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History & Social Sciences

The history and social sciences curriculum is designed to help you appreciate and understand the global community in which you live, as well as the diversity of the American culture and heritage. Not only will you learn about the challenges and complexity of recording and interpreting history, but you also will learn to examine assumptions, biases, and hypothesis in your sources. By studying the past, you’ll be preparing to lead in the future.

Graduation requirements
4 credits including U.S. History or AP U.S. History, World Religions, and Ethics and Social Justice Research Seminar
  • AP European History

    Full year; by application and permission of the department and Academic Dean; 1 credit

    This course focuses on preparation for the Advanced Placement exam. Beginning with the High Middle Ages and moving through the collapse of the Soviet Union, students examine cultural, political, economic, and intellectual events and social trends. Written analysis, discussion, oral presentations, and lecture are the primary tools of learning. The emphasis of the class is upon the assimilation of large amounts of information into a coherent and understanding of European society, politics, and economics. Writing is emphasized on tests, short essays, and document based questions (DBQ).
  • AP Psychology

    The AP Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. This course is designed to present an experience equivalent to that obtained in an undergraduate introductory psychology course. In doing so, the students will complete material that most colleges require in order to take upper level courses in psychology. The students will also be prepared for the Advanced Placement examination in Psychology administered in May by the College Board at Chatham Hall.
  • Biblical Studies: Hebrew Scriptures - Old Testament

    Provide students with a basic knowledge of the stories and history of the Biblical account from Genesis to the Hellenistic period, with the experience of Exodus as the fundamental identity-giving theme. Taking an historical-critical approach, students are introduced to the tools and methods of modern Biblical scholars and learn to recognize the many contributions the Hebrew Scriptures continue to provide to literature, language, and culture. Principal concepts such as the nature of God, the nature of human beings, covenant, prophecy, leadership, and reconciliation are also discussed. This course fulfills the one-semester Biblical Studies requirement.

    One Semester – ½ Credit
    Prerequisite:  Sophomore (recommended), Junior, or Senior Standing
     
  • Circle of Stones: A History of the Goddess

    Although there is much we do not know about early civilizations, there has been conjecture about and evidence for a tradition that worshipped seasons, the earth, and female gods. At some point these matrilineal societies gave way to patrilineal and patriarchal ones that valued linear thinking over intuition, hierarchy over interdependence. In this course we will examine historical evidence and secondary texts, looking for the remnants of ancient cultures and reasons for their demise. What was the structure of society, how did they make decisions, how did they worship? Why did they disappear? What lessons can be learned from the women and men who were part of those civilizations? Are there elements of their celebrations, rituals, and rites of passage that can still be found in societies today? Some of the books that will be used, either excerpted or read in their entirety, are The Chalice and the Blade, The Alphabet and the Goddess, Goddesses in Every Woman, and A Circle of Stones.
    Semester course.
    Open to students who have taken World Religions.
     
    Fall Semester – ½ Credit
    Prerequisite: Sophomore, Junior, or Senior Standing
  • Comparative Government

    This will be a reading and writing intensive course that examines specific countries and their political processes. We will begin with a brief overview of the United States government and foundational vocabulary, then move on to the study of particular countries such as Russia, Nigeria, Iran, and China. How are elections conducted? What part do the media or the government play in electoral politics? How does the history of a country determine attitudes toward the political process? Although this is only a semester course, students need to be ready to spend time and thought in the study of current governments and historical context, as well as current political issues and elections.
    Semester course.
    Open to students who have already taken US History or who have permission from the department.
  • Economics

    Stresses economic reasoning guided by a set of principles formulated from basic assumptions about human behavior.  The course starts with an understanding of the six principles of economic reasoning and moves on to the concepts of scarcity, supply, and demand.  The course continues with supply curves, demand curves, equilibrium, and elasticity of demand.  Personal finance is covered with lessons on the stock market, investing, money management, and credit card management.   
  • Foundations of European History

