Humanities 2014-2015

Culver Academy requires 7 1/2 credits in Humanities.  United States History, American Government, and 2 English electives are required.  The US History required is fulfilled through the American Studies in History, Literature and Culture course offered in the Junior year.

 

9th Grade Humanities

Western Perspectives – Greece through the Renaissance
4 terms, solid, 2 credits, B

Humanities 9 is an interdisciplinary course focusing on the ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and Europe from late antiquity through the Italian and Northern renaissances. The great classical cultures centered on Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome will be studied, as will the birth and evolution of the Medieval World. The rise and diffusion of Islam from the 7th through the 15th centuries is also a major theme. Texts include Homer’s “The Odyssey,” the Jewish and Christian bibles, the Qur’an, medieval or medieval-themed works, and “Romeo and Juliet.” Art, music, and architecture are also featured elements of the curriculum. Students learn to read, write, speak, and think critically about the human experience.

 

10th Grade Humanities 

Global Perspectives – Renaissance to Modern
4 terms, solid, 2 credits, C

Humanities 10 is an interdisciplinary course focusing on the modern world beginning with the early 17th century. Students study the literature, history and arts of Europe and non-western cultures from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Early emphasis is placed on the Reformation, the scientific and industrial revolutions, and the political revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries. Students also focus on European colonialism and its effects, the changing role of women and work, and the evolution of the concept of human rights. Overall course content, which also involves a significant current events component, is presented through the theme of globalization. Students explore and learn to think critically about topics such as progress, culture, nationalism, conflict, and global citizenship through discussions and writing in a variety of styles.

 

Global Perspectives with Advanced Placement World History
4 terms, solid, 2 credits, D

Like Humanities 10, Global Perspectives with AP World History is an interdisciplinary course focusing on globalization in the modern world.  Students develop critical thinking, speaking and writing skills through the study of literature, history and arts from a global perspective. The class covers the world including Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and to a lesser extent North America.  Although the course emphasizes the time period since the Renaissance, the course also reviews earlier and ancient world history in order to prepare for the AP World History exam in May.  Preparation for the exam also includes extensive practice analyzing documents and constructing arguments in response to college-level essay questions.  Students will be expected to do most of the same readings and develope similiar skills as the non-AP course but will also be asked to read a greater quantity of challenging readings, command a large amount of historical information, excel on multiple choice tests, and think and write at an advanced level.  As a result, students will gain a deeper understanding of global patterns, the world's history, multiple perspectives, and global citizenships. 

 

11th Grade Humanities

American Studies in History, Literature, and Culture
4 terms, solid, 2 credits, B

This course seeks to develop critical thinking, reading, speaking, and writing skills by providing an integrated, disciplinary and interdisciplinary study of American literature, history, and culture.

 

American Studies with Advanced Placement U.S. History
4 terms, solid, 2 credit, E 

The principal aim of this elective course is to prepare students for the AP U.S. History exam through the development of critical thinking, reading, speaking, and writing skills. At the same time it provides a complementary survey of American literature and culture, so as to provide an interdisciplinary understanding of the relationship between these fields in shaping the American experience.

 

American Studies with Advanced Placement English Language & Composition
4 terms, solid, 2 credit, D

This elective seeks to develop critical thinking, reading, speaking, and writing skills by providing an integrated, disciplinary and interdisciplinary study of American literature, history, and culture. There is a particular focus on close reading of applicable texts and intensive writing to prepare students for the AP English Language and Composition exam.

 

12th Grade Humanities

English Electives

African Literature & Culture
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit

This course will provide an introduction to the history, literature and culture of sub-Saharan Africa.  From its ancient civilizations to its modern predicaments, the story of this continent is one of diversity and complexity.  We will explore issues of ethnicity, religion, colonialism, poverty and politics through a varieity of readings, films, art and music.  Various and often conflicting perspectives will be examined to expand our understanding of specific events and age-old questions regardin identity, death, power, forgiveness and the like.  After all, the African story differs only in its context:  the humanity is the same.

 

American Identity - Sport in Society and Culture
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit, B

American Identity: Sport in Society and Culture is a multidisciplinary course that looks to develop critical thinking, writing, reading, and speaking skills.  The course will move beyond a general historical overview of sport and focus primarily on the political, economic, and social impact sport has had on the development of the American identity.  Specific attention will be given to race, class, and gender theory.  A plethora of fiction, non-fiction, documentaries, and feature films will guide the weekly discussions and writing assignments.

