Course Catalog


CSW’s history curriculum teaches students the fundamentals of writing and research while also exposing them to a broad range of historical events, movements, philosophies, and contexts from the ancient world to the modern day. All students must take U.S. history in addition to a series of core electives.
  • A Dig and a Deep Dive- Dissent in US History

    (11/12)The US, as a nation, was founded upon documents of dissent - and dissention is the fuel that makes the machinery of the US government run. And yet, dissent is seldom embraced in the moment (but applauded and memorialized after the fact) and the freedom, recognition and respect for dissent is profoundly shaped by the country’s systemic power structures. This course looks at dissent as a concept in US history, focusing on questions like: Who decides if one is a dissenter? Can one be a secret dissenter? What is required for a successful dissent movement? Who defines the meanings of one’s actions? In order to examine these questions, as well as the history and meaning of dissent in the US, we will ask students to delve deep into advanced research practices. Every two weeks, students will tackle a new project (a curricular design project, the creation and design of founding components of a hyper-local dissent movement, and a literature review of a text on a US dissent movement of their choice) alongside experiences with a series of advanced research practices: boolean operators, limiters, culling digital archives. Students will design a Research Question (developed in service of a particular project) and independently work week to week on navigating the question and meeting in seminar to analyze and deconstruct key texts. At the end of each week, students present the work they discovered that week and where their research takes them next. Projects could range from a digital archive to a podcast, an informational campaign, an art installation - all rooted in deep and dynamic research and heavy consideration of the questions at the core of US dissent.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice graduation requirement. 
  • A House Divided

    (11/12) The Civil War is still our Homeric epic—the great watershed in our history. The stories told and the lessons learned, from its earliest origins in 1619 to its bloody conclusion in 1865, and the final period of Reconstruction, are limitless.  The class primarily focuses on the causes of the war from the 3/5th Amendment to John Brown.  Some time is devoted to the battles, but the causes and effects are the core of the study. Particularly the lasting effects of the Civil War are a key area of examination, as the students strive to document the levels and scope of repercussions following Reconstruction. 

    Prior to the 2021-2022 school year, this course was titled "US Civil War."

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • Activism in Action: Documentary Film and Human Rights

    (11/12) In this course students will learn how documentary film can be used to amplify voices. Those whose voices are rarely heard can use film as a weapon for change. Students will explore the history of documentary film within the human rights and social justice realm and learn tangible skills of storytelling. By using case studies of communities learning and using this medium to affect change, students will explore the intersection of art and activism. Through media literacy, students will be challenged to understand the responsibility of telling someone else’s story and the power behind an authentic voice sharing experiences. The class will culminate in short 3-5 minute documentary films that explore the importance of voice around a human rights issue and begin to think about how campaigns are created around content.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice graduation requirement. 
  • Alexander the Great

    (11/12) In 323 BCE, Alexander the Great died at the age of 33 leaving behind a massive empire and a legend that describes him as a benevolent ruler, a passionate murderer, a pupil of Aristotle and a brilliant general. This course explores the many facets of the character and history of Alexander the Great in an attempt to distill the historical truth from the deified myth. Furthermore, it examines the fundamental concepts of leadership and power - what makes a good leader? Can an effective leader be a good person? How do we reconcile beauty and cruelty, military takeover and international cooperation, respect for marginalized people, and enslavement and subjugation, all in one king and his campaign across 2500 miles? We will read several ancient biographies of Alexander, including those by Quintus Curtius Rufus, Plutarch, and Arrian, as well as several secondary sources in order to solve the many mysteries that surround his life and use them to reflect on our own. Furthermore, we will examine how his artistic representation on coins and in monumental sculpture has sought to reconcile the conflicts and contradictions in his history. 
  • Ancient Rome

