Social Studies Course Descriptions


Global Studies

(Grade 9)
Year-long

Global Studies is a foundational, year-long social studies course required of all Freshmen. By the end of the course, students will have a firm understanding of the modern world and be conversant in world affairs. Using current events as a starting point, we will explore the social and political impact of human geography and the rise of world religions. In addition to the civics component of the course, students will be exposed to the development of international systems of government and the resulting challenges implicit in globalization. Through an emphasis on primary source analysis and expository writing, students will develop the skills necessary to be successful in upper level humanities courses.

The Rise of Global Modernity

(Grade 10)
Semester

This course focuses on the emergence of the Modern world, from both a Western and Non-Western perspective.  We will begin with the European Age of Exploration and will move through the global experience of Industrialization, Imperialism, and the World Wars.  By the end of the course, students will have broad knowledge of the major world events that caused world civilizations to transition into modernity, and they will have a deeper understanding of what it means to be a global citizen of the modern world. 

 

AP Modern European History

(Grade 10, 11, 12)
Year-long

This writing and reading intensive course is designed to challenge students as an entry-level college history course.   Our studies begin in the late medieval period and conclude with the formation of the European Union. During this course, students develop their ability to think analytically and improve their reading and writing skills, while growing as independent learners. Students will become proficient in reading and analyzing primary sources, while learning the proper techniques to complete document-based questions.

U.S. History

(Grade 11, 12)
Year-long

In this course, students will examine the political decisions, social norms, military conflicts, and economic factors that have influenced and formed our nation as it is today. Students will develop analytical skills by examining primary sources and by completing document-based questions. Students will also be encouraged to form balanced opinions of historical events, from the pre-Columbian period to the close of the 20th century, by exploring them from multiple perspectives.


AP U.S. History

(Grade 11, 12)
Year-long

Advanced Placement US History is a survey course designed to provide students with factual knowledge and the analytical skills necessary to critically examine the history of the United States. The course begins with Pre-Columbian societies and their interactions with European explorers and continues up through the post-Cold War world. Using active learning strategies as well as teacher led discussion, this content-heavy course uses both a traditional text and primary source materials to practice critical reading, writing, and thinking.  *supplemental readings may involve an additional cost.

AP U.S. Government and Politics

(Grade 10, 11, 12)
Semester

Students in the Advanced Placement US Government and Politics course examine the foundations, processes, and institutions of our American political system. In the process, they are challenged to improve their analytical abilities and are encouraged to become discriminating consumers of media messages. 

AP Art History

(Grade 11, 12)
Year-long

In this course, students will develop an understanding of major forms of artistic expression from the past and the present, including architecture, sculpture, painting, and other media. They will examine works from both historical and cultural perspectives and acquire the ability to objectively and critically analyze artworks, in order to understand the time and place in which they were created. Through their studies, students will learn to appreciate works of art from other cultures and understand the ways that art history, a discipline emphasizing social context, is a field that makes connections between many other disciplines.


AP Psychology

(Grade 11, 12)
Year-long

In this college-level Introduction to Psychology class, students are introduced to the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. They are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields in psychology, while also learning about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice. Students will develop their critical thinking abilities, oral and written communication skills, and their research methods and critical evaluation skills.

Western Philosophy Honors

(Grade 11, 12)
Semester

At its heart, the practice of philosophy is deeply concerned with the question of identity and being, either at an individual, collective, or national level. In their pursuit of answers to this question, the Ancient Greeks created the conceptual underpinnings of not only their own society but also the entire Western world. In an effort to understand the relevance of this fact to modern society, this course will explore the major works and history of Western philosophy, beginning with the pre-Socratic Greeks and continuing through the fall of the Roman Empire. Students will analyze important primary texts of the Ancient world, considering them in terms of both their own context and in relation to the contemporary world.  This class will encourage the development of critical reading, thinking, and writing skills through class discussions, historical research, and analytical writing.

U.S. National Security: Terrorism and Counterinsurgency Honors

(Grade 11, 12)
Semester

To provide students with a deeper understanding of the current US national security landscape, this course will explore the sources of contemporary terrorism, its ideological underpinnings, selected terrorist groups, and government countermeasures intended to thwart the terrorist challenge to US interests. In addition to terrorism, the course will examine the role of non-state actors in unconventional warfare, from the time of Alexander the Great to such modern day conflicts as the war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Students will leave this course with a firm understanding of the basic pillars of insurgency, the historic difficulties inherent in counterinsurgency attempts, and the diplomatic/economic/military challenges that the US is currently facing in the Middle East and North Africa.

 

East Asia: Continuity and Change

(Grade 10, 11, 12)
Semester 

This course is a survey of the history, culture, art, and religion of East Asia, from the ancient origins of China in 5,000 BCE up to 1500 CE.  Focusing on China, Japan, Mongolia and Tibet, students will combine anthropological and historical approaches to explore the multi-faceted East Asian world.  Students will come away with a deeper understanding of East Asian cultures, their roots, and their important roles in the history of the world.

Pre-Columbian Americas: the OTHER American History

(Grade 10, 11, 12)
Semester


This course is a  survey of the history, culture, art, and religion of The Americas prior to the European discovery of “The New World,” from 15,000 BCE to 1492 CE.  Focusing in turn on the North, Central, and Southern regions of the American Continent, this course will look through the lens of anthropology and archaeology to explore the diverse and vibrant life of Pre-Columbian Americas.  Students will come away with a fuller picture of what it truly means to be an American and a deeper appreciation for the identities and achievements of these often misunderstood cultures.

Modern Africa

(Grade 10, 11, 12 )
Semester

This survey-style course on the makings of modern African picks up where the colonists left off: with the revolutionary wars of independence fought throughout the middle to latter half of the 20th century. Students will be asked to stay abreast of current events in Africa, as we examine the internal and external forces that have shaped a continent over the last 200 years. Using geography as our starting point, we will analyze social, political, economic, and military drivers at the local, national, regional, and international level. The class will be discussion-based and will focus heavily on student generated topics of interest.

Comparative World Mythology: the Dreams of Humanity

(Grade 10, 11, 12 )
Semester

This course is a comparative survey of Global Mythology and Symbolism.  Taking an approach guided by the work of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, we will examine the mythology and art of numerous world cultures, from small bands of people to large-scale civilizations.  Over the course of a semester, students will not only learn to compare and analyze the many ways that humankind has come to express meaning throughout the ages, but they will also explore the collected dreams of humankind to discover the meanings and symbols that personally resonate with them.


Ancient Rome

(Grade 10, 11, 12 )
Semester

In this course, students will examine the cultural and political evolution of ancient Rome from the beginning of the Republic through the reign of the Emperor Constantine.  Through the use of primary and secondary sources, students will focus on the myths and stories that describe the Roman people, the consequences of Roman expansion and military conquest, the development of civic and provincial administration, and the rise and fall of the emperors.  

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