The history curriculum is designed to enable students to reach three goals. The first is to become familiar with history as a discipline. Students learn to support historical generalizations of their own making through the use of a variety of sources: from print to electronic, and from photographs to interviews. Secondly, students are encouraged to develop an appreciation for the variety of human experience. Their studies enable them to learn that the complexity of the contemporary world results from diverse cultural and historical perspectives. Finally, students are taught to develop a balanced and enlightened understanding of the place of the United States in global history.
MacDuffie’s diploma requirements mandate that each student take two years of history while enrolled in the Upper School, and that one of these two years must be U.S. History (either regular or advanced placement). However, all students are encouraged to study more than the required minimum in history: ninth-grade students usually take Global Perspectives, tenth-grade students generally take Modern European History, and eleventh-grade students, as a rule, take U.S. History. In addition to these courses, the history department also offers several semester electives and AP instruction in Modern European History, U.S. History and World History.
1200 – History 6 – Foundations: Greece and Rome
This course will serve as an introduction to the study of History through an investigation of the societies and cultures of Greece and Rome. In addition to reading and writing-based activities, students will be required to express their creativity through frequent project-based learning. Throughout the year, students will learn about the development of these civilizations and examine some of the contributions that they made to the fields of literature, architecture, art, science, and military strategy. Students will learn to appreciate classical storytelling by reading many of the myths from these cultures, which allows for integration with their English curriculum as well.
1202 – History 7 – Civics
Teaching students to become informed and effective members of their community and country is the goal of this course. They begin with an examination of the diversity which constitutes the cultural and societal pieces of the American mosaic and then study the challenges our nation’s founders faced in formulating an independent and functional government for a new nation. Students learn the rudiments of evaluating sources, gathering reliable information, and writing a clear exposition of their ideas based on concrete factual documentation. Throughout the year the class is encouraged to become aware of current events of government and relate those events to topics covered. Through field trips and a variety of group and individual projects, students have the opportunity to put their lessons to practical use.
1204 – History 8 – Global Studies I
Eighth-grade students begin to consider their connection with the larger world through a study of East Asia and South Asia. By studying the relationships between the geography, history, and culture of each region, students are encouraged to adopt a global view and to see the unique contributions these regions have made to the history of humankind. Special emphasis is place on the students’ development of their critical reading, thinking, and writing skills.
UPPER SCHOOL HISTORY COURSE SEQUENCE
Although two years of Upper School history are required for graduation, students are encouraged to go beyond this basic requirement to three or four years of study in order to pursue the Advanced Placement (AP) and electives options that are available. This may be done in any one of the following ways:
NOTE: United States History (regular or AP) is mandatory for all Upper School students seeking a MacDuffie diploma.
Global Studies and Modern European History take advantage of the interdisciplinary collaboration between History 10 (Modern European) and English 10 (British Literature) in the sophomore year and History 11 (U.S. History) and English 11 (American Literature) in the junior year.
AP US History and AP World European History should be pursued by students who consistently do honors-level work in history and are interested in taking two AP courses, one in U.S. and the other in World History. (Although it might be possible for students to take both AP World and AP U.S. in their senior year, it is strongly recommended that they take one AP in the junior year and the other in the senior year if they are, in fact, planning to take both.)
History electives vary from year to year. Electives may be taken in addition to the regular history curriculum. History electives do not fulfill the history distributional requirement for graduation.
1210 – History 9 – Global Studies
This course focuses intensively on Africa and the Middle East with the aim of understanding the values, traditions, and beliefs that have affected the development of these regions. In studying the geography, history, literature, and culture of each area, students are encouraged to recognize the achievements of these traditions as well as to understand the aims and aspirations of their peoples today. In order to make learning relevant, students will be provided with frequent opportunities to connect the experiences of foreign or long-ago people with their own experiences as members of the human race.