    (9/10) Using maps, art and primary sources we will discover how the small, collective cultivation of a valley grew into one of the world’s most expansive and powerful empires. We will wrestle with the cost and benefits of highly efficient and consolidated power, and of diversified and slower-moving governance, Roman slavery and its legacy and intracies, and fundamental conceptions of identity in a very far away time and place. This course will look at such topics as Roman religion, the gladiatorial spectacles, the Roman senate and specific emperors in order to begin an exploration of the dynamic history as well as the resounding and complex impact of the empire, with a specific emphasis on using visual texts like monumental architecture and urban planning. This class encourages students to get comfortable with a wide range skills including debate, seminar discussions, small group projects and learning how to tackle challenging primary and secondary source texts.
  • Borders: Immigration, Migration, and National Boundaries

    (11/12- Borders curriculum updated to this course as of 2020-2021. Students who previously completed the "Borders" curriculum should not select this class)
    This course examines how borders shape our world. Whether these are internal or external, societal or national, we all encounter barriers, but we do not all experience them in the same way.  From the establishment of Europe to the discovery of the North American continent, from the Scramble for Africa to the Islamic State, and from the declarations of independence by former colonies, the development of borders has played a key role in geopolitical, religious, racial, and cultural matters. The course looks at nationality, identity, and the meaning of nationalism. It examines the lines drawn by politics, race, religion, class, and education, that lead to the creation of separate communities. This course addresses the nature of rights; natural, national, and human that emanate from the recognition of borders and that determine their legitimacy. Rights give rise to conflict, and when it comes to living spaces, these disputes are even more contentious. 

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.

  • China

    (11/12) Using both primary and secondary sources, students explore a five-thousand-year-old history beginning at the last four dynasties and ending in modern-day China. This course is an intense study of China as it emerges on to the world stage. A nation with a long history of dynasties that becomes a communist nation, that encounters internal struggles, and whose people exhibit a resiliency that ultimately creates the China we see today. Students read historical and contemporary material of both Chinese and Western authors, developing a perspective on the emergence of China as a power to contend with. It offers space for the discussion on human rights as they are interpreted by the West and by China. Additionally, students examine the interaction between China and the West and how that has shaped this nation today. 

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.

  • Decolonizing Women: Shattering Oppression

    (11/12)Decolonizing Women: Shattering Oppression examines the colonization of women in disparate societies around the globe. Whether by imperialist forces, colonial occupation, war, patriarchy, dictatorship, or political movements among others, women have encountered a super-imposed culture that has warranted adaptations and transformations. This in turn has given rise to internal and external resistance.  This course seeks to examine the origins and nature of these movements across the globe that have been generated by women for women. Incorporating their specific national, cultural, and traditional histories, this course will enable our students to learn about the impact colonization has had, and in some cases continues to have, on the development of women’s rights in regions far removed from their own. They will be able to make comparisons between their own (native) women’s movements, whether national or regional and establish underlying connections between the movements on the whole. This course will also focus on the question of location; how does the location of a women’s movement influence its success? What relevance do culturally specific laws, common law, and traditional societies have on the emergence of women’s rights and movements from within their communities? 
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • Food, Justice, Power

    (9th)Food, Justice, and Power (FJP) is a foundational history course for all incoming ninth graders. 
    Food, and access to food, have a close relationship to (social) justice and to the establishing and exercising of power. Together, these three forces create a triangle of advantage. With a concentration on food, justice, and power, the course exposes the student to the discipline of History and to the skills that enable the student to fully appreciate this study. These skills are subsequently reinforced in each department at CSW and the early exposure to them for our incoming ninth-grade class, therefore, allows for a growing familiarity and expertise with their use. Food, Justice, and Power also introduce the student to CSW, our shared vocabulary, and the communal mission that makes this school. It does this through the establishment of group guidelines, engaging in group discussions and hands-on activities, among others, in order to enhance both the skill-based and community-based aspects of this course. 

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement. 

