Departments

History

History Department

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 7 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 the questions: What is history?, Why study history?, and 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 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.
  • REGIONAL STUDIES

    Term: Full year
    This course is designed for juniors. Students will be assigned to one of the following courses based on their language study: Latin American Studies, Chinese and East Asian Studies, or European Studies. Interdisciplinary in nature, Regional Studies exposes students to a region’s history, political and economic structures, philosophical and religious traditions, expressions in literature and the arts, and contemporary society. Additionally, this course will introduce students to the complex development of cultural identity.
  • REGIONAL STUDIES HONORS

    Term: Full year
    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.
  • 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.

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.

12th Grade Program Courses

List of 18 frequently asked questions.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • HONORS COMPARATIVE RELIGIONS

    Term: Full year
    As the world becomes more accessible through travel, the Internet, and other media sources, it is important that we understand the religious issues impacting cultural perspectives. In this course, we will address stereotypes and review common knowledge by reading and discussing actual religious texts. Additional sources of information, such as documentaries, guest speakers, and other texts will broaden students’ understanding of each religion or philosophy. Students are expected to read analytically and independently, and use outside sources to understand nightly assignments. Essays, tests, presentations, and projects are part of this course; discussion is essential. Students who complete the course will have a better appreciation for the complications that followers and detractors bring to each faith. This course is offered every other year.
  • HISTORY OF NEW YORK CITY

    Term: Fall
    This course examines four centuries of New York City history, from the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam in the early 1600s to the present day. By taking a look at the unique origins of the city, it becomes easier to understand why and how New York City has assumed its current role in America’s cultural identity. The Big Apple’s growth and evolution through the years is also representative of the growth of the United States. Course texts include Russell Shorto’s Island at the Center of the World, which is the summer reading for this course, and George Lankevich’s New York City: A Short History.
  • HISTORY THROUGH FILM

    Terms: Winter and Spring
    Since its origins, film has been a vehicle to document, analyze, and evaluate historical events. This course will examine the ways in which documentaries and motion pictures have portrayed important events and social movements in American history. Students will study a number of themes including America’s military efforts during the 20th century and social changes and crises. By looking at the historical accuracy of the films and the potential goals of their producers and directors, it is possible to place them into an appropriate context.
  • THE ATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE

    Term: FallThis 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.
  • PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION

    Term: Fall
    Through an examination of philosophical thought from Plato to Rousseau to Foucault, students will have the opportunity to consider various perspectives and proposals for the ideal educational system. This course will focus on a critical analysis of educational thought and practice to gain a greater understanding of the forces that shape our education. Texts include editor Joy Palmer’s Fifty Major Thinkers on Education and Fifty Modern Thinkers on Education.
  • 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.
  • NATIVE AMERICAN STUDIES

    Term: Fall
    Students in this class are exposed to many aspects of Native American life. Perspectives are developed through the writings of native and non-native authors. Video, outside resources, recordings, and hands-on opportunities allow students to experience the richness of Native American cultures. Texts include A Long Terrible Shadow, Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge, How It Is, and The Way to Rainy Mountain.
  • 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.
  • INTRODUCTION TO ARCHAEOLOGY

    Term: Spring
    This course is designed to introduce students to the broad field of Archaeology. The course will focus on Ancient North America with an emphasis on the Great Plains, the Pacific Northwest, the Arctic and the Southwest. As a discipline, archaeology involves the study of the past through an examination of physical evidence from which conclusions are drawn as to lifestyles, etc. Students will write several papers and complete a project on a pre-Columbian technology.
  • BUSINESS AND 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.
  • MODERN MIDDLE EASTERN HISTORY

    Term: Winter and 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.
  • TWENTIETH 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.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL PHILOSOPHY

    Term: Spring
    This course traces the development of Western attitudes toward theenvironment. The core of the course revolves around a study of humankind’s relation to nature and its implications and consequences. Particular emphasis is placed on developing a new understanding to our present way of thinking. Readings include the writings of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Arne Naess, and Edward Abbey. The texts include Nash’s Wilderness and the American Mind and Thoreau’s Walden and Walking.

History Office

List of 9 members.

  • Bryan Brissette 

    Chair, History Department
    Harvard University - A.B.
    Northeastern University - M.A.
    Trinity College - M.A.
    Read Bio
  • Barry Cleary 

    Dean of Faculty
    University of Notre Dame - B.A.
    Springfield College - M.Ed.
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  • David Kayiatos 

    Trinity College - B.A.
    Trinity College - M.A.
    Read Bio
  • Beth Krasemann 

    Williams College - B.A.
    Brown University - M.A.T.
    Read Bio
  • Andy Lowe 

    Suffield Academy
    Stanford University - B.A.
    Trinity College - M.A.
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  • Chris Pentz 

    Assistant Academic Dean
    Williams College - B.A.
    University of Massachusetts - M.S.
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  • Justin Pepoli 

    Springfield College - B.A.
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  • David Strong 

    Harvard University - B.A.
    University of Toronto Faculty of Law
    Read Bio
  • Molly Vianney 

    Suffield Academy
    Smith College - B.A.
    Trinity College - M.A.
    Read Bio
Suffield Academy   185 North Main Street   Suffield, Connecticut 06078   Phone 860.386.4400  |  Fax 860.386.4411