Upper School History

The history sequence at the Upper School begins with a two-year investigation of the history of human civilization through the lenses of the social sciences. Grade 9 students explore the political philosophy, empires, and religious movements of East Asia and the Mediterranean world. Along the way, students practice analytical writing and develop historical thinking skills. Grade 10 students study the period between the year 1500 CE to the end of the Cold War. They study the rise of the modern nation-state, the unification of the global economy, and the role of ideology and mass politics in state formation and conflict. Through this curriculum, students develop a desire to understand the modern global era both as a product of history and as a structure with contemporary relevance. They practice argumentative writing, causal analysis, and primary source analysis.

Grade 11 students focus on the evolution of democracy, emerging American identities, and the relationship between foreign and domestic spheres through interdisciplinary lenses. American History is one of two classes in the American Studies program, which weaves history and literature across social, geographic, and chronological boundaries. This course examines experienced realities against idealized myths, emphasizes the United States’ origins as a contested imperial domain, and marks America’s rise from the Pre-Columbian period to the present day.

Elective Opportunities

Every semester, all upper school students are offered a wide variety of electives in the social sciences, providing them with many opportunities to explore the pressing questions that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. These include courses in religious studies, political science and theory, economics and economic history, ancient history, area studies, and philosophy. Topics are often selected according to student input and faculty expertise. Nueva’s social science electives provide students with a chance to extend their learning from the core curriculum through authentic exposure to a number of social science disciplines.

Ample opportunities exist for students to concentrate on a region or discipline or pursue passions that arise from core curriculum. Students are encouraged to co-create their experience by taking courses like American Government, Environmental Economics, Interpreting Religions, International Relations, The Rise of Rome, Capitalism in Crisis, and American Indian History and Contemporary Issues. Students with a love of social sciences are also encouraged to consider the experience of interdisciplinary studies offered by advanced world language electives.

Please view our Elective Offerings in the social sciences, advanced language electives, and interdisciplinary courses for the full range of opportunities.