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 Ben Croucher, a good education is more than academic.

History by the Numbers

100%

Every first-year student takes AP Human Geography, an introductory college-level course.

17

Courses to help you really see the world.

75%

Of our history teachers have 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.

Gamifying the Classroom

What does it mean to gamify your classroom? History teacher Sara Shreve-Price has been exploring this idea with a Civil War game she developed for her US History class this December.

History Courses

AP World History

Students in this fast-paced course must learn to view history thematically. The AP World History 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

AP Human Geography

This fast-paced course prepares students for the AP examination in Human Geography through 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.

Students are expected to enter the course with good geographic literacy and well-developed note-taking, reading, writing, research and organizational skills.

Open to: Freshmen, 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 student’s 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 may take George School’s online version of this course during the summer.

Accelerated US History

A chronological survey of the history of the United States, Accelerated 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 History SL or HL sequence.

Open to: Sophomores, juniors, and seniors

AP US History

This course prepares students for the AP examination in US 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.

There is a summer reading and writing assignment, homework during each school vacation, and additional class meetings on weekends and in the evenings.

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

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 culminating in a primary focus on events in the US. 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 2018-19)

Open to: Juniors and seniors

International 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, we consider how women have defined themselves and been defined, how these definitions have evolved, and how they differ from country to country. We spend a considerable amount of time 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: 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, to the Arab Spring. Major themes will include religion, nationalism, ethnic cleansing, genocide, war, 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 Dohaa 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 2018-19)

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Russian History Seminar

This course traces the political, social, and cultural history of Russia from the formation of the principality of Kievan Rus to the autocratic reign of Vladimir Putin. The course’s myriad of themes will include empire, revolution, totalitarianism, authoritarianism, foreign policy, everyday life, literature, art, and human rights. A broad range of texts will include the major historiography of Imperial and Soviet Russia, the stories of Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Solzhenitsyn, the poetry of Pushkin and Akhmatova, as well as articles from the New York Times, the New Yorker, and the London Review of Books. Students will also study a series of primary sources, including Soviet and post-Soviet films, traditional and contemporary Russian music, the Harvard Project of the Soviet Social System, and visual art and propaganda. Guest speakers (in person and via Skype from Russia) will include the region’s leading journalists, human rights activists, and historians.

(Not offered in 2018-19)

Open to: Juniors and seniors

Intensive Historiography of the American Century

This course offers a critical exploration of the United States’ history as the world’s most powerful nation-state. Developed in collaboration with history professor Peter Kuznick and filmmaker Oliver Stone, the class traces the rise of US power from 1898 up to the present. Historiography—the creation of historical narrative—is a central focus of the class. Students compare and contrast opposing narratives of significant historical periods and events. This course is multidisciplinary. Specifically, students examine historical narratives in conjunction with cinematic narratives, exploring the ways in which motion pictures have influenced, reflected, and challenged Americans’ understandings of the US and its role in the world. The reading load is substantial. There are writing assignments throughout the year, all of which are eventually integrated in a final paper.

(Not offered in 2018-19)

Open to: 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 the local, national, and international levels. Students will be required to take the IB examination in May.

Open to: Juniors and seniors

IB SL Economics

This reading and writing intensive course prepares students for the standard level IB Economics exam and sitting for the exam is a requirement of the course. The major economic areas covered are microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics, and developmental economics. In addition, the course considers current world economic issues with particular emphasis on the United States. Students are expected to write four papers of no more than 750 words in length each. Three of the four papers will be part of the student’s IB Economics portfolio, which will be made available to international IB examiners.

Open to: Juniors and seniors, with preference given to IB diploma candidates

IB HL Economics

This is the second year of a two-year sequence in IB economics. The course will expand upon the topics introduced in SL Economics, however, there is a much deeper focus on quantitative measures. Strong analytical skills and a proven understanding of mathematics are needed. Students taking this course will write three original 750-word papers that analyze articles from international news sources. 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. Taking the IB Economics HL exam in May 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, and 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.

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