History and Social Studies

History rests on the collective memory of cultures and societies, accounting for their core values while also examining the impact of past decisions on present circumstances. Without history, one cannot undertake any sensible inquiry into the political, social or moral issues of contemporary society. The study of history opens students to opportunities necessary to develop a comprehensive view of the world and an understanding of societies including those whose traditions and values differ from their own. King's Academy believes that an understanding of world history fosters the kind of tolerance, empathy, respect, critical thinking and civic courage required by an increasingly pluralistic society and inter-dependent world.

The Department of History and Social Studies at King's Academy uses the methods of the humanities—research, analysis and interpretation—to promote learning and the understanding of a shared historical past. The department's interdisciplinary approach begins with the study of the concepts of present individual and communal cultural identities. It then moves to methods for evaluating the past, and concludes with an examination of positive citizenship in the world. The goal is to recreate the context of an era so that students can identify and understand struggles, debates and accomplishments of that period. Possessing the facts of history, students can then engage with the past, weaving together these facts into interconnected patterns, and emerge with an understanding not only of what happened, but why it happened. Courses foster a sense of how it must have felt to stand in another historical era. In addition, students, especially in advanced courses, discuss issues of historiography—that is not only what happened and why it happened, but the different ways in which history can be narrated and the uses to which these different narratives are put.

Courses in this department for 2017-2018:

9th Grade World History

The 9th Grade World History, Geography and Civics course introduces students to all the tools historians use to reconstruct, analyze and debate the past. After an initial exposure to the skills of reading, writing and thinking like a historian in Unit 1, which encompasses questioning, understanding multiple perspectives, contexts and biases, as well as an investigation of various artifacts and sources, the course shifts into a chronological approach. Incorporating the QUEST framework, students embark on a journey that allows them to reconstruct the past, make meaning of it, and apply it to their daily lives. Collaborating with peers in a variety of activities that put them at the center of their learning, students investigate the following: the Agricultural Revolution and the First Civilizations, Ancient Greece and Rome, Buddhism and the Far East, Monotheistic Religions, the Middle Ages, and Islamic Caliphates. During the course of the year, students are given opportunities to practice their writing, reading comprehension as well as public speaking skills.
Course length: One year

A Global History of the Middle East

What role has the Middle East played in shaping the world today? How does studying the past help us understand the world around us? How does studying our past help us understand who we are? Students in this 10th grade history course tackle these questions through the lens of Middle Eastern scholars and theorists and focus their studies on the Middle East and its relationship to the world. Students begin by solidifying the skills needed to delve into the world of historical knowledge; they learn how to recognize bias in primary sources, how to find main points in difficult texts, and how to connect facts and information to larger historical timelines and questions. The course uses essential questions to connect the past to the present, and to tackle large thematic concepts such as cultural relativism, identity, nationalism, westernization and global politics. Beginning with Ibn Battuta’s travels, the course moves from the Renaissance to the Ottoman Golden Age, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution to the rise of nationalism under Muhammad Ali’s reign of Egypt. We travel beyond the two Great Wars, the Cold War, and finally arrive in the modern Arab world and what it means to be a citizen in today’s complex society. In addition to various primary sources, texts read include Machiavelli’s The Prince and Lois Lowry’s The Giver, as well as a multitude of poems and literary excerpts from authors like Blake and Wordsworth. Students study artistic works by European and Ottoman masters in order to achieve a holistic understanding of social movements and how they are affected by political and industrial movements of the times, and these historical sources helps students make connections between historical periods and across cultural disciplines. Projects include a multi-step comparative research paper and a live role play of the Paris Peace Conference. By the end of the course, students will have a deeper understanding of the Middle East’s role in shaping global politics, and they will be equipped with the analytical and writing skillsets necessary to tackle larger questions about the modern identities at play in the 21st century’s worldwide stage.
Course length: One year

Adolescent Psychology

This course serves as a gateway to scientific discovery in the field of psychology. Students are equipped to debunk psychological myths, wade through the nature vs. nurture debate, and understand how World War II contributed to the field of human experimentation. Students learn about how they learn, how their brain can help or hinder their learning, and what atypical development actually means. By the end of the course, students will be able to make connections between psychology and all area of their lives.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Department consent; open only to 11th and 12th graders