1230 –American Culture (Year-long course; offered every year)
Grades 9 – 11
For ELL II students, The American Culture course explores how history and circumstance have shaped the values which define the U. S. today. Students study the effect of major historical events on the development of traditional American values. They look at the continuing influence of these values on various aspects of American culture including politics, education, entertainment and the media. In addition, students study the regional geography of the U.S. and explore the people, industry, and natural resources of each region. Students also discuss current events on a weekly basis, relating these events to their study of American history and values.
1211 – Modern European History B: Topics in Modern European History
Recommended for Grades 10 & 11
This is an introductory survey of European history from c. 1500 to the Present, designed to examine many of the major themes and events in the region’s history while offering opportunities for students to develop their critical reading, thinking, and writing skills. The emphasis in the course will thus be skill building rather than depth or breadth of coverage of historical periods. Each topic will be focused on the development of a particular critical thinking or writing skill, i.e., thesis development, understanding cause and effect, making effective comparisons, assessing the validity of evidence, etc. The various topics, such as European exploration and expansion, the French Revolution, industrialization, nationalism, etc., will be approached through readings in the textbook as well as the close reading of short, selected primary sources. The level of difficulty of the readings and the expectations for the interpretation and analysis of primary sources will increase over the course of the year, corresponding to the development of students’ critical abilities.
1212 – Modern European History
Recommended for Grade 10, but open to Grades 11 – 12
This course is designed to impart a sound understanding of the major events and movements which have shaped Europe since 1400. The major themes of the class include the secularization of society, the importance of information, the development of the nation-state, the expansion of European civilization on a global scale, and the evolution of technology, economics, and politics and how they affected prevailing European social trends Traditional history of ‘great’ men and events is considered alongside the history of ‘every person,’ including the experiences of women, children, the peasantry and the urban lower classes to present students with a broader scope that encompasses this epoch. Students will have frequent opportunities to analyze primary sources and interpret historical evidence in order to assess issues such as reliability, point of view, and personal bias in order to develop their own critical thinking skills. The course is designed in close collaboration with English 10 to ensure an understanding of historical events and philosophies, not merely as they are factually represented, but also as they are reflected in the literature of the period. Students also take part in frequent experiential and group-based activities.
1215 – United States History B: Topics in U.S. History
Recommended for Grades 11- 12
US History B introduces students to topics in American history, while offering opportunities for them to develop their critical reading, thinking, and writing skills. Students will study, among other topics, early settlement and the foundations of American government, the challenges to and demands for democracy in the early nineteenth century, immigration, economic developments and their impact on foreign policy, the increasing role of government in the twentieth century, the Cold War and Vietnam, and the social movements of the postwar era. This course is designed for students who would benefit from more support and practice with their critical reading and writing and their analytical skills. The level of difficulty of the readings and the expectations for the interpretation and analysis of primary sources will increase over the course of the year, corresponding to the development of students’ critical abilities. Students will use the writing process to practice basic research skills and essay writing, while also practicing their oral presentation.
1216 – United States History
Recommended for Grade 11
This class exposes students to major events, personalities, and themes within the nation’s history, not as a random collection of dates and places or a simple string of events, but rather as components of larger historical patterns. To illustrate these patterns, the course explores the following themes: cultural contact and the role of race, democratic foundations and challenges, the individual’s role in the society, economic developments, and the nation’s role in the world. In addition to their basic history text, students read selected articles by noted historians and various primary source materials. The course is closely linked to the English 11 American Literature class and the summer reading program, where students read a variety of texts to illustrate, reinforce, and elaborate upon what they have learned in history.
1218 – Advanced Placement: United States History (offered in 2013-2014)
Grades 11 – 12
Department Approval Only
Advanced Placement United States History (AP USH) is the equivalent of a university-level introductory history course, uses university-level texts, and requires students to do far more reading and writing than in a standard course. Students regularly give presentations and lead class discussion throughout the year, and must be prepared to participate meaningfully on a daily basis in far-ranging discussions of assigned topics. The course relies extensively on primary sources, both historical and literary, and emphasizes the development of each student’s ability to write about American history using clear and effective generalizations, backed with specific historical detail.
