History at George School

More than “Who?, What?, and When?,” George School history dives deep into “How? and Why?” Take AP Human Geography, for example (and every ninth grader does take it). With a focus on “the why of where,” it is a fascinating introduction to the program, looking at how things are, through the lens of how they were and came to be.

In class you will explore issues that transcend national barriers, such as the causes and consequences of poverty, racism, intolerance, and conflict. The emphasis is on building strong reading, interpretive, analytical, and research skills as well as empathy, because at its core, George School history goes beyond cultivating answerers. It develops the questioners who become discerning global citizens.

Our Faculty

To history teacher Ben, a good education is more than academic.

History by the Numbers

100%

first-year students studying AP Human Geography, an introductory college-level course

17

courses that let students really see the world

10

insightful faculty members, 100% with advanced degrees

More to Explore

Students Receive Awards at MUN Conference

The George School Model United Nations team took part in the annual Ivy League Model United Nations Conference (ILMUNC) in Philadelphia, January 26 through January 28.

Daniel Ellsberg Speaks at Assembly

Daniel Ellsberg visited George School on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 to speak with students and alumni at assembly. Daniel is best known for being a political activist and for releasing the infamous Pentagon Papers in 1971 during the Nixon administration.

Our Courses

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In IB SL Economics, students dig into the root causes of global economic issues, and find a deep system of interconnected roots.

History Courses

AP Human Geography

This course prepares students for the AP examination in Human Geography through the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice, including the analysis of spatial data, the identification of regions, and the characterization and interpretation of interconnections among places. The topics covered are: the nature and perspectives of geography as a discipline; population; cultural patterns and processes; political organization of space; agricultural and rural land use; and cities and urban land use.

Open to: Freshmen

AP World History: Modern

Students in this fast-paced course must learn to view history thematically. The AP World History: Modern course is organized around five overarching themes that serve as unifying threads throughout the course, helping students to relate what is particular about each time period or society to a “big picture” of history. The themes also provide a way to organize comparisons and analyze change and continuity over time. Independent use of a college level textbook is necessary, along with reading primary source materials and writing about them. Students are required to take the AP examination in May. A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

US History

In this chronological survey of the history of the United States, topics covered include the political, economic, geographic, and social realities of the nation’s past. The class moves at a swift pace, deepening the students’ capacity to interpret and analyze reading material of both primary and secondary sources. Students are expected to work collaboratively. Class activities may include small-group work, oral presentations, debates, lectures, and analysis of historical documents. Writing clear and correct prose on creative, essay, and research papers is an important part of the course. A step by step process for writing a research paper is reinforced.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Students who have completed at least one year at George School may take George School’s online version of this course during the summer.

Intensive US History

A chronological survey of the history of the United States, Intensive U.S. History covers events, issues, and personalities from the age of European colonization to the present. The Constitution and its myriad interpretations provide the foundation for this course. Students move at an accelerated pace and are expected to have advanced study and organizational skills. The ability to analyze and interpret reading material, both primary and secondary, is assumed. A college-level textbook is used. Class activities may include small-group work, debates, lectures, and analysis of historical documents. Active class participation and successful completion of an independent research paper is a course requirement. Taken as a junior, this course may serve as the first year in the two-year IB HL History sequence.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

AP US History

This course prepares students for the AP examination in U.S. History. It is a college-level introduction to the development of the United States institutions and society from the settlements of the First Nations peoples to the end of the Twentieth Century. Students explore the concept of historical study as a discipline and study historiography—the different histories that have been written about events—as well as the events themselves. Independent use of a college level textbook is necessary, along with reading primary source materials and writing about them. The reading load is heavy and there are frequent writing assignments. Students are required to take the AP Examination in May.

Taken as a junior, this course may serve as the first year in the two-year IB HL History sequence.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

AP US Government & Politics

This course is designed to empower students to be active, informed, and engaged citizens with an in-depth knowledge of the American political system and government. Through rigorous project based learning and experiential learning, students in this AP US Government and Politics course will be exposed to a multitude of concepts relating to political science, governmental institutions, and the essential role that citizens play in our country. A sample of topics we will examine include the foundations of American Democracy, civil rights and liberties, the interactions between the branches of government, the role of mass media and public opinion, and political participation and influence of various stakeholders on our policymaking process. In this course, students will develop their critical thinking, analytical and evaluative abilities, as well as other key 21st Century skills such as public speaking, advocacy, research, and media literacy. An applied civics project will be a substantial requirement of this course.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

