The Madeira History Department is committed to supporting the mission of the School in the materials it uses, the skills it emphasizes, and the instructional techniques it uses.
History classes will provide students with an understanding of the world through analysis of the past and discussions of the present. Students are asked to consider the interconnectedness between their lives, the lives of their communities, and the historical events we study.
By exploring these connections, a student will develop both a strong sense of herself and her role in the world. The History Department seeks to develop the essential skills of research, data analysis, writing, oral presentation, and critical thinking that will prepare each Madeira graduate to continue her studies successfully at the college level and prepare her for the world of work after college. More importantly, the history curriculum prepares students to be compassionate, interested, and effective citizens in the global community.
1-4 block course; Open to grades 9 and 10
Global Civilizations is an elective course offered to freshmen and sophomores who wish to include history in their studies during their first years at Madeira. The course introduces students to the essential skills that will be developed more extensively in Modern World History or AP World History. The emphasis of Past Worlds: Global Civilizations will be on the examination of major historical trends, including the emergence and development of civilizations on all continents. Students will examine the history of human thought and language, as well as the development of human societies and their particular cultural and religious traditions. From these traditions emerge the patterns of societal interaction, cooperation, and conflict. Developing an understanding of these historical forces and their relationship to contemporary human history is the primary goal of this course. Prerequisites: None.
Roots of Civilization - Students will explore the origins and evolution of society from prehistory to early humans to the advanced civilizations of the ancient Egyptian kingdoms and Mesopotamia.
Greece and Rome - Students will explore the history, geography, politics, and culture of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. In particular, they will learn about the rise of the Greek city-states and the transition of ancient Rome from republic to empire.
World Religions - Students will explore the origins and evolution of major world religions from the early polytheistic faiths to “the big three”: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They will examine the roles that geography and empire play in the spread of religion. Students will also consider the intersection between faith and philosophy through readings, documentaries, and projects on Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism.
India, China, and the Americas - Students will explore the history, geography, politics, and culture of the ancient Indian, Chinese, and Meso-American civilizations.
3-block course; Open to grades 10 and 11
Modern World History is not only the entry requirement to future courses in the History Department, but it will also help the student become a confident, informed, and active participant in 21st-century current events. Major themes such as nationalism, imperialism and revolution will be discussed in depth, and students will explore the interactions between cultures and historical forces that continue to shape our world today. Students will also establish a repertoire of academic skills – critical reading, analytical writing, study strategies, geography and public speaking – which will not only benefit them in future history courses, but will also be transferable to the study of other subjects, now and in years to come. General course prerequisites: None.
Exploration and Revolution - Students will examine European exploration of Africa, Asia and the New World starting in the 15th century and the expansion of European states. In addition, students will explore the Age of Enlightenment utilizing key primary source texts and examine the Enlightenment’s effects on society, government and religion. Students also will explore absolutism and the economic, social and political causes and effects of the French Revolution. Students will be introduced to necessary historical skills including interpreting point of view and bias in primary sources and evaluating different historical interpretations of the past. Prerequisites: None
Wars to End All Wars - Students will develop an understanding of the long and short-term causes of World War One, evaluate the Treaty of Versailles and study the consequences of World War One. Students will then examine totalitarianism and appeasement, and track the growth of fascist aggression in the 1930s. Students will trace the events of World War II in Europe and the Pacific and examine the outcomes of this pivotal event in history. Students will continue to build their historical skill including analyzing how history is shaped by multiple and complex causes and effects and distinguishing between immediate and long-term causes. Prerequisites: Exploration and Revolution
Origins of Globalization - Students will develop an understanding of imperialism and will analyze the factors that contributed to European domination of much of the world. Students will also examine how nationalism and the desire for change affected countries and regions around the world in the early 20th century, looking at case studies of individual nationalist movements. Students will continue to build their historical skill set including identifying patterns in history by drawing comparisons across different time periods, regions, and cultures. Prerequisites: Exploration and Revolution
4-block course; Open to grade 10
AP World History provides students who demonstrate an enthusiasm for history and advanced ability in Past Worlds: Global Civilizations with an opportunity to take an Advanced Placement course in their sophomore year. The curriculum is determined by the College Board. It is designed to develop skills in interpreting and writing about the past. Just as in Modern World, students write historical identifications and essays; read primary sources, charts, graphs, and maps; and pursue novels and biographies that depict life in other times and cultures. Computer research and word processing are integrated into the course. The skills and strategies necessary for performing well on the A.P. exam will be developed and practiced extensively throughout the course. Prerequisite: None.
3-block course plus Research in American Studies; Open to grades 11 and 12
Since a large part of understanding who we are and what we aspire to be requires an awareness of what has come before us, this course will provide the material to help Madeira studentsidentify their place in the narrative of United States history. Students will continue to develop the skills established during their history coursework from 9th and 10th grade, including critical analysis of primary and secondary sources; oral expression in the form of classroom discussion, debates, and role playing in historical simulations; analysis and expression in essays and short answer questions; and in-depth historical research techniques. General course prerequisite: Modern World History or AP World History.