 

Creative Writing Workshop
2 terms, non-solid, 1/2 credit

Students in this course will contribute both their own independent work and practice different techniques in and out of class in order to improve their craft.  The goal is for each to create a portfolio of original work while learning the processes of drafting, rewriting, and peer review, culminating in a formal presentation folder of their best work for review.  Students will be encouraged to submit work during and after class to the Quill, Vedette and off campus publications.  Students may apply from this for Honors in Creative Writing, and will take the course a second time as their Honors Seminar* to give them practice with teaching and editing while completing the final chapbook for the Honors program.

 

Global Literature & Culture: The Middle East
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit, B

In the post-September 11 world, understanding the Middle East is important since it figures so prominently in the politics and imagination of America. Despite how much we hear about the region, there is much that we don't understand about this large and diverse area that has a long and rich history.  We all have opinions or ideas about the region and the people who live there, by are they valid?  How do cultures and the people of the Middle East understand themselves and what shapes our understanding of them?  We will approach these questions through a study of literature, religion, culture, economics, politics, history and current events.

 

Myth & Literature
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit, C

Myth and Literature is a senior English elective inspired by the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell, particularly his seminal work, "The Hero of a Thousand Faces." His development of the 13 steps of the hero's journey and the four functions of myth provides the basis for students' defining and examining myth from a variety of perspectives – through literature, psychology, anthropology, and philosophy. Mythological patterns in popular culture are also studied, with particular emphasis on film as a visual text, along with art and music. Students explore the hero's journey as it manifests itself in the literature of diverse cultures and link the commonalties of their modern world with the most ancient of cultures. Ultimately they seek to reach the conclusion that Swiss psychologist Carl Jung sought, "Do not be satisfied with stories, the way things have gone for others. Unfold your own myth."

 

Religious Texts as Literary Sources
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit, B

Religious texts – narratives, poetry, dramas, and letters – help play a key role in any religion and culture. But they are also literary texts that have influenced other literary traditions, history, and fields such as archaeology. We will discuss issues such as historiography, primary verses secondary sources, oral tradition, and faith verses knowledge as we interpret religious texts and their influence on culture outside theology. This course will probe a variety of literary texts from a variety of religious traditions.

 

Shakespeare
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit, B

The primary mission of this course is to allow Shakespeare’s work to show itself for what it truly is: accessible, enjoyable, and open to a multiplicity of interpretations and discussions. The course is about becoming a strong reader and appreciating the beauty and power of Shakespeare’s language.  Maybe more importantly, the plays can teach us about ourselves, our society, about leadership and the complexities of human nature and relationships.

 

Speech
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit, B

This course is designed to give students instruction in and exposure to the art of constructing and delivering a speech.  Primary emphasis is placed on extemporaneous speaking, but oratory and interpretation are also studied.  Each student gives a series of speeches that employ the techniques studied.  Students are also expected to write a number of compositions.

 

Writing Seminar Imaginative: Devils & Dragons
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit, C

Doom and destruction, power and persuasion; devils and dragons have played myriad roles in imaginative writing.  This course offers a variety of writing techniques and practice within various genres to develop the writer's expressive talents.  We shall analyze examples by authors of different time periods who write in different genres to study how writes use language to create such creatures and explore the themes that these forces of power embody.  From fiction to fantasy to poetry and parody, devils and dragons lurk in our minds and imaginations as ways to better understand and express the range of the human condition.  The drafting process, revision, vocabulary development, class discussion and speaking performance will play a role in this course.

 

Writing Seminar Expository: The Explosive 1960s
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit, C

One of the most iconic and explosive eras in American history is that of the 1960s and the social revolutions which drove monumental changes in culture, politics, and national identity.  Never before (or since) have we seen a youth culture erupt so explosively and so antagonistically against its parents' norms. What were the circumstances of this era in history which fostered such antagonsism? What were these "rebellious" youths fighting for?  In what ways has it been abandoned?  These questions will guide our work in the "The Explosive '60s", a new Reading/Writing Workshop.