  • Global Dissent

    (9/10. This course was renamed from Dissent to Global Dissent for the 2020-2021 calendar year. Students who already completed the "Dissent" should not enroll in this course. ) Dissent, with a U.S. or global focus, has been taught at CSW for well over two decades. Global dissent looks at those perspectives that help give rise to change. We look at the origins of dissent, the definition of dissent, the definition of activism, and the many forms activism can take. Addressing both violent and non-violent movements, the course delves deeper into the motivation for protest, the question of protecting individual rights, and the question of minority rights that are lost in the process of majority rule. Students also examine leadership and movements it can encourage. The course begins with a wide lens followed by an individualized focus on specific examples of dissent, activism, leadership, and protest. 

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.

  • Haiti: An Exploration of the History, Language, and Literature of Revolution and Freedom(History)

    (11/12) In this class, students will explore Haitian history and literature in three pivotal moments: the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), the American occupation (1915-1934), and the Duvalier dynasty (1957-1986). As an interdisciplinary approach through history, language, and literature, students will have the option to read the assigned literary fiction in French or English.  All literature will be contextualized with primary and secondary sources from each of the historical periods. 

    Awards 1 English or 1 History credit selected by the student.
  • Holocaust & Human Behavior

    (9/10th) The Holocaust is the most thoroughly documented example of human behavior in an extreme, man‑made situation. The study of this event can teach students the meaning of human dignity, morality, law and citizenship. We investigate the roles and responsibilities of the individual within a given society, and students struggle with issues and dilemmas which defy simple solutions. Why did it happen? What should they have done? What would I have done? The universal questions of morality and the lessons to be learned from a history of totalitarianism, racism and dehumanization are not unique to the Holocaust. Comparisons and parallels are made to past and contemporary issues, events, and choices. 
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • Human Rights in Motion

    (11/12) Human rights are the fundamental rights of every man, woman, and child. They are so basic we assume we know what they are, where they come from, and what we can do with them. And yet, they are in constant motion; subject to interpretation by whoever wields power over other human beings, our fundamental human rights today are changeable, much as they have been in the past.
    This course seeks to begin at the beginning, the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1950, and proceed from there to examine where we are today in respect to the acknowledgment and empowerment of human rights. It looks at the choices nations, leaders, and citizens have and the choices they make that either respect or impede in the individual’s ability to enjoy their freedoms and opportunities. Students will be required to work independently and in groups, producing historical examinations and in-depth analyses of situations today where these fundamental human rights (may) have been violated.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement. 
  • Inventing Africa: Colonialism and Self-Determination

    (11/12) This course introduces students to the political and economic conditions that have evolved in Africa since the late 19th century. Students considered how actors—both internal and external to African nations—shaped these conditions. We engage these issues through a thematic case study of various African nations. In addition, students perform research on a wide range of topics pertinent to African countries. Course topics include the European colonization and exploitation of Africa, national independence movements, apartheid, African popular culture, and contemporary crises facing African countries such as poverty, political corruption, civil war, and AIDS.
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.

    Prior to the 2022-2023 school year, this class was titled "Modern Africa." 
  • Jailhouse Nation: U.S. History of Crime, Punishment, and Mass Incarceration

    (11/12) Jailhouse Nation explores America’s long and troubled history with crime, punishment, and prisons. By first examining how both crime and thus the “criminal” are socially and historically constructed, students will consider the role of violence and systematic punishment in Puritan New England, the slave South, and later, the modern United States. The institution of slavery will provide an important framework to help students understand how new modes of punishment (namely, incarceration in jails and prisons) emerged alongside the abolition of slavery. Furthermore, we will examine the role of post-emancipation prison regimes in shaping popular (mis)understandings of “race” and the idea of “black criminality.” Lastly, we will discuss the rise of the carceral state in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, noting long historical parallels and the roles of contemporary political and economic forces driving the prison boom. Throughout the course we will consider the distinct experiences of punishment for men, women, children, African Americans, whites, Latinos, sexual minorities and non-citizens in order to tease out the specific relationships between race, class, gender and punishment at various moments in American history. Within our broader exploration of state-based punishment policies, we will also consider community resistance to policing and incarceration and the rise of so-called prison abolitionists.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • Japan: Post-war to the Akihabara Generation