All students are required to sit for the AP US History exam in May.
1220 – Advanced Placement: World History (offered in 2012-2013)
Grades 11 – 12
Department Approval Only
Advanced Placement World History is a university-level introductory course, uses university-level texts, and requires rigorous engagement with both primary and secondary historical sources. The course will be roughly chronological but occasionally will take the “long view” over several centuries, since even the most seemingly fundamental changes do not wipe out centuries of tradition overnight. In addition to the analysis of developments in individual states and regions, the primary emphasis, in accordance with the AP World History course guidelines, will be the analysis of patterns of contact and exchange (cultural, economic, social and political) over broad geographical areas and chronological periods. Strong emphasis will be placed on the use of primary sources, analysis of change over time, and the use of comparative frameworks to solve historical problems. Numerous essay assignments will be given in order to develop students’ ability to write clear, effective, analytical prose.
All students are required to sit for the AP World History exam in May.
ELECTIVES IN HISTORY
NOTE: Availability of elective courses depends on enrollment and staffing.
Instead of concluding each of the semester electives with a traditional examination, teachers are encouraged to test their students’ proficiency by means of portfolio assessment, in which students develop projects and/or papers to best represent their mastery of the material. Whenever possible, students are encouraged to make their portfolios interdisciplinary in nature. These courses do not meet distribution requirements. Availability of elective courses depends on enrollment and staffing.
1260 – Peace Studies (Year-long)
Grades 11 – 12
This course encourages the participants to examine and raise questions about peace, its relationship to justice, and the means by which it is maintained and promoted. Through journal writing, class activities, readings, and critical essays, students examine the concept of peace on personal, interpersonal, community, national, and international levels. To start out, discussions focus on the consideration of the obstacles to peace, the aspects of human nature that inhibit peacemaking, the ways in which individuals create images of other cultures and of enemies, and the use of language which obscures information or escalates conflict. The middle part of the course focuses on methods and skills for “making” peace. Topics for discussion and activities include conflict resolution, negotiation, mediation, and assertiveness training. Readings come from many disciplines and include authors like Alan Watts, Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King Jr., Chief Seattle, and Langston Hughes, among others. The last part of the course is devoted primarily to a community service project. Students research and choose community service organizations to work at for six weeks of the second semester. In addition to this community-based work, weekly meetings with the teacher and with the class as a whole occur.
1262 – Western Philosophy (One semester) (offered in 2013-2014)
Grades 11 – 12
This course provides a survey of the main philosophical thinkers and ideas of the Western philosophical tradition in order to promote self-reflection and the examination of ideas often taken for granted. The course begins with the study of the roots of the rationalistic approach to philosophy in ancient Greece and explores the themes that were established as central for subsequent philosophical inquiry in the West, from attempts to answer such fundamental questions as “what is being?” and “how do we know?” to problems of moral philosophy and ethics. The survey then proceeds to analyze the attempts of all the major schools of Western philosophy to answer such questions. As a final project, students will write a paper on a philosophical issue of interest to them.
1264 – Global Conflict (One semester) (offered in 2012-2013)
Grades 11 – 12
This course investigates the role of war and conflict in world affairs since the beginning of the “bloody” 20th century. It seeks to complement Peace Studies by analyzing the roots of various types of conflict, from the world wars to regional insurgencies and from international conflicts to inter-ethnic ones. The course examines the two world wars, regional wars, and wars related to colonialism and decolonization, with a special emphasis on ethnic conflict and genocide. Finally, the course looks at philosophical attempts to understand, prevent, and limit war. The course utilizes a variety of source materials, including historical and literary texts, newspapers, audiovisual sources, and films, to foster critical thinking about conflict and its causes and consequences.