Consider the anti-establishment nature of the lyrics to Bob Dylan's music, or the progressively jarring sound from Jimi Hendrix's guitar - why do they fit the mold of the era?  Consider the Civil Rights movement headed by Martin Luther King Jr., and the dawning of the feminist era driven by female intellectuals like Betty Friedan - why now?  What made the timing "ripe" for change?  In addition to these potential topics and questions that might frame our course, we will use literature, film, music, advertisements, journalism, and scholarly articles to facilitate our discussions and guide our written assignments.  Students will have the freedom to explore diverse areas of interest including, but not limited to, the following:  the development and transformation of musical expression; the changes in the world of art; the various forms of literary expression; the effects of race, ethnicity, gender, and/or class on experience in the 1960s. 

This course emphasizes the skills necessary for critical reading, analytical writing and creative writing.  Students will have numerous opportunities to choose both the topics of interest they want to explore and the types of writing they wish to practice.  Additionally, they will be able to design and complete creative projects.

 

Advanced Placement English Literature
3 terms, solid, 1 1/2 credits, E

AP English Literature offers a rigorous college-level approach to the study of literature and prepares students to take the AP English Literature exam in the spring.  Organized thematically, this course requires in-depth analysis and close reading of challenging British and American poetry, drama and novesl.  Students are expected to write extensively and frequently on all texts covered in class, to understand and begin to use a number of the important critical approaches to analysis, and to participate in intense class discussion.  Admission is by teacher recommendation and department approval.

 

Advanced Placement European History & Literature
4 terms, solid, 1 credit English, 1 credit History, E

This course provides a college-level introductory survey of modern European History from A.D. 1300 (the eve of the Black Death) to the present. It also prepares students for the Advanced Placement exam in European History. The goals of the course are to provide students with an overview and understanding of the themes, periods, events, and people of modern Europe through the study of literature, arts, philosophy, and history. Students will develop a working knowledge of both literary and historical practice and writing; and the qualifications that will enable them to pursue upper level European studies in college. Because this also prepares students for the AP European History exam in May, students are encouraged to consider questions of cause and effect, change over time, and the relation between intellectual and social history, as well as other basic elements of practicing history. This course regularly asks for the analysis and synthesis of primary and secondary sources in written form, as well as the mastery of historical events, people, eras, and themes. Throughout, it also addresses the relationship between the history, institutions, intellectual trends, and arts of Europe to current global political and intellectual issues. 

 

Honors Seminar - Humanities: Research and Writing Applications
2 terms, solid, 1 English credit, C

In the first term of this course, students will select their honors topic and begin the literature review for their final product.  In addition to time for reading and research, students will master their skills at deep analysis of singular texts (primary sources and academic research) and synthesis of an argument that is based on multiple perspectives of the selected topic.  There will be interim benchmarks for honors candidates to update the Humanities Department Leadership team on their progress and metacognitive reflections.  The final product for this class is to complete the reading and research phases of the honors projects. 

In the second term of this course, students will begin to write their literature review of the topic they selected from the prior term.  Students will master their writing skills related to synthesis of multiple perspectives.  After the completion of the literature review, students will have earned the right to write original commnetary on their chosen topic.  Students will demonstrate their skill at constructing an argument, synthesizing multiple ideas and perspectives, and providing evidential support.  There will be interim benchmarks for honors candidates to update the Humanities Department Leadership team on their progress and metacognitive reflections.  The final product for this class is to complete the literature review, the original commentary, and the reflective piece for the presentation of the Honors product in the spring.

 

History Electives

American Government
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit, B

This 12th-grade requirement focuses on the workings of our national government. The foundations of the U.S. government are laid bare by comparing the types and origins of government and by conducting an in-depth analysis of the Constitution. Political behavior focuses upon the roles played by political parties, interest groups, the voters, the electoral process, mass media, and public opinion. The course further investigates a contemporary look at the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. A review of civil liberties and civil rights concludes the study.

 

Economics
1 term, solid, ½ credit, B

This 12th-grade elective introduces the basic concepts of economics. Emphasis is placed upon economic systems and decision-making, competition and market structures, the role of labor and government, the role of financial institutions, the national and international economy, and fundamental economic problems.

