History, Religion and Society

HRS101: Humanities 7

Grade 7 Humanities seeks to expose students to different aspects of cities around the world and invite them to generate and ponder questions related to the relationship between humans and places and the impact that critical points in the history of a city can have on individuals, societies and the world. From the beginning of the year, students are transformed into globetrotters and through a variety of artworks, photography, audiovisuals, nonfiction and primary sources readings, they identify and investigate selected challenges that cities have faced over time and still experience in the 21st century. In addition to the exploration of different cities, students undertake a challenge that cities face and, through research and collaboration, they imagine, brainstorm, implement and present their solution. Ultimately, the course aims to provide students with opportunities to question, collaborate with others, acquire and practice effective communication, reflect, and develop writing skills.

HRS102: Islamic Studies I

Islamic studies aim to reinforce an understanding of the fundamentals of Islam. In this project-based learning course, students gain a deep understanding of their role as human beings and of how to be productive Muslims. Students are introduced to the values of Islam through their work on projects that represent some contemporary problems that they choose to solve in light of Islam. They are trained on 21st century skills to help them to achieve their goal.

Course length: One semester
Prerequisite: The alternative course, Islamic Studies (in English), is for students with no previous knowledge of the subject or whose Arabic proficiency does not allow them to take it in Arabic

HRS201: Humanities 8

Grade 8 Humanities explores the question: what does it mean to be human? In order to approach the question, students explore ethics, history, politics and more. They examine classical philosophers (and paintings of them) while studying Greek art and culture. They research freedom, justice, and the difference between humans and animals. For example, is it moral to kill an elephant for its tusks or shoot a gorilla who poses a threat to a human life? Students ask about the impact of dehumanization, from the excesses of Communism to the humanitarian crises at borders around the world. What does 19th century imperialism have to do with your passport? Every week, students sit around the Harkness table, reading, writing, researching and engaging in debate. By the end of the course, students develop these skills and tactics to approach art, literature, history, philosophy and politics as early-career scholars.

HRS202: Islamic Studies II

Islamic studies aim to reinforcing our understanding of the fundamentals of Islam. In this course we will gain a deep understanding of our role as human beings and how to be productive Muslims. In order to achieve this, this course will be a project-based learning. Students are introduced to the values of Islam through working on projects that represent some contemporary problems that they will choose to solve in light of Islam. They will be trained on the 21 century skills to help them to achieve their goal.

Course length: One semester
Note: The alternative course, Islamic Studies (in English), is for students with no previous knowledge of the subject or whose Arabic proficiency does not allow them to take it in Arabic

HRS301: A History of the Ancient and Medieval World (9)

This course examines the development of a number of societies during the period from antiquity to circa 1200. Those societies may include Mediterranean, European, Asian, and Mesoamerican societies. Course materials include a wide array of historical and literary texts that provide insight into key events, themes and ideas. Topics may include the civilizations of classical Greece and Rome, the culture of late antiquity, the rise and spread of Islamic civilizations, the nature of medieval civilization in Europe, and the origins and development of several major world religions (to include Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam). Significant time is also spent with the cycles of civilizations both in China and in India. This course provides students with a foundation of core skills, including source analysis, discussion and debate, inquiry-based research, and analytical writing and presentation.

Note: Required of all freshmen

HRS302: Islamic Studies III (9)

This course serves as an introduction to the core principles and practices of the Muslim religion. In the first year, students focus on the following topics: the Qur’an, the Hadith, the doctrine of Islam, lessons from the life of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), concepts of Islamic jurisprudence, and Islamic morals and principles. Besides these topics, students are trained on multiple skills, such as annotation, reflection, critical thinking, and designing questions with different levels. This course fulfills Jordanian Ministry of Education requirements for Muslim students.

