History Department2022-02-25T20:57:15+00:00

History

Placement Requirements

The placement process for new students is different from that for returning students. Please review the placement requirements for the appropriate group at the links below.

Placement Requirements For New Students
Placement Requirements For Returning Students

All placements are subject to review by the head of the department.

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

History 4: Semester Senior History Courses

The Semester Senior History course offerings are single semester courses and can change from year to year. The registrar will work with seniors to request particular semester senior History courses in May of Grade 11.

Honors

History Course Descriptions

Introduction to Historical Studies

Available to: grade 9 students, required for those students

Knowledge of the past allows us to best understand the present, to understand the motivations of our forebears, and to consider our own beliefs and positions on issues that shape our lives. In this course we operate on the premise, borrowed from Facing History and Ourselves, that “people make choices and choices make history.” Through time, people have made choices because of the political, economic, cultural, and social forces at work when and where they lived. Our world today is inextricably linked to the choices people made in the past. As such, it is imperative that we understand the people of the past if we are to understand the choices we face today. History, at its core, is the study of the past in order to understand how and why we are at this moment. This course explores two central questions: what is history, and how do historians do history? To explore these questions we take an inquiry-based and thematic approach and emphasize the development of foundational historical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Each thematic unit emphasizes multiple perspectives and a range of diverse voices that encourage students to explore and discover multiple historical narratives and gain a richer, more nuanced understanding of history.

The Modern World

Available to: grade 10 students

The modern world, loosely defined as the last four centuries, from the global Renaissance to the present, has been defined by massive transformation––social and political upheaval and revolution, industrialization, urbanization, global exchange and conflict, migration, and imperialism and colonization. This course combines a chronological and thematic approach to explore the historical roots of modernity. What does it mean to be modern? In endeavoring to consider the dynamic changes that modernity brings, students critically examine diverse perspectives––including people of color, young people, and women––as well as multiple points of view––oppression as well as resistance, emigration as well as immigration, the enslaved as well as the enslavers. This course challenges students to think historically, objectively, and globally, to evaluate historical sources, and to grapple with a variety of complex textual, visual, and physical materials to explore the modernization of the world and its role in shaping our contemporary world.

AP World History

Type: honors

Available to: qualified Grade 10 students, see placement requirements link above

In this fact-paced course, students learn to identify long-term historical themes and patterns, while developing fluency in cross-cultural comparison through a survey of global history from the 13th century to the present. While emphasis is placed on chronology, this course also underscores themes that reverberate throughout the broad temporal scope of modern world history, including human interaction with the environment, migration, systems of governance and politics, social interaction and organization, and technology and innovation. Students develop scholarly habits of mind and the skills of a historian including cross-cultural comparison, contextualization, critical comparison of multiple points of view and competing interpretations of events, understanding and rigorous analysis of textual and visual evidence, and the development of uniform methods of historical analysis and writing.

US History / AP US History

Type: honors available

Available to: grade 11 students, grade 12 students in special cases, for honors see placement requirements link above

In this survey course, students investigate significant events, individuals, and processes in United States history from the 16th century to the present. While organized chronologically, this course also focuses on several themes that reverberate throughout the American experience: American and national identity; labor–– both free and enslaved; migration and settlement; politics and power; and geography and the environment. Throughout the year, course concepts resonate with literary analysis and cultural themes discussed in English 3 and English 3 Honors. Students learn to focus their analysis of vital social, cultural, political, and economic moments in history by examining how they shape our perspective on current social, economic, and political issues. Students develop and use the same skills and methods employed by historians: analyzing primary and secondary sources; developing historical arguments; making historical connections; and utilizing reasoning about comparison, causation, and continuity and change. In addition, students examine competing historical interpretations, emphasizing the idea that history’s meaning constantly evolves. Students in US History further personalize the course with several research-based individual and group projects that aim to create historical grounding for our contemporary world. Students qualifying for the AP US History course will be asked to bring rigorous attention to content comprehension, historical analysis, discussion, and specific written skills. It is a demanding course that seeks to prepare motivated students for the AP exam at the end of the school year.

AP Art History

Type: honors

Available to: qualified grade 11 and grade 12 students, see placement requirements link above

Creative expression is at the heart of what it means to be human. To better understand the human experience across space and through time, this course surveys global history from prehistory to the present through a diverse collection of works of art and architecture. Students cultivate their understanding of art within its broader historical context and gain fluency in a specific vocabulary of art analysis as they explore concepts of culture and cultural interactions, theories and interpretations of art, the impact of materials, processes, and techniques of art making. Immersing themselves in the diverse cultural productions of societies from Africa, the Pacific, the Americas, Asia, and Europe, students explore how and why works of art function for those who create them, use them, and view them. They consider such issues as patronage, sex, race, and gender, politics, religion, class, ethnicity, artistic intention, and audience as they grow their skills in art historical analysis. Extensive readings, discussion of visual sources, independent research, frequent assessments, and field trips to local museums help hone students’ ability to synthesize sophisticated visual, written and verbal material to prepare for the AP examination.

