History & Social Sciences

A laboratory of human experience.

When we study history, we are better able to grasp the forces that affect our own lives and better able to understand how the world really works. Incoming third formers must take two years of history: Modern World History and United States History (taken junior year). Seniors must pass all yearlong courses and all courses in the spring term of the senior year in order to be considered for graduation.

Adv. Comparative Government & Politics

OFFERED: yearlong

This yearlong course is designed to provide students with the conceptual tools necessary to develop an understanding of some of the world’s diverse political structures and practices. Since peoples of the 21st century world are interconnected, teachers and scholars of social studies must be able to interpret many puzzling international events. Thus, the course will examine the government and politics in the following diverse countries in detail: Great Britain, India, Russia, China, Brazil, Nigeria, and Iran. These countries are taught to provide a theoretical framework to compare political systems around the world. The aim is to help students grasp the political complexities of our global environment, and gain some understanding of both commonalities and differences among modern political systems and their foreign and domestic policies. This course is open to juniors and seniors by departmental approval.

Advanced Anthropology

OFFERED: yearlong

This course explores human diversity by examining societies and cultures and focusing on cultural similarities and differences. While teaching skills and strategies that will enable students to be successful in college, this course explores the impact culture has on our lives and how anthropology is relevant in today’s world. Through texts, films, projects, and hands-on activities, students will explore how culture shapes who we are. Topics include differences in cultural core values, food, families, body language, concept of time and space, beauty, art, gender, and sexuality. We will study sub-cultures as diverse as illegal immigrants, drug dealers, athletes, gang members, college culture and New England prep school students. We compare cultures ranging from Vietnam and India to Afghanistan and Africa’s Kalahari Desert. The instructor’s own book, Perfectly Prep, will provide both examples of the themes of the course as well as a model for the students’ own primary research. During this course, the students will design, conduct, analyze, write and then present an ethnography on a subject of their choosing. This course is open to juniors and seniors by departmental approval.

Advanced Psychology

OFFERED: yearlong

The Advanced Psychology course introduces students to the scientific examination of the causes and intricacies of human behavior. Students will learn how psychological research is conducted and the ethical standards applied to such research. Human behavior will be examined through the biological, cognitive and social lenses. The evolution of psychological perspectives will lay the groundwork for in depth examinations of the psychology of development, learning and memory, personality, motivation, human relationships, health and abnormal behaviors. Students will apply the principles of psychological research by designing and conducting their own experiments. Emphasis will be placed on the development of skills used to understand and execute psychological research, including reading psychological research and experiments, identifying and replicating research methodologies and applying psychological patterns and phenomenon to data analysis. This course is open to juniors and seniors by departmental approval.

Advanced United States History

OFFERED: yearlong

This course examines U.S. political, social, economic, and cultural developments from the American Revolution to the modern era. The course is designed to prepare students for college level rigor by requiring extensive reading, writing, seminar style discussion, and public speaking. All students enrolled in the course are required to engage in an independent research paper process. This course is open to juniors by departmental approval.

Advanced World History

OFFERED: yearlong

This course takes a thematic approach to analyze important points in world history throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. The fall term emphasizes features of early civilizations. The winter term explores the clashing of civilizations. The spring term explores the scrambling of civilizations in a globalized world. Students evaluate what features of civilization have been most influential in shaping modern governments, cultures,economies, and societies around the world . The course focuses on developing higher level thinking, reading and writing skills as the main assessments are research papers, presentations, and discussions.This course is open to sophomores by departmental approval.

American Government

OFFERED: fall term

This course involves the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. politics. It familiarizes the student with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. political reality. The course focuses on the following topics and questions: the constitutional underpinnings of the United States government, political beliefs and behaviors; political parties and interest groups; institutions and activities of the national government; civil rights and civil liberties; and America’s role in the world. This course is open to juniors and seniors or by departmental approval.

Constitutional Law

OFFERED: winter term

Constitutional law is the interpretation and application of the Constitution by the United States Supreme Court. This body of law is concerned largely with defining the extent and limits of governmental power and the rights of individuals and groups. This course will survey major Supreme Court decisions and how they affect the lives of everyday Americans. Particular focus will be given to the area of how the Constitution is interpreted during times of peace and during times of war. This course is open to juniors and seniors or by departmental approval.

Contemporary Global Politics

OFFERED: yearlong

The purpose of this course is to introduce the history and structure of the United Nations with the objective of participating in Model UN conferences in our region. During the conferences, students will act as diplomats representing member nations. In their capacity as diplomats, they will create resolutions to address global problems that reflect the interests and needs of their nation and other member nations (human trafficking, environmental protection, international peace and security, aid for development, etc.). They will also represent their nation on committees that debate the mock resolutions. Preparation for conferences will include knowledge of the structure and functions of the UN, research and understanding of the nation being represented, exploration of the themes of the conferences and learning and practicing Parliamentary rules of procedures. This course is open to sophomores, juniors, or seniors.

