Social Studies

Global History and Geography

Global History and Geography introduces students to the study of human culture and history in three distinct regions: Europe, East Asia, and India. Students examine major cultures and how they have evolved over time by studying the geography, religious and value systems, social structure, and government of each region. The course also devotes attention to the contemporary realities of each of these societies. Overarching themes, such as the impact of religion or economy on a society, are studied across regions and epochs to help students understand the fundamental issues that have shaped the human experience. Students will study primary and secondary accounts of historical events. Projects and assignments involve essay writing, research, analysis of newspaper and magazine articles, and role-playing.

U.S. History and Government

This course engages students in an exploration of U.S. history from the colonial period through the modern day. It is designed to encourage students to think historically as they develop knowledge of U.S. history and government. Students will examine information and facts through the lens of major themes running throughout United States history: evolving definitions of freedom and democracy, tensions between state and federal governments, and the government’s role to protect and regulate. Topics such as the impact of the economy on society and politics, the United States’ relationship to the rest of the world, and cycles of immigration and reform are also given special emphasis. Projects and assignments throughout the year include frequent essay writing, reading and interpreting primary sources, research, debate, and oral presentations.

Civics and Economics

This is a one-year course divided into two sections. In the first part of this course, students deepen their knowledge of the United States government and constitutional principles. Students study the U.S. system in relation to other nations’, review the basic civic values and responsibilities of a participatory democracy, and examine the Constitution. Students will learn how to apply this knowledge toward a richer understanding of current events.

In the second part of this course, students receive an introductory treatment of basic economic concepts and theories. Primary emphasis is placed upon acquiring skills with which to analyze current economic issues. The course also provides a unit on personal finance. The goal of this course is to give students a sufficient understanding of economic issues and problems so that they may better understand the impact of government policy, economic phenomena, and the choices people make.

Chinese History: Antiquity to Tang

This course helps students explore what it means to be “Chinese” by studying the major periods in early Chinese history that form the foundation of Chinese civilization up through the Tang dynasty in the 10th century A.D. The course employs an overall chronological framework to introduce each of the different Chinese dynasties, and students learn to view this history through multiple lenses, including religious, political, literary, and artistic.

Chinese History: Post-Tang

The prerequisite for this course is satisfactory completion of Chinese History: Antiquity to Tang or a strong Chinese language and cultural background. Students study the formation of late imperial and early modern Chinese culture with regard to intellectual, social, and political developments. The course examines the resilience and weaknesses of China’s imperial system during its final centuries as well as the challenges that China’s traditions have posed for those seeking institutional reform and modernization. Through research projects, students develop skills in historical research, analysis, and writing.