    Begins with a short unit on the legacy of the Greek and Roman civilization and then proceeds to an in-depth study of the major developments in European history from the Renaissance to the present. This sophomore requirement relies heavily on close reading of the text and other source materials, classroom discussion and debate, and the written essay. Students study political theory and the evolution of political systems as well as the economic transformation of Europe from an agrarian society through the Industrial Revolution to the present global economic world. Special emphasis is also placed on art, literature, and philosophy as a means of studying social history. Students discuss their findings in class and in essays.
  • Foundations of U.S. History

    How democratic is American society? Is government run for the benefit of the people or does it favor a few big interests while leaving the average person behind? Do the masses have the power to affect positive change or does organizing the masses create danger and intolerance? To what extent should the federal government regulate personal freedoms? In addition to covering the basics of government in the United States—the constitutional powers of the president, Congress and the courts; the function of parties and interests groups; the key cases decided by the Supreme Court-- the primary purpose of this class is to examine the reality of political life and deal critically with some of the most significant questions about democracy in America. We will discuss political theory, read important works from the founding fathers as well as today’s rising stars, analyze periods of federal government expansion and contraction, grapple with the evolution of media, address the tension between federal and state governments, and examine the role of the United States in the world political system. Students will use a class reader and the Wall Street Journal or Washington Post to support their learning and complete a research paper on globalization and democracy.
  • Genocide and Human Rights

    In a 1986 interview, Holocaust survivor, Primo Levi shared his belief that “Monsters exist but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.” Students in this course will examine the origins of the concept of human rights, study three of the 20th century’s major genocides, analyze the role of the individual as well as the international community in responding to and preventing further genocide, and investigate current human rights crises around the world. Case studies will include the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, and the Rwandan Genocide. Students will also evaluate whether or not atrocities and policies against Native Americans qualify as genocide. In addition to readings, films, analytic writings, and class discussion, students will also research and prepare a presentation spotlighting a current human rights crisis of their choosing.  
  • Global Entrepreneurism

    This course is a study in the field of business and business organizations including basic ideas of economics, management, production, marketing, finance, social, legal and ethical environments of business and international business.Information will be presented through lecture, group discussion, handouts, activities/projects, use of examples and many other instructional tools. Students will
    engage in exploration activities utilizing the textbook, Internet, business professional
    speakers, and many other resources. Students will need to be able to work effectively
    both individually and as a team.
  • Humanities 10: Modern European History

    How did ideas about the role of the citizen, the rule of law, allegiance to the nation-state, and individual liberties take form?  This course will begin with a short unit on the legacy of the Greek and Roman civilizations and proceed to the study of major developments in European history from the Renaissance to the 20th century.  We will cover such topics as the Renaissance and Reformation, Enlightenment ideals, and many revolutions such as the Scientific, French, and Industrial Revolutions.  Special emphasis will be placed upon reading primary sources and examining art, literature, and philosophy. The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the major movements and ideas of the west.
    Fall Semester – ½ Credit
    Sophomores.  Required before taking any of the European History electives.
     
  • Humanities 9: World History

    The World History course is designed to introduce students to the history of the world, beginning with topics from prehistory and culminating with events of the 21st century.  World History provides content that will challenge students to learn about the political, economic, and social aspects of world history. Skills such as writing, note-taking, and preliminary research will be developed, as well as presenting one's findings to the group.  The overall intent of this course is to provide students with insight into environmental, social, and cultural history, which will in turn help students prepare for life in an ever changing world. This course will meet collaboratively with English I throughout the year.
  • International Relations

    This course serves as an introduction to the study of important issues in modern international relations. The goal of the course is to teach students basic concepts and theories that are useful for making sense of contemporary debates and challenges in international politics. We will study current events and the recent history that has shaped how states and other actors interact with each other across national borders. Our study of current events will involve delving into various sources. Determining what is factual in media and other sources is an important skill and students will work hard to develop such abilities. This will involve researching different sources on the same event and putting together an article which uses these various sources and most accurately depicts the event. The student must decide what is most reputable for them and why. Articles will be published periodically throughout the course.  Major topics include international cooperation, security and conflict, trade, and international law and human rights. Students will have the chance to prepare for and participate in at least one Model United Nations conference should they choose to do so.
    By the end of the class, students will be able to critique common academic and policy arguments about global affairs and will have acquired the tools to begin their own analyses.

