History & Humanities

History teacher with students

Students are required to complete History 9, History 10, and U.S. History before graduation. Classes make extensive use of original documents. Regular analytical writing assignments include document-based essays. In History 10, students learn how to draw a map of the world and participate in simulation-based learning. U.S. History students complete a major research paper in the second semester. One-semester electives available to juniors and seniors involve a significant number of analytical papers and other writing assignments and use original documents, anthologies, and film in exploring the course topics.

Courses

History 9

History 9 places an emphasis on “making” history through the production of contested versions of the past. This course examines the complexity of the human experience in texts, contexts, and critiques across time and place. It seeks to instill the judgment, empathy, and cultural literacy needed for civic participation. History 9 fosters the development of historical thinking skills and essential skills in reading, collaboration, writing, and speaking. An introduction to research methods is an integral feature. Consistent with the vision to value and empower the many voices of our community and the grade-level theme (“Who am I?”), History 9 also traces the construction of the self through selected readings and visual media from global history.

History 10

History 10 places an emphasis on the twin themes of perspectives and processes in the global past and present. It examines the complexity of the modern world with consideration to historical antecedents. Cultural geography and political simulation are integral features. History 10 fosters the refinement of historical thinking skills and essential skills in reading, research, collaboration, writing, and speaking introduced in History 9. Consistent with the goals of a place-based education and the grade-level theme (“Where am I?”), History 10 also investigates those interesting questions that arise at the juncture where global processes intersect with their local manifestations.

Place-Based American Studies (open to juniors, replaces U.S. History and 2 English 11/12 courses)

Place-Based American Studies examines essential themes in the literature and history of the United States through a lens that focuses on a fixed, place-based approach. This interdisciplinary, team-taught course also incorporates contributions from archaeology, cultural anthropology, politics, religion, film, and art. Rooted in serious research and off-campus experiences, including required field investigations to regional sites, students deconstruct the national narrative and develop a deeper connection to Sewanee, the Appalachian region, and the South. Projects of civic engagement and service learning are integral parts of this course. Potential texts include Ely: An Autobiography by Ely Green and The Mountaintop by Katori Hall as well as works by James Agee, William Faulkner, and Jesmyn Ward. For completion of this double-block, yearlong course, students receive credit in English (equivalent to two one-semester offerings) and History (equivalent to the graduation requirement in U.S. History). Note: Open only to juniors. Students completing Place-Based American Studies will be ineligible to take U.S. History and American Literature I and II as seniors.

U.S. History

U.S. History is a study of United States’ history from pre-Columbian America through the Cold War. Students study the major political, social, economic and cultural aspects of the American experience through extensive use of original documents. Broad themes are explored, including independence and constitutional government, sectionalism and civil war, industrialism and the foundations of modern American, and the responsibility of citizenship. Analytical writing assignments include document-based essays. Students complete a major research paper in the second semester. (Students may take Place-based American Studies OR U.S. History, but cannot take both.)

Night Will Fall: Holocaust and Genocide Studies (Fall)

Night Will Fall: Holocaust and Genocide Studies takes a cue from the cautionary documentary film by André Singer. This course examines the political and moral lessons from the tragedies of the Shoah and the mass killings in Armenia, Cambodia, the Balkans, Rwanda, and Darfur. Holocaust and Genocide Studies considers the implications of these events for American foreign policy, international law, scientific and medical experimentation, restitution for survivors, and interfaith understanding. It asks troublesome questions about the issues of collaboration and complicity. Attempting to understand the Shoah from “within the Jewish experience,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies gives considerable attention to the study of Jewish thought and practice and the history of antisemitism. Using honest language and historical images, this course evaluates the evolving and often conflicting literature on the Final Solution, including the contentious Browning-Goldhagen debate over culpability: Was the Holocaust perpetrated by “ordinary Germans” or “willing executioners”?

Modern Middle East (Spring)

Modern Middle East will introduce motivated students to the social, religious, and political history of one of the world’s most compelling regions. Through topics from the late 19th century to the present, the course will challenge students to consider the roles outside powers, religion, and modernization have played in shaping the region we know today. Likely topics include imperialism, political Islam, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, the Iranian Revolution, the 2011 Arab Spring, Islamic fundamentalism, and the United States’ role in the region. Through vigorous discussion and written analyses, students will practice working with primary sources and will write an original research paper. Potential texts: The Contemporary Middle East (ed. Karl Yambert) and The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright

History & Humanities Faculty

Michael Short

Michael Short

Titles: Humanities Department Chair, Outdoor Education Coordinator, Humanities 6, Adventure Education, Outdoor Adventure, Mountain Biking, House Parent (Harvey), 6th Grade Class Coordinator
Degrees: B.A. English and Environmental Studies, Furman University
M.Ed. English Language Arts, Wake Forest University
Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 931.598.5651 ext. 1019
Geoffrey Smith

Geoffrey Smith

Titles: Interim Dean of Students, Fort Chair in Writing, History Department Chair, Middle School Boys' Soccer (Head), Freshman Class Coordinator, Interdisciplinary Studies
Degrees: B.A. History, The University of the South
Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 931.463.2174
Christine Monahan

Christine Monahan

Titles: History, House Parent (Colmore), Yearbook
Degrees: B.A., College of the Holy Cross
M.A.T., Rivier University
Email:
Kinion Pond

Kinion Pond

Titles: Humanities 8, English, 8th Grade Class Coordinator, Yearbook & Lit Mag, Art History
Degrees: B.A., Sewanee: The University of the South
M.A., Bowling Green State University
Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 931.598.5651 ext. 1017
Tracy Randolph

Tracy Randolph

Titles: Humanities 7, English, 7th Grade Class Coordinator, House Parent (Warner/St. Mary's), Afternoon Supervision
Degrees: B.S. Public Relations, Middle Tennessee State University
M.Ed., Peabody College, Vanderbilt University
Email:
Phone Numbers:
School: 931.598.5651 ext. 1018

The school's History Club is one of the most active clubs on campus, offering student- and faculty-led talks throughout the year.