Academics
Departments and Curriculum

History


All courses in history at Holderness School emphasize the need to read critically, think carefully, and communicate clearly. Teachers attempt to instill the idea that “history” is an ever–changing, individual reinterpretation of the past. To understand history one must therefore understand the historian. Students are challenged to think for themselves, engage their peers’ ideas and to balance the different interpretations of our past as they establish and hone historical thinking skills.

Required Coursework:

Foundations of Modern Society
All ninth grade students are required to take Foundations of Modern Society, a one–semester course in the second semester. Emphasizing fundamental historical thinking skills through diverse case studies, this course serves as a unifying, foundational academic experience. It is intentionally broad in scope and teachers employ 3-4 diverse content areas to grapple with the essential question: How do social groups form and thrive? While the specific units vary from year to year and teacher to teacher, there is a special focus on the role governments play in forming societies, the way perception of the “other” can form a group, and the way an idea can develop a group identity. There is an explicit focus on developing an understanding that every source is an interpretation. Teachers employ at least of two different historians’ interpretations in each unit of a historical event, several contrasting primary sources, and various visual interpretations. This course also shares a main essential question with the English Humanities course, “How do I learn best?” and developing students’ metacognition about their individual learning process.

US History
All tenth-grade students and eleventh grade students, who have yet to take a year of US history, are required to engage one of the following offerings in American History.

Electives
After the introductory course, Foundations of Modern Society, and the year of US history, students are well positioned to embrace our upper-level electives. The history requirement is two full years, and thus at some point in their 11th or 12th grade year students take a minimum of one semester of history. In the upper levels of the curriculum, students may begin to branch out into the social sciences of comparative government, media studies, psychology or economics. Two intellectual history offerings allow students to foray into philosophy. We also offer several area studies courses. Beginning in the spring of 2018, we are excited to have upper level students engage our US History 2 electives.

Our Shared Shelf

These are books the history department has read together:
   


This summer we are collectively reading:
 


Student Work


History Work featured in The Lamp
Other History Work
"Hong Kong" by Yoomi Ren ’17
"Elizabeth Brown Rogers Roche" by Yiyang Mao ’17
"Trail of Tears" by Lexi Black ’16, a 2014 NH Website Winner
"How the Bicycle Changed America" by Michael Buetner ’15
"European Foundling Homes" by Maggie Barton ’16
"Clemens Von Metternich" by Andrey Yao ’19



Holderness School students conducting research in the school archives.



History Course Descriptions

  • US History 2: An African-American History for Today

    This course will consider what it means to be both African and American in today's United States by considering often over-looked African-American voices of our past and present.  By using such touchstone moments as the arrival of the first Africans to the British colonies, early slave rebellions, the American Revolution, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Era, the Obama Presidency, and the Black Lives Matter movement, students will discover a new, richer history that pre-dates the Founding Fathers.

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    No textbook required.
  • Foundations of Modern Society

    All ninth grade students are required to take Foundations of Modern Society, a one–semester course. Emphasizing fundamental historical thinking skills through diverse case studies, this course serves as a unifying academic experience for the students and is a foundation for their future studies in history. It is intentionally broad in scope and teachers employ 3-4 diverse content areas to grapple with the essential question: How do social groups form and thrive? While the specific units vary from year to year and teacher to teacher, there is a special focus on the role governments play in forming societies, the way perception of the “other” can form a group, and the way an idea can develop a group identity. There is an explicit focus on developing in each student an understanding that every source, primary or secondary, is an interpretation. To that end, teachers employ in each unit at least of two different historians’ interpretations of a historical event, several contrasting primary sources, and various visual interpretations in each unit. This course also shares a main essential question with the English I course, “How do I learn best?” and focuses on developing students’ metacognition about their individual learning processes.

    Potential and past unit topics (at individual teacher’s discretion):
    • Collective Learning and Early Human Evolution
    • Agricultural Revolution
    • The Development of Ancient States: Rome, China, Political Philosophy
    • The Holocaust and Comparative Genocide Studies
    • New Colonialism and the Belgian Congo
    • Apartheid South Africa
    • Jim Crow America
    • Communist Revolutions
    • The Industrial Revolution

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    No textbook required.
  • US History 1

    This semester-length required US History course will be the starting point for all future historical inquiry at Holderness. The course will focus on the development of the Constitution and the Reconstruction eras. These foundational topics will introduce themes of a variety of civil liberties, but notably freedom of speech and suffrage. The essential question will be: What does it mean to be a US citizen?

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    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.
  • US History 2: 20th Century Conflicts

    In complement to the fall semester of US History 1, this spring semester course will take an in-depth look at the major conflicts of the 20th century, examining the involvement of the American people and government. Through close readings of primary and secondary sources, students will further sharpen their own understanding of the content by engaging with their peers in daily class discussions.  The course will place special emphasis on writing by continuing the skills progression initiated in US History 1. Conflicts to be considered most likely include: World War I and II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War.

