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. Read about the three options here.

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.

We also offer one elective for 9th graders in the fall who just can not wait a semester to take a history course! For the fall of 2017, this course will be the History of Modern Terrorism.

Our Shared Shelf

These are books the history department has read together:
 


This summer we are reading:
 


Student Work

History Work featured in the Mosaic
"For the Family" by Alexa Dannis ’17
"Tradition" by Cat McLaughlin ’17

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

  • 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 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

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.
  • US History 1

    This semester-length required US History course is the starting point for all future historical inquiry at Holderness. The course focuses on the events leading to the drafting of the Constitution and post Civil-War Reconstruction era. These foundational topics introduce the theme of civil liberties, but notably emphasize an evolving definition of freedom and political efficacy. The essential question: What does it mean to be a US citizen? requires a reflection in civics to ground studies in the second semester. Students also work to develop an understanding that historians have various interpretations, and there is a history of debate among historians.

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.
  • US History 2: 20th Century America through Film

    In this semester long elective, students will examine and study key events and topics of the twentieth century in America utilizing films as both primary and secondary sources. In a growing digital age, where video and films have become increasingly prevalent, students need to be critical viewers and recognize the possibility for bias and see the importance of perspective and point of view. Over the course of the semester we will look at four or five main events and time periods. Each unit will consist of three main parts. First we will spend time reading, discussing, and learning about the historical context of the given unit. This will be done through the readings of largely primary source documents, but also some secondary sources. Second we will watch a major motion picture that addresses some aspect of the topic (instead of purchasing books for this class, they will be required to purchase a digital copy of the films). Lastly, students will either write an essay or conduct in-depth debate style discussions both confirming and complicating the film as either a primary and/or secondary source. One of the main questions to be answered will be, how does [said film] contribute to our study and understanding of [said topic]?

    List of Potential Films Used: The Birth of A Nation (1915), Cinderella Man (2005), Mississippi Burning (1988), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Dr. Strangelove (1964), Platoon (1986) Or Apocalypse Now (1979)

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.
  • 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.

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.
  • US History 2: America in the 50’s and 60’s

    As many survey courses are forced to address this period in a brief span of time, America in the 50s and 60s allows students to take a longer look into this formative post-World War II period. While being taught as a focused survey course, the class will particularly focus on key topics, including: the Civil Rights movement, Korean Vietnam Wars, Eisenhower and Johnson presidencies and policies, Cold War, and political radicalism. Particular attention will be paid to the cultural history of the period, including books, movies, and music. Open to qualifying sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the Spring.

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.
  • US History 2: American Environmental History

    American Environmental History follows American history from pre-European settlement through modern day with a focus on the environmental aspect of the various periods of the United States. Subjects would include the evolution of the American landscape, changing federal and state policy, environmental epidemics, waste disposal, industrial development, conservation, and the environmental movement. Students will primarily access this history through the many of the field’s seminal secondary and primary documents, however the course would also look to take students out of the classroom and into the environment in which it has studied, possibly including a multiple day trip in the spring. Open to qualifying sophomores, juniors, and seniors in the Spring.

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.
  • US History 2: East Asia in 20th-Century American Wars

    During the 20th century the United States fought three wars in East Asia: the Pacific War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. How did the East Asians perceive and react to the wars? How did the wars affect people's lives and societies in East Asia? How did these wars impact postwar relations between the United States and East Asia? How did race, culture, and ethnicity play significant roles in these wars? This course examines these questions by studying East Asia in these three American wars as an oral and social history. The course focuses on the human dimensions of the wars as experienced by those East Asians who fought and lived through them.

    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.
  • US History 2: Gender and Sexuality in America

    “Without documents, there's no history. And women left very few documents behind." -Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    In this semester-length elective students will focus specifically on the evolution of gender norms in American history. Students will begin by considering colonial society's notions and understandings of sex, the evolution of republican motherhood, as well as the Sally Hemings affair. Special attention will be paid to the 20th century suffrage movement, the anti-miscegenation laws of Jim Crow, the feminist movement, the sexual revolution and GLBTQ movement. Students will also contemplate broader questions about the construction of history, especially without access to written primary sources, and write historiographical essays on the class sources. As a final assessment, students will create a production that examines gender norms in American society as a group.

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.
  • US History 2: The American Civil War

    The two principal goals of this seminar will be to familiarize students with some of the most important aspects of the Civil War and Reconstruction as well as the legacy left by the wake of such a divisive war. This course will include close examination of some of the more important historiographical debates. Topics include: sectionalism, antebellum political parties, slavery, abolition, Civil War politics, Presidential and Congressional Reconstruction. Students will use primary and secondary resources to produce a significant research paper.

