History Department


Grade Level: 8
Length:  Year
Credits:  1.00

Humanities is the study of how people process and document the human experience through history, art, philosophy, and language. In this course students will learn to think creatively and critically and to reason as they investigate the multiple influences and perspectives that affect the course of human events and behaviors.


Western Civilization

Grade Level: 9
Length: Year
Credits:  1.00

Western Civilization moves through the great civilizations of the ancient world.  In addition, the course will take students into the developments and events that directly shaped the modern world.  A considerable portion of the course will examine major trends that define civilization, including the origins and establishment of social order, spirituality, trade, the development of technology, and human migrations.  Students will be required to regularly identify the role that geography plays in the formation of history as well.  Throughout the year, students will be called upon to examine the process of cultural diffusion as well as to connect the ancient world to current geopolitical and social affairs.  Through analysis of primary documents, students develop critical thinking and analytical writing skills.  


European History

Grade Level: 10
Length: Year
Credits: 1.00

European History investigates the development of the modern world since 1500 CE.  Beginning with the age of European exploration, the course explores the rise of the European nation-state, the Enlightenment, the American and French Revolutions, and the industrialization of Europe.  It also examines the impact of European development on civilizations in Asia, Africa, and the New World and the formation of a new global age by the late twentieth century.  Continued development of critical thinking and writing skills is emphasized throughout the course.

United States History  

Grade Level:  11
Length:          Year
Credits:           1.00

United States History places the rise of the American republic in its regional and colonial contexts, from its birth in revolution to its superpower status by the twenty-first century.  The course builds critical thinking and writing skills by introducing and evaluating the formative political, economic, social and cultural interactions of the major periods of American history.  Major course themes are America’s dramatic growth over time and the increasing diversity of its citizenry, seen most clearly in major historical events and the evolution of law and domestic and foreign policy.  The development of research and oral presentation skills constitutes an integral part of the course.

Advanced Placement United States History  

Grade Level: 11
Length: Year
Credits: 1.00

Exam Requirement: The AP United States History exam is required in addition to the course semester and final exams.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade average of 85 in European History or AP European History and Departmental Approval

Course Fee: Prepayment of the College Board’s  AP exam fee  

AP United States History is a course for highly motivated students.  Its primary goal is solid preparation for the AP United States History examination.  To that end, course content follows the AP curriculum closely and requires mastering a large quantity of factual information and critical understanding.  Student evaluation mirrors the AP examination’s two-question formats: essay responses to the major domestic and foreign challenges faced by the American republic and multiple-choice questions about the facts of history.  The course also requires disciplined reading and thinking skills applied to this large volume of material and in-depth consideration of American history based on evaluating and interpreting primary sources.

Advanced Placement European History

Grade Level: 12 (or permission of instructor)
Length: Full Year
Credit: 1.00

Exam Requirement:  The AP European History exam is required in addition to the course semester and final exams.

Prerequisites:  Minimum Grade Average of an 85 in World History, U.S. History or A.P. U.S. History and Departmental Approval

Course Fee: Prepayment of the College Board’s AP exam fee  

AP European History is designed to approximate an introductory college level course in European History.  A highly demanding and rigorous course, the primary goal of European AP History is to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement examination.  Students will continue to develop their critical thinking, reading, and writing skills as they acquire the fundamental concepts, ideas, and chronology of European historical development.

Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics

Grade Level: 12
Length: Semester (Spring)
Credits:  .5

Exam requirement:     The AP United States Government and Politics exam is required in addition to the course semester and final exams.

Prerequisites: Minimum grade average of 85 in United States History or AP United States History and Departmental Approval

Course Fee: Prepayment of the College Board’s AP exam fee  

The Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum is designed to give students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. Students will study both general concepts used to interpret  U.S. politics and examine specific examples. The AP Government course requires students to learn facts and concepts and understand typical political processes. The course will require students to master historical and analytic skills, including: chronological and spatial thinking, historical research and interpretation. Students will evaluate viewpoints presented through major print and electronic media, understand statistical data and analyze trends related to significant political events. Emphasis is placed on applying problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, interpreting graphs and tables, organizing information, evaluating information, and communicating orally and in writing. The course aims to help the student to participate effectively and democratically in the American political society.