    1/2 year course – .5 Credit
     
  • Social Studies for International Students

    An introductory course designed for most first-year international students.  Topics covered in this course include basic geography, culture, history, government, and civic issues concerning the United States.  Often, these topics are broached with some comparison with the students’ native countries.  Current events and the manner in which they affect the United States and other countries is also a major focus of the course.  These issues are vital to an understanding of the contemporary United States and reviewing them is; therefore, the main objective of Social Studies for International Students.  Through tests and papers, students must learn to use evidence wisely, and extract unifying themes often hidden in the mass of detail and material. International students continue to become investigative thinkers in SSIS by exploring several topics of interest through oral presentations.  These oral presentations are assigned each semester in order to reinforce public speaking and leadership.  The group may travel to places of historical importance in this country. 
  • US History: Foundations

    How democratic is American society? Is government run for the benefit of the people or does it favor a few big interests while leaving the average person behind? Do the masses have the power to affect positive change or does organizing the masses create danger and intolerance? To what extent should the federal government regulate personal freedoms? In addition to covering the basics of government in the United States—the constitutional powers of the president, Congress and the courts; the function of parties and interests groups; the key cases decided by the Supreme Court-- the primary purpose of this class is to examine the reality of political life and deal critically with some of the most significant questions about democracy in America. We will discuss political theory, read important works from the founding fathers as well as today’s rising stars, analyze periods of federal government expansion and contraction, grapple with the evolution of media, address the tension between federal and state governments, and examine the role of the United States in the world political system. Students will use a class reader and the Wall Street Journal or Washington Post to support their learning and complete a research paper on globalization and democracy.
    Fall Semester – ½ Credit
    Required:  All Juniors not enrolled in AP U. S. History
     
  • World Religions

    World Religions (fulfills biblical studies requirement) ltakes seriously the idea that to be religious involves not only faith or belief, but also practice. Just as an athlete trains her body, religious people train their spirits and their hearts. We study the major religious traditions of the world to understand how and why those who follow these traditions train their spirits the way they do.

    Students have a chance to actively ask how the practices of the world's religions (their own included) could strengthen their own spiritual lives.  Specifically the course examines the Hindu Traditions and various Yogas, Buddhism and Meditation (or the interpretation of a Koan), Taoism and Tai Chi, Islam and Prayer, Christianity and Worship, as well as Judaism and the study of the Torah.

    Note on the teaching of religion at Chatham Hall:
    There are a number of ways to approach the teaching of religion (historical, literary, traditions-based, or through cultural studies). As a school with an affiliation with the Episcopal Church, we follow the guidelines of the National Association of Episcopal Schools in teaching other faiths with integrity and from their own perspective without judgment or bias. In addition, we follow the guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Religion for teaching religion at the high school level. These guidelines include three basic premises that are important to Chatham Hall:
    1. Religions are internally diverse
    2. Religions are dynamic
    3. Religions are embedded in culture

    Thus we seek to follow our “Purple and Golden Rule” which asks students and adults to respect the beliefs and faiths that are different than our own.
  • African-American Women in History

    An interactive course, in which students will investigate the contributions and long-lasting impact of inspiring Black women in American society. The course begins with an overview of the effects of slavery and Jim Crow segregation at the end of the nineteenth century. Decade by decade, the course is designed to highlight the lives they lived through music and art, film and poetry, field trips and roundtable forums. And, of course, food. In essence, students will immerse themselves in learning the “backstory” and the true story of these transformative women, from Bessie Coleman to the women of Hidden Figures, culminating with Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American women to travel in space. A research project is required for course completion.
  • Biblical Studies: Christian Scriptures - New Testament

    This course introduces students to the accounts and teachings of Jesus and the growth and expected future of the Christian church as described in the Epistles and Revelation. Taking a historical-critical approach, students are introduced to the tools and methods of modern Biblical scholars and come to see how the breadth of Christian writings has led to a wide diversity of Christian beliefs and practices. At the same time, students learn to recognize the many contributions the Christian Scriptures continue to provide to literature, language, and culture, including modern historical Jesus scholarship. Principle concepts such as salvation, the Kingdom of God, grace, forgiveness, and the nature of the church are also discussed. This course fulfills the one-semester Biblical Studies requirement.

