This course is an introduction to the Arabic language and culture. Students work with a variety of media to master reading and writing the Arabic alphabet and develop listening and speaking skills in both the Modern Standard Arabic that is understood by more than 300 million Arabs around the world, and the Levantine dialect used in Jordan, Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon. With an emphasis on developing communicative skills and an understanding of grammar, Students learn the basic linguistic structures of the Semitic Language family and develop an appreciation of Arabic calligraphy art. Through a blended instructional format, students use iPads to complete online homework through apps, interactive websites, videos, recordings, as well as the tried and true pen and paper. Much of the content is introduced through homework and then practiced and activated in class through collaborative activities and speaking experiences. Class is conducted mostly in Arabic with some English when needed.
This course advances students’ Arabic skills into the intermediate level of proficiency in all language skills, both in the communicative Levantine dialect as well as in the Modern Standard Arabic. This class continues the blended instructional format, students continue to build their communicative skills and expand their knowledge of grammar. In class, students are exposed to authentic material and are engaged in collaborative work that fosters a deeper understanding of the values and practices of the Arabic culture. Students in this class continue the use of iPads to submit a variety of homework assignments through apps, interactive websites, videos, recordings, as well as the tried and true pen and paper. This class is conducted mostly in Arabic.
This course builds upon students’ language skills developed in Arabic 200 or its equivalent, to advance into the Arabic 3 level of communication skills in the language. Students at this level continue to expand their knowledge of grammar as they apply their skills through collaborative real-world assignments. This continues to help students advance their language skills in the Modern Standard Arabic and the Levantine dialect. Students continue to learn through a variety of homework assignments, apps, interactive websites, videos, recordings, as well as the tried and true pen and paper. This class is conducted in Arabic.
At this level, students continue developing their language skills through authentic material in the Levantine dialect alongside literature in Modern Standard Arabic. Grammar is integrated through classroom discussions and activities. In this class, students expand their understanding of grammar and enrich their vocabulary as they engage with the material through homework assignments apps, interactive websites, and videos. This class is conducted in Arabic.
This honors course is a combination of modern standard Arabic and the colloquial dialect of the Levant area. In this course, students explore a variety of modern readings, literature, writing styles, film, poetry, music and culture. Students are expected to be active in class discussions, as well as in communicating regularly with a native speaker of the language abroad, via Zoom. This class is conducted fully in Arabic.
Anyone can learn how to draw! This course is intended to be a first experience in the visual arts. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of drawing: line, form, composition, and rendering through a variety of assignments involving linear perspective, and drawing from observation. Through a brief art history survey, artist’s presentations, and short documentaries, the course seeks to inspire a reverence and awe in students for the tremendous creative capacity of humans. The practice of drawing will enhance observational skills that are important to future academic and professional success, no matter what field the students decide to enter. This course prepares students for AP Studio Art.
This course offers instruction with formal skills and an opportunity for creative expression through the medium of photography. For inspiration, the class will study current and iconic contributors to documentary and fine art photography, covering a wide range of approaches. Students will work with DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras and advanced editing software to create a portfolio of original work, in response to two unique project prompts. The use of analog film cameras and darkroom printing will be an option for the final project.
This course offers an opportunity for creative expression through the medium of videography. For inspiration, we will study current films and the history of film and video. After and introductory project to establish basic skills, students will pursue an ambitious final project. Each student will receive guidance in writing an adapted or original screenplay, for the purposes of creating a short film of their own. This course will develop skills in writing, directing, acting, camera operation, and editing. Final projects may be submitted to the annual Deerfield Academy Film Festival.
Haven’t you always wanted to be an architect? This course introduces students to major movements and themes in architecture, significant architects and buildings throughout history, contemporary architectural issues, and basic drafting and digital drawing techniques. Utilizing discussions and field trips around campus and Historic Deerfield, students will develop an appreciation for architecture and become conversant with its history and vocabulary. Students will also complete several studio drawings and renderings that would prepare them for other architecture courses in the curriculum. This course is not open to students who have taken Architectural Drawing & Design 1 or 2.