    (11/12) The Akihabara district of Tokyo, Japan houses the world’s largest collection of everything that is associated with anime and the otaku culture and industry. It provides us with the goal and opportunity to examine Japan’s emersion from World War II into a thriving economic revival, democratic politics, and a new social order. With a particular focus on the creation of Otaku culture, we follow Japanese history through the 20th and into the 21st century, its cultural expansion and impact on not only the neighboring countries but the Western world as well. Post-war Japan has navigated its way through challenging encounters with its past, this course looks at those encounters and examines what role the otaku culture plays in the definition of 21st century Japan. 

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • Latin America: Rebels and Revolutionaries

    (11/12) Latin American countries have consistently been pressed to implement economic, social and political arrangements that favor the U.S.  This course will examine efforts by some Latin Americans to develop alternative visions for their countries.  What were these alternatives? Why did some believe they were necessary? In what ways, and why, have these alternatives succeeded or failed? We will examine these questions by studying cases that include the Mexican Revolution, the Cuban Revolution(s), Rigoberta Menchu in Guatemala, and recent experiments such as Lula da Silva’s Partido dos Trabalhadores in Brazil, the Bolivarian Revolution lead by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and others.  We will also explore the connection between history and memory through the case-study of Che Guevara.   

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • Memsahibs and Madams: Colonial India’s path to the 21st C.

    (11/12) From the early days of the East India Company to India (EIC) in the 21st century, the clash between East and West has enveloped much of the subcontinent. Memsahibs, British women in India, and Madams, an honorific for women in India, became synonymous with colonized and independent India, respectively. The course uses the lens of [these] women to examine how the EIC acquired, ruled, and handed over India to the British government and how India fought back to regain its independence and enter the 21st century. Colonial India becomes an in-depth examination of the slow but steady establishment of values introduced by the memsahibs. And with independence, Indian women (madams) become the lens through which we see the political, societal, and educational struggle for redefining Indian values.  

    This course awards credit toward the Social Justice requirement. 
  • Modern Middle East

    (11/12. This course was renamed for the 2020-2021 calendar year from "Middle East" to "Modern Middle East." Students who previously completed the course should not take this class.) This class begins with the fall of the Ottoman empire and concludes with post-Arab Spring. We will first examine the map and the birth of the nation-state.  We always keep religion and natural resources in our lens. We will also take significant time researching the State of Israel and possible peace plans with Palestinians.  The Middle East has been in a “Cold War since 1979, and the class can better understand many of the issues when the role of Saudi Arabia and Iran play in the shifting seats of power. At the end, students present a self-directed research project that they have been working on independently over the 6 weeks of the mod.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • Off Campus to China and Taiwan

    (Prerequisites: Completion of Mandarin 3A or permission of the department. This course can satisfy the level 3B graduation requirement. If a student completes this course instead of Mandarin 3B as a 10th or 11th grader, it is expected that they will continue in the Mandarin program's upper level electives in the subsequent year(s) )

    In this course, students travel to China and Taiwan to strengthen their Mandarin Chinese as well as learn about the history, geography, culture, life, arts, and people in the two different Chinese societies. Students will learn to better understand and appreciate American perspective and culture through the discovery of China's and Taiwan’s.  Students will attend classes and stay in homestays in China and Taiwan. Students will keep personal journals, contribute to a group a blog, and complete a personally designed research project.

    Enrollment is with department permission only.

    There is an additional charge for the course, which offers two blocks of language credit, one block of history credit, and one D‑block credit.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.

  • Off Campus to France

    (Prerequisites: Completion of French 3A and permission of the department. It can be equivalent to French 3B. If students take this course instead of 3B, an elective course will be required to take upon return of the course.)