    One Semester – ½ Credit
    Prerequisite:  Sophomore (recommended), Junior (recommended), or Senior Standing
     
  • Ethics Research Seminar

    A required semester course designed to examine the roots of ethical decision-making, ethical philosophy, and the foundations of morality. Through discussions, primary source readings, case studies, and research, students explore and debate questions of ethical and moral behavior in arenas that include international affairs, politics, law, medicine, and personal daily choices. Each student also writes a major research paper, the completion of which is a graduation requirement. 
    One Semester – ½ Credit  
    Required: Seniors
     
  • FUS: 1918 to 1969

    Journalist Tom Brokaw used the phrase “Greatest Generation” to described those who were born at the end of World War I and came of age during the Great Depression and World War II. From flappers to fundamentalists, from the “New Negro” to the New Deal, and from the Four Freedoms to the Manhattan Project, this course is a critical examination of the American experience between 1918 and 1945. Using a wide range of texts and historical thinking skills, students will analyze the fierce culture battles that raged within many communities as mass culture became dominated by new secularism and consumerism. Students will also consider how domestic and international events powerfully enhanced as well as undermined basic American freedoms. What was the national response to such threats: an economy that grew as dramatically as it later constricted before becoming a military-industrial complex, a national tug-of-war between the forces of Americanization and ethnic pluralism, and the challenge of fighting a war to defend deeply held American values abroad while the marginalization of those outside the social mainstream continued at home.  The centerpiece of this course is a research paper in which students will examine the new boundaries of American freedom and America’s role as international security force. Through their blood, sweat, and tears, this generation permanently altered the nation’s social geography and crucial definition of self.
  • FUS: African American Women

    An interactive course, in which students will investigate the contributions and long-lasting impact of inspiring Black women in American society. The course begins with an overview of the effects of slavery and Jim Crow segregation at the end of the nineteenth century. Decade by decade, the course is designed to highlight the lives they lived through music and art, film and poetry, field trips and roundtable forums. And, of course, food. In essence, students will immerse themselves in learning the “backstory” and the true story of these transformative women, from Bessie Coleman to the women of “Hidden Figures”, culminating with Dr. Mae Jamison, the first African-American women to travel in space. A research project is required for course completion.
  • FUS: American Identities

    What does it mean to be an American? This course examines the struggle between individuality and American national, ethnic, racial, religious, socio-economic, gender, and sexual identities. Using a wide range of texts, students will ask how people have come to understand the United States and how they represent their own experiences as well as the experiences of their communities. The centerpiece of this course is an oral history project through which students explore where they fit into these “American identities” and how their family’s history links to the various political, social, and cultural events of modern America. All Chatham Hall students are welcome to enroll in this course, regardless of one’s national identity, and students are responsible for all course topics and materials, regardless of personal, political, or religious “taste” for the subject.
  • Humanities 10: #Queens

    Europe during the Renaissance period was a time of rebirth, evolution, change, and reform. This was an era that saw a shift from the darkness of the medieval period to a new, enlightened way of thinking.  Often, however, there is an area of this time that gets overlooked – the plight of the woman in high power situations. Up until this point there was a traditional idea that a queen was no more that an accessory to their male counterparts. Queens were used as marriage alliances for their fathers and the mother of kings for their husbands and that was really it for their existence. This ideal began to change drastically, however, as the 16th century ushered in an explosion of female rule that had never been seen before.  From the dynamic life of Isabella of Castile, and her bold granddaughter Mary Tudor, to the scandalous and driven Anne Boleyn, and her steadfast daughter Elizabeth Tudor, these women exerted vast power over their territories, and truly shaped the course of European history for more than a century. We will also look at queens of France and Russia through the centuries, and end with the longest-reigning monarch of them all, Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Humanities 10: European History