African-American History Seminar

This course is a chronological survey of the history of Africans in the Americas. Course content leads students from ancient civilizations to the transport of Africans to the Americas, and culminates in a primary focus on events in the U.S. African-Americans are traced from the European slave trade through the civil rights movements of the turbulent 1960s. Current events are explored through a historical lens. This swift-paced course extends the student’s ability to analyze and interpret both primary and secondary reading material. A college-level textbook is used. Class activities include collaborative group work, oral presentations, debates, lectures, and analysis of historical documents. Writing clear and correct creative prose, essays, and a research paper is an important part of the course. Successful completion of an independent research paper is a course requirement.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

East Asian History Seminar

This course examines the history of East Asia. The main focus is upon Chinese and Japanese civilizations, although other countries and peoples will be discussed as well. The course will apply a multidisciplinary approach. Topics to be covered include Chinese dynasties, Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, art, warfare, Japanese court society, the samurai, Western imperialism, Japanese militarism, the Chinese Communist Revolution, and China’s reemergence as a global power. In addition to the textbook, students will learn from historical fiction, cinema, primary sources, and additional secondary sources. Class participation and analytical writing will be emphasized and a research paper is required.

(Not offered in 2019-20)

Open to: Sophomores, juniors and seniors

Intersectional Women’s History Seminar

This course examines the experiences of women through a variety of lenses, including gender, politics, culture, race, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and religion. Through primary and secondary sources, literature, and film, students will consider how women have defined themselves and been defined, how these definitions have evolved, and how they differ from country to country. There will be a considerable amount of time spent studying contemporary issues, looking at problems as well as solutions in the hopes that everyone in the course will feel empowered to enact change. Active participation in class and bi-weekly research-based essays are among the requirements of the course.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Middle Eastern History Seminar

This course studies the cultural, political, diplomatic, and socio-economic history of the Middle East and North Africa from the rise of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam through the Crusades, the Ottoman Empire, Western Imperialism, the Birth of the State of Israel, and the Arab Spring. Major themes will include religion, nationalism, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, civil disobedience, refugee studies, despotism, fundamentalism, Orientalism, tribalism and sexual politics. Texts for the course will include college-level historiography as well as readings from Sources in the History of the Modern Middle East, selected primary source documents, transcripts of Oxford Union and Doha debates, the Quran, Bible and Talmud. These readings will be supplemented with the region’s major literature, film, music, art, and everyday life culture, as well as virtual conversations with journalists, activists, and historians in the tradition of true global education.

(Not offered in 2019-20)

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

Intensive Peace Studies of the American Century

This course takes a multidisciplinary approach to examining and analyzing U.S. global dominance since the end of World War II. The class has been developed in collaboration with history professor Peter Kuznick and filmmaker Oliver Stone. Students seek to understand the US-led world order and its discontents, including exemplars of the Black Radical Tradition and Quaker activists. Special focus is placed on three grave problems facing humanity: the climate crisis, the nuclear Doomsday Machine, and vast economic inequality. History is considered in conjunction with cinema, as students explore the ways in which motion pictures have influenced, reflected, and challenged Americans’ understandings of the U.S. and its role in the world. Antiwar poetry and graphic art are explored and analyzed as well. College-level academic texts are used, and coursework includes group projects, presentations, tests, and written assignments. At points, students choose between writing a paper and completing a project-based assignment.

(Not offered in 2019-20)

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Mapping for Social Justice Seminar

This course explores maps and mapping practices as key tools in researching social, economic and environmental justice issues for community empowerment. Through the analysis of local and global case studies, students will think critically about the history, politics and practice of justice mapping. As a project-based course, students will also learn the basic skills of map-making and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and apply those techniques in a series of “expeditions” designed to map out and visualize local and global social justice concerns.

(Not offered in 2019-20)

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

IB SL Global Politics

This course explores global politics through four core units: power and sovereignty, human rights, peace and conflict, and development and sustainability. It allows students to develop an understanding of political activity and processes, as well as explore political issues affecting their own lives. The course focuses on political theory, while helping students to understand abstract political concepts by grounding them in real-world examples of events and case studies from the past decade, such as the Palestinian bid for Statehood, North Korea’s authoritarian state, the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Arab Spring. It also invites comparison between such examples and case studies to ensure a wider and trans-national perspective. Students will also explore politics through a unique “engagement activity,” which requires them to combine academic research with political action to explore a political topic of their own interest. In this way, students throughout the year will be encouraged to explore the relationship between people and power, and how this manifests on local, national, and international levels. Students will be required to take the IB SL Global Politics examination in May.

