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Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

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April 12, 2024

Eleventh grade history shifts away from Eurocentrism

Next school year, current world languages and history instructor Jonathon Allen will teach a brand new honors level history course for juniors.
Next school year, current world languages and history instructor Jonathon Allen will teach a brand new honors level history course for juniors.

Starting in the 2016-2017 school year, the History and Social Sciences department will offer juniors a new honors level course called History Seminar: 20th Century Dictators and Democracies. History elective courses, such as Decoding Food and Presidential Elections, will also be open to juniors in addition to AP World History and Modern World History. The department will no longer offer AP European History.
The new class on dictatorships and democracies fits into a school-wide movement initiated in Head of School Priscilla Sand’s State of the School Address, which seeks to de-emphasize AP courses. In years past students could select either an AP or regular level history course for 11th grade, and the addition of the honors class adds a third, intermediate option.
World languages and history and social sciences instructor Jonathan Allen developed the concept and curriculum for the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) program at his former school.
The course will spend the first semester examining the rise of three democracies and the second semester the rise of three dictatorships. Specifically, students will study and compare the dictatorships of Mao Zedong in China, Fidel Castro in Cuba, and Adolf Hitler in Germany as well as the democracies in India, post-apartheid South Africa, and Weimar Germany.
According to Allen, students will learn not only history, but also historiography, the study of historical analysis. Students will examine different historical interpretations of and schools of thought before comparing them and forming their own opinions.
History and Social Sciences Department Head Michael Rindge said he hopes the course will help prepare students for college and life beyond by enhancing their learning skills rather than encouraging them merely to focus on the hard facts tested on AP exams.
“Ideally, a Marlborough student will leave here being comfortable and confident to walk into any type of class having superb writing skills, analytical skills, being able to read primary documents, being able to make strong arguments, and being able to marshal evidence to support them. To me, that’s much more important than memorizing the content,” Rindge said.
Rindge further explained that the additional course mirrors a shift in the focus of college admissions officers away from intensive survey courses that attempt to cover a large quantity of material to more immersive, content-oriented classes that delve into greater detail. Additionally, Allen alluded to the global rather than Eurocentric focus of the new course as a reason for is creation.
“The world is going global. I feel that that is a component [in the elimination of AP Euro], and probably rightly so. Everything has been so Eurocentric for centuries, so why not study South Africa and the indigenous African tribes… They are slowly playing a role on the global stage right now,” Allen said.
Though some students will miss AP Euro, the general reaction to the change has been positive, and many tenth graders are excited to take the course in the fall. Kate ‘18 is enrolled in the course and looks forward to studying history in a different way than AP U.S. History encouraged her to study it.
“I took AP history this year and I liked it but it was kind of a national course and you learned everything on a national level and I’d rather learn something more in depth about a shorter period of time and about people and their views rather than a nation’s views,” Kate explained.

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    Mike RadantJul 15, 2016 at 2:31 am

    I bet it’s some fucking Jews or their useful idiots behind this bullshit!