The History Department offers courses in several areas of history and in the allied social sciences. The history curriculum seeks to promote reflective thinking and values education. More specifically, the curriculum emphasizes the following themes and subject areas: geography and geopolitical analysis, global interrelationships, historical change and continuity, the historical contributions of women to world civilizations, the challenges of citizenship, and individual moral responsibility. Instruction emphasizes the development of skills necessary to develop a critical understanding of the diversity of global cultures and the issues confronting the world at large. These skills include the application of logic in constructing written analytical arguments, effective oral communication, an understanding of chronological relationships, note-taking and outlining skills, independent research, and the effective use of library research and information technology.
3 Full Years of History, Including World History, United States History, and Civics or AP U.S. Government/Comparative Government and Politics
Political Science, Topics in International Relations, World Religions, Modern Asian History, Philosophy, Economics, Film and Historical Truth, and AP European History
- World History
- Honors World History
- United States History
- Honors United States History
- Political Science
- Film and Historical Truth
- Topics in International Relations
- World Religions
- Modern Asia History
- Advanced Placement United States/Comparative Government and Politics
- Advanced Placement European History
This course introduces Upper School students to the foundations of historical inquiry and analysis by focusing on world regional geography and world history from 1450 to the present. Extensive map exercises familiarize students with the world around them and discussions of primary sources lay the foundation for historical and geopolitical analysis of civilizations in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The course is arranged chronologically with emphasis placed on analytical essays and creative exercises in logic. It is linked topically to World Literature in the English department.
This course introduces Upper School students in greater depth to the foundations of historical inquiry and analysis by focusing on world regional geography and world history from 1450 to the present. Extensive map exercises familiarize students with the world around them and discussions of primary sources lay the foundation for historical and geopolitical analysis of civilizations in Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. The course is arranged chronologically with emphasis placed on analytical essays and creative exercises in logic. It is linked topically to World Literature in the English department.
Students taking the Honors level of World History work at a higher level of critical thinking and writing.
United States History surveys the evolution of our country's history from the colonial era to the present. This course seeks to define who we are as a nation, what we believe in, and why we are as we are. The course concentrates on the following major topics: colonialism, revolution, nationalism, sectionalism, isolationism, imperialism, the role of women and people of color in the growth of the nation, economic change, and political development and reform. The class is student-centered and oriented toward an open discussion of the challenges facing the United States. Films, computer-assisted simulations, and audio-visual material augment the written (primary and secondary) source materials. Independent research and cooperative learning projects are an integral part of the course. Students engage numerous opportunities to demonstrate reflective, independent thinking. Current events play a key role in the daily life of this class.
Honors United States History surveys, in greater depth, the evolution of our country's history from the colonial era to the present. This course seeks to define who we are as a nation, what we believe in, and why we are as we are. The course concentrates on the following major topics: colonialism, revolution, nationalism, sectionalism, isolationism, imperialism, the role of women and people of color in the growth of the nation, economic change, and political development and reform. The class is student-centered and oriented toward an open discussion of the challenges facing the United States. Films, computer-assisted simulations, and audio-visual material augment the written (primary and secondary) source materials. Independent research and cooperative learning projects are an integral part of the course. Students engage numerous opportunities to demonstrate reflective, independent thinking. Current events play a key role in the daily life of this class.
Students taking this level of United States History work at a higher level of critical thinking and writing and will be prepared to take the AP examination in United States History.
Note: Students may not earn credit in both Civics and AP United States Government and Politics.
Summer Options: This course, offered during the first term of CSG’s Summer Programs, may be taken during the summer prior to junior year.
This course pursues a thematic approach to the political and social responsibilities required by residence in a nation served by a democratic constitution and tradition. The class emphasizes the development of critical thinking skills necessary for participation in social, civic, and political processes, recognition, and consideration of moral dilemmas and ethical awareness, an appreciation of civic involvement and constructive social criticism, and the development of interpersonal skills necessary for the resolution of social conflicts. Students will study the primary documents of our democratic heritage with special emphasis on the Constitution as it relates to everyday situations, major Supreme Court decisions and a discerning analysis of civil liberties.
Political Science is an elective course designed to acquaint students with both political theory and practical politics. To that end, the course is divided into three subject areas: 1) Political theory, 2) American campaign politics, and 3) Foreign Policy formulation. Topics studied include democracy, capitalism, Marxism, socialism, communism, fascism, liberalism and conservatism, revolution, imperialism, and civil disobedience. The class is student-centered with assignments that demand independent and creative thought. Political Science is oriented toward respectful, open discussion of different political experiences and viewpoints.
