The mission of Pingree's History Department is two-fold: to help our students achieve a deeper understanding of the world in which they live and to equip them with the skills and information required of informed and thoughtful citizens of this world. In their three-year requirement, historians pursue a thematic approach to their study of World History, a path which the faculty believe encourages students to think more abstractly about the content, to draw connections across a wide continuum of time and place, and to better connect the past to the present.

History classes at Pingree are active, energetic and discussion-based. Students are encouraged to participate thoughtfully in discussion, debate and simulations, and to develop their ability to think independently and imaginatively, formulate intelligent opinions, and substantiate them with evidence. Our students write extensively in their history classes; investigative, analytical, and creative essays provide regular opportunity for students to develop their critical thinking and writing skills and thereby to connect more actively with the material.

It is through this active connection with the themes and concepts central to the study of history that students can best develop their skills for citizenship, gaining not only a base of knowledge from which to draw as they move into the world, but also the skills and insight that characterize the thoughtful, intelligent, compassionate and committed citizen in our increasingly global society.

History Courses

Themes and Issues in World History

Required of all ninth-graders.

This course explores significant issues, individuals and moments in world history by examining particular case studies that reflect on a theme fundamental to the history of human civilization. Students circulate through two separate curricular units, one per semester, each taught by a different teacher and each exploring a distinct case study in world history. The material in each unit encourages students to examine the designated theme from a different time, place and perspective. It is our hope that by exploring one theme across time and place, students will learn how to draw connections between individuals, ideas and issues, think more conceptually and creatively about history, and thus arrive at a better understanding of their own relationship to the past, present and future.

Cultures in Conflict:

This year “Cultures in Conflict” is the central theme of the ninth grade course. In this course, students will explore the concept and construction of culture, examining not only the fundamental definition of this term, but the elements –political, religious, philosophical, geographical, intellectual, social, and economic – and forces that contribute to developing culture over time. Students will delve into the history that unfurls when cultures based around competing values and interests meet. Our focus will be on modern history, the era when European imperialism engendered a period of active, aggressive interaction between cultures. This period of history planted the seeds of modern globalization and gave birth to many of the ongoing issues and conflicts that dominate our headlines today.

This is a skills-oriented course, and we will work closely with students to develop their capacity to think, read, and write critically. We will establish and nurture a history vocabulary and toolbox, emphasizing strong organizational skills as well as analytical and independent thinking and effective research practices. Close reading of primary sources will be emphasized.

The curricular units offered this year include Modern Middle East, Modern China, Modern Latin America, Indigenous Peoples, and Nonviolent Resistance (India, So. Africa, US Civil Rights Movement). The first trimester will be a shared unit on the modern history of the Middle East. It is our hope that through their study of this history, students will come to understand the ways in which culture is constructed, countered and reconstructed, and to recognize and appreciate the value of independent action, democratic systems, and cultural diversity in an interdependent and interconnected world.

Modern European History

Required of all sophomores.

This is a year-long course in which students explore the development of modern European history and culture from the 16th Century Reformation through the 20th Century. Students will examine the fundamental ideas, events, figures and issues which have helped to define modern Europe and much of the world. Students will sharpen their critical thinking as they consider the significant social, intellectual, political, cultural and economic developments which have emerged from Europe, and evaluate Europe’s impact on and changing role in the world. Primary sources are the textual basis of this course, supplemented with secondary sources, as well as art and artifacts, poetry, literature, film and the like. This course engages students in an active learning experience, with a particular focus on developing research, writing and communication skills.

United States History

Juniors must take US History, AP US History or American Cultural Studies.

United States History is a year-long survey of American history in which students examine the political, economic, social, and intellectual forces that have shaped our national character. Though the course takes a chronological approach, special emphasis is devoted to the recurrent themes of the American experience: state and federal development, balancing of powers, national expansion, government's role, and reform. Through regular debates, simulations and discussions, students will refine their critical thinking and speaking skills. Regular creative, analytical and research-based writing assignments will encourage students to continue to deepen their writing skills as well as their ability to process and synthesize information. Primary and secondary sources provide the textual basis for the course, regularly supplemented with a wide range of less traditional sources such as literature, poetry, art, political cartoons and the like. The capstone project in this course is the Junior Research Paper which students will craft over an extended period of time and with generous support and organization on the part of their teachers. Successful completion of this paper is a requirement for this course.

AP United States History

Enrollment determined by departmental recommendation.

Similar in scope to the regular sections of United States History, the AP course prepares students for the Advanced Placement exam given nationally in May. This course is a largely chronological survey of American history that emphasizes the trends and themes that recur in our nation's history. Work in the AP course includes extensive reading of primary and secondary sources, writing critical and analytical essays and intensive research papers, debating controversial issues in U.S. history, and developing a working fund of historical information. Not only does this course prepare for the AP exam, but it strives to develop a student's ability to think and write critically about the issues and events of U. S. history. Enrollment in this advanced honors course is determined by departmental recommendation and is limited to students who have proven that they possess the advanced skills and commitment to succeed in an Advanced Placement level course.

