This course allows students to examine major turning points in the shaping of the modern world, from the late eighteenth century to the present. Students develop an understanding of the historical roots of current world issues especially as they pertain to international relations. Furthermore, they extrapolate from the American experience that democratic ideals are often achieved at a high cost, remain vulnerable and are not practiced everywhere in the world. Students consider multiple accounts of events in order to understand international relations from a variety of perspectives. The following subjects will be the emphasis of this course: The Rise of Democratic Ideas, Industrial Revolution, Rise of Imperialism and Colonialism, World War I, Totalitarianism in the Modern World, Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, World War II, and Nationalism in the Contemporary World.
The structure of the class will be student centered and will consist of interactive projects, presentations, group work, debates, discussions, research, reading and writing assignments, and lecture/note taking. “Project Zero”, an educational program developed by Harvard University will be utilized and implemented throughout the academic school year. Project Zero’s visible learning curriculum engages students in historical inquiry. Lessons revolve around a central historical question and features sets of primary documents designed for groups of students with diverse reading skills and abilities. The curriculum teaches students to investigate historical questions by employing reading strategies such as sourcing, contextualizing, corroborating, and close reading. Instead of memorizing historical facts, students evaluate the trustworthiness of multiple perspectives on historical issues. Students learn to make historical claims backed by documentary evidence.