Grade: 9 (Required for all freshmen)
Humanities features an interdisciplinary study of Afro-Eurasia through which students move chronologically from ancient Mesopotamia to Renaissance Europe and thematically from Origins & Journeys in the fall to Citizenship in the winter to The Modern Myth in the spring. As they reflect upon human expression through time and place, students are invited to explore their own personal narrative and apply the lessons of history to their modern context.
Origin stories and creation myths from around the globe present a lens through which students can view the experiences that have shaped them, while epic journeys, such as The Odyssey or The Ramayana, help students navigate their own moral choices and goals. By drawing comparisons between examples of citizenship in the ancient world--e.g. Sophocles’ Theban plays and Plato’s Socratic dialogues--and citizenship today--e.g. the Black Lives Matter movement--students can reflect on their responsibilities to their various communities: local, national, and global. Students also consider how best to address modern injustice by considering examples from the past: Greek democracy and Roman republicanism; The Code of Hammurabi; the Manden Charter of Mali; and feudal systems of Europe and Japan. All the while, students are invited to find beauty in art, architecture, and poetry and to take inspiration from the timeless ancient values that spurred the rebirth of the classics in the 1500s, while thinking critically about the role of myths in modern discourse.
Throughout the year, students will hone a wide variety of foundational academic skills, with a particular focus on developing effective writing techniques through a variety of compositions, as well as a focused, skill-intensive writing program. To round out the Humanities course, freshmen meet for full class activities—for both fun and edification—throughout the year.