TEST

Noble and Greenough School is a rigorous academic community dedicated to inspiring leadership for the public good. Through mentoring relationships, we motivate students to achieve their highest potential and to lead lives characterized by service to others.

History and Social Science

The History and Social Science Department teaches students about the past and invites them to create contemporary history via the tasks of the historian and social scientist: the framing of questions, formulation of theses, research, analysis, writing, and presentation. The department offers a sequence of courses that explores the diversity of human experience and draws upon a wide range of resources, perspectives, disciplines, and teaching methods. This progression stresses the development of skills and values designed to help students appreciate the complexity of history and the social sciences and become independent thinkers, empathetic individuals, and well-informed global citizens.

Upper School students are required to take History of the Human Community and U.S. History: Themes in Modern America. Students in Classes I and II are encouraged to enroll in a variety of elective courses that build on skills developed in prior courses while pursuing focused study in specialized areas of inquiry.

History of the Human Community | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: New Class III Students
Required For: Class IV

History of the Human Community seeks to develop in students an understanding of the complex roots (ancient, economic, political, social, religious, and cultural) of contemporary civilizations and global society.  Students develop the skills of research, reading comprehension, note taking, public speaking, collaboration, problem solving, and analytical writing. Experiential learning serves as a cornerstone of HHC, as the curriculum includes multiple hands-on activities and simulations. World religions comprise the content of the first quarter, and an examination of empire building, imperialism, nationalism, and state building in India/Pakistan, the Middle East, and China round out the year’s content.

 

U.S. History: Themes in Modern America | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: New Class II Students
Required For: Class III

This course integrates five major topical themes in American History: sectional conflict and the Civil War; social mobility and the Gilded Age; the growth of federal power and the New Deal; race relations and the Civil Rights Movement; the world wars and the rise of American globalism. The first semester stresses the essential skills of critical reading, note taking and analytical writing. Students write frequent short primary and secondary source-based essays. The second semester emphasizes independent inquiry and the skills of research, information literacy and oral presentation. Students complete research essays on topics of their own design, and conclude the year with group research and debate projects examining the historical roots of contemporary American economic, social, political and diplomatic affairs.

Advanced Placement (AP) European History | Full Year
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America and permission of the Department

This course provides an overview of the major events, important figures, and leading trends in European history from c. 1400 to the present. We will seek to understand how and why European countries became powerful empires over the course of three centuries, and the influence that Europe has had on the rest of the world. Students in this course will sharpen their ability to analyze and weigh historical evidence from conflicting sources, to discern broader historical trends, to generalize and interpret, and to master relevant details. The development of these skills, along with regular practice on multiple-choice questions and document-based questions (DBQs), will prepare students to take the AP exam in May.

America and Genocide | Spring Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

This course uses  A Problem from Hell (Samantha Powers) and a series of memoirs, class visitors and films to compare and contrast the genocides in Armenia, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and the Holocaust. Students will study the steps towards and causes of genocide, the psychology of perpetrators, and the memoirs of survivors, and examine the responses of the world to each crisis. The course will also examine similar crises in the world today – Syria, Darfur, South Sudan and Central African Republic. Some students may have the opportunity to travel to Cambodia and Vietnam with the Nobles group in March, 2018.
 

 

American History and Hollywood Film | Spring Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

For the past century, the motion picture has served as both repository for and mirror of American culture. Film plots, characters, dialogue and images have borne an intricate relationship to the economic, social and political developments that have shaped the lives of American men and women. This course teaches students to "read" films as primary sources in combination with traditional historical texts and documents. Films screened will include: Birth of a Nation (1915); It Happened One Night (1934); Mildred Pierce (1945); The Manchurian Candidate (1962)The Graduate (1968); and Thelma and Louise (1991).  Students will produce short multi-media projects dealing with film reception, context and analysis, followed by individual research projects based on films of their choice.

Art History: Renaissance to the Enlightenment | Fall Only
Full Credit
Open to: I, II

Visual images act as a lens through which students can understand the concerns of being human, regardless of time or culture. This course examines the ways in which historians, art historians, literary scholars and others have understood the cultural history of Europe and the New World from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. The study of history builds a framework through which students can analyze dynamic factors in the creation of individual pieces; the study of art itself provides a framework through which students can decode content and meaning. Students will learn a vocabulary of terms that will enable them to articulate how a specific piece of art reflects the concerns of a given culture in its material, subject matter and iconography. This course does not fulfill the Visual Arts requirement.