    Students will travel to France for four weeks for a program of total immersion in French language, history, and culture. During the first week prior to departure, the group will have an intensive orientation on the culture, art, history, and architecture of France, during which they will spend time working on their project presentations. They will finish the first week with presentations of their findings. The following four weeks will be spent in Montpellier, France. The students will take a French course and explore the area and the important sites surrounding them. During the last three days of the trip, they will tour Paris and Versailles During their stay in France, they will live with host families carefully selected in order to accommodate them accordingly. While traveling, students will keep a journal and fulfill other requirements adapted to their language and/or art background. Upon their return, students will prepare mandatory projects, including a research paper on their on-site findings, to earn full credit. This course, offered in module 5, is open to twelve students of advanced French. Enrollment is with department permission only. There is an extra charge for the course, which offers 2 blocks of language credit, 1 block of history credit, and 1 D-block credit.
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • Race in the U.S.: Black America

    (9/10th)What does it mean to be a citizen of the United States? What does it mean to be allowed to be a citizen of the United States? The history of who does and does not become a citizen begins with the establishment of a racial divide at the very foundation of the colonies that would evolve into a nation ostensibly founded on democratic principles. This course examines the colonization and creation of a race-based society, bending and eliminating evidence of previous indigenous societies and establishing groups on the basis of a caste system. The course takes a thematic approach and uses a curated selection of materials and documentation to address the racial history of citizenship and non-citizenship of the United States.  
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.

    Prior to the 2021-2022 school year, this course was titled "US History: Race in America"
  • Rocking the Schoolhouse: US History of Education

    (11/12) This class will examine the history of American Education.  From the one-room schoolhouse to Race to the Top, students will leave with a deep understanding of how America educates its k-12 students.  Rocking the Schoolhouse does not look at a broken system, rather the students analyze why the system is purposely designed to educate some, and leave many behind.  Public schools today are as racially segregated as they were in 1954. The class presents a thesis: “The US Public Education System is the greatest Civil Rights issue of the 21st Century.”  From this thesis, arguments and evidence will be presented and students will be asked to analyze the data and take their own stand.  The racial opportunity gap has been identified, and little has been done to remedy this built-in aspect of public education. The final project challenges the student to identify a need in public education, and design a school that will remedy the problem.

    This course awards credit toward the Social Justice requirement.
  • The Art of Prediction

    (11/12) The 18th-century European worldview was an empowering one. As a result of the Scientific Revolution, the world and its history were predictable and orderly, subject to natural laws that humans could understand. The innovations in science and political thought in the 19th and 20th centuries profoundly changed this view, as truth and universal law gave way to a new emphasis on the common man and best fit models based on uncertainty, chance, and probability. The micro-history movement and the events leading to the development of the atomic bomb had radical implications for the theory and practices of both disciplines - bringing previously disregarded or erased voices and phenomena forward as indispensable sources of knowledge. We will examine the philosophy and methodology of history and science as they evolved to meet a new worldview in this period.  This course grants one (1) history credit.
  • The Guillotine and the Gun: French and Russian Revolutions

    (9/10) This course explores the origins, tumultuous paths, and impact of two of the world's first truly modern revolutions.  The French Revolution promised enlightened equality, but gave rise to the Terror and Napoleon's dictatorship. The Russian Revolution promised a Marxist utopia, but resulted in the reign of Stalin. . . and the subsequent slaughter of forty million people. Both revolutions also accorded an unprecedented and controversial public role to feminism, atheism, socialist, and anti‑imperialist ideologies, all of which we will explore.  In a comparative manner, we will examine the key historical actors and ideas that contoured these revolutions, largely through the exploration of original documents, including speeches, philosophical treatises, diaries, political manifestos and art.
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.

