St. Anselm’s Abbey School

A Catholic, Benedictine School for Boys Grades 6 - 12

Academic Excellence

75 years of rigorous, classical education

Social Studies

The Social Studies curriculum is designed to locate the student in the cultural community of “world and nation.”

Department Overview

Afoundation is built through an emphasis on history in both the Middle School and Upper School. As the student progresses through the forms, we build on this with cross-disciplinary connections to theology, language, science, literature, art, music, and philosophy.

Students in Forms V and VI are offered a wide range of courses including a required year of American History and several single semester electives. Students graduate with a fundamental understanding of the historical forces that have helped shape the 21st century.

Throughout the curriculum, we stress the development of skills in analytical thinking, note taking/outlining, basic research and more importantly, writing.

Curriculum Sequence

Form A
Geography
Form I
Introduction to Classical Civilizations
Form II
U.S. History
Form III
AP World History I
Form IV
AP World History II
Forms V & VI
Electives including: AP U.S. History; AP U.S. Government &
Politics; AP Comparative Politics; AP Macroeconomics;
AP Microeconomics; Native American Studies; International
Relations; Physical Anthropology; U.S. Constitutional Law & Politics;
History of the Modern Middle East

Geography

Form A Geography approaches global studies through several disciplines—physical geography, politics, history, culture, and some basic economics. The course intentionally focuses on the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and the Caribbean. One goal is for the students to develop map literacy, and usually one day a week is devoted to a “cartography lab” utilizing various map materials. Much attention is also paid to learning to effectively study a very sophisticated yet very organized content-area textbook, and the boys take regular quizzes and tests on material in the text. Most of the homework assignments involve “note making” assignments in which the boys “study and make notes” in reference to a few pages in the textbook on almost a daily basis. The boys also read and study several young adult novels throughout the year, and their plots revolve around young people in crisis situations in various regions of the world. At the end of the year, each boy chooses a nation and creates a “travel paper” in which a person simulates a trip to this nation. The student must demonstrate accurate knowledge of varied aspects of the nation in his travel paper. The order of each unit studied in class may sometimes depend on particular events in the world at the time, and current issues and events around the world become part of class discussion on a regular basis.

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Required for Form A

Introduction to Classical Civilizations

The goal of this course is to introduce the Classical civilizations of the Mediterranean. We will focus mainly on the cultures and history of both Greece and Rome; however, any attempt to narrowly learn about these two to the exclusion of the other cultures, civilizations, and empires who interacted with them would not only be impossible, but foolish. Therefore, we will also spend time learning about the Egyptians, Persians, Carthaginians, Indians, and the peoples of Mesopotamia. We will learn what history is, how the ancients viewed history, and how their views on history evolved into what we know today.

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Required for Form I

U.S. History

The course concentrates on the characteristics of American History: a combination of histories including military, social, technological, artistic, religious, and mythological. The students will be studying a variety of themes separately in addition to a mélange of events and personalities. The students will recognize seemingly disparate historic trends and concepts as being the colorful American experience. There will be a number of 3 -5-page papers throughout the year. The students will be able to use their imaginations with various posed scenarios as well as acquire the skills to write research papers.

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Required for Form II

AP World History I

This course is designed to help students develop a fundamental understanding of the evolution and interactions of human societies. In studying the development of human civilization from prehistory to the year 1500, we will focus on environmental, economic, and sociopolitical themes which help us to recognize patterns of historical change and causation.

Traditional history courses tend to focus only on peoples relevant to the progression of “western civilization,” such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. In this course—which is, after all, a history of the world, and not merely western Eurasia—we will adopt a much more global perspective. We must always be conscious of how events do not occur only in their own isolated periods and places, but rather in the context of patterns and processes that recur across time and space. This global perspective will allow us to address “essential questions” that remain applicable in modern life: how should we think about and evaluate our relationship with the environment? What makes a civilization “legitimate?” Who gets to decide on this definition? How do we know what we know? How do we evaluate evidence and arguments? Where have we been as humans and how does this tell us where are we going?

