History

History courses introduce students to important events and trends, world geography, and the political, intellectual, and artistic expressions of various civilizations. Our faculty encourages students to become culturally literate while finding their their place as a world citizen. Students are challenged to consider problems on multiple levels, facilitating a deeper understanding of the complexity of society and the consequences of human judgment. The curriculum includes a regional studies program that is unprecedented at the high school level. Students in the 11th-grade take courses in Latin American, Chinese and Asian, or European history. Course placement is tied to modern language study. This interdisciplinary program provides opportunity to study the history of several areas of the world that fundamentally shaped contemporary society. Students hone their ability to think and write critically, express their ideas, and defend their points of view.
 
Suffield’s history curriculum teaches students to:
» Research and analyze concepts and present them both orally and in writing
» Become a culturally literate and responsible world citizen
» Develop complex, critical thinking skills to consider problems on multiple levels and from varied perspectives
» Build strong analytical reading, writing, and research skills

Course Descriptions

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • »  Foundations of Modern History

    Term: Full year
    This is an introductory course structured to accommodate students with varying degrees of proficiency in historical skills and the social sciences. Emphasis is placed on classroom discussions, note-taking, active reading, developing and defending arguments, researching, and writing. Students will start the year with an introduction to historiography, focusing on three questions: What is history? Why study history? How do historians work? The remainder of the year will expose students to the cultural, political, and economic forces that have shaped the world from 1500 to the present day.
  • »  US History

    Term: Full year
    This course is designed to introduce sophomores to the major political, economic, and cultural themes that have shaped the “American character” from the colonial period to the present. Emphasis is placed on classroom discussions, critical reading, and close examination and interpretation of primary and secondary sources. Students will learn to pay particular attention to detecting bias, thinking independently, and formulating and defending arguments with appropriate evidence. They will also write essays of various lengths, including an independent research paper.
  • »  US History for International Students

    Term: Full year
    United States History for International Students is designed to provide 10th- and 11th-grade international students with a general background in the history of the United States. The political, economic, and social development of the United States is traced from colonial times to the present day. Students are responsible for outside reading assignments, class handouts, and following current events. Particular attention is paid to building note-taking skills, writing techniques, and research skills. Prerequisite: Permission of the academic dean.
  • »  US History Honors

    Term: Full year
    This course is designed to add depth to the regular survey of US History. Emphasis is placed on developing skills related to the understanding and use of different scholarly works and primary sources, including the detection of bias in those sources. Students in this course may participate in an historical essay contest conducted annually among independent schools in the Hartford area. Prerequisite: Permission of the academic dean.
  • »  AP US History

    Term: Full year
    This course is designed to add depth to the regular survey of US history. The fall term will start in 1945 and will examine the major themes of post-World War II America. In the winter and spring, students will examine the major themes from exploration of Colonial America up to the start of World War II. Emphasis is placed on the use and analysis of primary and secondary sources, critical thinking, and thoughtful class participation. Students are required to write a substantive research paper and can participate in a Constitutional essay contest conducted annually among independent schools in the Hartford area. Students develop the necessary skills that will help them to prepare for the AP Exam in US history. Prerequisite: available to juniors and seniors with permission of the department chair.
  • »  Area Studies

    Area Studies
     
    Unique in a secondary school curriculum, Suffield offers students the choice of three courses to fully investigate a region outside of the United States. With the flexibility of a full-year course, students undergo deep intellectual dives into a region’s history, political and economic structures, philosophical and religious traditions, expressions in art, music and literature, evolving social norms, and the connection between past and present. Additionally, students will continually analyze the development of the region’s cultural identity, on its own terms and in relation to the outside world. In the spring term, the capstone project invites students to fully engage with a topic of their choice and present it to the wider school community. Students select one of the following courses: Latin American Studies, European Studies, or Asian Studies*. (India, China, and Japan).
     
    A student enrolled in a regional studies course may be invited to honors designation at the midterm in fall term if he or she is earning honors-level grades and is willing to do additional work, including a rigorous research project. Honors placement will be determined by the classroom teacher.

12th Grade History Program

Seniors study history following one of two paths. The firstpath is composed of year-long advanced placement course. The second path is composed of fall term and winter/spring term electives. Below are the courses.