Art History

Grade Level: 10, 11, 12
Length:         Full Year
Credits:        1.0

Prerequisites:                None

This course is designed to help students develop critical thinking skills while developing an understanding of diverse art historical and cultural contexts of sculpture, architecture, painting and other visual media. Students will analyze major forms of artistic expression from the past through present and from various cultures. While visual analysis is a fundamental tool of art historians, art history emphasizes an understanding of how and why works of art function in historical context, taking into account patronage, culture, events and more.

TEXT: The Annotated Mona Lisa, 2nd Ed., Carol Strickland (2007)

International Relations and Global Issues

Grade level:  10, 11, 12
Length:       Semester (Fall)
Credit:       .5

This seminar-style course is designed to develop an understanding of international and global social, political, and economic issues and events of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Students will investigate both foreign and domestic affairs with a focus on acquiring a better understanding of the challenges faced in our world today. This course is designed to provide learning experiences similar to those students will most likely experience in a college or university setting.

History and Politics of the Middle East

Grade level: 11, 12
Length:         Semester (Spring)
Credit:          .5

This course will examine the history and politics of the Middle East, beginning with a geographical and sociological foundation of the region. We will discuss the founding of Islam, the golden age and expansion of Islamic culture, the rise and decline of the Ottoman Empire as the primary force in the (greater) Middle East, European colonization following World War I, and decolonization and national movements following World War II. Moving into the modern age (20th and 21st centuries), this course introduces students to contemporary Middle Eastern politics. The goal is to identify broad trends in the political, social, religious, and economic development of the Middle East and critically evaluate existing explanations for those trends. In addition, this course will provide students with the tools to address a number of questions: the persistence of dictatorships and tyranny in the Middle East, the discovery of oil and its strategic importance, the Israeli-Arab conflict, religiously-motivated violence, US foreign policy and the global war on terror, and finally, the causes and results of the Arab Spring.

Humanities and Gastronomy

Grade Level: 11 or 12
Length:          Semester (Spring)
Credit:          .5

This course will explore the questions: How does food shape civilizations and cultures? How does food influences an individual and society? Students will draw from history, psychology, sociology, and literature, including topics such as the influence of gastronomy on international diplomacy and conflict resolution. Grading will be based on class participation, quizzes, and projects.

Imperial Russia

Grade level: 11, 12
Length:         Semester (Spring)
Credit:           5

Prerequisites: Successful completion of European History

In the span of the spring semester students explore the culture and political forces that shape the "Land of the Tsars," from 988 to the fateful year of 1917.  The course will begin with a study of its geography. This, too, will frame the religious and political dynamics that baptized and self-anointed the coming of “The Third Rome.” Mongolian invasions, Russian Orthodoxy and the intricacies in European interaction will define and give form to Tsarist Russia.  19th Century Russian philosophy emerging from the tensions of westernization, industrialization and imperialism leads the class to study the Russian Revolutions and demise of the Romanovs.

The Civil War

Grade level: 11, 12
Length:          Semester (Fall)
Credit:           .5

Prerequisites:  Successful completion of U.S. History

In the fall semester students may embark on a comprehensive study of the American Civil War.  The study will begin with an analysis of the political and societal forces that metastasized in the 1850s that incited the secessionist movement that ultimately swept the nation in this “Ordeal by Fire.”  The bulk of the coursework will be in depth as military and political strategies are considered.  Students will be expected to engage in videography as part of the coursework, as well as leading seminars on selected topics. Middleburg Academy’s proximity affords time in the field visiting historical sites and battlefields. The course is limited to six students.  Nominal fees for field trips are anticipated