  • The New Cold War

    The New Cold War class posits that the Cold War as we know it has taken on a new form and that we are experiencing its revitalization.  By delving into the past of the “Old” Cold War by  examining events such as the development of the atomic bomb, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the intersections and relationship between the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War, we examine how the Cold War played itself out in an increasingly violent fashion in every sector of American life and the lives of countless civilians abroad. The class considers the struggle for independence in newly emerging Asian and African nations, as it coincided with the US and Soviet struggle for dominance. We then look at the global playing ground of dominant powers in recent years and examine how familiar territories around the world are once again grounds for the resurgence of a power struggle.  Students will also examine the impact of United States foreign policy decisions and evaluate their lasting effect on the individual and national rights of nations in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia.  
    Students examine a variety of primary and secondary sources, including foreign policy documents, scholarly historical analysis, film, and visual art to explore the role of a nuclear threat and global ideology and paranoia in domestic US life and policy. 
  • The Samurai: Their Life & Legacy

    (11/12)The samurai are an enigmatic, close-knit, and of enduring interest, part of Japan’s history. Their origins and evolution into unmistakable leaders from the 17th-20th centuries give us an enormous repository of material with which to examine Japan’s evolution on to the world stage as an independent, determined, and imperial power. The samurai establishment, its power, culture, and engagement with the world become the focus for a good part of this course. We delve into the interaction between Japan, its neighbors, and the European merchants that conveyed and shared the Tokugawa Shogunate culture around the world. We take a particular close look at the educational heritage of the European encounters with the Shogunate. The samurai-establishment’s lasting legacy, as Japan turns towards democracy followed by militarism, is the last stop on this path through Japanese history. 

    This course awards credit toward the Social Justice requirement.
  • Totalitarianism: Past and Present

    (11/12) “Totalitarianism is not only hell, but also the dream of paradise..."
    ‑Milan Kundera.
    This course takes students on a fascinating exploration of the totalitarian and fascistic tendencies that have proven to be alluring alternatives to the democratic states and societies.  These movements were often shrouded with utopian promises against a backdrop of apocalyptic struggles, regardless of the temporal or geographic location of the totalitarian movement.  We begin by examining five national case studies drawn from Europe and Asia between the 1920s and 1960s.  We then investigate more modern iterations of fundamentalism, including political, racial, and religious fundamentalism.  The class concludes by focusing on the nature and appeal of cults.  A final project invites students to tie the course’s main themes together.
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.

  • U.S. Black Studies

    (11/12)Black Studies is a broad field of study that can be approached from many disciplines. In this six-week course, we survey African American history from the period of the Great Migration through the present. We explore the socio-economic, political, and cultural contributions of African Americans with an emphasis on movements for racial equality, the arts, and Black feminism. Texts include foundational writings in African American history and literature, including writings from W.E.B. Du Bois; James Weldon Johnson; Booker T. Washington; Martin Luther King Jr.; Malcolm X; Ida B. Wells; Angela Davis; Shirley Chisholm; Audre Lorde; Richard Wright; James Baldwin; Langston Hughes, and many others.

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement. 
  • U.S. Constitution

    (11/12) US Constitution is a hands-on, project-based class that seeks to examine the roots and development of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and then asks students to apply the document practically to several real and fictional Supreme Court cases. Hence, students begin the module with factual readings, the Federalist Papers and smaller debates, and general discussion. The class looks at the way fundamental concepts and definitions of freedom, citizenship, and “for all” have been shaped, undermined, and refined through the Constitution and its interpretation by the US Supreme Court. As the mod progresses, the assignments become more difficult and intense (briefing cases like Marbury v. Madison and Tinker v. Des Moines School District), culminating in the preparation and presentation of oral arguments for a mock Supreme Court in two cases, and sitting as a justice for one. Much of the grading for the class is done in groups, rather than individually, and so students are asked to trust and depend on their peers while making sure to hold up their own end of the workload. 
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • U.S. Environmental History