Note: The alternative course, Islamic Studies (in English), is for students with no previous knowledge of the subject or whose Arabic proficiency does not allow them to take it in Arabic

HRS401: A History of the Modern World (10)

This course examines the development of a number of societies during the period from circa 1200 to the present. Those units may include Middle Eastern, European, Asian, African, and Mesoamerican societies. Course materials include a wide array of historical and literary texts that provide insight into key events, themes and ideas. The course also emphasizes the constant revisiting of beliefs, religions, and philosophies by the world’s people. Topics may include the transformation of societies through the Renaissances, the Reformations, the Scientific and Commercial Revolutions as well as the Enlightenment. Renewal and reform of religions is also considered. In addition, students examine the rise of nationalism, the advent of the Industrial Revolution, imperialism and the cataclysms and progress of the 20th century. Special attention is paid throughout to events and forces within the Middle East to include the formation of the Ottoman and Safavid Empires, Muhammad Ali’s reforms in Egypt, Ottoman reforms in the 19th century and the consequences of the interaction between the Middle East and the wider world during the 20th century. This course provides students with a foundation of core skills, including source analysis, discussion and debate, inquiry-based research, and analytical writing and presentation.

Note: Required of all sophomores

HRS402: Islamic Studies IV (10)

The second year of Islamic Studies builds on the foundation laid by the first year of study by expanding the students’ perspective to include early Islamic history, Islamic law and theology and aspects of Islamic civilization. Students delve into an analysis of the five pillars of Islam, in addition to learning about the attributes of God, the concept of Apostasy and other essential topics of Islamic theology, such as Prophethood and how to follow the examples and manners of the previous prophets and messengers. Students also study various topics in the context of contemporary society across the Muslim world. This course fulfills Jordanian Ministry of Education requirements for Muslim students.

Course length: One semester
Prerequisite: Islamic Studies I; the alternative course, Islamic Studies (in English), is for students who have taken the 9th grade course in English

HRS501: 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.

Note: Open to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRSGOA501: Micro Economics

This course introduces students to some of the basic principles of Microeconomics so that they may better understand some of the important issues in the world today. Students look in detail at what motivates the behavior of both consumers and producers and examines different types of markets to understand how they work and why they usually work so well in allocating goods and services. Students also examine some situations where markets are not so effective and discuss the types of interventions that could be considered by governments.

HRSGOA502: Macro Economics

This course introduces students to the study of a national economy: macroeconomics. Students learn to better understand how to measure national economic activity with concepts like gross domestic product, unemployment and inflation and the strengths and weaknesses of these statistics. Students then study theoretical methods of influencing national economic activity with monetary and fiscal policy and learn about some of the controversy surrounding these policy tools. The advantages and disadvantages of international trade and of methods of setting exchange rates are also introduced.

HRS502: Government Models

Plato remarked that “if you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools”. Students in Government Models learn to well appreciate Plato’s prescient words, understanding that a government is indeed only as good as its citizens are informed and active; that is, a people essentially get the government that they deserve. Government Models provides a comprehensive overview of not only the fundamental concepts of government itself — including but not limited to federalism, checks and balances, liberalism vs. conservatism, and authoritarianism vs. libertarianism — but also the cultural forces that shape various political systems across the world, such as the mainstream media, polling, special interest groups, political parties, and political campaigns and elections. Current events, both within the Middle East and throughout the Western World, are fully integrated into the curriculum such that students remain abreast of real time global issues and developments. Students are challenged to analyze and engage with a host of controversial topics from immigration and taxation policies to abortion and same-sex marriage through thought-provoking articles and Harkness discussions. Course instruction is also supplemented through viewing a select few political films and reading King Abdullah II’s “Our Last, Best Chance” and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”. If you are a young male or female who wishes to gain a political foundation towards being an active, informed citizen of the world, then Government Models was designed specifically for you!                                                                           

Note: Open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS503: Introduction to World Religions

Religion has enriched cultures and civilizations since the beginning of recorded history. It has shaped humanity’s triumphs, its struggles, its deepest concerns, questions and emotions. Often the root of breathtaking human creativity, religion is sometimes misused for horrifying destructive ends. For these reasons and others, the study of world religions acquires greater urgency in our global civilization. This course introduces the five major religions of the world — Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam — from a historical and anthropological perspective. To that end, the belief systems of these five religions are discussed with maximum openness and with as little judgment as possible. By examining the religious beliefs, practices and images of others in this manner, we hope to understand what religion means to its adherents and how it shapes their lives.

