, social responsibility, and consumer protection, as well as an international component for point of comparisons.

Ethics

The goal of this semester-long course is for students to identify and refine the basis and framework of their moral principles. While ethics classes have traditionally focused on studying the works of great philosophers such as John Stuart Mill and Immanuel Kant, this class will draw upon ethical theories as tools rather than as ends in themselves. Our discussion will center on case studies and background readings relating to topics such as capital punishment, euthanasia, abortion, autonomy and business ethics. Students will write position papers on each major topic in which they will outline their views and the principles that guide their decision making. The final exam will require students to apply their same moral principles to previously unseen cases in a consistent manner.

Finance

This one semester course is an introduction to the basic concepts of finance. The focus will be on increasing financial literacy and learning the financial tools used in valuation. Topics include time value of money, risk and return, efficient markets, discounted cash flow valuation, stock valuation, bond valuation, and portfolio theory.

Global Issues I & II

These courses are designed to spark students' interest in thinking critically about global issues and introduce them to the resources they need to analyze various responses to global challenges at the personal, national and multinational levels. No particular interest in international relations or politics is required for the class. The course should help students learn more about the world around them and, hopefully, generate a lasting interest in how they can engage that world as global citizens. Topics covered in Global Issues I are: What is Globalization?; Population and Development; Energy and Environment; Conflict and Security. Topics covered in Global Issues II are: Human Rights and International Law; War on Terror; Global Climate Change.

Hitler's Germany Honors

67 years separate us from April 30, 1945, when Adolf Hitler, the greatest criminal in recorded history, shot himself in his bunker in Berlin, with the forward units of the Red Army closing in, only meters away. Almost immediately, works were written to understand how, in what many considered the most civilized country of its day, Germans could have betrayed themselves to this leader who hurled them, their country and indeed the world back into barbarism. Though many pieces of evidence were destroyed, either by the Nazis themselves, or as a result of Allied bombing, each year more texts are published, furthering our understanding of the Third Reich. Also, since the war, a number of important diaries, letters and memoirs have become available, allowing the reader a glimpse into the contemporary life of a wide range of people: victims, perpetrators and bystanders. More books have been written about the “thousand-year Reich” (though it only lasted twelve) than any other era in history. Even the most voracious reader has difficulty keeping up with all the manuscripts published each year. However, this course seeks to frame the important events of these twelve years while also seeking to understand the major historiographical debates that remain. We will begin with the Kaiserreich, the term for the German government that ruled Germany from unification (1871) to World War I, and we will end with Stunde Nul, the term Germans give to the birth of a new Germany (in fact, two new Germanys, the GDR and the FRG), free of Hitler’s control.

The Cold War and Film

The objective of this semester-long course is to analyze the relationship between the Cold War and films made during this 40-year era. Each of the eight films will be analyzed, not only for their plot content and what they might reveal about Cold War anxieties in the United States, but also for the use of cinematic techniques, music and location to reflect this military, economic, cultural and political struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union.

U.S. Government and Politics

AP U.S. Government and Politics gives students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and politics and the analysis of specific examples. It requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs and ideas that constitute U.S. government and politics. Upon successful completion of this course, students will know important facts, concepts and theories pertaining to the political system of the U.S. Students will understand typical patterns of political processes and behavior and their consequences (including the components of political behavior, the principles used to explain or justify various government structures and procedures and the political effects of these structures and procedures). Students will also be able to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to the political process. Finally, students should be able to analyze critically relevant theories and concepts, apply them appropriately and develop connections across the curriculum.

Western Civilization

Western Civilization covers the time period from the High Renaissance to the present day. The emphasis is on political, socioeconomic and cultural results of major turning points in Western European history: the Renaissance and Reformation; the Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment and French Revolution; and the 20th-century crisis of wars and depression as well as the globalization of politics, economy and culture.

Western Philosophy

Gnothi seauton (know thyself) is inscribed on the temple at Delphi; "What do I know?" was painted on the wall of the library of Michel de Montaigne. Because it is important for adolescents to know themselves and the world, a course in introductory philosophy is no luxury, but rather a desideratum. In this course, students work through the history of reflective thought from the pre-Socratics to the existentialists. Lectures are minimal compared to Socratic dialogue, during which students not only engage the issues, but may also learn from thought-experiments, ethical problems, aesthetic tests and other hands-on activities. One student-led activity will be Aesthetics Week, a time when each must pick a masterpiece of art, music, poetry or another genre whose beauty s/he must then explain to the class. Guidelines will come from an introductory exposure to play theory, essays on taste, the concepts of the sublime, etc. Of the sub-disciplines of philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, epistemology and aesthetics comprise the major foci.

African-American Saga

The African-American Saga elective is designed to give a culturally competent description of African-American history in order to explain the current condition, situation and political reality of Black people in America. The journey begins on the African continent and takes us through the middle passage, the Civil Rights era and into the present.

Faculty & Staff

History Department

Ms. Tricia  Anderson

Ms. Tricia Anderson

Director of the Isdell Center for Global Leadership, US History Teacher
Dr. Christine Carter

Dr. Christine Carter

US History Teacher, US Transitions Advisor
Mr. Mike Gannon

Mr. Mike Gannon

Head of Upper School, US History Teacher
Mr. Tim Hornor

Mr. Tim Hornor

US History Chairperson, US History Teacher
Mr. Mac McCallum

Mr. Mac McCallum

Associate Director of MS/US Admissions, US History Teacher
Mr. Keith Newman

Mr. Keith Newman

US Math Teacher, US History Teacher
Ms. Helen Smith

Ms. Helen Smith

US History Teacher
Ms. Emily Stevens

Ms. Emily Stevens

US History Teacher
Mr. Grady Stevens

Mr. Grady Stevens

Dean Class of 2020, US World Language Teacher, US History Teacher
Mrs. Caitlin Terry

Mrs. Caitlin Terry

US History Teacher
Mr. Gus Whyte

Mr. Gus Whyte

US Math Chairperson, US Math Teacher, US History Teacher

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