List of 14 frequently asked questions.

  • »  AP Economics

    Term: 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 & Politics

    Term: Full year
    This course involves a detailed study of the important conceptsand 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.
  • »  Holocaust, Genocide, & Human Behavior

    Term: 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. 
  • »  North American Tour: Human and Physical Geography

    Term: Fall
    Geography, the study of the spatial aspects of human existence, enables students to find answers to questions about the world around them. A geographically informed person sees, understands, and appreciates the connections among people, places, and environments. Understanding these connections requires an acute awareness of space, which can be identified in terms of location, distance, direction, pattern, shape, and arrangement. With a strong grasp of geography, students will be prepared to understand issues and solve problems in the contemporary world.
  • »  Philosophy

    Term: Fall
    The study of philosophy is the application of reason
    and logic to fundamental questions, such as “Does evil exist?”,
    “Is knowledge possible, and can it be proven?”, or “Do humans have free will?” We will explore how philosophy is applied in art, science, politics and psychology. This course will introduce you to the major concepts of philosophy, covering metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, determinism, political philosophy, and cognitive science. We will study the Western philosophies of Socrates, Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, as well as the
    Eastern philosophies of Lao-Tzu and Buddha.
  • »  Psychology

    Psychology is the science of behavior and mind. The objective of this course is to examine behavior and mental processes using the scientific method and to apply this knowledge in real world scenarios and settings. To begin this course, we will explore the different parts of the brain and their functions. Next, we will familiarize with a few different branches of psychology. These will include: biological psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, health psychology, personality psychology, sports psychology, and social psychology. Students will complete this class with an understanding of how their brains and other factors control and influence their behavior as well as the behavior of those in society.
  • »  Modern Middle Eastern History

    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 Atlantic Slave Trade

    Term: 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.
  • »  Business Ethics

    Term: 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.
  • »  The Civil War

    Term: 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.
  • »  Political Philosophy

    Term: Winter
    This course examines the following areas: The State of Nature, Justifying the State, Who Should Rule?, The Place of Liberty, The Distribution of Property, Individualism, and Justice and Feminism. The course also includes a unit on fascism. All of this helps us to explore one subject above all: the mystery of human nature and the eternal search to define it and to create a better social order based on it. The text is Jonathan Wolff’s An Introduction to Political Philosophy.
  • »  Business & Economics

    Term: Winter and 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.
  • »  Art History Honors

    Term: Winter and Spring
    This course is an in-depth survey of human creativity and artistic expression, ranging from early civilization to modern times. This course will examine the artistic traditions of sculpture, painting, architecture, historical text, and the origins of symbolic imagery found in art and language throughout the world.
  • »  20th Century War

    Term: Winter and 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.

History Office

List of 10 members.

  • Photo of Bryan Brissette

    Bryan Brissette 

    Chair, History Department
    Harvard University - A.B.
    Northeastern University - M.A.
    Trinity College - M.A.
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  • Photo of Beth Krasemann

    Beth Krasemann 

    Coordinator of Curriculum and Faculty Development
    Williams College - B.A.
    Brown University - M.A.T.
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  • Photo of Andy Lowe

    Andy Lowe 

    History Department
    Stanford University - B.A.
    Trinity College - M.A.
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  • Photo of Chris Pentz

    Chris Pentz 

    History Department
    Williams College - B.A.
    University of Massachusetts - M.S.
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  • Photo of Justin Pepoli

    Justin Pepoli 

    History Department
    Springfield College - B.A.
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  • Photo of Molly Vianney

    Molly Vianney 

    History Department
    Smith College - B.A.
    Trinity College - M.A.
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  • Photo of Anu Rawlings

    Anu Rawlings 

    English & Languages Department
    Roger Williams University - B.A.
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  • Photo of Matt  Mercure

    Matt  Mercure 

    History Department
    Westfield State University - B.A.
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  • Photo of Phil Hodosy

    Phil Hodosy 

    Assistant Academic Dean
    St. Lawrence University - B.A.
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  • Photo of Cam  McMillan

    Cam  McMillan 

    Boston University - B.A.
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Suffield Academy   185 North Main Street   Suffield, Connecticut 06078   Phone 860.386.4400  |  Fax 860.386.4411