Course length: One semester
Note: This course is only open to 11th and 12th graders

HRS506: Islam and Modernity

What is Islam? What is modernity? What does one have to do with the other? What are the ways in which Muslim thinkers and activists have responded (and continue to respond) to the challenges presented by modernity and modernism? What has been the experience of different Muslim communities and intellectuals? This course focuses on reinforcing the foundation built in previous courses as well as providing answer to the broad question of how societies, predominantly influenced by Islamic traditions, might find a home in the modern world on their own terms. It also explores Muslim voices in Europe and North America and tracks new trajectories of renewal and reform in the West, where Muslims live as small but increasingly significant minority communities.

Course length: One semester
Note: Open only to 11th and 12th graders; this is the alternative course for Islamic Studies III, and is also open for non-Muslims as an elective course

HRS508: The Cultural Politics of Ancient Sites

Ancient sites around the world are threatened by time, nature, urban development, and even armed conflict. This course introduces students to the problem of how to preserve these endangered cultural sites. Students examine this challenge from historical, political, social, environmental and ethical perspectives. For example, students might study vulnerable sites like the underwater Hindu temples in Gujarat (India) or the collapsing structures at Petra. They might also consider how ancient sites in Palmyra (Syria) and Xultún (Guatemala) are being damaged by warfare and economic decline. Students take class field trips to study many Jordanian heritage sites in person. As a culminating course project, students choose an at-risk cultural heritage site, identify the specific challenges it faces, and develop a way to preserve it for the ages.

Note: Open only to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS509: Elective Rotation: A – The World Since 1945

This year-long seminar course examines the forces, events and personalities that have shaped the world since the end of the Second World War. Students consider the emergence of the Cold War world, decolonization, the first round of Middle East wars in 1948 and 1956, the acceleration of global civil rights movements, the First Vietnam War, the War of Algerian Independence, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Additionally, students examine the accelerating American involvement in Southeast Asia, the crucible of the Black Freedom Struggles in the United States, the emergence of the counter-culture movement, the Six-Day War, and the following year, 1968. The course also looks at the continuation of the conflicts in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, the emergence of détente, Watergate, the Iranian Revolution, the Reagan Revolution, the end of the Cold War, the beginning of the digital age, ethnic cleansing, wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the new wave of religious fundamentalism. The class centers on discussions around a Harkness table. Students explore events in a variety of ways including use of primary and secondary sources, visual records and simulations.  Students should have at least a passing familiarity with the late 19th and early 20th centuries. As writing and research is a significant focus of these courses, students must complete several analytical papers each term.

Note: Open only to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS509: Elective Rotation: B – Tides of Revolution

The populist uprisings taking place today are challenging the entrenched interests of the ruling elite as well as igniting long-standing cultural tensions. They remind one that historically, political and intellectual revolutions have demonstrated the power to transform the world more than any other social, economic or cultural force — for good and for ill. But what exactly is a revolution? Are political revolts the inevitable result of impersonal historical forces, or are they the work of determined revolutionaries promising their followers a new world order? Why are political, economic and religious doctrines such powerful engines for cultural change? Why do some revolutions succeed in achieving their goals and so many others fail miserably in transforming the very lives of the people they purported to serve? Are revolutions truly “revolutionary” or merely a cover for the violent transfer of political power? This course investigates the long history of revolutionary activity in human society. It begins with the cultural, religious, economic and intellectual revolutions of the Renaissance and the Reformations, on to the scientific and commercial revolutions, thence to the emergence of absolutism in France and constitutionalism in England, and then to the “enlightened” revolutions of the 18th century that shaped the history of England, America and France. The Industrial Revolution is examined through economic, social and political perspectives. Students then then turn their attention to the major political revolutions of the 20th century in Russia, Germany, China, Cuba and Iran. They conclude by considering the current “revolutions” underway in the Middle East and the western democracies. Along the way, they explore the way revolutions are portrayed in literature, art and film.

Note: Open only to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS509: Elective Rotation: C – The Classical Mediterranean: Ancient Lessons for a New Generation

Arguably, modern civilization, in all its facets, began with the exertions of ancient forebears in the classical Mediterranean. Greek and Roman thought, art, warfare, literature, government, law, language and engineering combined to generate a set of ideas, legacies and principles that began to shape East and West. This seminar explores these early contributions while considering what these peoples, throughout their growth, tragedies and histories, still have to teach us as we continue into a new century two millennia later. Students consider issues of social conflict in both cultures, clashes between reason and superstition in classical Hellas, the intersection of citizenship, immigration and cultural identity, concepts of imperial overstretch and, finally, the decline both of the Republic and the Empire through corruption and excess. Other essential civilizations and cultures are also included, such as the Achaemenid Persian Empire, the Phoenicians, and their Carthaginian descendants. While the history of Western Antiquity helps inform the present and future, it is also a fundamental piece of cultural literacy. To ignore the wisdom and experiences of the ancients is to tempt fate.  As the world grapples with existential threats and ethical dilemmas, a generation of new leaders must be able to draw from the wealth of the classical past and thereby transform peril into opportunity.