Governmental Models: Traditions and Reforms

The course surveys the unique, evolutionary course of the US political system from its infancy in the American Revolution to the present day such that students will be able to make informed historical and political comparisons to the evolution of the Jordanian political system from its infancy to the present day. Students become familiar with key principles and underpinnings of the American political system – including separation of powers, federalism, political parties, interest groups, elections, campaigns, the role of the media, and public policy. Current events, both domestic and foreign, are integrated into the curriculum so that students are well informed of real time global developments.
Course length: One year; open to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

History of the Modern Middle East (MME): Part I

The three elective courses which make up The History of the Modern Middle East 1882 to the Present Day explore the issues and problems of this region in a globalizing world. The course poses essential questions about politics, economics and society which encourage students to think deeply about themselves and the world. The course explores the period chronologically, but students are encouraged to relate the era to other periods of history and the present day. Each week students receive varied instruction.

Note: Students may choose any or all of the three elective courses that make up MME.

  • Part I – Empires and Globalization (1882 – 1948) covers the decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire and the brief period of direct European rule in the Arab world, ending with the 1948 Nakba.
    Course length: One term (fall)

History of the Modern Middle East (MME): Part II

The three elective courses which make up The History of the Modern Middle East 1882 to the Present Day explore the issues and problems of this region in a globalizing world. The course poses essential questions about politics, economics and society which encourage students to think deeply about themselves and the world. The course explores the period chronologically, but students are encouraged to relate the era to other periods of history and the present day. Each week students receive varied instruction.

Note: Students may choose any or all of the three elective courses that make up MME.

  • Part II – The Cold War (1948 – 1991) covers the rise and fall of nationalist movements and dictatorships and the revival of political Islam, in the context of the Cold War, focusing particularly on the political economy of oil and the causes and consequences of revolutions.
    Course length: One term (winter)

History of the Modern Middle East (MME): Part III

The three elective courses which make up The History of the Modern Middle East 1882 to the Present Day explore the issues and problems of this region in a globalizing world. The course poses essential questions about politics, economics and society which encourage students to think deeply about themselves and the world. The course explores the period chronologically, but students are encouraged to relate the era to other periods of history and the present day. Each week students receive varied instruction.

Note: Students may choose any or all of the three elective courses that make up MME.

  • Part III – The Revival, Advances and Retreats of Globalization (1991 – present day) covers the establishment of Pax Americana across the Middle East after the fall of the Soviet Union, culminating in the ‘War on Terror’ and the ‘Arab Spring.’ The course will explore deep problems the region faces, in the context of globalization and its unpredictable consequences. Students may use this unit to pursue further interests in particular countries and regions.
    Course length: One term (spring)

AP World History

This course surveys the history of the world, but rather than simply covering prehistoric times to contemporary history through conventional classroom methods, students explore history as historians do; by engaging in the extensive examination and analysis of primary sources to gain a better understanding of past events, figures and phenomena. Students should expect regular reading and writing assignments throughout the year, as the course aims to help improve their critical reading and composition skills. Students enrolled in this course are expected to sit for the AP World History exam in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Department consent

AP United States History

This course surveys the history of the United States from the earliest European colonial impulses to the beginning of the 21st century. The course is interdisciplinary in its scope, and multicultural in its exploration of the formation and evolution of the United States. Students engage in the extensive examination and analysis of primary sources in order to gain a better understanding of past events, figures and phenomena. As with the other AP history courses, students should expect regular reading and writing assignments throughout the year, as the course aims to help them improve their critical reading and composition skills. Students enrolled in this course are expected to sit for the AP United States History exam in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Department consent

AP Art History

In this course students study world history through the artistic images created by humankind – its scope spanning from prehistoric cave paintings to artistic works of the year 2000. Students see the history of the world unfold within its intellectual, social, religious, economic and cultural context, deepening their understanding of art, architecture, painting and sculpture, as well as the civilizations from which these forms of expression were born. As this is an AP course, it emphasizes the sharpening of writing skills and the habits of effective thinking, speaking, reading and writing. Students enrolled in this course are expected to sit for the AP Art History exam in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Department consent

