History of the United States Since 1945: Honors* and non-Honors options
Nineteen-forty-five was a pivotal moment in United States history due to the significant geopolitical, social, cultural, and economic consequences of World War II. To examine the postwar period and its reverberations, we will explore varying definitions of American freedom, national identity, and the struggles to expand rights and access to power. We will investigate these throughlines by paying particular attention to issues of race, gender, identity, class, and culture.
This course will be centered on discussion and collaboration to aid in the development of historical thinking, analysis, and writing. Students will debate, assess sources, engage in independent research, and go through the process of oral history-making from interview to publication.
20th Century World History: Honors* and non-Honors options
Starting with World War I, we will look at the development of the modern world with particular attention paid to understanding the historical origins of contemporary issues and conflicts. We will examine the decline of the European colonial world, and the challenges posed to the old regime by colonial subjects, women, and racial and ethnic minorities; the influence of communist and socialist ideologies and increasing globalization; and the social, economic, and political changes resulting from the rapid development of technology.
Race and Gender Studies
This course will introduce students to the major questions and theories of race, gender, sexuality, class, intersectionality, and power. We will approach these concepts as social phenomena, examining the processes through which people are categorized and how these processes shape individual experiences throughout the world. Students will examine the formation of systems of power, oppression, categorization, and inequality in our society. Students will explore the potential for justice, social change, and celebration of identity. This course is centered around community praxis with the intent of empowering students to think critically about the world they are living in and to be involved in community.
We will hone in more specifically on the major themes of economics, personal finance and government. After an introduction to microeconomics and macroeconomics, we will examine broader issues such as income inequality, taxes, and how businesses operate, as well as more specific ones like the 2008 financial crash. In addition, we will look at how individuals can effectively navigate our current economic system by investigating topics including personal debt and investing. Ultimately, we will use a similar investigation of governmental systems to determine how those processes affect--or don’t affect--the economic status of the nation. Later, we will survey recent U.S. history (1945-present), using an economic lens to focus on how the events of this period have shaped our contemporary lives.
This course examines global art traditions through the lens of social change. Each unit presents case studies through which we will explore the functions of art: art as power; personal and communal expression; social action; experience. Through close observation of diverse works—paintings, prints, architecture, and various kinds of crafted objects—we will examine the place of art in times of rupture, and ask: How does art reflect or critique culture? How does art serve or disrupt structures of power? We will expand our conception of the classroom to our urban environment by going on field trips to see public art, museums, and murals. The course honors personal interest and curiosity; each unit culminates in an exploratory project chosen by students.
Bay Area and California History
This class is a chance for students to engage deeply with local history. We will examine the history of the Bay Area and California from the first indigenous people to the present, including Native American cultures before colonization, Spanish California, the Gold Rush and American conquest, the state’s role in World Wars I and II, and California’s history of both rejecting and welcoming immigrants. We will also study how civil rights movements, labor unions, radical organizations, grassroots activism, and anti-war campaigns have shaped the political and social life of the Bay Area. In addition to history, this course will explore local politics and the structure and function of city, county, and state governments
*Honors classes explore similar topics as the corresponding course but at an accelerated pace with additional depth, resources, and assessments. Department recommendations based on independent, self-regulated learning and a genuine interest in the skills and knowledge of History and Social Studies. Students are expected to perform more complex, self-driven assignments, relying on self-initiated one-on-one tutorial consultations. Prerequisite for Honors: Department approval