Why is our built environment so ugly? What can we learn from existing cities, like Charleston, Cartagena, and Paris? Students will utilize readings, drawing and analytical exercises to study existing cities, both historic and contemporary, to distill the qualities that make a beautiful place. One of the emphases will be on how current and future decisions regarding the built environment can be influenced by this study. While architecture is certainly part of the course, the primary focus will be on urban patterns and how buildings relate to each other in a cityscape rather than on individual buildings. The design component of the class will involve redesigning portions of cities and building digital models of them.
Learn how to draw, design and think like an architect! Students will be introduced to principles and elements of two-and three-dimensional architectural representation and design. Projects range from drawing traditional architectural views by hand and digitally, to rendering drawings using pens and watercolors, to building physical and digital models. Instruction is given in architectural design, drafting, planning, and materials and construction methods based on the principles of classical architecture. Students will design a range of buildings and spaces, including residential and civic projects. Studio work is supplemented with readings in the history and theory of architecture.
This course offers an opportunity for students to pursue more ambitious projects in videography. The class will expand upon the study of current films and the history of film and video, for inspiration. Each student will receive guidance in writing an adapted or original screenplay, in any genre, for the purposes of creating a short film of their own. Students will further develop advanced skills in writing, directing, acting, camera operation, and editing. Final projects may be submitted to the annual Deerfield Academy Film Festival.
This course expands on the Intro to Photography course, with continued emphasis on the formal elements and principles of design, the history of photography, contemporary art in all media, and creative storytelling with the camera. The class routinely takes weekly field trips locally and around the northeast to diversify source material. Students work to build a portfolio of images organized around a self-selected theme. Students will print their best work to share in exhibition spaces around campus throughout the year. The long-term goal is to prepare a portfolio of exceptional work to submit for review by the College Board in the spring and to create the building blocks for an art supplement to be employed with applications to colleges. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See ART309 description. Please note students requesting the graded section receive priority in scheduling.
This course expands on Architectural Drawing and Design 1, with a continued emphasis on architectural history and theory. Students will continue developing their design and representational skills with a series of design projects of increasing complexity. The products of these projects will include drawings, renderings, and digital and physical models.
This course involves concentrated study in drawing and follows the Advanced Placement syllabus. The fall begins with a review of fundamental technique and includes design principles, creative process, historical perspectives and contemporary trends. Students will learn how to develop and cultivate concepts through research, refinement through practice and critique. Each student is expected to do outside reading, studio work and is required to prepare an AP portfolio to submit for the AP exam. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See ART319 description.
Would you like to know more about the place where you’re going to school? Old Deerfield, including buildings part of Deerfield Academy, Historic Deerfield, and the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, provide an ideal laboratory to study architecture, history, and historic preservation. Through field trips, discussions, and hands-on projects, including perspective sketching and water coloring, students will develop an awareness of architectural and preservation philosophy and learn about why the buildings in Deerfield look the way they do. A particular emphasis will be placed on future development in town and on campus and how the existing built environment can/should influence those decisions.
This course is intended for the student who desires to pursue visual arts beyond the Advanced Placement Drawing syllabus. The primary focus is on studio work: drawing and painting in the style of several contemporary artists. Students gain a broader perspective by examining renowned artists’ practices, engaging with exhibitions at the von Auersperg art gallery, field trips, and films. Students examine Brunelleschi’s principles of linear perspective, the palette of Kehinde Wiley’s portraits, Jenny Saville’s portrayal of the human figure, and Do Ho Suh’s examination of space and memory as it pertains to exile. Through research and practice, students are inspired to find their voices for self-expression and to produce work that breaks some new ground and goes beyond repeating examples presented in the introduction to projects. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See ART400 description.
This class focuses on advanced work for students who have completed at least two terms in the architecture curriculum. A full-term project of the class’s choice for the Deerfield campus is selected with an emphasis on digital and physical model building. Students will refine their drawing and design skills while working collaboratively on the design development and production of a complete architectural project. The class is designed to replicate the experience of working in an architectural office, with students being assigned various research, design, drawing, and model-building tasks based on the requirements of the project.