AP Human Geography

This course introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use and alteration of the Earth’s surface. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to analyze human social organization and its environmental consequences. They learn the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice. They develop skills aligned with five college-level goals based on the National Geography Standards. These include nature and perspectives, population, cultural patterns and processes, political organization of space, agricultural and rural land use, industrialization and economic development, and cities and urban land use. The course includes in-depth reading, case studies, projects and assessments. Students enrolled in this course are expected to sit for the AP Human Geography exam in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Department consent

AP Psychology

This course introduces students to the study of the human mind. Students learn about the biological basis for human emotions, personality traits, behavior, thought and learning processes. Special emphasis is placed on the study of human relationships (e.g. love and family relationships). In addition, students explore the role of psychology in phenomena such as racism, prejudice and various phobias. They have an opportunity to discuss and debate ethical dilemmas in psychology for instance: should mood-based illnesses like depression be considered actual illnesses? To supplement this course of study, students engage in the works of influential psychologists such as Freud and Jung, with emphasis on their contributions to the contemporary understanding of human behavior. Students enrolled in this course are expected to sit for the AP Psychology exam in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Department consent

AP Economics

In this course, which covers both microeconomics and macroeconomics, students gain an understanding of how scarcity and rational economic decision-making can shape individual decisions within a nation’s economic system and various market systems. In the microeconomics portion, individual households, firms and industries become the focal point for understanding laws, principles and models that give meaning to economic systems. The course also explores the vagaries of international trade, labor intensive goods, land intensive goods, capital intensive goods, gains from trade, free trade, trading possibilities line, supply and demand, exports and imports, and production. The macroeconomics portion focuses on National Accounting, and on how nations solve their economic problems of recession or inflation. Lastly, the concepts of why nations trade is explored by looking at exchange rates and specialization of countries. Enrolled students enrolled are expected to sit for the AP Macro and AP Micro Economics exams in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Department consent

AP Microeconomics

This year-long AP Microeconomics course is designed for students who are not interested in the fast pace of the combination micro/macro course. Unlike AP Economics, which ends in writing two separate AP exams (one Micro and one Macro-economics), AP Microeconomics ends in one AP Exam. The course looks at the individual person, firm and industry to better understand how people manage scarce resources like land labor and capital. Students learn about market systems and supply and demand to help them grasp how and why economic choices are made, and how scarce resources are distributed. By understanding the cost data of a business, students will gain understanding of how a firms decides how much to produce and how many laborers should be hired to work. An understanding of how to solve basic formulas and work out percentages suffices. Enrolled students are expected to sit for the AP Microeconomics Exam in May.
Course length: One year 
Prerequisite: Department consent

AP Macroeconomics

Macroeconomics takes us into a deeper understanding of a nation’s economy. Students gain an understanding of unemployment and inflation, two of the major problems an economic system faces. They see how these two statistics change the economy by looking at the concept of aggregate demand and supply.  Government plays a role in the economy by its spending and taxes (fiscal policy) to help solve economic problems. Understanding how a central banking system uses the money supply to correct problems is also a key component in the course. Finally, students will be introduced to international trade and exchange rates. Enrolled students are expected to sit for the AP Macroeconomics Exam in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Department consent

AP European History

This course surveys the history of Europe from the late Middle Ages to contemporary history. The course emphasizes the evolution of political, economic, social, philosophical, artistic and scientific trends. As in other AP history courses, students engage in the extensive examination and analysis of primary sources in order to understand the complexity and multiple perspectives of past events, figures and phenomena. There is intensive reading and writing throughout the year as the course strives to hone the students’ critical reading and composition skills. Students enrolled in the course are expected to sit for the AP European History Exam in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisite: Department consent​

AP Comparative Government and Politics

The AP course in Comparative Government and Politics is based on college-level introductory comparative government courses that focus on the comparative study of political institutions and processes in different regions of the world. This course provides an introduction to the essential questions and concepts used by political scientists to examine various state systems and investigates the functions of a state, relationships between citizens and the government, separation of powers, democracy and electoral systems, government-parliament relations, and fundamental questions of social and political rights. In the course, students examine the political and constitutional systems of Great Britain, China, Nigeria, Mexico, Russia and Iran and use these examples to draw conclusions about global trends in government and politics. Enrolled students are expected to sit for the AP Comparative Government and Politics Exam in May.
Course length: One year
Prerequisites: Department consent

Last updated
April 25, 2017