James Rosengarten, Department Chair
An appreciation of historical context is central to understanding the world around us. Our study of history is an exploration of human experience; the ways diverse peoples have differed in their ideas, institutions and cultural practices, the ways experiences vary by period and nationality and social circumstances, and the ways people(s) have struggled with each other. We ask our students to make connections between the past and the world they now inhabit and to ponder the question – How did we get this way?
All Upper School students take Religions and Revolutions in grade 9 and U.S. History in grade 11. Most students also take Contemporary Global History in grade 10, and virtually all take a history elective in grade 12. See below for a listing of our broad range of electives. Our history courses emphasize the analysis of primary sources in the development of critical thinking and original argument. Grade 11 students complete a capstone, primary source-based piece of original research as part of the U.S. History course.
Interested students may also join clubs such as Model United Nations, History Bowl, World Affairs Council, the Debate Team, and Mock Trial, where knowledge and a deep understanding of the origins of current events is essential.
History Elective Courses
(most are open to grade 11, and all are open to grade 12)
With the exception of Modern European History Seminar Advanced, all history electives are one semester long. To take an advanced history course, students’ performance in previous history courses (especially grade 11) will be considered, along with an in-class writing exercise and paragraph of intent. Rarely are grade 11 students eligible.
- Capitalism and Consumption: "Getting and Spending"
- Constitutional Identity Advanced
- Creating Africa Advanced: European Racism, the Diaspora, Colonialism and Identity
- Intro to Philosophy: the Good, the True, and the Beautiful
- International Relations
- Philadelphia Black History from Reconstruction to Present
- The Sociological Imaginations: Race, Class & Gender in an Unequal World
- Modern Africa Advanced
- Modern Chinese History
- Modern European History Seminar Advanced
- Women's History in the United States