 

Leadership, Character and the American Civil War
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit

This senior history elective focuses upon current world affairs, as covered each day by This course is a historical and literary study of the American Civil War through an integration of character, leadership and the humanities. The course will assess and apply character strengths and resilience factors to the study of leaders and organizations along with analyzing and interpreting the history, literature and culture of the Civil War in American life. The course will do an in-depth reading of Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels, the Pulitzer Prize winning classic narrative of the battle of Gettysburg. The course will be team taught by Dr. John Buggeln, Mr. Gary Christlieb, Major Tom Duckett, and Dr. John Yeager. *As a capstone of the course, students may have the opportunity to travel to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to conduct an onsite battlefield analysis of character and leadership. There will be an additional fee to cover this trip.

 

Racism in America
1 term, solid, ½ credit, A

This elective explores the nature of racism and prejudice in American society and culture. Both sociology models and historical examples are used in analyzing the development and maintenance of racism on individual, institutional, and cultural levels. Emphasized are the enslavement and segregation of African-Americans, the historical treatment of Native Americans, the emergence of hate groups throughout the country, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and the role of anti-Semitism in the American response to the Holocaust.

 

The Renaissance City
Spring Break Trip, 1/2 credit, additional fees to cover travel and stay in Italy

Students who participate in the educational and cultural trip to Spoleto, Italy will experience the world of the Renaissance city in situ while examining its origins and outcomes. We will observe not only how this community defined itself (through architecture, art, literature, and the philosophy of humanism); but also how it continues to underlie and define the modern communities that built upon it. Students will live in and explore cities that defined the Renaissance and modern world of Italy. Living in a 15th century (but still active) convent and taking meals at a local family restaurant, students will learn some Italian, participate in a cooking and language exchange with the Alberghiero (a renowned school of cooking and hotel management); and explore the cities of Spoleto, Rome, Assisi, Orvieto, Urbino, and Siena in order to experience the rich mix of history, culture, arts, religion and language in a way that aims for immersion in Italy, past and present. In addition, this trip will count as a two week interdisciplinary Humanities mini-course on the theme of "The Renaissance City". Starting with the Renaissance understanding of humanism and the dictum "Man is the measure of all things", students will explore the relation between city and individual by studying and experiencing the sites, architecture, art, philosophy, and history of the Renaissance world. Students will use the cities visited as their classrooms, also preparing and presenting reports on the sites visited. Because this trip is an educational and cultural immersion experience, 1/4 Humanities credit will be awarded for successful participation and final grades will be based on a combination of critical thinking, openness to new experiences, adherence to course and trip goals, and good citizenship.

 

Theological Investigations
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit

While Richard Hooker defined "theology" as "the science of things divine" , 20th century thinkers such as Tillich, Rahner and Barth, emphasized theology as an art form.  In this course, students will practice both the art and science of theology by exploring the works of notable theologians, past and present.  Students will engage in theology's most important questions, like "Does God even exist" and "If yes, what is the meaning of the human experience, vis-a-vis relationship with that God?"
Other topics of study may include creation, theodicy, theology vs. science, salvation, revelation and the afterlife, as well as modern theologies most important methodologies, such as natural, existential, liberation, process and post modern theologies.  Students will read and respond to theologians from a variety of backgrounds and faith traditions.  Work will be assess based on the student's grasp of the concepts discussed and ability to articulate and support his/her own position on that subject, regardless of the position.

 

Thinking Smart, Living Well
1 term, solid, ½ credit

Have you ever said to yourself, “What was I thinking?”  Chances are you were on auto pilot, making decisions automatically. Most of what we get wrong - as well as much of what we do right - is the result of automatic thinking. You get better at this as you get older, but when it really matters you have to slow your thinking down. 
How do feel when you get things wrong?  Believe-it-or-not, your attitude affects your ability to think.   People who believe that their thinking can be improved are actually better problem-solvers than those who believe their mental abilities are fixed for all time. And good decision-making depends not only on how quickly or slowly you think, but on how open-minded you are to learning to think better.
Achieving awareness of the factors that shape your behavior is an excellent first step toward improving the way you get along in the world. If you're interested in how your decisions are influenced by emotions, character strengths, and thinking processes, or want to know how thinking about thinking can actually make you smarter, this course is for you.