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    Textbook info coming soon.
  • US History 2: A Bigger Government: The Great Depression and the New Deal

    Every facet of American society was rapidly changing at the turn of the 20th century and the modern American Identity was beginning to take shape. This semester elective will focus on the time period of 1900- 1945, primarily focusing on the how America got itself into the Great Depression and then how the Second World War, pulled America out of the Great Depression. We will look not only at the economic impacts of Depression but also the social and political impacts. Through primary and secondary source analysis, students will be forced to confirm and complicate the documents to further develop their own understandings of the time period. Lastly, we will also make connections to the 2008 Recession, the largest economic recession, since the Great Depression.

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    No textbook required.
  • US History 2: A History of Native Americans in Northern New England

    This survey course will focus on the Abenaki, or “the people of the dawn,” and consider the sophisticated culture and society they had developed as First Peoples, the immediate impact of European invasion, the genocide that followed, and the struggle to reclaim sovereignty that continues to this day.

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    More information coming soon.
  • US History 2: Remember the Ladies!: American Women's History

    The purpose of this course is to examine the role that women have played in the history of the United States from the start of the women’s rights movement to the present. We will look at the ways in which women have empowered themselves in the context of patriarchal oppression and assess the stumbling blocks they met in their quest for social, political, and economic equality. In so doing, we will elevate women to their rightful place in the larger study of history and better understand what it means to be a woman, a man, and a human being.

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    No textbook required.
  • Ancient Greece

    In this survey course (with a thematic approach), students will learn the history of ancient Greece. Topics covered in this course include Greek warfare, the Trojan War, Greek mythology, the origins of democracy, the Golden Age of Athens, Sparta, The Persian Wars, The Peloponnesian War, and Alexander the Great. Students will learn how the ancient Greeks influenced modern society and how they left behind a rich cultural and political legacy that still affects us today.

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    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.
  • Intro to Philosophy

    What do I know? Why do I exist? Where does evil come from? These are just some of the questions this course attempts to answer. Introduction to philosophy aims to teach students how philosophy emerged in ancient times, from the presocratics like Thales of Miletus, to more established and recognized ancient philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle, and how they influenced later thinkers like Hypatia and Seneca. Besides covering famous philosophers, this course attempts to introduce students to life’s most riveting questions using both ancient and modern philosophy, and philosophy in today’s popular media like Star Wars. 
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    No textbook required.
  • Psychology 1

    Psychology I concentrates on the study of the human mind and human behavior. It is broken down into four units:
    1. The History of Psychology
    2. Biological Psychology
    3. Developmental Psychology
    4. Social Psychology
    The course is designed to give students a foundation of psychology and lead to an interest in further study of psychology. Regardless of how far students go with their study of psychology, students will have a better understanding of the human mind and reasoning behind human behavior after this introductory course.

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    No textbook required.
  • Psychology 2

    A semester-length opportunity for continued study in Psychology. The prerequisite is Psychology I, but these two courses do not have to be taken in the same calendar year (could be taken 11th and 12th grade for example). Psychology II includes topics such as learning and memory, motivation and emotion, intelligence testing and individual differences, and abnormal psychology. The course is an opportunity to dive deeper into the different types of psychology discussed in Psychology I, such as biological, developmental, cognitive, and social psychology.

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    No textbook required.
  • The Modern Middle East

    Offered on a bi-annual bases. LIKELY NOT TO BE OFFERED IN 2022-23, interested rising juniors are advised to take in 2021-22.
    Open to 11th and 12th graders, this semester-long elective explores the complexity of one of the most paradoxical regions in the world. The Middle East encompasses some of the richest and poorest countries. It is the geographic foundation of the three largest world religions and is perhaps one of the most turbulent regions of the twenty-first century. This course examines the sources of today’s socio-political problems, including twentieth century imperialism, the Balfour Declaration, the Cold War, and globalization. This course seeks to determine what needs to change in order to create a viable peace in the Middle East.

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    No textbook required.
  • AP US/AP European History: Advanced History of the West 1

    Application required
    This two year course,
    beginning in the 10th or 11th grade year, will prepare students for both the Advanced Placement European History Exam and the Advanced Placement US History Exam. Students must submit an application and will be vetted for admission. This course will employ a broader lens to explore historical phenomena on both sides of the Atlantic embracing the globalized approach of modern historical research. Study of the American constitution, for example, will be endowed with prior study of the Enlightenment. Students will be expected to engage in a project in the summer between the two years of the course. Students will take both exams, but may petition to take only one at the end of their second year of the course (in their junior or senior year). This course will be team taught (either two teachers ½ time, or two teachers full time) for the first iteration of the course.