    (11/12) How did European cattle wage war on the Wampanoag in colonial Massachusetts? How did the Bible’s Eden, a belief in magic, and a mapping mistake come together to lay the groundwork for race-based disenfranchisement and colonial incursion? How did soil make decisions about what slavery would look like in the Cotton South? How did capitalist ideas effect changes in the landscape of New England? How does the difference of 20 inches of rain per year lead to drastic differences in population, politics, and culture between eastern and western states? What myths do we tell ourselves when we visit our national parks? How are we, through globalization, forcing ourselves to change the way we talk about the natural world? What is truly natural and how do we use Nature as a weapon to destroy societies and the earth? With this introduction to the newest field of American History, we will learn to study history by looking at the roles humans play within ecosystems and the effects of those ecosystems on human society.
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • U.S. Markets and Labor

    (11/12) How has the relationship between capital and labor developed and evolved? What is the legacy of 250 years of legalized enslavement and another 100 years of defacto enslavement on the US’ economic policies, successes, and failures? What are the ideas behind capitalism and how does it actually work? Do capitalism and democracy need each other? What is neoliberalism and what does globalization mean? How have labor’s ideas, goals, and methods changed and how have those ideas and struggles influenced capitalism? What struggles does labor face today? Are labor unions “American”? This class examines the history and impact of the US’ specific forms of capitalism and a market economy on the country’s financial, racial, and class development, while also holding it up against other economies and market structures to reveal the complexity of our interactions with the economics of our everyday lives.  
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • U.S. Native Americans

    (11/12)Before Europeans arrived, indigenous cultures thrived in the Americas.  This course will start by examining their ancient past and move through the impact that Native Americans have had on the development of the United States and vice versa. The indigenous population of North America contains a vast array of cultural diversity. How do our own assumptions about Native Americans compare to their experiences? We will examine how Native Americans have managed to overcome (or adapt to) genocide, warfare, disease, assimilation, and massive land loss in order to retain their unique cultural identities.  We will explore the development of Native American history from the early years of the United States through the radical political movements of the 1970s to contemporary issues Native Americans face. This course will also push students to think of new ways to study history. How can we understand a culture, or cultures, so different from our own, especially when there are no traditional historical documents left? 

    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • U.S. Rebels and Revolutionaries in American Dance

    (11-12)You don’t have to be a dance fan to find this topic arresting. As in visual art, music, and theater, dance pioneers throughout the 20th century challenged the current artistic dogma and rebelled against tradition. The arts are a lens through which we may glimpse how generations and cultures have viewed their worlds. Political and social upheavals and technological breakthroughs in the 20th century such as the industrial revolution, women’s suffrage, WWI, WWII, civil rights, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the drug culture, urbanization, and women’s liberation affected and were reflected in the dances of their time. Often, these artists were ridiculed, repressed, or marginalized, yet their new ideas and aesthetics kept flowing across racial and social boundaries. We will look at African American dance pioneers and their white counterparts and follow them all the way through to what dance artists (and maybe you too) struggle with today. Auto‑biographies, dance masterpieces on video, reviews, interviews, and historical commentaries will reveal what the dances have to tell us “between the lines.”
  • U.S. Voting and Elections

    (11/12)Who has been likely to turn out to vote and what has been done to prevent voting - and what difference does that make for electoral results? What is the Electoral College and how does it work? How do voters decide their choice for president? How have voting rights become the most powerful vehicle for defining social power and identity in the US? Could elections be the key to a truly just United States? These questions are among the issues that students will explore by examining current and past presidential races and the laws, court cases, and media industry of elections. With a particular focus on the racialized, gendered and class-conscious history of voter suppression, we will also explore American politics in general, examining the ideas, ideologies, policies, people and events of the American political scene.
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • U.S. Writing about History

