The History Department has the goal of producing graduates who can think, read, and write critically, and who can use this learning to become better citizens of the world. Our students will understand that the way history has been interpreted changes over time, which reflects not only new information about the past becoming available but also the changing perspectives of historians themselves. We want our students to be challenged by rigorous courses that are designed to promote the development of personal opinions as well as to provide a safe space to engage in civil discourse and the discussion of opposing opinions. We want our students to love history as we do and to see it as a way to understand the complexity of the human condition.
Class VI Humanities gives students the opportunity to build connections: between lower and middle school, between literature and history, and between their lives and the greater world. Students continue their studies of US history from Reconstruction to the present. While examining primary and secondary sources, students practice historical thinking skills such as chronological reasoning and causation. Students also read literature that connects thematically and contextually with history. They practice close reading skills, annotation, and interpretation. They participate in reading workshops and literature circles with the goal of developing the habits of life-long readers. In writing workshops, students strengthen their writing across various genres, including personal narratives, analytical essays, creative responses, and poetry.
This course in Ancient History introduces students to the development of complex ancient civilizations in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Students will learn the basic terms and concepts of prehistory, archaeology, and history. They will also explore the benchmarks of human achievement and invention and consider the concepts of civilization and progress. Students will learn how to organize their study of civilizations by reference to specific, historical categories. The course emphasizes the interpretation of primary and secondary sources, oral and written presentations of historical information, and the organization and construction of historical arguments.
Class VIII History takes a global approach to study of empire building and cultural diffusion that took place between 600CE and 1800CE. Students will focus on the expansion and contraction of empires in the Middle East, West Africa, East Asia, the Americas, and Europe, as well as how these empires shaped and collided with other groups worldwide. Students will engage in the analysis of primary and secondary sources as they continue to work on crafting historical arguments. Class VIII History culminates in a research project that explores these exchanges and encounters.