Students will approach the global art world as active participants and engage with its forms and content as they read, discuss, and write about art, artists, and art-making over time. We will explore the whole of the world’s visual imagery, from prehistoric times to the 21st century. They will understand how the following “big ideas” spiral across topics and units: culture; interactions with other cultures; materials, processes and techniques in art-making; artwork’s purpose and audience; and theories and interpretations of art. Students will develop their facility for visual analysis, contextual analysis, comparison, and argumentation. The goal is for students to experience art rather than memorize facts about it, and to establish an engaging dialogue about art and history. Through seminar discussions of nightly reading, students will approach art from different angles and consider its relevance to our own world and perceived notions of beauty, power, and identity. Students will also learn to make interdisciplinary connections, as art history offers the rare opportunity to examine other disciplines through sensory experience. Course may be taken as HIS420 or ART420.
This advanced course is for students who have completed the drawing/painting curriculum including the AP level and Post AP Studio. Students will continue to develop drawing skills working on teacher-initiated projects and pursuing a theme for a sustained, independent investigation. Students will use analyze and synthesize knowledge and experiences from other fields that can help inform solutions to their current project. Through presentations and critiques, the students will refine the skills that will allow them to present their work in a concise and compelling manner and understand the position of their work in the long continuum of artistic tradition. In the Spring, the students will collaborate with classmates in the creation of a final group project. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See ART509 description.
This course will explore selected biological topics including cell structure and function, genetics, biotechnology, evolution, ecology and human physiology. For each topic, students will engage in hands-on experiments in order to develop essential lab skills. Students will learn collaboratively through experimentation, discussion, observation and analysis.
Biology 1 Accelerated is a comprehensive introductory survey course intended for students who have a high level of interest in science and have demonstrated strong study skills. The course will be organized around the eight characteristics of life and emphasis will be placed on developing laboratory skills, collaboration and critical thinking.
Honors Biology is a demanding course for students interested in exploring the function of living systems in depth. Students should expect a significant amount of homework each night with a large investment in reading and writing. We will focus on the complex mechanisms at work in living systems and repeatedly draw connections across concepts as the year progresses, so students should be comfortable defining terminology and developing basic mental models independently. Because the number of concepts we may encounter is significant and exceptions to biological principles abound, students who thrive in this course will be able to prioritize essential information and face uncertainty with flexibility. In the lab, students will apply principles of experimental design, employ molecular biology tools, and conduct statistical analyses of lab results. Assessments will place an emphasis on argumentative writing and applying concepts in unfamiliar contexts.
This course is a survey of the human body systems. Students will gain an overall understanding of the systems while exploring the themes of homeostasis and “form fits function.” Significant time will be spent in the lab observing and testing physiology. Grading will be based on frequent assessments, lab write-ups, and group presentations.
This course will begin with an in-depth look at the structure and function of the immune system. We will then consider the mechanisms of different types of diseases and how our body systems can be compromised. Our investigations will include; cancer, Covid-19 and Ebola. Grading will primarily be based on assessments, group presentations and projects.
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection seeks to explain the amazing diversity of life on our planet. Unfortunately, since evolution is a process of change over time, scientists have long struggled to document evolution happening “live”. In this second-year biology course, we will explore the methods biologists use to explain evolutionary events in the past and to demonstrate the potential for future adaptation. Our primary goals will be to join the conversation of evolutionary biologists by reading articles published in scientific journals and to develop the experimental design and analysis skills necessary to conduct our own basic research. In the lab, we will learn to work with plants as model organisms and use statistical tools to test hypotheses. We will place an emphasis on scientific writing as we respond to the work of other scientists and present our own. Assessments will include short writing assignments, annotated diagrams, research proposals, and significant presentations of laboratory outcomes.
This course introduces students to the fundamental properties of matter and serves as a bridge between physics and the life sciences. Throughout the course students will learn to critically evaluate data, identify patterns, and develop ways of evaluating scale and proportion, and use these skills to make predictions. Compared to CHE205, the computational aspect of this course is de-emphasized. Students are expected to have a working knowledge of math skills including, but not limited to, unit conversions, order of operations, solving multiple step equations, graphing skills, and fluency with elementary operations and fractions. Most complex problem-solving in this course will take place in the classroom where students will have the support of their teacher and classmates.