This course will focus on the relationship between historical events and their depiction on film. In this regard, we will act as historians, working hard to understand past events and then assessing the accuracy and legitimacy of Hollywood’s big screen. Our purpose is to evaluate film as a primary source, a vehicle for the delivery of political propaganda, and the establishment of cultural myth, or as a credible courier of truth. In a seminar format, students will engage their critical thinking skills by viewing several important films and then by participating in research, analytical papers, class discussion, and presentation of ideas through argument and debate.
This class focuses on selected contemporary problems and challenges of concern to the international community. Each selected topic contains an historical overview, appropriate studies of particular cultures and their political, social, and economic interrelationships. The emphasis is decidedly contemporary and fosters an appreciation of the problems facing each region and the role that it plays in the world community. The format of the course is flexible to allow focused study of particular topics such as terrorism, famine, disease, apartheid, dictatorship, theocracy, genocide, and other political, economic, religious, ecological, and moral issues. This class provides a discriminating perspective to international problem solving in hopes of promoting tolerance and an appreciation of cultural diversity and interconnection.
This course provides an introduction to five major religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. The class examines the historical roots and philosophical tenets of each through primary sources and other readings. This course stresses the importance of tolerance and the acceptance of diversity as fundamental elements in the expansion of knowledge and human interaction. By inviting speakers to the classroom and by occasionally asking students to attend services of different faiths, this course provides interaction with the Columbus community.
This course focuses on the historical development of societies in China, Japan, India, and Southeast Asia during the period 1840 to the present. Topics include the fall of the Qing dynasty in the early 20th century and the institution of a Chinese republic under Sun Yat-sen, the Warlord era, Nationalist China under Chiang Kai-shek, and the communist revolution of 1949. We will also focus on the decline of the samurai and the rise of Japan with the establishment of the Meiji state in 1868, the development of imperial Japan, fascism, and World War II from an Asian perspective. The course emphasizes events after 1945, including the organization of the communist state under Mao Zedong, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the development of modern Chinese society under Deng Xiaoping, and contemporary politics under Xi Jinping. We will discuss the impact of the West on Japanese society after 1945 and contemporary political and economic issues. In addition, the course concentrates on the development of democracy in India under Gandhi and Nehru, the Korean and Vietnam wars, the violent Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia under Pol Pot, and terrorism in Indonesia and the Philippines. We will take time to study the religious and cultural traditions of each society in order to understand the tremendous political and economic changes taking place in contemporary Asia.
Economics is an elective course that surveys both macro- and microeconomic topics within an historical framework. Throughout the course, economic theory and history are interrelated with contemporary economic issues. The class emphasizes the American economic system and its relationships in the international community. The course involves textual analysis, weekly readings from business-oriented newspapers and magazines, guest speakers from the business community, independent research projects, and cooperative learning assignments.
This course introduces students to the ideas of the greatest philosophers in World Civilization. Students will discuss issues regarding epistemology, metaphysics, the nature of ascendancy and decline, the existence of God, and bioethics. The course is necessarily integrative and student-directed, and maintains an ethical orientation throughout with problem-solving assignments that help students understand their own values and those inherent in the Western and Eastern traditions. Reflection and self-awareness provide students with a foundation for investigating the political, moral, and social issues that confront them daily.
Note: Students may not earn credit in both Civics and AP United States/Comparative Government and Politics.
The year-long Advanced Placement United States/Comparative Government and Politics sequence gives students an analytical perspective on a variety of topics, institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute political life in the United States. Topics of investigation include the underpinnings of constitutional government, the structure of national political institutions, public policy, political beliefs and behaviors, political parties, interest groups, mass media, and civil rights and liberties. Once this foundation has been established, the course then provides students with the conceptual tools and the comparative methods necessary to analyze political relationships and institutions found in six countries: Great Britain, China, Russia, Mexico, Nigeria, and Iran. We will explore a wide variety of topics, focusing on sources of public authority and political power, international relations, the development of foreign policy, and the relationships between citizens and government institutions. Students will be prepared to take AP examinations in both AP United States Government and Politics and AP Comparative Government.
This course traces the history of Europe from the Renaissance to the present day and builds on the narrative and analytical background established in World History. This class addresses the theme of change in history and emphasizes political revolutions (English Civil War, French Revolution, Revolutions of 1848, Russian Revolution, etc.), the social impact of economic conditions (Industrial Revolution), intellectual movements (Humanism, Scientific Revolution, and Enlightenment), and artistic schools (Romantics, Cubists, Surrealists, etc.).The class traces and develops major themes that have influenced our contemporary world: nationalism, liberalism, conservatism, industrialism, internationalism, imperialism, and socialism. This course emphasizes a critical and sophisticated analysis of primary and secondary historical sources, a personal definition of human nature, and an appreciation of the competing forces of history. There is considerable supplementary reading on particular themes that are examined in depth.