    Order Your Textbook(s)
     (Year 1 texts)
    (Year 2 text)
    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.
  • AP US/AP European History: Advanced History of the West 2

    Application required
    This two year course,
    beginning in the 10th or 11th grade year, will prepare students for both the Advanced Placement European History Exam and the Advanced Placement US History Exam. Students must submit an application and will be vetted for admission. This course will employ a broader lens to explore historical phenomena on both sides of the Atlantic embracing the globalized approach of modern historical research. Study of the American constitution, for example, will be endowed with prior study of the Enlightenment. Students will be expected to engage in a project in the summer between the two years of the course. Students will take both exams, but may petition to take only one at the end of their second year of the course (in their junior or senior year). This course will be team taught (either two teachers ½ time, or two teachers full time) for the first iteration of the course.


    Order Your Textbook(s)
     (Year 1 texts)
    (Year 2 text)
    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.
  • AP Economics

    Course description coming soon. This course counts as a History course and is staffed by the Math department.

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     Please also have a TI-84 Plus calculator.
    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.
  • Enlightenment and Romanticism

    Offered on a bi-annual bases. LIKELY NOT TO BE OFFERED IN 2022-23, interested rising juniors are advised to take in 2021-22.
    This semester elective is designed for students who develop an interest in intellectual history and want the opportunity to seek further depth. By reading and studying the poetry, art, and prose literature of these two movements, we hope to understand the dynamic interaction between the rationalism and optimism of 1750-1800 and the haunted, wild Romantic ideas of 1800-1850. We will also trace the legacy of these movements in the Western tradition. Students will spend most of their time evaluating and commenting on selected primary sources from Locke to Poe.


    Order Your Textbook(s)

    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.
  • AP European History

    Open to qualified 11th graders and 12th graders, the AP European History elective introduces students to the cultural, intellectual, economic, social, political, and diplomatic developments of European history from 1450 to the present day. In addition to providing a basic narrative of events and movements that shaped Europe, the goals of the AP program in European history are to develop an understanding of the principal themes in modern European history, an ability to analyze historical evidence, and an ability to express historical understanding in writing.
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    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.
  • AP Comparative Government & Politics

    This year-long course prepares students for the AP Comparative Government and Politics exam. The course uses a comparative approach to examine the political structures, policies, and challenges of six core countries: the United Kingdom, China, Mexico, Russia, Nigeria, and Iran. In addition to the democratic and authoritarian nations listed above, the course will reach to include India and North Korea - notable exceptions from the AP curriculum.

    Order Your Textbook(s)

    Click on the book(s) above for direct purchasing options. Please note: if you would like to find the books through another vendor, be sure to take note of the exact ISBN numbers so you/your child has the correct book for class.

View Our Curriculum

Faculty

  • Photo of Kelsey Berry
    Kelsey Berry
    History Faculty & Director of Teaching & Learning
    (603) 779-5310
    New Hampton School
    St. Lawrence University - B. A. History and Government
    Plymouth State University - M.Ed in Heritage Studies
    Teachers College, Columbia University - Ed. M Private School Leadership
    Bio
  • Photo of Tyler Cabot
    Tyler Cabot
    History Faculty & Assistant Dean of Students
    (603) 779-5355
    The Peddie School
    Washington College - BA History
    Bio
  • Photo of Sam Daigneault
    Sam Daigneault
    History Faculty
    (603) 779-5203
    Holderness School
    Williams College, ODU
    Bio
  • Photo of Jordan Graham
    Jordan Graham
    History Department Chair
    (603) 779-5369
    University of Montana - MA History
    University of Montana - BA History and Political Science
    Bio
  • Photo of Douglas Kendall
    Douglas Kendall
    History & Latin Faculty
    (603) 779-5314
    St. John's College (NM) - MALA
    U of Montana - BA
    Bio
  • Photo of Patrick Livingstone
    Patrick Livingstone
    English & History Faculty
    (603) 779-5286
    Columbia University--Teachers College - MA
    Bates College - BA
    Bio
  • Photo of Jennifer Martinez
    Jennifer Martinez
    History & English Faculty & Senior Thesis Advisor
    (603) 779-5363
    Bio
  • Photo of Conor O'Meara
    Conor O'Meara
    History and Theology & Religion Faculty
    (603) 779-5327
    Fairfield University - BA
    Boston College High School
    Bio
  • Photo of Andrew Sheppe
    Andrew Sheppe
    History Faculty
    (603) 779-5350
    Holderness School (NH)
    Georgetown University (DC) - BA: History
    Bio
  • Photo of Carlos Villafane
    Carlos Villafane
    History & Spanish Faculty
    (603) 779-5329
    University of Liverpool, UK - PhD in Classics & Ancient History
    University of Liverpool, UK - MA in Ancient History
    University of Puerto Rico - BA in European History
    Bio

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Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness, NH 03245

MAIL P.O. Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
PHONE (603) 536-1257
EMAIL info@holderness.org