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Ruth Marris-MacaulayDepartment Head

The History Department is committed to a wide-ranging program of history offerings as well as to helping students develop a set of higher-level skills that are important both in and out of the history classroom. Courses explore broad themes in American and world history, as well as focusing on particular histories, countries, and periods. Students are expected to develop expository writing ability, intellectual curiosity through critical reading and thinking, and discussion and debate skills.  Geography, current events, and how to be a responsible citizen in a democracy are also integrated into history courses.

Department Requirements

Successful completion of three years of History, including Topics in European History in Grade Nine and US History (or AP US History) in Grade Eleven.

Early World Societies
Grade 9 

In order to address the frame of reference students will need as global citizens in the 21st century, Grade 9 students will study world history from the fall of the Roman Empire to the 19th century. They will learn about the differences between world cultures and the historical issues surrounding them as well as how cultural interaction and trade have shaped civilizations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Topics covered will include the rise of Islam, the Crusades, medieval history from European and non-European sources, the Renaissance and the Reformation, the scientific revolution and the impact of the Enlightenment on politics and society. In addition students will undertake a focused study of both African and Asian civilizations from a non-Western perspective. Course materials include a textbook,numerous selected primary sources ranging from literature to philosophy to visual art to music. Politics, economics, gender roles and intellectual and cultural trends will form the backbone of this class.

prerequisite: none

Modern World Issues
Grade 10 

Beginning with the advent of industrialism in the early 19th century, this course will take students up to the challenges of our own world in the 21st century. It is a continuation of the Early World Societies course taken in Grade 9. Its major focus is on intellectual history and it demonstrates how changing patterns of thought and new ideas have had an impact on society and its institutions from the technological breakthroughs of the industrial revolution to the ongoing information revolution of today. Revolution, industrialization, nationalism and the making of the post-colonial world are central themes as well as world war, communism and fascism, science and technology, literature and the arts, popular culture and changes in the lives of women and minorities.  The big issue of our times is the passing of western dominance and the rise of Africa and Asia in world affairs. To address this, units are included on the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Our interactions as a global society and what they mean for today’s citizens is a focal point of the course, emphasizing in particular environmental issues and the global economy.

prerequisite: none

AP US History
Grade 11 

This course is a survey of American history from the first European settlers to the recent past. The course is taught as a college-level course. Therefore, the student is expected to learn and retain most of the factual narrative of American history through her own reading. Class work and assignments focus on wrestling with and understanding the larger problems and questions of American history. Through the reading of primary and secondary sources, the student also confronts the issues historians face in trying to interpret the past. Summer reading is required, as well as good expository writing and critical thinking skills.

prerequisite: A skills assessment exercise will be given in Grade 10 for placement in AP US History in Grade 11.            

US History
Grade Eleven

Throughout history, the storied strength of the United States has been defined as the unity found between different peoples, bridging their differences in the interest of the common good. This strength in unity, however, has often come at a price, as particular groups – immigrant and native – have been forced to sacrifice their beliefs and rights, struggling to become accepted members of mainstream society: struggling to be American.

Through thematic units and exercises to develop critical thinking, reading, and writing, this course will trace the history of the United States from the American Revolution through the beginning of the 21st century. But our examination of the trends and particular moments in American history will be done through the eyes of those for whom unity has not been so easy. Their struggles to become accepted as American will, in turn, help answer the following question: Who is American and who decides?

prerequisite: none

AP Art History & Art History
Grades Eleven & Twelve

These courses are taught together and are designed to provide an introductory course in art history through an understanding of architecture, sculpture, painting, and other art forms within historical and cultural contexts. The new AP Art History curriculum articulates big ideas and essential questions that encourage student investigation into art forms from all parts of the world, and it contains clear learning objectives that represent the art historical skills valued by art historians and higher education faculty. The new curriculum limits the required course content to 250 works of art that are presented in greater depth than has been possible previously. Examples will cover everything from the art of  early cultures to the art of the contemporary world. Students will  engage with the works, construct an understanding of individual works and interconnections of art making throughout history. Students will learn to look at works of art critically, with intelligence and sensitivity, and to analyze what they see through frequent written assignments. Students taking the AP course will have different assignments from those taking the regular Art History survey.  This class is also open to juniors (in addition to their required US History course).


Prerequisite: Any student may take this course, but to take the AP (college level) course students will need to be earning grades in the A or B range by the add/drop date for new courses early in the academic year. Students in AP are required to take the AP exam.

Postcolonialism in Africa, Asia, & Australasia
Grades Eleven and Twelve

By examining the legacy of colonialism in Africa, Asia, and Australasia, students will come to grips with the issues facing the contemporary world through the study of history, ideas, film, political science, sociology, the arts, literature, and feminism.  We will look at the effects of imperialism on culture and how these parts of the world have moved and are still moving beyond colonization toward mutual respect.  This will involve deconstructing concepts of racism and imperialism and creating a forum in which diverse voices are heard without labeling those voices as "other."  To do this we will do our best to step back from a western point of view and understand that postcolonialism is not just a period of time after colonialism, but a new way of thinking about the world.  Inherent assumptions will be challenged and critiques of the legacies of colonialism will be undertaken.  We will also look at how cultural identity is articulated in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.        

prerequisite: none

Tradition and Modernism in the Middle East
Grades Eleven and Twelve
Not offered in the 2015-2016 school year

This course is designed to provide an introduction to the Middle East - from its roots in antiquity to the present day.  We will approach this topic in an interdisciplinary way - from looking at the political, social, and economic history of the region to reading literature, viewing films, and attending lectures and events in the local Providence and Boston area.  One focus will be on the rise of Islam and the interactions between the Islamic empires and countries of the area and the West.  Another focus will be on the lives of individuals and the impact on those lives of big historical events, as well as critical reading, writing, and thinking.  This course will also make wide use of all the technology we have available - from viewing news reports on Al Jazeera and reading blogs from across the Middle East, to Skyping students in schools in Jordan, to making presentations on wikis and participating in blogs.

prerequisite: none

© 2014 Lincoln School | 301 Butler Avenue | Providence, RI 02906 | Ph: (401) 331 9696 | Fax: (401) 751 6670 
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