Art History: The Birth of the Modern | Spring Only
Full Credit
Open to: I, II

This course challenges students to understand the notion of modernism from the emergence of the avant-garde in the 19th century through its full flowering in the late 20th. After defining “Modern” art and “Modernism,” the course will examine major modern artists, artworks, concepts and the social, political, and intellectual contexts that shaped them. The course will focus on the relationship between development of intellectual and political ideas and the development of significant urban cultural centers in both Europe and America. Students will learn a vocabulary of terms that will enable them to articulate how a specific piece of art reflects the concerns of a given culture in its material, subject matter and iconography. This course does not fulfill the Visual Arts requirement.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation | Spring Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I Only

In this course, students will learn how to take entrepreneurial ideas or innovations from the idea stage into reality.  Areas of focus will include customer and market research, writing, public speaking, working within a team, and gathering and using data to inform decision-making. In the first half of the course, students will engage in the process of learning how to use the Business Model Canvas and Lean Launchpad methodology to develop their ideas. They will learn techniques for innovation, analytical approaches to research, and evidence-based systems for decision-making. Students will learn skills such as observing, interviewing, discovering problems and forming solutions using rapid prototyping.  This process will include a series of readings and discussions about entrepreneurship.  Students will also work with local entrepreneurs to develop real solutions to existing problems. In the fourth quarter, students will work in teams to develop their own innovations and entrepreneurial ideas using the methodologies learned during the first half of the course.

Forming a More Perfect Union: The Constitution and The Law | Spring Only
Full Credit
Open to: I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

Forming a More Perfect Union: The Constitution and the Law will continue the intensive study of the formal and informal structures of government and the processes of the American political system. The course will focus primarily on policy-making and implementation, including the pertinent procedural, governmental and/or other relevant constraints. For example, topics will include: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; education; health care. The class, We the People, is not a prerequisite for this course.

History of Ancient Greece: Athens and Sparta - Wisdom, Drama, and War | Fall Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II

This is the story of two fifth century BCE city-states that emerged as forces in their world of the Mediterranean, developing unique innovations and influencing our own world today. Athens was an intellectual hotbed, creating history, philosophy, drama, new art forms, and democracy. Sparta was its conservative, pragmatic opposite, forming an egalitarian state with a war-machine like no other. Starting with the heroic stands against the Persians and continuing through the tragedy that was the Peloponnesian War, students will investigate how the Athenians and Spartans defined themselves, first against the “other,” then against one another. Examining the art and architecture of this period and reading authors such as Herodotus, Thucydides, and Sophocles in translation, we will wrestle with the questions of their day—questions such as the following: What is true happiness? What is the best form of government? What happens when religion and state come into conflict? These questions still resonate as loudly today as they did 2500 years ago.

 

 

History of Ancient Rome: Pompeii - Life in the Early Roman Empire | Spring Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II

The Roman Empire in the first century CE mixed sophistication with brutality and had the capacity to lurch abruptly from civilization and progress to terror, tyranny, and greed. The eruption of Vesuvius buried Pompeii, leaving its architecture, art, and amphitheaters frozen in time. This course examines the time period between 91 BCE to 79 CE and affords students the opportunity to uncover the stories of Romans, including powerful emperors, decadent aristocrats, fierce gladiators, ambitious freedmen, and other everyday citizens. With a focus on the archaeological evidence unearthed from the city and with an investigation of texts such as Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars and Joanne Berry’s The Complete Pompeii, students will investigate the daily life in this town within the broader context of an empire ruled by powerful and ruthless emperors. Questions of imperialism, dictatorship, class, private and public lives, and, in an increasingly multicultural population, the concept of being “Roman” will guide our study of this endlessly fascinating time period and enduring city. 

History of Boston | Spring Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

This course has an interdisciplinary focus and makes extensive use of literature, art, and film as a means of exploring selected topics in the history of Boston from the colonial era to the present. Although a rough chronological sequence governs the order of topics, the readings and discussions are essentially topical and interpretive in character. The class will end with a culminating research project which will give students an opportunity to make use of local resources and gain an insightful understanding of the discipline of history.

Macroeconomics | Fall Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

This course introduces students to the overriding economic issues that confront a nation: growth, inflation, and unemployment. To this end, the students examine national income, the components of aggregate demand, the Keynesian multiplier model, money and banking, the stock market, fiscal and monetary policy, the Federal Reserve system, aggregate supply, and the different macroeconomic schools of thought. An in-depth analysis of the normative questions of inflation vs. unemployment highlights the course. This course prepares students for the AP Macroeconomics Examination.

Microeconomics | Spring Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental principles of economics. No mathematical ability is needed beyond rudimentary skills of multiplication. Students are first introduced to the basic economic concepts of scarcity, efficiency, production possibility frontiers and the laws of supply and demand. Students then investigate more advanced economic theory: elasticity, production theory and business organization, cost analysis, perfect and imperfect competition, game theory, and selected topics in labor economics. The course concludes with student-designed projects that apply microeconomic theory to the analysis of public policy.