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Required for Form III

AP World History II

This is a continuation of AP World History. It follows the same guidelines as with AP World History I. The students are then well prepared for taking the AP World History Exam at the end of the year.

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Required for Form IV

AP U.S. History

This course is the Advanced Placement survey course in American History. The course is also divided into 2 one semester courses which are non-AP. The first semester covers US History in pre-history through 1876; the second semester covers from 1876 through present day. The major topics of American political, constitutional, and economic development are covered in class sessions. Outside reading concentrates on social and cultural developments. Each semester, first or second, may be taken as a semester credit in American Studies. To gain credit as an AP course, two semesters of US History must be completed.

Course Length: All Year
Registration Policy: Open to Forms V & VI

AP U.S. Government & Politics

This course is a college-level course designed to allow students to think critically about government and politics in the United States. This class is current-events oriented, meaning we will always be relating the material to present political issues. Students can expect to learn important facts, concepts and theories relating to U.S. government such as the three branches of government, federalism, and separation of powers. Students explore the two-party system, the beliefs and principles of each party, and how interest groups and the media play key roles in the election of candidates. Students also analyze patterns and trends in political behavior to predict future election results. This course is a one semester credit in American Studies

Course Length: 1 Semester
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V & VI

AP Comparative Politics

The course will study in some detail six major representative political systems, those of Great Britain, Russia, China, Nigeria, Mexico, and Iran. These systems will serve as a basis for a general study of political science and theories of government. Comparisons will be made to the American system.

Course Length: 1 Semester
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V & VI

AP Macroeconomics

This is a one semester course leading to the Advanced Placement Exam. The course provides a thorough study of basic economic principles emphasizing the American economy. An effort is made to apply this concept to the real world through extensive use of newspaper and magazine articles concerning current economic situations. This course is a one semester credit in American Studies. As an AP course credit, both semesters of Economics must be completed – the second semester course alone (Microeconomics) is not a credit for American Studies.

Course Length: 1 Semester
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V & VI

AP Microeconomics

This is a one semester course leading to the Advanced Placement Exam. The course provides a thorough study of basic economic principles emphasizing the American economy. An effort is made to apply this concept to the real world through extensive use of newspaper and magazine articles concerning current economic situations. This course is a one semester credit in American Studies and is a prerequisite for AP Microeconomics which is offered in the spring semester.

Course Length: 1 Semester
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V & VI

Culture, Conflict, and Construction: A History of the Modern Middle East

This one semester course is a survey of the Middle East in which we examine the series of conflicts which began to scar the region in 1948. We examine the early histories of each country, and explore how a region of such cultural, linguistic, religious and ethnic diversity has been so volatile as centuries-old patterns have been challenged and new nations have been constructed. The course is reading–intensive and requires the students to produce a major research paper that is of college-level quality.

Course Length: 1 Semester
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V & VI

International Relations

This course will study issues of the contemporary world which shapes relations between states. Focusing on the world since 1945 (but with regular references to earlier history) the course will examine issues affecting major areas of the world which are currently manifesting tensions and developing problems. Major concepts such as balance of power, paradigms of world order; factors in globalization as well as foreign policy construction will be addressed.

Course Length: 1 Semester
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V & VI


Native American Studies

This course will trace the Native American Peoples in terms of their culture, history, and literature. We will survey original cultures, social structures, and language, looking at their ecological determinism as well as studying their social interactions among tribes and other peoples of European contact. This course may be taken as a one-semester credit in American Studies.

Course Length: 1 Semester
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V & VI

Physical Anthropology

This course is the study of human biology within the framework of evolution, with an emphasis on the interaction between biology and culture. It is composed of several sub disciplines; paleoanthropology to genetics, primatology, archeology, ethnology and sociology. The course traces the early hominids from their origin in East Africa to Homo erectus, Neanderthals, to early man in the New World.

