The History Department emphasizes a thematic approach to the study of history. History is viewed not solely as a continuum of time but also as a continuum of competing and complementary narratives. Faculty emphasize the way history inculcates various ideologies and belief systems into the current panoply of the human experience. In many ways, history can be seen as ongoing creation myths, which inform people’s actions and reactions within today’s global dynamic. The study of history teaches vital skills necessary for an enlightened and educated individual, such as precise analytical thinking, an awareness of bias and reductive reasoning, a contemplation of value and morality, and the ability to write specifically and persuasively on such contemplative matters.
The art of discussion among students, as opposed to a question-and-answer format, is the methodological approach of history teachers at CRMS. In addition, emphasis is placed on the following core skills: reading, retention, crafting, and expression. Ultimately, these skills demand an active and dynamic partnership between teacher and student, between thought and delivery, between inquiry and result. For non-native English speakers, please see these additional course offerings
History 9: World Geography
This course is an introduction to global issues, providing students with a geographic approach that enables them to better understand the relationships between people and the environment. Students examine world problems, conflicts, the unequal distribution of wealth and power, environmental concerns, and the locations and distribution of these issues, as well as relevant cultural components.
History 10: History of the Western World
This required course studies the history of Western ideas and events. It begins with an historical study and analysis of the Judeo-Christian tradition and ends with a study of 20th-century European events and philosophical trends. The course consistently deliberates on the connections between philosophical thought and the historical context that both inform and influence the Western tradition.
Honors History 10: Western World History
This is an option for exceptionally dedicated students who want more challenge and the chance to stretch themselves intellectually in World History. In choosing this course, students commit to a more rigorous workload. This course will follow the basic outline of the regular 10th grade curriculum but at a deeper level. Honors students will have additional readings and assessments, and their work will be graded at an honors level. This is an integrated class, but honors students will have the appropriate indication on their official school transcript.
History 11: U.S. History
CRMS’s U.S. History course requires students to evaluate historical narrative through the lens of competing texts, events, and interpretive outcomes. Fundamental to the U.S. history course is the idea of narrative, which is an elastic and often changing storyline that continually informs current perceptions and actions. The class is engaged in round-table discussions, multi-media presentations, extensive writing assignments, and online interactions in order to best grapple with the subject and its meaning. Reading and writing are the primary skills developed throughout this course and are fundamental to the success of each student. The culminating project is an interdisciplinary research and thesis-driven paper divided into three sections: a literary analysis based on a piece of fiction, an historical analysis of the literary thesis, and a contemporary analysis based on both research and interviews conducted by students with individuals extremely knowledgeable in some aspect of the student’s chosen topic. The fundamental goals of the paper are to underscore the interdisciplinary element inherent in the study of humanities, to teach and hone research skills, and to best convey precise analysis within an engaging and mechanically sound narrative. This course is required for all juniors unless enrolled in AP U.S. History.
AP U.S. History
This course is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S. History. The program prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses. Students will learn to assess historical materials—their relevance to a given interpretive problem, their reliability, and their importance—and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. AP U.S. History will thus develop in students the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format. (Adapted from The College Board Advanced Placement Program.) Taking the advanced placement test is required. Students should seek a teacher recommendation before registering for this course.
As with senior English electives, these one-semester offerings are based on the school’s mission and students’ interests; not all are available each year. Second-semester history electives often include research related to Senior Project planning. Recent Senior History electives have included the following:
Geopol will examine significant international and domestic geopolitical situations. A geographic approach enables students to clarify their views and participate in complex issues with a sense of power. Students study numerous geopolitical issues from the drug wars in Columbia to other foreign policy decisions made by the United States in the past 40 years. Essays and video interviews with terrorists and soldiers reveal insights into the origins of conflicts from the Middle East to Africa to America. Domestic issues will include an examination of the racial landscape in America. Interviews with gang members and police officers offer profound insights into student views on race as they explore Affirmative Action and local racism. Students will also look at the distribution of wealth in America and the critical economic and political issues. Renowned authors like Hanna Arendt, Yevtushenko, Martin Luther King, Machiavelli, and Camus provide abundant grist for enthusiastic conversations and papers. In Geopolitical Studies, students debate, discuss, speak, and write as they clarify their views about critical issues.
Philosophy and Religion: The Eastern Tradition
The class often starts with an inquiry into the importance of heterogeneity and diversity of religions and philosophic expression and then goes on to focus on the major religious and philosophic traditions and paths of Eastern peoples: Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Islam. The semester ends with a study of modern philosophic issues and problems that belong to both the Eastern and Western worlds. Readings that support this inquiry come from the primary pieces of sacred literature and philosophy that belong to these traditions as well as from selected secondary materials.
Philosophy and Religion: The Western Tradition
The class often starts with an inquiry into the realm of faith and thought, and continues through the major philosophic periods starting with the ancient Greeks and ending with the ideas, concepts, and problems that are germane to the modern world. Readings that support this inquiry come from primary philosophic literature, novels, short stories, essays, theater pieces, and selected secondary materials.