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Upper School History


​This course will offer a rigorous introduction to the basic microeconomic model, covering the elements of demand, supply, and market equilibrium, and developing the foundations of utility theory, consumer choice, cost, and the production of goods and services. Although the course will not require the use of advanced math, a good intuitive ability with mathematical concepts and computations is an advantage.

History IX: Human Geography
​This course introduces students to new ways to study society, from economics and demographics to statistical analysis. Students are taken through several themes, like globalization, urbanization, and the spread of language and religion. Students also learn to write analytical essays using varied sources and utilize new technologies to map the larger world. By exposing students to unfamiliar parts of the world, and providing different ways to study those areas, they are prepared to more fully engage the more traditional history courses which follow.

History X: AP European
​This is a rigorous, college-level course that seeks to introduce students to the materials and methods of modern history. Students should expect to spend one hour every night on the reading assignments, and should expect tests based on the types of questions asked on the national exam. Topics covered include the Renaissance and Reformation, the voyages of trade and discovery, Absolutism, the French and Industrial Revolutions, Nationalism, and the twentieth century. All along the way, students will be preparing for the European history Advanced Placement exam administered nationally every May.

History X: Standard European
​This course is a survey of modern European history from the Renaissance through the 20th century. In addition to a textbook, students learn how historians use a variety of sources to reconstruct the past, e.g., music, art, literature, statistics, photographs, economic data, etc. Students demonstrate their proficiency through a combination of homework assignments, quizzes, projects, and examinations.

History XI: AP US
​This college introductory course provides the student with a chronological survey of American History, from European contact to the present. Topics of study include the settlement of New England and the influence of Puritanism, the Revolution, the Constitutional crisis, Jacksonian Era, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Populist and Progressive Eras, WWI, WWII, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movements, the Vietnam War, and the War on Terror. Much time is devoted to both social and cultural/intellectual history. Students have regular writing assignments to prepare for May's AP Exam.

History XI: Standard US
​This introductory course takes the student through the history of the United States from Columbus's encounters with the New World through the present. Students see the wide scope of American history through political, social, and cultural history. Beyond learning the chronological story of America, students grapple with primary sources and learn the steps historians take to understand the past. The course incorporates a textbook for background context but expands with articles, artwork, and historians' analyses. Through writing, students learn to make persuasive arguments supported by evidence.

History XII: FBI & 20th Century American History
​In this term-long course, student will be exposed to the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. By looking at its foundation, its key figures, and its critical moments, students will get a greater understanding of this bureau's role in shaping American history in the twentieth century. We will explore the troublesome history of the Bureau in regards to civil rights, its often unchecked authority, and the importance of personality in shaping the Bureau's actions. The course will culminate with a research paper in released FBI files, offering students a chance to not only examine sources few have seen, but also the opportunity to hone skills needed at college.

History XII: Poverty & Social Change
​This class offers students the opportunity to approach and learn about social issues and poverty in an academic setting. This class allows students to go beyond trying to solve social issues and look at the roots of ongoing problems. Students will be asked to consider what they, personally, can do to benefit the larger community. Literature, articles, and history texts will be used to educate the students to the current problems and solutions and compare them to the past. The goal of this class to teach students how to ask the right questions so that they can then find answers on their own using their individual talents and personalities.

History: 20th Century - Pacific War
​This term elective course will examine World War II in the Pacific including Japan's expansion on the continent, the fighting between Japan and China, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the multifaceted Allied campaign in the Pacific, and the bombing of Japan which culminated in the atom bombs being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The course will examine the major themes of the Pacific War through primary and secondary texts, and also through several films (both documentary and feature) that will help us get the feel of the times and places central to this conflict.