Course Length: 1 Semester
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V & VI

U.S. Constitutional Law & Politics

This one semester course provides students with an introduction to the development of American constitutional law. Historic Supreme Court decisions and legal case studies will be used to develop an in-depth understanding of the historical background and present-day constitutional controversy over such topics as federalism, separation of powers, property rights, privacy, free speech, freedom of the press, the religious clauses, and the equal protection clause. This course is limited to those students who are interested in the development of American constitutional law and who have successfully met the prerequisites.

Course Length: 1 Semester
Registration Policy: Prerequisites: AP US Government & Politics, or AP U.S. History with departmental permission; Elective for Form VI

AP European History

This course builds on the themes and content of the World History courses taken in 3rd and 4th but focuses on Europe and European culture from 1450 to the present in four main historical periods. The main themes in the course are Europe and the world, poverty and prosperity, states and other institutions of power, the individual and society, objective knowledge and subjective visions. There are no specific prerequisites for this course other than the ability to read a college level text and good writing skills. The presumption is that those taking the course have done well in 4th Form World History. This course is being offered as a one semester class in both the fall and the spring.

Course Length: 1 Semester
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V & VI


(Non-Departmental) AP Psychology

This two-semester AP course is designed to give students a basic understanding of the psychology of human behavior and mental processes. Students will be given exposure to the concepts, terminology, principles, and theories that comprise an introductory course in psychology. Conducted in consultation and coordination with the Religion Department of The Abbey School, AP Psychology synthesizes the broad range of psychological theories, emphasizes research methodology, introduces psychology as a laboratory science, and encourages critical thinking. After completing a brief history of psychology, students will be introduced to theories of learning, memory, perception, cognition, development, personality, motivation, emotion, and social psychology. Summer reading will be Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century by Lauren Slater. Students successfully completing both semesters will be required to take the AP Psychology Test.

Course Length: 2 Semester
Registration Policy: Elective for Forms V & VI



Social Studies Faculty
Mr. Henry Achilles, Department Chair
U.S. History; AP U.S. History;
M.A., Liberal Studies, Georgetown University
B.A., History, George Washington University
hachilles@saintanselms.org
Mr. Paul Commins
AP Macroeconomics
M.S., Statistics, University of Minnesota
B.A., Mathematics, Grinnell College
pcommins@saintanselms.org
Fr. Michael Hall, OSB, Ph.D., '56
AP U.S. Government & Politics, AP European History
Ph.D., History, McGill University
Diploma in Historical Studies, University of Cambridge
M.A., History and Politics, Catholic University of America
B.A., Philosophy and History, Catholic University of America
mhall@saintanselms.org
Mr. Jeffrey Harwood
Geography
M.A., Literature, American University
M.Ed., Elementary & Secondary Education, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University
B.A., Psychology, University of Rochester
jharwood@saintanselms.org
Mr. Mike Manglitz, '00
AP World History I
M.Ed., Reading Instruction, Goucher College
M.A., English Literature, The Catholic University of America
B.A., English Literature & Secondary Education, Goucher College
mmanglitz@saintanselms.org
Mr. Thomas Mehigan
Introduction to Classical Civilizations; Introduction to Liberal Arts
Certificate, School Administration, Middle School Principal, George Mason University
M.S., Special Education, Hunter College, City University of New York
B.F.A., Drama, Illinois Wesleyan University
tmehigan@saintanselms.org
Mr. Kirk Otterson
AP World History II; International Relations
M.S., International Relations & National Security Affairs, Troy University
B.S., German (International Studies Concentration), University of Texas
kotterson@saintanselms.org
Mr. Jonathan Vaile
AP Psychology
M.A., Literature, George Mason University
B.A., English and Psychology, Randolf-Macon College
jvaile@saintanselms.org