1268 – Greece and Rome (One semester) (offered in 2012-2013)
Grades 11- 12
This course will investigate the major political, social, economic and cultural developments in the Mediterranean Basin from the Bronze Age to c. 500 C.E. In addition to the traditional narrative of political history, warfare and imperial expansion, we will also consider issues such as slavery, gender attitudes, religion, “daily life,” and, most importantly, the nature and reliability of the ancient evidence. Indeed, the course reading and discussion materials will be heavily based on primary Greek and Latin sources in translation. Ultimately, it is hoped that, on the one hand, students will gain an appreciation of the Greek and Roman contributions to Western Civilization while, on the other hand, a deep awareness of the strangeness and unfamiliarity of ancient culture.
1270 – Introduction to Urban Studies (One semester) (offered in 2013-2014)
Grades 11 – 12
This course will approach the concept of the city from an historical, literary, theoretical and practical perspective. Based on thorough discussion of readings from a variety of sources we will examine such issues as the historical development of cities, the city in the modernist imagination (specifically via films such as Metropolis and City Lights), the impact of technology on urban development, the problems of suburbanization and sprawl, and the potentialities and pitfalls posed by globalization. In addition to class work we will take advantage of our location near Springfield, Holyoke and Northampton to discuss and analyze the challenges faced by smaller cities that have seen their traditional manufacturing bases decline. Field trips to downtown Springfield, the Holyoke Canalwalk and Northampton Center will allow students to see the relationship between theory and action in the utilization of urban space. As a final project students (in lieu of an exam) will examine some aspect of local urban-suburban environment and analyze a particular problem in depth, using the historical and theoretical frameworks acquired over the course of the semester. Students will be able to take advantage of local resources such as the Museum of Springfield History and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in acquiring source material. As a field Urban Studies is multi-disciplinary; therefore, in their project students will have the opportunity to apply their learning from other courses in the fields of History, English, Environmental Science and Mathematics to address a variety of issues pertaining to the growth, development and sustainability of the Springfield-Holyoke-Northampton region within specific historical, demographic and environmental contexts.
1272 – Current Events, Current Issues (One semester – year-long option) (offered in 2013-14)
Grades 11 – 12
Grade 10 Department Approval
This course is designed to develop, in upper school students, the good habit of paying attention to the world outside of themselves. Using a variety of media, students will develop their knowledge of global current events. Students will be required to participate regularly, both verbally and through short “low stakes” writing assignments. They will also be expected to prepare longer essays based upon the material that they have been exposed to. One major essay will be required per quarter. In lieu of a final exam students will be required to prepare a final presentation, with oral, visual, and written components. These presentations will be based upon issues of particular interest to each individual student. Ultimately, a primary goal of the class is to produce well-rounded and well-informed thinkers who appreciate the diversity of human experience, recognize the major challenges of our times, and have given thought to how these challenges might be met by the members of their own generation.
1274 – Introduction to World Religions (One semester) (offered in 2012-2013)
The course will introduce students to the world’s major eastern and western religions. We will focus on the origins, beliefs, doctrines, and practices, while thinking historically and comparatively about them. What brought these religions into being? What ethics do they share? What questions do they answer? What questions do they raise?
How relevant are these questions and answers in today’s world? We will explore these and other questions through the use of primary and secondary texts, films, art, guest speakers, and field trips.
1276 – Introduction to Economics (One Semester) (Offered in 2012-2013)
This course will introduce students to the fundamental concepts of micro, macro, and personal economics. How does scarcity shape economic decisions? How are goods and services produced? What role does the government have in shaping economic policy? What role do individuals have in the various economic systems? What power do unions possess? How do the forces of supply and demand determine the direction of the markets? What role can ethics play in the life of an economy? Students will explore these and other questions through a variety of sources. Throughout the course, students will be encouraged to relate the material to their own recent or impending experiences so that it is meaningful and relevant.