    (10th)U.S. Writing About History centers on the text by Richard Rothstein,  The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America and focuses on researching and writing on a topic emanating from the history of segregation.  The course and the research paper examines the lasting impact of that process on racially divided communities. The written product is a research paper consisting of a title page, five to eight pages of body paragraphs, footnotes, and a bibliography. Students determine their individual topics, conduct research, and work with their peers as they come to a collective understanding of the long-lasting impact segregation has had on the history of the United States.
  • U.S. Youth Subcultures

    (11/12) This course explores the role of subcultures in contributing to the cultural spectrum of the United States between the 1920s and the twenty‑first century.  Studying subcultures can reveal as much about the shadows of society in which they resided as it does the mainstream.  Subcultures also represent a unique intersection of radical political ideologies and innovative artistic trends, often expressed through a group’s attachment to a specific genre of music, social outlet, and/or fashion.  We will examine the value systems, and the broader historical contexts that gave rise to them, of: the flappers; hipsters, and beatniks; greasers;  hippies; the hip‑hop and punk rock scenes, and street art.  We will also focus on the ways in which society has repeatedly co‑opted these previously marginal movements, rendering them into yet another popular means of corporatized mass consumption.
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.
  • Who Are We: Mapping the History and Science of Populations

    (11/12; awards 1 Science or 1 History credit as specified by the student. Prerequisite: BioChemistry and BioConnections or permission from the Science department.) “Where are you from?”, “Where are you really from?” Have you ever had a conversation start with these two questions? To many, these sound all too familiar. Google the second question and you get 13,290,000,000 results. That is an impressive number for a simple feeler sent out to figure out who you are. If you have ever been stumped by these queries and not known how to respond or experienced an awkward silence because of it,  “Who Are You?” will give you the knowledge that lets you stump those who ask these questions.  The Science and History departments are collaborating on a course that unearths the ancient DNA of human beings and tracks their movements around the globe. The purpose: to discover who we are and where we are really from; to discover the scientific and historical origins of homo sapiens, and to dispel the superficial divide created by race. The purpose further is to show how genetics, competing groups of early humans, and the environment have influenced us more than we think. 
    This course awards credit toward the social justice graduation requirement. 
  • World Religions

    (9/10th) This one module class will examine the origins and practice of major world religions.  We will examine religion and our relationship with it. The class will explore the main characters and practices of these religions and how they have spread and developed. We will also explore the main schisms in such religions and analyze why and how they happened.  By the end of the class, we will develop a comparative study and identify commonalities and differences between these faiths.  We will also explore religious tensions in current domestic and international arenas.
    This course awards credit toward the social justice requirement.

Department Faculty

  • Photo of Anjali Bhatia
    Anjali Bhatia
    History Department Chair
    Kalakshetra College (Chennai, India) - B.F.A.
    Vrije University of Amsterdam - B.A., M.A.
  • Photo of Jordan Clark
    Jordan Clark '05
    History Faculty and Residential Faculty
    Temple University - BA
    The New School - MA
  • Photo of Patrick Foley
    Patrick Foley
    History Faculty
    Saint John Seminary School of Theology - M.A., B.A.
    Simmons College - M.A.T
    St. Johns - Doctorate of Divinity
  • Photo of Rachel Hirsch
    Rachel Hirsch
    Dean of Faculty and History Faculty
    Wellesley College - B.A.
  • Photo of Louis Hutchins
    Louis Hutchins
    English Faculty
    University of California, Berkeley - MA
    University of Wisconsin - BA
  • Photo of Ryan Jacobs
    Ryan Jacobs
    History Faculty
    University of Chicago - Ph.D.
    University of Chicago - M.A.
    Penn State University - B.A.
  • Jee eun Song
  • Aidan Wang

The Cambridge School of Weston is a progressive high school for day and boarding students in grades 9–12 and PG. CSW's mission is to provide a progressive education that emphasizes deep learning, meaningful relationships, and a dynamic program that inspires students to discover who they are and what their contribution is to their school, their community and the world.