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History and Social Sciences

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Understanding Our World—Then and Now

In the classroom, Milton students develop the tools to become historians and social scientists. Faculty help students find their voices in the dynamic conversation about the people, places, events, patterns and themes of human civilization. They instill a sense of ownership in students— who come to deeply understand world events, and ultimately their own place in time. At Milton, we treat history not as a collection of data, but as an ongoing narrative. Grounded in the reality of past events, we can work to make sense of current events. Research is a hallmark of Milton’s history and social sciences curriculum, and students choose subjects that interest them, in which they become experts. Through primary source documents, students come to understand historical events from firsthand accounts; rather than judging actions of the past, they work to understand the motivations of the time. Students look at particular cultures in depth and at the interactions among cultures over broad periods of history. They test newly won insights daily in class discussions around the Harkness table. We help students understand from where they’ve come, and empower them to contribute to the broader world, in meaningful and important ways.

From the Classroom

The Ethan Wyatt Bisbee Prize

Each year, faculty teaching the U.S. History and U.S. History in the Modern World courses select students whose projects represent outstanding research in United States history. The department invites prizewinners to the annual Bisbee Tea to celebrate their achievements and share their work with faculty and fellow honorees.

Course Readings, a sample

United States in the Modern World I
Peter the Great, “Decree on the Invitation of Foreigners”
Simón Bolivar, “The Jamaica Letter”
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

United States in the Modern World II
Joseph Stalin, “The Results of the First Five-Year Plan”
The Muslim Brotherhood, “Toward the Light”
Richard M. Nixon, “Vietnamizing the War”

My favorite class is Modern World History. My teacher, Mr. Lou, is hard but at the same time he makes each lesson extremely interesting. He pushes us to be the best version of ourselves. His class epitomizes what I love about Milton—it can be challenging and demanding but also a ton of fun.

Ian Glick, Class III

Brookline, Massachusetts

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