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.
  • AP US History

    Open to qualified 10th and 11th graders, this advanced course follows the development of American government, economics, culture, and thought from pre-Columbian Native American societies to the recent events such as the attacks of September 11th or the subprime mortgage crisis. Readings from primary and secondary sources, as well as class discussions, offer students the opportunity to deeply immerse themselves into the origins and values of an evolving and complex American society. The course focuses on those aspects of the field of American history that have both served to build national identity as well as those that have created disunion. Understanding that reading and writing are the foundations of communication within the field, the course utilizes frequent essay assignments to encourage students to clarify and define their thoughts on selected topics and works in an ordered, well-defended fashion.

    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 US/AP European History: Advanced History of the West

    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. This course will be team taught.

    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 Comparative Government & Politics I: Democratic Societies

    This semester-length course, at full time can be taken in tandem with the following Authoritarian Societies elective to prepare students for the AP Comparative Government exam. The AP Curriculum mandates study of six core core countries. In this elective students will consider the United Kingdom, Mexico, Nigeria (three of the core countries) and India, a notable exception from the 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.
  • AP Comparative Government & Politics II: Authoritarian Societies

    This semester-length course, at full time can be taken in tandem with the prior Democratic Societies elective to prepare students for the AP Comparative Government exam. The AP Curriculum mandates study of six core core countries. In this elective students will consider the Iran, Russia and China (three of the core countries) and a fourth country of relevance in that year that could be: North Korea, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, Cuba or Venezuela.

    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. Note: this course will next be offered in 2018-2019.
  • The Modern Middle East

    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.

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.
  • Enlightenment and Romanticism

    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.
  • Art History

    In this semester-long elective course students will examine and critically analyze various methods of artistic expression from around the world. There will be a special emphasis on not only the “high” fine arts of drawing, painting, sculpture and architecture, but also of various forms of “low art” including but not limited to popular film, cartoons and other forms of artistic expression with mass appeal. The essential questions driving the course focus on understanding the historiographical significance of artistic artifacts of a culture but also examine what differentiates a piece of art from a urinal on the wall. What is art and how is it made? How does art communicate and act as a record for human experience? What can we learn about a culture through its art forms? What skills and vocabulary can help us to effectively communicate about art?

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.
  • Political Media

    In this semester-long junior or senior elective students will consider the role of mass communications in politics. Each unit will consider a different aspect of the media including traditional print journalism, political cartoons, photography, radio, comedic television, and the expanding landscape of social media. Study of a particular medium will begin with case studies on how the communications technology was developed and used in various historical periods. Students will hone their analytical skills in each unit by composing an analysis of a modern example of the medium in question. With a growing public criticism of the role of the media in politics and the questions surrounding “Fake News,” this course will also focus on developing educated and inquisitive consumers of media. As a projects-based class, each unit will be assessed with students trying their hand the media form in question to comment on the a current events topic. Students should expect to engage in collaborative work, group discussions, short analytical compositions and practice real-world application of the theories, ideas and examples studied as they generate their own media.

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    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.

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    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.

    Order Your Textbook(s)
    No textbook required.

View Our Curriculum

Faculty

  • Kelsey Berry

    History Department Chair
    (603) 779-5310
    New Hampton School
    St. Lawrence University - B. A. History and Government
    Plymouth State University - M.Ed in Heritage Studies
    Bio
  • Patrick Livingstone

    History Faculty
    Columbia University--Teachers College - MA
    Bates College - BA
    Bio
  • Tyler Cabot

    History Faculty & Assistant Dean of Students
    (603) 779-5355
    The Peddie School
    Washington College - BA History
    Bio
  • Nigel Furlonge

    History Faculty & Associate Head of School
    (603) 779-5303
    Villanova University - MA
    University of Pennsylvania - BA
    Columbia University (Teacher's College) - MED
    Boston Latin School
    Bio
  • Jordan Graham

    History Faculty
    (603) 779-5369
    University of Montana - MA History
    University of Montana - BA History and Political Science
    Bio
  • Christine Lushefski

    History Faculty & Assistant Director of Athletics
    (603) 779-5263
    Dartmouth College - BA
    Bio
  • Conor O'Meara

    History Faculty
    (603) 779-5327
    Fairfield University - BA
    Boston College High School
    Bio
  • Andrew Sheppe

    History Faculty
    (603) 779-5350
    Holderness School (NH)
    Georgetown University (DC) - BA: History
    Bio
Holderness School
33 Chapel Lane, Holderness NH, 03245
mail P.O Box 1879 Plymouth, NH 03264-1879
phone (603) 536-1257