    How did ideas about the role of the citizen, the rule of law, allegiance to the nation-state, and individual liberties take form?  This course will begin with a short unit on the legacy of the Greek and Roman civilizations and proceed to the study of major developments in European history from the Renaissance to the 20th century.  We will cover such topics as the Renaissance and Reformation, Enlightenment ideals, and many revolutions such as the Scientific, French, and Industrial Revolutions.  Special emphasis will be placed upon reading primary sources and examining art, literature, and philosophy. The purpose of this course is to provide an overview of the major movements and ideas of the west.
     
     
  • Humanities 10: The World Wars

    During the three decades surrounding the World Wars, many nations experienced death, devastation, and long-term repercussions from the various onslaughts. In this class, we will study all aspects of the wars from the early stages of hostility and alliances that paved the way to the beginning of the “Great War”; the impact of daily life for the civilians of nations under fire; refugees and rebuilding; and culminate with the final effects of the end of World War II on the warring nations themselves, as well as the colonial aftermath. Together we will analyze the ideals of many political figures such as Roosevelt, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin.
    Spring – ½ credit
     
  • Humanities 10: The World Wars

    Europe during the Renaissance period was a time of rebirth, evolution, change, and reform. This was an era that saw a shift from the darkness of the medieval period to a new, enlightened way of thinking.  Often, however, there is an area of this time that gets overlooked – the plight of the woman in high power situations. Up until this point there was a traditional idea that a queen was no more that an accessory to their male counterparts. Queens were used as marriage alliances for their fathers and the mother of kings for their husbands and that was really it for their existence. This ideal began to change drastically, however, as the 16th century ushered in an explosion of female rule that had never been seen before.  From the dynamic life of Isabella of Castile, and her bold granddaughter Mary Tudor, to the scandalous and driven Anne Boleyn, and her steadfast daughter Elizabeth Tudor, these women exerted vast power over their territories, and truly shaped the course of European history for more than a century. We will also look at queens of France and Russia through the centuries, and end with the longest-reigning monarch of them all, Queen Elizabeth II.
  • School of Rock

    School of Rock is a multidisciplinary elective course for Seniors (and Juniors with prior approval from their advisor and Assistant Head of School for Academics) examining the social and political context of rock music in all of its genres, forms, antecedents, and successors, 1950-2010.  In this context, rock not only reflects, but shapes 20th and 21st Century American culture through its iconic themes of Freedom and Independence, giving young people a political and cultural voice in the large society. Using a multidimensional and interactive approach, students will make connections between American History, Sociology, American Culture, Religion, Business, Literature, Race Relations, Technology, Art, Geography, and Brain Science, all as reflected in the development of Rock Music.
    Content Advisory:  Due to the nature and culture of rock music, students enrolled in this course should be mature enough to be able to discuss explicit material and references, e.g., sexuality, language, drug use, and unethical behavior.
    Spring Semester – ½ Credit
    Prerequisite – Senior or Junior (with approval) standing
     
  • The World Wars

    During the three decades surrounding the World Wars, many nations experienced death, devastation, and long-term repercussions from the various onslaughts. In this class, we will study all aspects of the wars from the early stages of hostility and alliances that paved the way to the beginning of the “Great War”; the impact of daily life for the civilians of nations under fire; refugees and rebuilding; and culminate with the final effects of the end of World War II on the warring nations themselves, as well as the colonial aftermath. Together we will analyze the ideals of many political figures such as Roosevelt, Hitler, Mussolini, and Stalin.
  • Topics in Philosophy

    Course Description:
    Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Topics in Philosophy is an introduction to thinking clearly about certain universal questions.  Using inductive and deductive reason, and understanding how great thinkers from both Western and Eastern traditions have thought about things in the past, the goal of this course is to make philosophers of you by entering into the creative activity of thinking deeply: a) about things which we believe to be of ultimate importance (such as how we know what we know, what it means to be a self, and what is real), and; b) within the realm of concepts that require some objectivity (such as truth, beauty, goodness, freedom, and personhood).  

