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Class XI History Course Offerings

ATLANTIC WORLD: examination of how interactions between Europe, Africa and North and South America, from the 15th century onward, spurred the creation of Atlantic empires that ultimately spanned the Western Hemisphere and encroached on the Pacific Rim. Students explore some understudied regions of the Americas, including Brazil, Peru, the Caribbean, Canada and several Indigenous nations. Intrinsically comparative, this course challenges students to use their knowledge of contrasting physical environments, colonial economic and political systems, European and African immigrant populations, and indigenous cultures to account for modern political and cultural differences between various regions of the Americas. It also considers how environmental studies, genetics, linguistics and film can enrich one’s understanding of historical questions. Includes a research component.

A HISTORY OF FEMINIST THOUGHT: study in feminist theory across time and space. Building on the work of women who have argued that gender is a construct, students will explore the ways in which the focus on women’s equality has shifted and expanded over time. Students will be acquainted with the “feminist canon,” as well as critiques leveled by marginalized women and trans people at many limits built into this paradigm. To complicate the notion of feminism and women, we will investigate how articulations of equality itself can produce a definition of “women” that is exclusive. An exploration of works of queer and trans theorists will examine how they ground their inquiry in the constructive nature of patriarchy. Tasked with putting conflicting feminist writing in conversation, students will develop their own nuanced notions of equity and gender. This course includes a research component.

HISTORY OF CHINA, KOREA AND JAPAN: an appreciation of the history and culture of over one-fifth of the world’s people. The course starts with the history of the 20th and 21st centuries in China, and then looks back chronologically at political, social and cultural developments in China, Korea and Japan, culminating in consideration of the disparate Chinese, Korean and Japanese responses to European incursions in the modern period, the legacies of World War II and the division of Korea, and the position of Korea and Japan in the world today. Includes a research component.

HISTORY OF WARFARE: survey of the global history of war from the Gunpowder Revolution of the 15th century to the present. Students will examine the evolving interaction of military technology, government and society, and engage with the ideas of major theorists including Sun Tzu, Napoleon, Jomini, Clausewitz and Mao. They will also explore the development of the laws of war and the humanitarian and human rights movements that arose, in part, in response to modern warfare. The course ends considering the challenges of asymmetrical warfare, drones and cyber warfare for the future. Includes a research component.

LATIN AMERICAN CULTURAL STUDIES: introduction to critical issues and themes in the history of Latin America since 1800. Students will explore the developments that characterize the region as a whole, while keeping in mind the considerable variation among the countries in the region. The course uses a critical cultural studies approach developed by Latin American thinkers to undo and relearn many of the historical narratives, discourses and structures present throughout the Western Hemisphere. In line with projects to decolonize knowledge and empower students to be active and critical thinkers, time will be dedicated to learning how to produce knowledge and weave varied perspectives into the way we understand history. Includes a research component.

MODERN AFRICA: exploration of 20th-century African history, with special attention to political, military and religious history. Students will examine how Africans forged new nations from the crucible of colonialism; crucial to that story is the military history of the continent from the revolutions of the 19th century to the civil wars in the Congo during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Students will also consider why Africans converted en masse to Christianity and Islam over the last century and how religion shaped daily life, gender relations and politics. Includes a research component.

MODERN EUROPEAN HISTORY: exploration of European history with particular attention to nationalism and other sources of identity. After a preliminary discussion of national and regional identity in contemporary Europe and a quick survey of the Middle Ages, students will spend the winter studying European history from the Renaissance and Reformation to World War I. In the spring, the focus will shift to historiography, with readings and discussion of monographs on the rise of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Students will take the lead in teaching the unit on Europe since 1945. Includes a research component.

MODERN MIDDLE EAST: examination of the major themes and developments in the history of the Middle East with a focus on the end of the 18th century through the early 21st century. The course will pay particular attention to the development of Middle Eastern states and how people and states in the region responded to colonialism. Students will explore discussions of Islam, imperialism, oil, gender and decolonization. By engaging with a variety of scholars of different disciplines, students will exit the class with an understanding both of the modern Middle East and of contemporary scholarship on the region and its past. Students will further develop their research and analytical writing skills and work with a variety of sources including scholarly articles, excerpts from monographs, novels and films. Includes a research component.

NYC HISTORIES: examination of the many perspectives of New York City history with a range of sources including scholarly research, oral histories, archival collections and works from popular culture. Whenever possible, we’ll use New York City and its institutions as our campus to develop connections between our research and the lived experiences of different parts of the city. Topics include the different stories that can be told with different kinds of maps; monuments and memorials around New York City; neighborhood identity as it changes over time; and the ways in which urban living supports and challenges diversity of thought and experience, how people come together and where to celebrate a shared interest, and how community can be threatened by urban development. Includes a research component.

THE UNITED STATES POST-1945: a research-intensive course that aims to answer the question, “Why is the United States the way it is today?” Beginning with an in-depth examination of The 9/11 Commission Report, students will study the political and social context of the periods preceding and following the attacks in order to better understand the continued influence of these events on the present. We will then investigate ways in which the meanings of citizenship have changed since 1945 with a group research project based on Lizabeth Cohen’s A Consumers’ Republic. Next we will reflect on the origins and evolution of conservatism from the 1960s through the present using Lisa McGirr’s Suburban Warriors to develop a collection of mini-journals researching different aspects of conservatism. In the spring, we will use narrative writing to address issues of representation and identity in media during the second half of the 20th century. Students will have multiple opportunities to practice developing a research question, collecting, organizing and evaluating research materials, posing a research question, communicating their findings to an audience and revising their work during this course.

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