Modern America at War: America, Vietnam, Afghanistan & Iraq | Fall Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II

The Vietnam War dramatically altered the place of the U.S. in the world, transformed American politics and culture and had direct impact on United States decisions to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. This course examines these conflicts from historical, political, international and domestic perspectives with a particular focus on the experiences of soldiers at war and civilians caught in the crossfire. Topics include brief histories of each nation and steps leading to war, the nature of insurgent warfare, the impact of war on American culture and race relations, and the legacies of war. The syllabus includes simulation activities, memoirs, and student interviews with and visits from a diverse group of participants in these conflicts. Some students may have the opportunity to travel to Cambodia and Vietnam with the Nobles group in March, 2018.
 

Politics and Ethics | Fall Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

Political philosophers have debated questions about justice, power, freedom, and community throughout history. Modern thinkers have added a concern with individualism, rights and equality. Our goals in this class will be both to appreciate the complexity of various classic texts and to use them to illuminate enduring political problems and contemporary ethical issues. The current political landscape will serve as a fitting backdrop by which to test long-held and debated theories about the state of nature, the nature of the state, the relationship between means and ends, and the role of ethics in politics.

Power: Global Issues in the Modern World | Spring Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II

Power, derived from the Latin "posse", or “be able,” plays a role in all academic disciplines and in all aspects of both individual and communal life. While neither positive nor negative in a vacuum, power almost universally is exerted with value-laden goals and implications. This course will explore the psychological, sociological, philosophical, and practical meanings and functions of power in global politics, economics, and business. Our explorations will intersect with issues of gender, race, religion, wealth, human rights, and environmental resources. After learning from the work of Foucault, Nietzsche, Weber, and others, students will craft a class definition of power to be used for the remainder of the course; combine it with an understanding of inequality (definition provided); and ultimately apply this framework through a challenging culminating project. Each Power and Inequality Analysis will rely heavily on solid data and statistics, demonstrate original analysis, and propose actionable steps toward redressing the inequality in question.

Race and Ethnicity in American Culture and History | Fall Only
Full Credit
Open to: Class I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

This course begins with the premise that race and ethnicity are not static systems of biological categorization, but are instead complex social and cultural constructions that have changed continually and dramatically over the run of U.S. history. Students will examine scholarly readings, fiction and documentary and feature film to interpret colonization, slavery, new immigration, the Civil Rights Movement and the rise of multiculturalism. Students will complete a series of short research projects on cultural and historical figures who impacted ideas of race and ethnicity in each era.

 

South Africa | Fall Only
Full Credit
Open to: I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

This course will examine the roots of South Africa’s remarkable transformation from an oppressive white ruled society to a vibrant democracy. We will focus on historical events and trends as well as social and cultural developments that have shaped South Africa. Sources to guide our learning will include historical texts and documents, oral histories, literature, music, and film. We will begin with a brief look at southern African society before European contact and the transformation of African society following European conquest and colonialism, trace the evolution of white racial domination and African responses to it, and examine the struggle and ultimate triumph over Apartheid. We will conclude with a consideration of the country’s recent successes as well as the challenges still faced in South Africa. The class will end with a culminating analytical project. 

Utopia and Terror: Twentieth Century Soviet Union, China, and Cuba | Fall Only
Full Credit
Open to: I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

This course introduces students to some of the key forces that galvanized and transformed the twentieth-century world. In order to understand what made the twentieth century a period of unprecedented violence, we will study the relationship between utopian ideals and government sponsored terror in three totalitarian regimes: the Soviet Union under Stalin, China under Mao, and Cuba under Castro. We will assess a wide range of interdisciplinary sources (from history and the other social sciences, literature, art, music and film) and make cross-cultural comparisons where appropriate. Although a rough chronological sequence governs the order of topics, the readings, lectures and discussions are essentially topical and interpretive in character.

We The People: History of American Government and Politics | Fall Only
Full Credit
Open to: I, II
Prerequisites: U.S. History: Themes in Modern America

We The People: History of American Government is an intensive study of the formal and informal structures of government and the processes of the American political system. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and politics and the analysis of specific examples. The course will also explore the various institutions, groups, beliefs and ideas that constitute U.S. government politics. Students will become acquainted with the variety of theoretical perspectives and explanations for various behaviors and outcomes in government and politics. Additionally, students will be able to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to the course. For example, topics will include: Constitutional underpinnings of U.S. Government; political beliefs and behaviors; political parties, interest groups/factions and mass media; institutional impact on the government (Congress; Presidency; Judiciary).

Noble and Greenough Community Login

Username

Password


Parents, click here if you've forgotten your password.

Other community members, please contact ISS.
Curriculum