U.S. history classes tend to spend ages on the Civil War and almost no time on Reconstruction — which is a problematic omission because Reconstruction is one of the most compelling, transformative, and (viewed with hindsight) heartbreaking periods of U.S. history. This was a period of progressive social, economic, and political change which made huge strides toward equality, which deserve to be celebrated — even though post-Reconstruction politics would undo most of them and paint the era as a political failure. We should talk more about Reconstruction — so we will! Click for details.
The Salem Witch Trials are one of those fascinating, what-on-earth-is-happening-here historical moments that capture our attention because they are so anomalous. We’ll approach this topic like historians, working chronologically through primary sources (including court transcripts) to explore the unique combination of cultural, religious, and political forces that contributed to this infamous period of U.S. history. Click for details.
It’s creepy and it’s kooky, mysterious and spooky, and entirely fun to read — it’s American Gothic, a genre of literature that emerged in the United States as a particularly regional twist on traditional Gothic literature. We’ll look at how American Gothic explores the dark underbelly of U.S. history, including slavery, genocide, and environmental destruction, through works by Edgar Allan Poe, Shirley Jackson, Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, and more. Click for details.
This slender little novel is packed full of symbolism, psychology, and ideas about identity that were groundbreaking at the turn of the 20th century and that still have the power to shake up your reading life today. We’ll focus on close, careful reading, building critical reading and thinking skills as we explore this early feminist work. (Indignation about Victorian social roles for women encouraged.) Click for details.
We’ll be kicking off our year of U.S. literature with a look at one of the most ironically iconic poets in the canon — ironic because her work was never published while she was alive. Emily Dickinson’s work is deliberately elusive, hauntingly subversive, and just plain fun to read. We’ll consider her work in the context of its time, its contradictory perspectives on big ideas like Nature and Death, and its place in the 21st century canon. Click for details.
Our chemistry class is designed for students who want to explore the ideas and philosophy of chemistry, thinking critically and deeply about the atomic model, chemical bonding, chemical reactions, and the phases of matter. With lots of hands-on experiments to explore big questions and an emphasis on building a nuanced understanding of how chemistry works, this class moves slowly and thoughtfully through the history of chemistry thinking, opting for open-ended inquiry over lists of definitions and practice problems. This is a chemistry class for students who love the ideas behind science. Click for details.
Being able to translate things is the most fun part of Latin, and this year-long introduction to the Latin language emphasizes that aspect, using weekly translations as a jumping off point for building Latin vocabulary and developing an understanding of the basics of Latin grammar. We’ll also spend a little time exploring the mythology, history, and culture of ancient Rome — mostly because it’s too much fun to skip. Click for details.