Stevenson Summer US History

Type: summer

Available to: high school students who have completed grade 10

Schedule: three and a half hours a day, five days a week for five weeks in the summer

Special Notes: Students taking this course are still expected to take a full load of courses in the following year. The course is in-person and our dorms are closed, so students must provide their own housing and meals.
Stevenson’s Summer US history course offers an intensive immersion in the political, social, economic, and cultural currents of the United States from the colonial era to the present. The class incorporates lecture, discussion, formal debate, group and individual research, film, historical documentaries, and field trips.

Taught chronologically beginning with European upheaval in the 15th century, students also explore and examine themes that reverberate throughout the nation’s history––immigration and colonization; conceptions of freedom and slavery; individual, group, and civil rights; diversity, equality, and equity; the size and role of government; and the concept of American identity. For more information and an application click here.

History 4: Semester Course – Ethics

Available to: Grade 12 students

Philosophy helps develop one’s moral imagination in ways necessary to meet contemporary challenges and opportunities concerning the promotion of the global common good. This class will proceed with the assumption that philosophical claims—e.g., about human nature, our sociality, and its normative implications—are constantly being made throughout our world, and that it is the task of the student of philosophy to uncover and examine such claims. As such, this course attempts to promote ethical reasoning and reflection, in order to help prepare students to become responsible global citizens. This can be problematic insofar as our limited experiences of the world, along with inherent psychological limitations, make it difficult for us to envision the global implications of our actions and decisions. Philosophical reflection helps in this respect since it has, almost since its inception, encouraged us to expand these limits in order to consider as nearly as possible the global (or even universal) implications of ideas and actions. The whole point of philosophy, in this view, is to consider things as much as possible in terms of their relations to everything else and to allow such considerations to challenge one’s preconceived notions of common sense and social custom. Through both reading great works in the history of philosophy and an emphasis on critical, open-ended discussion, this course will attempt to develop students’ moral imaginations by encouraging them genuinely to consider multiple, often contradictory views and to examine their own most deeply held beliefs.

State of the World

Available to: grade 12 students

Schedule: students may choose to take the fall semester, the spring semester, or both

This seminar and project-based course gives students a chance to deeply explore the cultural, political, economic, and social trends that define the 21st century and their historical roots. Students emerge from the class as informed global citizens able to engage the world they will face after graduation. Guided by the issues relevant in the moment, topics vary with the headlines, but prominent themes include politics, war, social upheaval, contemporary art, film, music, and popular culture. In State of the World, students learn to critically engage with and challenge their own cultural perspectives through a variety of group projects that are led and overseen by students. In addition to refining distinctly historical skills, students develop and practice skills essential to their lives beyond Stevenson, including presenting their work, offering and receiving critique, and publishing research findings as an online magazine- style journal, a film, or other media creation.

AP Art History

Type: honors

Available to: qualified grade 11 and grade 12 students, see placement requirements link above

Creative expression is at the heart of what it means to be human. To better understand the human experience across space and through time, this course surveys global history from prehistory to the present through a diverse collection of works of art and architecture. Students cultivate their understanding of art within its broader historical context and gain fluency in a specific vocabulary of art analysis as they explore concepts of culture and cultural interactions, theories and interpretations of art, the impact of materials, processes, and techniques of art making. Immersing themselves in the diverse cultural productions of societies from Africa, the Pacific, the Americas, Asia, and Europe, students explore how and why works of art function for those who create them, use them, and view them. They consider such issues as patronage, sex, race, and gender, politics, religion, class, ethnicity, artistic intention, and audience as they grow their skills in art historical analysis. Extensive readings, discussion of visual sources, independent research, frequent assessments, and field trips to local museums help hone students’ ability to synthesize sophisticated visual, written and verbal material to prepare for the AP examination.

History 4: Semester Course – Economics

Available to: Grade 12 students

In this broad survey of economics, students learn foundational economic concepts, microeconomics, macroeconomics, global/international economics, and personal financial management. Students also engage in a range of projects in order to study, analyze, and dissect contemporary trends in American business, society, and politics from an economic perspective. Students develop analytical and comprehension skills to establish a basic understanding of the complex financial and economic world in which we live.

AP Economics

Type: honors

Available to: qualified grade 12 students

AP Economics is a yearlong course that focuses on how economic decisions are made within national economic systems as a whole. This course covers the major topics of contemporary macroeconomic thought, including economic fundamentals, fiscal and monetary policy, long-term economic growth, and international trade. To expose students to real world economic applications, students collaborate in small groups to study and develop solutions to several contemporary economic challenges, including in the areas of housing, water, food, and energy. This course is designed to expose students to the intellectual environment and demands of a college level course. It is a fast-paced, content-driven class with high expectations. The course aims to prepare students for the AP Macroeconomics examination.

History 4: Semester Course – Legal Studies

This course will build a foundational understanding of America’s civil and criminal legal fields, foundational Supreme Court rulings, and the historical roots of revolutionary conflict stemming from interpretations of justice. Incorporating practical civic literacy, legal competency, and real-world application, students will have the ability to analyze the complexities found in the justice system. The curriculum includes case studies, debates, mock trials, and role-play exercises that will offer tangible application to help students navigate a law-saturated society and provide a window for those interested in pursuing a future in the law. In addition, we will dive into historical events to explore the legal (and often revolutionary) streams that have cultivated conflict in America.

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