The content covered in Chemistry is covered in this course, although at a faster pace and greater depth. Additionally, the introduction of thermodynamics and its application in biochemistry provides a strong foundation for students taking advanced biology classes. Although advanced mathematics is not required to be successful in this course, students must have strong mathematical problem solving skills. Once a topic is introduced conceptually, it is assumed that students in this course will be able to apply mathematical tools to problems with minimal support and be able to move quickly through computational aspects of the course. This course is best suited to students who have an interest in solving challenging problems both independently and in small group settings. .
This course is intended for students with a high aptitude and genuine interest in chemistry and physics and will cover content at the interface of these two disciplines. We will explore some of the ways molecules and ionic compounds can store, release, and transmute energy. All investigations will be grounded in the practical relevance to real world application. Students should already have strong familiarity with the essentials of molecular chemistry, including: Lewis Structures, equilibria, electrons, molecular orbitals, and Gibbs free energy. Furthermore, students should have a strong familiarity with the essentials of physics, including: force fields, potential differences, light, and mathematical descriptions of these concepts.
This course is intended for students with a high aptitude and genuine interest in chemistry and biology and will cover content at the interface of these two disciplines. We will explore some of the key biomolecular mechanisms of action leading to illness and learn how informed molecular design can furnish drug-like compounds. Students should already have strong familiarity with the essentials of molecular chemistry, including: Lewis Structures, equilibria, and energy. Furthermore, students should have a strong familiarity with the essentials of molecular biology, including: enzymes, cell-membraned based receptors, and the central dogma of biochemistry.
This course introduces topics from biochemistry and molecular biology and culminates in a student designed research project. Exact topics covered in the fall and winter terms will vary depending on student interest. Core topics will include concepts and techniques related to molecule biology and enzyme kinetics and will include DNA isolation, gel electrophoresis, polymerase chain reaction, primer design, and related skills. This work will continue into the winter term alongside the development of student initiated independent projects. The spring term will be devoted to carrying out projects in groups of 2-4 students. Students will write a final paper and create a poster presentation for the Science Symposium.
This course is an introduction to Mandarin Chinese for students with little or no background in the language. Students learn the basic communication skills in Mandarin and explore related cultural aspects. The course begins with an introduction to the sound system and moves on to basic skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Students develop their language skills and culture awareness through daily collaborative activities and practice using text, audio and video materials as well. By the end of the year, students are expected to have good pronunciation, oral and aural proficiency for basic communication, and foundational grammar for simple sentences and short paragraph building.
In this Chinese 2 course, students will continue to build upon the foundational skills acquired in Chinese 1. Through an immersive curriculum integrating aspects of Chinese culture, students will develop their abilities in listening, reading, writing and grammar structures, with a particular emphasis on speaking proficiency. Through this course, students will learn to communicate effectively in a wide range of typical real-world contexts, such as ordering at a restaurant, what to say at a doctor’s appointment, and how to lead a campus tour. This course aims to provide students with the linguistic and cultural foundation necessary for effective communication in the Chinese-speaking world.
In this intermediate level course, students reinforce what they have acquired in the previous levels and expand and deepen their skills in listening, speaking, reading, and writing by studying a variety of materials. Students focus on speaking and writing in a coherent, linguistically appropriate manner, using well-formed paragraphs through daily practice, storytelling and projects. Cultural content is integrated into each topic of discussion. Finishing the course, students are to be able to carry out rather fluent conversations about daily life and personal experiences and have acquired solid reading and writing skills to get ready for the next level.
In this Chinese Level 4 course, students will cultivate a high level of proficiency in the Chinese language, with a specific focus on the fluency of spoken language, reading comprehension, and writing proficiency. Students will engage with a diverse array of authentic materials that will provide them with a comprehensive understanding of Chinese language, culture, history, geography and contemporary social issues such as gender equality, climate-change, and health and well-being. Additionally, students will engage in a systematic study of Chinese vocabulary. The course also develops research and presentation skills, including several class projects. This course will expose students to the format and content of the Chinese Advanced Placement Language Examination.