American Cultural Studies

Enrollment determined by departmental (English & History) recommendation.

American Cultural Studies, an interdisciplinary year-long course taught jointly by the History and English Departments, moves beyond the traditional classroom model. This course will meet during 2 periods and students will receive full credit in both English and History. We’ll study key historical topics and read influential literary texts, as well as consider how art, music, film, and popular culture all play a role in shaping our culture and defining who we perceive ourselves to be as individuals and as a nation. As we draw upon these media and other disciplines, students will make cross-curricular connections, visit significant local sites, read and research independently, bring their personal histories and stories to bear on the course material, and play a key role in selecting and introducing course topics. Possible texts include The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Caleb's Crossing, The Bluest Eye, The Great Gatsby,

and The Things They Carried. Field trips may take us to Plymouth, New Bedford, Newport, Lowell, Salem, Lexington, Boston and Canterbury, NH.

AP Art History

Enrollment determined by departmental recommendation.

This year-long senior elective is designed to prepare students for the Advanced Placement Examination in Art History. The course explores the history of art from the prehistoric age to the late twentieth century. There is no prerequisite for this course; however, the material is presented with the assumption that students have a working knowledge of European, American, and some World history. Although this course will focus mainly on the art of Western Europe, students will explore some art movements in Asia, Southeast Asia and the Americas. This is a rigorous course which requires that students work both independently and cooperatively to balance a challenging workload. Emphasis will be placed on developing students’ critical writing and thinking skills, and students will complete many creative, comparative and analytical essays. Additionally, students will deliver oral presentations, a significant research paper, and technology-based research projects. Enrollment in this advanced honors course is limited to students who have proven that they possess the advanced skills and commitment to succeed in an AP Art History course. Also offered: Honors Art History.

Advanced History Seminars

Advanced History Seminars are open to seniors and juniors (with Department permission) and are offered contingent on sufficient enrollment. All seminars are one semester courses with the exception of AP and Honors Art History which are year-long, honors level courses.

History of Immigration in America ­ What does it mean to be American?Introduction to Economics
Philosophy and Applied Ethics
Education, Social Mobility and the American Dream
History of Racism in the United States
The Economics of Globalization
Just War
The Holocaust and Human Rights
Introduction to Economics
1968: The Year Everything Went Wrong
Music and the Human Experience
20th Century Vietnam: History, Literature, and Film
Big History: The Human Dimension
Global History of the Cold War
History of Modern Conflict

H-Latin and the Foundations of Democracy

Have you ever wanted to read Caesar in the original Latin? Or understand why democracy and self governance emerged in modern history? Latin and the Foundations of Democracy exposes students to the language, culture and history of the Romans. An introduction to the language through excerpts from the Cambridge Series emphasizes basic comprehension of the Latin language and common English root words by following the lives of a traditional Pompeian family. The stories read will illuminate the social and political history of the Romans, especially during the first century AD. Classes will include basic Latin grammar and vocabulary, as well as discussions of Ancient Rome’s contributions to modern democracy. Labor omnia vincit!

H-All Art is Political

This course will explore a small handful of artworks that represent both critical monuments and significant turning points in the history of political art in the Western world. We will begin in ancient Greece and Rome, and conclude in the 21st century. Objects chosen represent a small but compelling sampling of some of the most significant pieces of political art produced in Europe and America. We will example architecture, mosaics, painting and sculpture. Some pieces will be overtly political, others far more subtle, raising the question of what does it take for a piece of art to be political in nature? Our discussion will begin with the artwork, but will delve into the historical context: what important historical developments of the day shaped the art object? How does the artwork reflect the values, concerns and interests of the people who created it? What did it mean to create political art at different points in history? What does political art look like today?

H-Pilgrimage: A Short History through Art

Pilgrimage is an age-old concept that crosses cultures and transcends time. This course will serve as an introduction to the concept and history of pilgrimage as it has been practiced across time and place and in religious and secular (non-religious) contexts. Students will read about the theory of pilgrimage, the rituals associated with it, and how it has been practiced from the medieval period to the present day. We will explore Christian, Islamic and Buddhist pilgrimage tradition: so in many ways, this course will serve as a general introduction to some significant faith traditions. Students will learn about key pilgrimage sites and the people who visit them, and consider the elements of sacredness, ritual and tourism that shape the pilgrim’s experience. We will conclude the course by considering secular pilgrimage and the ways in which pilgrimage continues to thrive today outside the realm of religion but within the realm of the spiritual.