12th Grade History Courses

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Seniors study history following one of two paths. The first path is composed of year-long advanced placement course. The second path is composed of seminars in fall, winter, and spring terms.

AP Economics [Full Year]
This course examines fundamental economic tools and employs them to analyze the American and world economies. The course begins with a thorough examination of microeconomic topics, including the market theory of supply and demand, forms of competition, and factors of production. The second half of the year focuses on macroeconomic issues, including the relationship between unemployment and inflation, monetary and fiscal policies, and methods of calculating GDP. Students are expected to work at a rigorous pace. Students are required to sit for at least one AP Exam, either macroeconomics or microeconomics, and may choose to take both exams. Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair.

AP Government and Politics [Full Year]
This course involves a detailed study of the important concepts and theories pertaining to US government and politics, a comprehensive understanding of the political process, and the extensive use and analysis of basic data relevant to US government and politics. Students are required to take the AP Exam in May. Prerequisite: Permission of the department chair.

Good Trouble: Black Agency [Full Year]
The major theme of this course is the active, dynamic, and essential role that Black Americans have played in US History. The course begins with a look at Black America in 2020 in pursuit of the question: “How did we get here?” We will unpack the social construct of race, the impact of systemic racism, the persistence of white supremacy, and the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement. To deconstruct the reality of present day, we take a thematic approach to our study by tracing 1865 to present through these eight units: The constitutional and legal basis of segregation and discrimination; Black Women activists; Education and Incarceration; Labor, Jobs, and Migration; The Goals and Tactics for strategies to achieve racial justice; Black Culture; American Foreign Policy and Race; and Science and Blackness. The course will include an independent project researching the agency of another marginalized group, selected by the student. We give our thanks to the late John Lewis in helping us name the course.

Holocaust, Genocide, & Human Behavior [Full Year]
The journey begins by examining common human behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes students can readily observe in their own lives. Students grapple with questions like: Who are we? How is our identity formed? How do we acquire membership in a group? Who belongs? Who doesn’t and why? Students then explore a historical case study, such as the Holocaust, and analyze how those patterns of human behavior may have influenced the choices individuals made in the past—to participate, stand by, or stand up—in the face of injustice and, eventually, mass murder. Students then examine how the history they studied continues to influence our world today, and they consider how they might choose to participate in bringing about a more humane, just, and compassionate world. The scope and sequence promotes students’ historical understanding, critical thinking, empathy, and social–emotional learning. Students can help shape the curriculum; they can help decide which topics to fully engage with. Topics may include the Holocaust, Democracy and Civic Engagement, Race in US History, Justice and Human Rights, and Genocide. A final capstone project in the spring would be a “Choosing to Participate” project. Students will pick a major issue in the world today and research how they themselves can engage with the issue through civic participation, and then put their ideas into action. ound and often dramatic change. Particular emphasis is placed on the region’s political, social, and cultural history.

Philosophy: Honors [Full Year]
Philosophical inquiry endeavors to find answers to unanswerable questions, such as “Does evil exist?”, “Is knowledge possible, and can it be proven?”, or “Do humans have free will?” As a central element to many subjects, its influence ranges from mathematics, psychology, religion, politics and even economics. In studying philosophy’s impact on these topics, we will read original texts from Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Kant, Lao-Tzu, Buddha, as well as our primary text The Norton Introduction to Philosophy.

Psychology [Full Year]
This course will introduce interested students to psychology, the science of behavior and mental processes. The foundations of psychology, including its early history and an exploration of its research methods, will serve as a tools to help students gain an understanding of a variety of topics including sensation and perception, memory and learning, individual development, and emotion. Students will also have an opportunity to delve into several subsets of psychology such as studies in personality, sexuality and gender, social psychology, and clinical psychology. Ultimately, students taking this course will finish the year with an understanding of how behavior is studied, as well as how principals of psychology can apply to further educational or career goals.

Business Ethics [Fall]
This course examines the forces that have created and molded the modern business world and its practices in the United States. Specifically, students will look at definitions and expressions of capitalism, free trade, entrepreneurship, and the global economy; business organizations and the laws and market forces that condition their activities in the United States; and business-community and business-worker relations.

Business and Economics [Winter / Spring]
This course teaches students how to fuse the domains of microeconomics, macroeconomics, capital and investment markets, and entrepreneurship. The writings of business leaders, The Wall Street Journal, and several Barron’s guides provide the readings for the class. Guest lecturers across business pursuits will present their real-world experiences, and a number of field trips to area businesses will be conducted.

The Atlantic Slave Trade [Fall]
This course focuses on the economic, social, cultural and political history of the Atlantic slave trade. The Atlantic Slave Trade examines four hundred years of West and East African experiences, as well as all the American colonies and republics that obtained slaves from Africa. Additionally, the course places the slave trade in the context of world trade and examines the role it played in the growing relationship between Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.

Modern Middle Eastern History [Winter / Spring]
This course analyzes post-World War I Middle Eastern history, from the Ottoman and Egyptian reforms, through the challenge of Western imperialism, to the Iranian Revolution, the Gulf War and the War on Terrorism. After introducing students to the region’s history from the origins of Islam in the seventh century, the course focuses on the past two centuries of profound and often dramatic change. Particular emphasis is placed on the region’s political, social, and cultural history.

The Civil War [Fall]
This course examines the political and military events of the Civil War era, while analyzing the important social and economic developments in the United States during the 19th century. The course identifies the crises, changes, and transformations that defined America in the years between the Mexican War and Reconstruction. The course follows the thematic outline of James McPherson’s text Battle Cry of Freedom. Students will read primary sources and historical narratives.

Twentieth Century War [Winter / Spring]
This course focuses on World War I, World War II, and the Cold War, with an emphasis on the causes and effects of warfare and the conflicts between communism and democracy. The course will examine the major battles and military operations of the various wars; and the social, political, economic, psychological, and cultural effects of war. World War I focus issues include Bismarck’s diplomatic system, blame for the war, new military technologies, and the nature of trench warfare. World War II focus issues include the rise of Hitler, American isolationism and involvement, the development and use of the atomic bomb, and the dawn of the Atomic Age. The Cold War focus issues include post-World War II American and Soviet foreign policy, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Kennedy and Khrushchev, Reagan and Gorbachev, and the fall of the Soviet Empire.