    Specifically, the topics to be covered will be:
    1. Logic: How do we think and argue effectively knowing and using the tools of logic and rhetoric?
    2. Epistemology: What is reality and how do we know it is real and not an illusion? In an era of quantum physics and relativity, who decides?
    3. Truth: What is the truth behind the appearances of reality? Is there an objective truth which we should seek or does truth vary from context to context? How do we know and what difference does it make to our living?
    4. Theology: Are there good reasons for believing that God exists? How do we know that anything exists, other than ourselves?
    5. Self-identity: What does it mean to be a self? What are the characteristics that make up a self and allow it to continue through time? What is the role of the community in defining the self and the role of the self in defining community?
    6. Mind and Body: Are minds immaterial spirits, or are minds brains and hence nothing but complex physical objects? Are our identities contained in our minds, our hearts, or our bodies?
    7. Freedom: If human actions are determined by heredity and environment, do we have any responsibility for our actions? If so, what is the genesis of those responsibilities – feelings, self-interest, social convention, Divine commands, or something else?
  • U.S.H. - American Identities

    What does it mean to be an American? This course examines the struggle between individuality and American national, ethnic, racial, religious, socio-economic, gender, and sexual identities. Using a wide range of texts, students will ask how people have come to understand the United States and how they represent their own experiences as well as the experiences of their communities. The centerpiece of this course is an oral history project through which students explore where they fit into these “American identities” and how their family’s history links to the various political, social, and cultural events of modern America. All Chatham Hall students are welcome to enroll in this course, regardless of one’s national identity, and students are responsible for all course topics and materials, regardless of personal, political, or religious “taste” for the subject.
  • World Religions

    World Religions takes seriously the idea that to be religious involves not only faith or belief, but also practice. Just as an athlete trains her body, religious people train their spirits and their hearts. We study the major religious traditions of the world to understand how and why those who follow these traditions train their spirits the way they do.

    Students not only learn from an excellent textbook, but also have a chance to actively ask how the practices of the world's religions (their own included) could strengthen their own spiritual lives.
    Specifically the course examines the Hindu Traditions and various Yogas, Buddhism and Meditation (or the interpretation of a Koan), Taoism and Tai Chi, Islam and Prayer, Christianity and Worship, as well as Judaism and the study of the Torah.

    Note on the teaching of religion at Chatham Hall:
    There are a number of ways to approach the teaching of religion (historical, literary, traditions-based, or through cultural studies). As a school with an affiliation with the Episcopal Church, we follow the guidelines of the National Association of Episcopal Schools in teaching other faiths with integrity and from their own perspective without judgment or bias. In addition, we follow the guidelines set forth by the American Academy of Religion for teaching religion at the high school level. These guidelines include three basic premises that are important to Chatham Hall:
    1. Religions are internally diverse
    2. Religions are dynamic
    3. Religions are embedded in culture
    Thus we seek to follow our “Purple and Golden Rule” which asks students and adults to respect the beliefs and faiths that are different than our own.
    One Semester – ½ Credit
    Fulfills Religious Studies requirement
    Prerequisite:  Sophomore (recommended), Junior (recommended), or Senior Standing
     
  • AP U.S. History

    AP U.S. History is a college level course that focuses on developing students’ understanding of American history from approximately 1491 to the present through investigation of significant diplomatic, economic, geographic, and political strands, while emphasizing social history in nine historical periods. Students will develop and use the same critical thinking skills and methods employed by historians when they study the past: analyzing primary and secondary sources, making historical comparison, chronological reasoning, and argumentation. Course content is organized around seven themes: American and national identity, migration and settlement, politics and power, work, exchange, and techonology; America in the world; geography and the environment; and culture and society. Students use these themes to make connections among historical developments in different times and places and to develop their own questions for inquiry.
     