A summer reading assignment is required for this course.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

IB HL Economics 1

This is the first course in the two-year HL Economics sequence. In this class, students will study basic economic concepts with a specific focus on micro and macroeconomics. In addition to regular essay-style tests, students are expected to write two in-depth commentaries on current events drawn from today’s news. The interconnectedness of the global economic community is a central theme throughout the year, and students are therefore exposed to a variety of economic systems and policies. Daily readings, notetaking, and frequent written assignments are the norm for the course. Strong analytical skills and a proven understanding of mathematics are needed.

A summer reading assignment is required for this course.

Open to: Juniors with preference given to IB Diploma candidates.

IB HL Economics 2

This is the second year of a two-year sequence in IB Economics. In this course, students will focus on the International and Development units of the curriculum. In addition to regular essay-style tests, students will complete their Internal Assessment portfolio by writing two additional commentaries on articles from today’s news. Strong analytical skills and a proven understanding of mathematics are needed. Students will be expected to read a variety of college-level journals and texts. Daily homework assignments will be the focus of student-centered, seminar-style discussions. The IB HL Economics exam in May will test the material from both the IB HL Economics 1 and IB HL Economics 2 courses and is a requirement of the course.

A summer reading assignment is required for this course.

Open to: Seniors

AP Economics

Students in this course prepare for the AP Microeconomics and Macroeconomics exams while at the same time discuss contemporary economic issues. Students are required to take both AP exams. Specific economic concepts covered include the nature and functions of product markets, supply and demand, theory of consumer choice, production and costs, firm behavior and market structure, factor markets, market failure and the role of government, measurement of economic performance, national income and price determination, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth, and international trade and finance. This course has a summer assignment.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

IB SL History: Rights, Protests & Revolutions

This course prepares students for the standard-level IB History exam. Students study selected topics that embrace key events, personalities, and issues in the history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries including the industrial revolution and independence movements in India, Africa, and Latin America. The course has as its prescribed subject (an IB requirement) “Rights and Protest” which studies South African apartheid from 1948-1964 and the United States’ civil rights movement from 1954-1965. A major historical investigation project involving intensive research and mature writing is an IB requirement undertaken in the first two terms. The course proceeds at a fast pace and regular student participation is expected in the seminar-style classroom format. Substantial reading is regularly assigned from college-level texts. Students are required to take the IB examination in May. A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

(Not offered in 2019-20)

Open to: Juniors and seniors

IB HL World History: Americas Focus

This course, in combination with an eleventh grade course in US History, prepares students for the higher-level IB History exam with the History of the Americas regional option. Students study selected topics that embrace key events, personalities, and issues of the world in the twentieth-century, with an emphasis on key elements of Canadian and Cuban history. Topics typically included are the emergence of the Americas in global affairs, the First World War with a focus on the role of Canada and the United States, the Great Depression and the Americas, Hitler’s Germany, the move to global war, the Second World War and the Americas, the Chinese Civil War, Castro’s Cuba, and the Contra War. A major historical investigation project involving intensive research and mature writing is an IB requirement undertaken in the first two terms. The course proceeds at a fast pace and regular student participation is expected in the seminar-style classroom format. Substantial reading is regularly assigned from college-level texts. Students are required to take the IB Examination in May. A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Open to: Seniors

IB SL Psychology

This course prepares students for the standard-level IB Psychology exam. Students will explore human behavior and mental processes through three separate lenses: a biological approach, a cognitive approach, and a sociocultural approach. The course will finish with an in-depth study of one of the following topics: abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, health psychology, or the psychology of human relationships. Throughout the year, students will become familiar with the various research methods and ethical concerns associated with the study of psychology. The internal assessment for this course will be the replication of a well-known psychological experiment and a report and reflection of the results. Due to the personal nature of the course, much of the material demands maturity and an ability to discuss difficult topics; students should consider this when selecting the course. Taking the IB SL Psychology exam in May is a requirement of the course.

A summer assignment is required in preparation for this course.

Open to: Juniors and Seniors

Producing Peace: Civic Media Literacy & Production

This course will equip students with 21st century media literacy skills necessary to be critical consumers and active producers of media so that they may productively engage in civic dialogue and global citizenship. Specifically, students will learn and apply the five core concepts of media literacy, which will help students understand who is making the media and why, what the media wants you to do and feel, and how it accomplishes those ends. Using historical and contemporary case studies of media, such as historical artifacts, news articles, documentaries, podcasts, PSAs, propaganda, social media, and memes, students will explore how various modes of storytelling have the capacity to create conflict, and more importantly, can also facilitate peace. In line with Quaker core values, this class will be framed around the query: How can I use media to improve the world in which I live? To explore this query, students will learn how to produce their own media through a series of projects that will demonstrate how media can be used as a tool that produces greater empathy, compassion, and justice in our world.

This course is cross-listed and can be taken for either arts or history department credit.

Open to: Juniors and seniors