Note: Open only to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS650: Advanced Human Geography (AP)

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 may sit for the AP Human Geography exam in May.

Note: Open only to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS651: Advanced Psychology (AP)

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 may sit for the AP Psychology exam in May.

Note: Open only to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS652: Advanced Comparative Government and Politics (AP)

The advanced 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 may sit for the AP Comparative Government and Politics Exam in May.

Note: Open only to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS653: Advanced Microeconomics (AP)

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-economics 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.

Note: Not offered in 2019-2020. Open only to 11th and 12th graders.
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS654: Advanced Macroeconomics (AP)

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 introduced to international trade and exchange rates. Enrolled students may sit for the AP Macroeconomics Exam in May.
 

Note: Not offered in 2019-2020. Open only to 11th and 12th graders.
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS655: History of the Modern Middle East (MME)

The History of the Modern Middle East (MME) course surveys major developments in the political history of the region from the late 19th century to the present day while equipping students with many of the tools historians use to interrogate, analyze, and debate the past. Student gain in fluency in historiographical themes and conventions so that they can situate their knowledge of current events in appropriate historical contexts. The course begins with the modernization of Egypt under Mehmet Ali Pasha and the imperial reform efforts of the late Ottoman state and ends with the national independence movements in the colonial Middle East in the wake of the Second World War. The second term of the course focuses on the genesis of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the rise of Nasserism in Egypt, and the Arab Cold War up to the consequential defeat of 1967. The third term probes the three Persian Gulf Wars, the Oslo Peace Process and its disintegration, and the Arab Uprisings of 2011 to the ongoing civil and proxy wars in Syria and Yemen. Students engage closely with an array of primary and secondary sources and weigh multiple perspectives on historical questions so that they may confidently assert their own reasoned arguments supported by evidence. Students also hone their critical writing skills, participate in lively class discussions, collaborate on and present projects in pairs and teams, and reflect on their learning and growth as scholars and residents of a region very much at the epicenter of current world affairs.

Note: Open only to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS656: Modern Jordanian History: Reading the Past, Writing the Future

In this course, students explore the modern history of Jordan starting from the 1916 Arab Revolt all the way to the present. Through an exploration of primary and secondary sources, students uncover the history of the Arab Revolt, the intermittent period before the formation of Jordan as an independent kingdom and during the British Mandate, the lives and accomplishments of Jordan’s monarchs, and the political, economic, diplomatic, military and social developments in Jordan during the latter 20th century, including the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Six Day War, Battle of Karameh, Black September, the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace, and the Arab Spring in the context of regional and global influences that contributed to and influenced these major developments. The course incorporates a number of projects, mini-research papers, interactive classroom activities, field trips to historical and political sites, collaborations with Jordan Model Parliament, visits to government libraries and museums, guest lectures from government and non-government officials. The course ends with a capstone research project.

Note: Open to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Departmental consent

HRS701: Advanced World History: Modern (AP)

This course surveys the history of the world, but rather than simply covering the 13th century 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 may sit for the AP World History: Modern exam in May.

Course length: One year; open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS702: Advanced US History (AP)

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 advanced 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 may sit for the AP United States History exam in May.

Note: Open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS703: Advanced Art History (AP)

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 may sit for the AP Art History exam in May.

Note: Open to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS706: Advanced Economics (AP)

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 may sit for the AP Macro and AP Micro Economics exams in May.

Note: Open to 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent

HRS709: Advanced European History (AP)

Aligned with one of the most challenging and rigorous of all of College Board’s classes, AP European History, Advanced European History 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-level 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 students’ critical reading and composition skills. Students enrolled in the course may sit for the AP Modern European History Exam in May.

Note: Open to 10th, 11th and 12th graders
Prerequisite: Department consent