Global & Sustainable Development

OFFERED: yearlong

This yearlong course provides an in-depth look at the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development, utilizing historical and recent developments in the social, political, and physical sciences. The fundamental question is how different countries, communities, and individuals can continue to develop in a way that is socially just and environmentally sustainable. The course looks at the complex relationships between governments, economies, societies, and the Earth's physical environment. The fall term will examine the reasons societies succeed and fail, while comparing and contrasting different countries' approaches to development. This study carries over into Project Pomfret and our class trip to Costa Rica, where we will study energy, conservation, agriculture, and urbanization in this developing Latin American country. The Winter term focuses on consolidating and applying what we learned in Costa Rica, while actively comparing the strategies we saw "in action" with sustainable development goals being pursued in specific countries. The spring term shifts our focus to commodities, such as bananas, coffee, and milk, and what these goods and their supply chains teach us about the triumphs and challenges of sustainable development. By enrolling in this course students will gain an understanding of the challenges and solutions to achieving sustainable development now and in the future. This course is open to sophomores, by departmental approval only.

Honors American Studies

OFFERED: yearlong

Inspired by the sight of the American flag waving triumphantly during a successful battle in the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem entitled, “The Star-Spangled Banner” that eventually became the country’s national anthem. Each of the four stanzas end with the iconic line: “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Our goal is to explore to what extent America has embodied this ideal. Who has needed to be extra brave to live in the land of the free? During this interdisciplinary class, we will study American literature and journalism inside its historical context across the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, focusing on the themes of race, gender, and class respectively. We will scrutinize what makes America a home and how some groups of people pushed to expand who belongs. Throughout the year, this course aims to cultivate the skills of perspective taking, close reading, analytical writing, and courageous discussion. This course satisfies a student's U.S. History graduation requirement. Prerequisite: departmental approval

Humanities: History I

OFFERED: yearlong

This course aims to introduce students to the rich diversity of human culture and ideas from the Axial Age of world history through the emergence of the three primary monotheistic world religions. In this course, we will explore humanity’s evolving and overlapping belief systems. With an emphasis on the study of artistic, civic, religious and philosophical texts, students will return to the central question posed by any humanities course: what does it means to be human? Additionally, throughout the year, we will be asking questions like: How have different cultures imagined themselves? What is the relationship between faith and knowledge? How has geography determined outlook? How should societies be governed? How do cultures represent the role of the individual and the role of a higher power in society? How do cultures imagine 'universal' concepts like love, family, duty, suffering, and hope? How have writers and artists understood encounters with other civilizations? This introductory and foundational course will emphasize the skills of close reading, analytical writing, research methodologies, and oral persuasion. These skills represent the connective tissue between the History I and the English I course since the History I and English I instructors will share the same cohort of students.

Modern World History

OFFERED: yearlong

This course emphasizes the development of world civilizations as well as the increasingly complex interrelations between these different areas of the world. Students learn, practice, and develop the skills (critical reading, writing, research, primary source analysis, study skills, etc.) needed to be an effective historian, while investigating important historical and current events. Throughout the year students encounter major historical themes including nationalism, imperialism, nation building, globalization and its consequences, among others. The study of these themes coupled with the active practice of skills prepares students for their future history courses at Pomfret and beyond. This course, or its equivalent, is required of all entering freshmen and is a graduation requirement.

Psychology of Gender

OFFERED: winter term

Students in this course will examine theoretical foundations and empirical data for gender similarities and differences across the psychological domains of biology, cognition and social and cultural constructs and norms. Exploration and inquiry will include topics of pluralities and ambiguities of genders, how gender intersects with other aspects of human life (race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age) and how gender impacts one’s own lived experiences.


Psychology of Self

OFFERED: spring term

In this course, students will discover the biological, cognitive and social contributions to their identity and patterns of behavior. Genetics, personality and environment will be explored through self-study, empirical data analysis and theoretical inquiry.

United States History

OFFERED: yearlong

In this course we offer students a survey of social, economic, and cultural aspects of American life. We emphasize the United States’ political processes, the development of its economy, and its role as a world power. The survey course will look at U. S. history topically, and will go into far more depth in areas that have not been previously covered in Modern World History. The successful completion of a research paper is also required. This course, or its equivalent, is required for graduation.




Meet the History Department Faculty

Katie Wells

Katie Wells

History Department Chair
Patrick Boyd

Patrick Boyd

Assistant Dean of Students, History Teacher
Patrick Burke

Patrick Burke

Director of Faculty Mentoring and Development, History Teacher
Sarah Chase

Sarah Chase

Anthropology Teacher
Katherine Duglin

Katherine Duglin

History Teacher
Douglas MacLeod

Douglas MacLeod

History Teacher

Tucker Prudden

History Teacher, Learning Support Team
Quinn Rose

Quinn Rose

History Teacher

Robert Toste

History Teacher
Katie Watkins

Katie Watkins

History Teacher



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