Departmental Offerings

The following course descriptions detail the likely offerings during any school year, though specifics will vary from term to term and course lineups are always changing. Click on the course titles below for full descriptions.

  • AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics

    This course introduces students to both basic and advanced concepts in the study of economics, with particular attention to the interdisciplinary aspects of the field. Though it has an AP-designation, it doesn’t always strictly follow the AP-curriculum and, as such, isn’t a “traditional” survey in economics. During the first half of the year students focus on microeconomics, analyzing the relationship between supply and demand and looking at how these market forces both determine and are shaped by the behavior of consumers and firms. The second half of the year students focus on macroeconomics, analyzing patterns and forces within the larger economy. They look at how unemployment, interest rates, government policies, and environmental catastrophes can affect the broader economy. Throughout the year, the instructor frequently incorporates relevant issues that lie at the intersection of economics and history, sustainability, and international relations.
  • History of China

    This course begins with a look at 'traditional' China in terms of culture, religion/philosophy, and political structures. The bulk of the class is then spent looking at the degree to which China is able to deal with the challenges posed by its involuntary interactions with the West. This thread is followed from the Opium wars, through the fall of the Qing dynasty, and into the foundation of the People's Republic. The latter portion of the class looks at the rise of the Chinese Communist Party, its successes and failures, and the challenges it faces as China races towards modernization.
  • History of the Modern Middle East

    Students examine the history of the modern Middle East (late 19th century to the present day) with a focus on the political, cultural, and intellectual changes that have occurred over the past 150 years. The overarching goal of this course is to study the history of the region through the eyes of its people, rather than solely as the subject of Western imperialism or for its position within post-9/11 geopolitics. The course will focus on the following themes:

    • Imperialism: How did European and Ottoman imperialism shape Middle Eastern institutions, outlooks, and intellectual currents from the nineteenth century until today?
    • Nationalism: How was the rise of nationalism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries interpreted by individuals in the Middle East? How, specifically, did Middle Eastern forms of nationalism, such as Arabism, Ba’thism, Nasserism, and Zionism, arise and flourish?
    • Contested Modernities: What are the major intellectual, social, and political currents of the modern Middle East? How did identities change (or not) as states and borders, majorities and minorities, shifted over time?
  • Honors Contemporary Ethical Issues

    In this course, students closely examine various global, social, and political issues with the goal of enhancing their interest in, understanding of, and responsibility to the world we live in today. Given that students receive a cursory exposure to the study of ethics, this course is associated with the Marvin Shagam Program in Ethics and Global Citizenship. 

    This trimester-long course is offered all three terms. Students may choose to take it for one, two, or three trimesters, as the content changes each term. This year, the topics will be:

    Fall
    • Black & White Racial In/Justice (social)
    • The Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders Phenomenons (political)
    • The Closing of Guantanamo Bay (global)
    Winter
    • Guns in America (social)
    • The Road Ahead: Examining the biggest challenges for America's 45th President (political) 
    • Immigration (global)
    Spring
    • Life-Ending Drugs (social)
    • The 28th Amendment: Students individually determine the next constitutional reform (political)
    • Terrorism (global)
  • Latin American History

    This course examines the history of the twenty countries that make up Latin America from around 1850 to the present. One challenge students face is trying to make sense of so broad a region in such a short time. The region hosts a diverse range of cultures, geographies, political structures, and languages. By necessity, the course focuses most of its energies on the larger and/or more historically revealing countries of the region, especially Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Cuba. However, other countries are drawn into class discussions, as well, in order to arrive at one story that works for the region as a whole. The class relies on a textbook, in addition to examining several primary source documents.
  • Sovereignty and Struggle: Africa and Africans in the Era of the Cold War

    In this course, students learn about changes in Africa following World War II. First, the course explores the different methods used by European countries to administer their colonies. It then highlights the differences between the British colonial policy of “indirect rule” and the French policy of “assimilation.” The students then explore the conditions that led to the wave of decolonization that swept the continent in the postwar era. The course highlights a number of themes central to the anti-colonial resistance movements. Opting for quality over quantity, students zoom in on five significant case studies: the Suez Crisis (1956), the Congo Crisis (1960-65), the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62), the Angolan Civil War (1975-2002), and Apartheid South Africa (1948-1994). Martin Meredith’s The Fate of Africa is the primary text for the course, but it is supplemented with readings in Black political philosophy, African literature, excerpts from documentaries, music, and Gillo Pontecorvo’s 1966 war film La Bataille D’Alger.
  • The Pacific Rim Since WWII

    This course examines the history and culture of Japan, Korea and China, with a specific focus on contemporary issues, including the relationship between North and South Korea, China's economic development, and Japan's efforts to retain its global power in the face of rising competition from its neighbors.
  • U.S. History and Honors U.S. History: American Studies

    This multidisciplinary class combines English and history with the goal of helping students achieve a deeper understanding of a complex question: What is America? By breaking down the artificial barriers that exist between disciplines, students in this course not only study American literature and history, but also investigate their own relationship to the idea of America. Using traditional textbooks, fiction, non-fiction (speeches, essays, memoirs, and editorials), art, advertisements, film, music, and artifacts of popular culture, students contemplate the American past and present in innovative and creative ways. The course is team taught; while students still have distinct history and English class periods, the syllabi is coordinated and assignments often overlap.

Faculty

  • Sarah DelVecchio

    History
    Colby College - BA
    University of Pennsylvania - MA
    Brandeis University - PhD
    Bio
  • Jason Carney

    Chair of the History Department
    Villanova University - BA
    University of Hawaii - MEd
    Bio
  • Gina Greene

    History
    Harvard University - BA
    California College of Arts and Crafts - BFA
    University of California, Riverside - MA
    Princeton University - PhD
    Bio
  • Jeffrey Hooper

    Dean of Faculty; Spanish; History
    Trinity University - BA
    University of Texas - MA
    Bio
  • Whitney Livermore

    History
    Williams College - BA
    University of San Francisco - MAT
    Bio
  • Robert St. George

    History, Outdoor Program Director 2017-18
    Trinity College - BA
    University of Pennsylvania - MA
    Bio