American Revolution and the New Nation (Required) - Students will examine the causes of Revolution and the efforts to create a new nation, studying the time period between 1750 and 1815. Students will also practice the writing and historical skills they learned in Modern World History or its equivalent. Prerequisites: Modern World History or AP World History.
Slavery, Civil War, and Freedom - Students will look at the development of the American Slave System and its impact on American society. Students also will examine the causes of the Civil War and its impact. Finally, students will evaluate the freedoms gained by African Americans at the end of the war. This course generally covers a period of 1800 - 1877. Prerequisites: American Revolution and the New Nation
The American Century: The Great Depression and World Wars - Students will examine how World Wars and the Great Depression shaped the United States as a dominant power in the world by looking at the period between 1890 and 1945. Prerequisites: American Revolution and the New Nation.
The Cold War and Civil Rights - Students will analyze the roots of the Cold War and the Civil Rights movement, looking at how both altered American society and political institutions. This course covers the period of 1946 - 1984. Prerequisites: American Revolution and the New Nation.
Research in American Studies (Required) - Students will synthesize and apply their studies in American literature and history to a research paper. During this course, students will practice the skills and methods of research in a step-by-step process, learning to develop a research question, finding relevant and suitable sources, creating an annotated bibliography, taking notes on sources, developing outlines, using drafts and revisions, and properly citing sources.
4-block course; Open to grade 11
AP U.S. History affords able and highly motivated students the chance to blend their skills with a special interest and focus in history. By concentrating on the events, people, places, and issues of the past, the course familiarizes students with the ways in which the United States has changed over time and how those events have shaped our current circumstances. Students will expand on the skills established during Modern World History or AP World History at an accelerated rate and with an eye toward the national AP exam in May. The course will focus on developing research and writing techniques; critical analysis of primary source documents; and discussion and debate. The skills and strategies necessary for performing well on the A.P. exam will be developed and practiced extensively throughout the course. Prerequisites: Modern World History or AP Modern World History.
1-3 block course; Open to grade 12
Advanced History Electives provide students the opportunity to study a variety of history topics in greater depth and more sophistication. Students will hone their skills, including critical analysis of primary and secondary sources; oral expression in the form of classroom discussion, debates, and role playing in historical simulations; analysis and expression in essays and short answer questions; and in-depth historical research techniques. Prerequisites: AP U.S. History or U.S. History.
Issues in World Religions
Issues in International Politics
Issues in Economics
3-block course; Open to grade 12
Students will explore the foundations of American government, the relationship between state and national governments, the electoral process, and the formal institutions (the legislative, executive, and judicial branches), and informal institutions (political parties, interest groups, and the media) of U.S. government that affect public policy. The skills and strategies necessary for performing well on the A.P. exam will be developed and practiced extensively throughout the course. Prerequisites: U.S. History or AP US History.
3-block course; Open to grade 12
Students will address the essential question: “What is the best way to provide order and prosperity to the inhabitants of the international community?” In answering this question, they will learn about a world full of countries with a wide diversity of political structures and practices. Students will learn about the sources of public authority and political power, the interrelationships among states, citizens and society, political institutions and frameworks, and forces for political change. The skills and strategies necessary for performing well on the A.P. exam will be developed and practiced extensively throughout the course. Prerequisites: U.S. History or AP US History
Noting the requirements of most colleges, the History Department recommends that students take at least three years of history.
Mr. Sharp taught at Madeira from 1995 to 2000 and returned in 2004. He earned a bachelor's degree in Political Science and English from Connecticut College and a master's degree in International Politics from The George Washington University. Before becoming head of the History Department, he was assistant academic dean.
Ms. Shana Barnett joined the History Department in 2014. Previously she worked for three years as a humanities teacher at High Tech High, a project-based-learning charter school in San Diego, CA. As an instructor, Ms. Barnett has a strong background facilitating collaborative learning and creative problem solving through projects. She earned her bachelor’s degree in the History of Art and Visual Culture at the University of California, Santa Cruz. After a semester studying the Italian language in Siena, Italy, Ms. Barnett returned to the University of California to participate in the Stevenson College Junior Fellows Program and teach an undergraduate philosophy course.
Larry Pratt returns as a full time teacher in the History Department after four years conducting nonprofit work in young voter turnout. Mr. Pratt began teaching history at Madeira in 2000. During his four year absence, he continued to substitute for Madeira History teachers and assisted coaching the Varsity Basketball team.
Matthew Sudnik joined the History Department in 2016. Previously Mr. Sudnik worked for nine years at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, PA, where he directed the scholars program and taught world history, human geography, and humanities. He holds a B.A. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America and a M.T.S. in Religious Studies from Harvard Divinity School.
Kathryn Jones joined the History Department in 2016. Previously she worked at the American Community School in Beirut, Lebanon, where she taught world and Middle Eastern history. She is passionate about promoting global citizenship, and has done so in the classroom, through Model United Nations, and through student-led community service initiatives with refugees. She earned her bachelor’s degree in international relations from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts and her MA in Middle Eastern studies from the American University of Beirut.