History: Environmental History
​Much of history treats the environment as only a stage upon which humans acted out the past. In this course, students will challenge the idea that the environment is a static historical actor by examining the environment's role in American history. This course will examine the consequences and responses to how humans have shaped nature (plantations, mines, dams, national parks, hunting practices, suburban backyards), to how nature has altered human history (droughts, insect infestations, floods, earthquakes, disease outbreaks, urban heat waves) and to how the environment has influenced politics and philosophy (Transcendentalism, Deep Ecology, and the Green Party).

History: Environmental Writing
​Increasingly, we are confronted with environmental issues every day of our lives, both global and local. On the one hand we are alerted to the fact that the earth's oceans will lose between ten and twenty percent of their coral reefs this year, due to coral bleaching caused by warming ocean waters, and on the other we must decide whether the Mountain Accord is a reasonable compromise that will assure effective stewardship of our beloved Wasatch Mountains into future years. It is ever more important that we develop a deeper understanding of our personal relationship with the earth's environment. This course will provide a chronological survey of American environmental writing from H.D. Thoreau to Terry Tempest Williams. Along the way we will read the essays and creative non-fiction of John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Edward Abbey, Wendell Berry, Barry Lopez, and many others. Throughout, we will try to develop a more thorough understanding of the social, political, and economic dimensions of environmental issues.

History: French Animation
​In this elective course, students will study the history of French animation as a way to describe, survive and comprehend some of the most difficult moments in history. Students will study and respond to various pieces of animation (be it film, graphic poem or newspaper cartoon) in order to understand and formulate an opinion on the relationship between the "infantile" medium of animation and its power to communicate complex political, social and personal issues.

History: French Cinema
​In this course, the films will introduce the students to the history and culture of France, including humor, sensitivity, actors and cinematic art. The films will engender historical and cultural dialog during which the students will have a chance to express themselves on varied cultural topics, as they analyze and compare the various themes. This course will be offered in English and all work will be done in English.

History: Historical Methods
​In this term-long course, students will critically evaluate major historical methods as they appear in works of fiction. We will consider oral history, the use of archival documents, narrative, and personal experience as ways of establishing authority and legitimacy in historical writing. We will do so through compelling works of literature - Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, Dracula, and The Education of Little Tree - that fall along the spectrum from historical fiction to fantastical tales to outright lies.

History: Mexico Through Film
​This course will explore the relationship between Mexico and The United States through film and documentary. At a time when immigration reform in the US is a national debate, we will study Mexico from its Revolution in 1910 to the present. This course is offered in English and all work will be done in English.

History: Psychology
​Psychology is both an academic discipline (something you could major in) and a popular pastime (something that people like to talk about and will pay to watch others talk about). While much about academic psychology could be dismissed as of only secondary consequence and much about popular psychology as cliche, there are ideas within psychology that are profound and enduring. We will examine some of them in this course. Our goal will be the advancement of our understanding of the ideas, with particular attention to their substance and their implications for how we think about ourselves. We will take up the ideas in a roughly chronological sequence, drawing on texts sometimes authored by the major shapers of the ideas, sometimes by commentators. In addition to reading, conversing, and writing about the ideas as a class, we will also try hard to engage in experiences beyond the classroom that will advance our understanding even further.

​The purpose of this course is to give students an introduction to philosophy in the Western tradition, starting with the ancient Greeks and continuing until the 20th century. Our time is short, so we will be able to look at only a few major texts, but we hope to highlight some key philosophical problems and attempted solutions. In order, we will read Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Nietzsche, and then, if time allows, we will end the term with a literary-philosophical meditation on art and reality: Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own.

US Government and Citizenship
​This term will will explore U.S. politics broadly. In doing so, we’ll begin with a definition of politics as the arrangement of power: how it is created, exercised, justified, and challenged. Political science is the study of those power arrangements, including both informal structures of power in the United States from the federal to local levels. One of our primary lenses for this investigation will be the current election season, which highlights the rules and norms of contemporary politics in the United States. The term will involve individual case studies of contemporary elections in order to broaden and deepen our understanding of American democracy. As a class, we will also explore other contemporary power arrangements through class projects and daily reading and discussion.