 

Advanced Placement European History & Literature 
4 terms, solid, 1 credit in History and 1 credit in English, E

This course provides a college-level introductory survey of modern European History from A.D. 1300 (the eve of the Black Death) to the present. It also prepares students for the Advanced Placement exam in European History. The goals of the course are to provide students with an overview and understanding of the themes, periods, events, and people of modern Europe through the study of literature, arts, philosophy, and history. Students will develop a working knowledge of both literary and historical practice and writing; and the qualifications that will enable them to pursue upper level European studies in college. Because this also prepares students for the AP European History exam in May, students are encouraged to consider questions of cause and effect, change over time, and the relation between intellectual and social history, as well as other basic elements of practicing history. This course regularly asks for the analysis and synthesis of primary and secondary sources in written form, as well as the mastery of historical events, people, eras, and themes. Throughout, it also addresses the relationship between the history, institutions, intellectual trends, and arts of Europe to current global political and intellectual issues. 

 

Advanced Placement Government and Politics:
(U.S., Comparative, and the Art of Political Writing)
4 terms, solid, 2 credits, C (1½ history credits, ½ English credit)

This 12th-grade elective focuses upon the study of politics and government from three perspectives: American, Comparative, and the Art of Political Writing. The American Government and Politics segment will include an investigation of the Constitutional underpinnings of U.S. democracy; political beliefs and behaviors; political parties, interest groups, and mass media; institutions of national government; public policy; and civil liberties and civil rights. Comparative Government and Politics includes an introduction into comparative politics; sovereignty, authority, and power; political institutions; citizens, society, and the state; political and economic change; and public policy. The nations of Great Britain, Russia, China, Nigeria, Iran, and Mexico will serve as paradigms for these topics of study. The Art of Political Writing will include various types of writing for political purposes. Writing briefing papers, free-response questions, expository essays, persuasive opinions, research analysis, and political editorials will expose students to the various types of political writing essential for effective written communication. This course is open to students who have completed, with distinction, the American Studies course in the 11th-grade and who are eligible for an advanced placement course. Successful completion of this course will meet the government and one of the English requirements at the 12th-grade level.

 

Advanced Placement Micro and Macro Economics
3 terms, solid, 1½ credit, C

Micro Economics gives students an understanding of economic principles that apply to individual decision-makers, both consumers and producers. The course examines the basic economic problems, the nature and function of markets, the theory of the firm, factor markets, and the role of government in promoting greater equity and efficiency in the economy.
Macro Economics introduces students to the measurement of economic performance, aggregate demand and supply, monetary and fiscal policy, and international economics. The course follows the description set forth in the Advanced Placement Course Description booklet and is intended to prepare students to take the Advanced Placement Exam in Micro and Macro economics. It is open only to 12th-graders who meet the criteria for an honors course.

 

Entrepreneurial Economics I: Introduction to the Practice of Innovation 
1 term, solid, ½ credit, B

This course is based on Dunning and Dunham's book, The Innovator's Way, and offers an in-depth look at the vocabulary and language of innovation.  The course traces the long process of how a creator mobilizes the acceptance of an idea within an organization or institution, and how innovation transforms a social or work practice.

 

Entrepreneurial Economics II: Modeling a New Venture
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit, B

This course includes basic spreadsheet modeling of both the customer acquisition process and connected to the notions of customer lifetime value.  Actual models are pre-built, so a student learns how to navigate a spreadsheet that has quantities as well as dollar values.  Financial planning is a critical activity for every new business irrespective of its age and size.  For new entreprises, the preparation of financial projections is integral to the business planning process.    Pre-requisite:  Successful completion of Entrepreneurial Economics I.


Entrepreneurial Economics III: The Lean Start-Up
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit

Most startups fail, but many of those failures are preventable.  This course is based on Eric Reis' book by the same name,  and focuses on a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products launched.  The Lean Start-Up approach  fosters companies that are both more capital efficient and leverage human creativity more efficiently.  Eric Reis offers a scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in an age when companies need to innovate more than ever.  Pre-requisite: Successful completion of Entrepreneurial Economics I and II


Entrepreneurial Economics IV: Entrepreneurial Leadership; Analyze, Decide, Lead
1 term, solid, 1/2 credit

 The emphasis in this course is on the 3 fundamentals of business leadership from the Columbia School of Business - how to analyze, how to decide, and how to lead. . . or get people to follow up.  CEO's and company presidents will visit class to lecture.

 

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