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20th Century History, Politics, and Worldview – Cold War to Present


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20th Century History, Politics, and Worldview – Cold War to Present


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This course explores the politics, histories, philosophies, and worldviews of the 20th century, from the beginning of the Cold War to 9/11. A direct precursor to our own age, the events of this century created the world that we live in today. From the Yalta Conference and Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech to the horrors of the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent wars, lectures and readings will give students a highly detailed overview of this period. 

Major themes will discuss postmodernism as the root of many 21st century ideas; the global politics of the Cold War; power and imperialism; and the value or lack thereof in social changes. There will be weekly mini assignments which help the teacher to gauge the student’s understanding of the material and help students work towards their end of term paper with ample feedback. There are two open-book, open-note tests, for which the teacher will provide study guides. At the end of the term, there will be a single six page, primary source based research paper over a topic of the student’s choosing. The class will begin working on their papers in the early weeks of the semester with the teacher’s assistance to ensure a smooth research and writing process that engages the student with the historical method. 

Class times will consist of a lecture and lively discussion over the reading material and various intellectual ideas we encounter. This is a reading heavy course, but students will be introduced to some of the most important literature and historical documents of this period, documents which have greatly impacted the present. Readings range from 15 pages to a book per week, but we have sought to even out the reading load by breaking up larger reading assignments with smaller documents. This class is intended for grades 10th-12th, but younger students may contact the teacher to discuss a lighter course load.

SPECIAL NOTE: Some of these works deal with mature themes; therefore, this class is best suited to those that can handle mature topics, situations, and themes. The teacher will send a brief description of the content to the parents at the beginning of the semester.

Please view prerequisites and required supplies below.

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The Day Lasts More than 100 Years by Chingiz Aitmatov; ISBN: 0253204828
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Aitmatov’s book is available via Amazon, while Miller’s work is available on YouTube or from your local library.

Portions of selections provided by teacher:
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan
The Wretched of the Earth by Richard Fanon
Richard Wurmbrand
Civil Rights Movement oral histories
Svetlana Alexivich
The Tenth of December by George Saunders

Claire Patton enjoys teaching history, English, and various electives for middle school and high-school students. She has worked as a teaching assistant in history classes for two years and has independently taught a research writing intensive seminar for upper high-school students. Claire herself was an online student during high school and enjoys working in this format. She loves connecting with students and teaching them to love learning about the world around them. Claire realizes that students may not remember everything she teaches them, but she wants students to exit her classes knowing how to find information, read and understand primary sources, interrogate data, and communicate well.

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