  • Ethics Research Seminar

    A required semester course designed to examine the roots of ethical decision-making, ethical philosophy, and the foundations of morality. Through discussions, primary source readings, case studies, and research, students explore and debate questions of ethical and moral behavior in arenas that include international affairs, politics, law, medicine, and personal daily choices. Each student also writes a major research paper, the completion of which is a graduation requirement. 
  • Model United Nations

    Winter semester only; .5 credit

    The Model United Nations (MUN) program promotes student research into many of the problems the world faces today.  It further introduces students to countries and cultures by having students represent countries at two mock United Nations Conferences; one held in a major city such as Chicago, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, or Washington, D.C., and another more local conference, such as: Charlottesville, VA; Williamsburg, VA; Boone, NC; or Athens, GA. Finally, it provides students with mechanisms for addressing serious issues in a public forum, conducting diplomacy, and reaching agreements on resolutions.  This course is offered as a traditional lecture, or independent study.
  • Psychology

    The purpose of this course is to offer an introduction to the field of Psychology. This course is a survey reviewing the foundational topics in Psychology such as the biology of the brain, human development, learning, memory, motivation, emotion, stress and health, personality, social psychology, mental disorders, and therapy.  Students will seek to understand the commonalities and the differences among the human experience. An emphasis will be placed on the real-world, every day, applications of the academic content.  In the Spring semester, the purpose of the course is to integrate the foundational topics covered in the Fall, such as human development, social psychology, psychological disorders, into applied content such as film, fictional, and non-fictional books. Students will take an active role in learning through activities such as conducting independent research projects and research papers. Additionally, students will take leadership roles throughout the semester in classroom discussion and in-depth analysis of chosen works.
  • U.S.H. - Historical Truth & Mass Culture

    This course will focus on the relationship between historical events in the making of America and their depiction in popular fiction or on film. Students will act as historians, working to understand past events and then assessing the accuracy and legitimacy of bestsellers and Hollywood’s big screen. Should one consider these sources vehicles for political propaganda and cultural myth, or credible couriers of the truth? Our critical thinking skills will be stretched as they participate in research, write analytical papers, and contribute to class discussion. The fiction and film selections for this course seek to explore specific and diverse examples of women employing agency and intelligence to participate in the public realm and influence the course of American history. Students and their families should be comfortable reading and watching mature content, including films that may have received an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. The centerpiece of this course will be an independent research paper in which students evaluate the portrayal of a historical event of their choosing in pieces of fiction and film of their choosing. Students in this course are required to attend film viewings one Friday evening a month.
  • World Cultures

    Full year; required of freshmen; 1 credit

    Develops and refines global perspectives so that freshmen are more aware of their world, and become better prepared to deal with the challenges and changes that will come. The study of each region begins with the physical geographic characteristics of topography, climate and vegetation, political territory, and the distribution of cities. Topics include religion, dress, manners, conflicts between traditional and modern world views, and globalization. Special classroom sessions with the Leader in Residence are a highlight of this class. In the 2010-2011 school year, the classes’ reading of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, led to the author, Ishmael Beah, visiting Chatham Hall as the Freshman Leader in Residence. 

Our Faculty

  • Photo of Tica Simpson
    Tica Simpson
    History & Social Sciences Department Chair
    434-432-5281
    Bio
  • Photo of Elisabeth Barksdale
    Elisabeth Barksdale
    Chaplain of Chatham Hall
    Bio
  • Photo of Deborah Glymph
    Deborah Glymph
    History Teacher; English Teacher; Director of Diversity and Inclusion
    434-432-2941
    Bio
  • Photo of Andrea Green
    Andrea Green
    English Teacher; History Teacher
    Bio
  • Photo of John Kingery
    John Kingery
    History Teacher; Mathematics Teacher
    Bio
  • Photo of Melissa Thompson
    Melissa Thompson
    History Teacher; CAMS Support
    Bio
A girls' boarding and day school in southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers advanced courses, global study and travel, as well as project-based learning. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.
800 Chatham Hall Circle | Chatham, VA 24531 | 434.432.2941 | admission@chathamhall.org