This course is for students who wish to pursue the study of Chinese at a more advanced level. Students will further develop overall language proficiency through studying a variety of authentic materials and audiovisual sources that cover topics including culture, values, education, art, fashion, social issues, as well as controversial issues in contemporary Chinese society. They will expand their vocabulary and enhance their grammar to handle these broad subjects in both reading and writing. They will also build fluency with confidence and competency in Chinese by engaging in discussion, collaborative work, and projects about various topics. Furthermore, students will develop a more enriched understanding of the traditions and changes in Chinese culture and society.
This advanced course offers a comprehensive exploration of modern Chinese literature and writing. Students will delve into a diverse array of texts, including narrative fiction, films, poetry, and critical essays. With a focus on Chinese literature from 1920-1990, students will hone their ability to critically examine literary works and gain a deeper understanding of their cultural and historical contexts. Discussion about domestic and international current events is also a component of this class. This course is an ideal opportunity for students to expand their knowledge of Chinese literature, history and culture, and hone their analytical and critical thinking skills.
Chinese 7 Honors may be offered to students who, in consultation with the department and with its endorsement, wish to pursue an individualized course in Chinese.
Perhaps you have studied what the Romans wrote, read, and accomplished, but have you ever wondered what they ate? This seminar course, conducted in English, will introduce students to the food and food culture of Ancient Rome and of the Mediterranean. Students will be introduced to the ancient kitchen, ingredients and condiments, cooking methods, and eating habits through primary sources and archaeological evidence. To this aim, we will consult texts such as Petronius’ Satiricon, De Re Conquinaria, and inscriptions throughout the Roman Empire (texts will be provided in both Latin and English). The course will conclude with the practical preparation of Roman food. Students with and without knowledge of Latin are welcome.
This course is designed for students interested in the history, literature, and legacy of ancient South Asia. Beginning with the Sanskrit language—its rudiments, extent, and influence—we will proceed to an in-depth study of particular sacred and secular texts composed in South Asia between 1500 BCE and 500 CE. Course objectives are: a familiarity with basic Sanskrit and Indo-European linguistics, a working knowledge of the ancient history of South Asia, and an acquaintance with the major literary products of ancient Indian civilization. We will read selections—in translation—from the Vedas, Upanishads, Yoga Sutras, and the epic Mahabharata (including the Bhagavad Gita), as well as texts covering the six darśanas, or orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy. The principal theme of the course will be exposure to an ancient tradition still embraced by millions of people worldwide.
In this two-term course, students with little to no computer programming experience will learn how to code. This course equips students with a basic understanding of the world of technology and fosters logical algorithmic thinking. Students will be introduced to core concepts and principles of programming, which will be applicable to different platforms and languages as students venture further into computer science. This course stresses problem decomposition with an emphasis on independent problem solving. This course does not fulfill the Science graduation requirement.
This course teaches fundamental topics of computer science including problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, data structures, and algorithms. In this course, students learn an object-oriented approach to programming to develop solutions that can scale up from small, simple problems to large, complex challenges. Students will write, test, and debug solutions in the Java programming language utilizing standard Java library classes and interfaces. This course does not fulfill the Science graduation requirement.
This course follows Honors Computer Science and covers the analysis and design of fundamental data structures. Students learn to use these data structures to code algorithms that effectively solve complex problems. Topics covered include linked lists, trees, graphs, breadth-first and depth-first searches, hash tables, and recursion. Through extended individual and collaborative projects, students learn principles for good program design, and the use of data abstraction and modular program composition in writing clear and effective programs. This course does not fulfill the Science graduation requirement.
Digital Logic and Computer Architecture is a course that provides a foundation for students to understand the hardware and design of the modern stored program computer. Modularity and the art of managing complexity are core concepts that allow students to understand the conceptual stack of ideas behind processor design. In this course students will study number systems, transistor physics, combinatorial and sequential logic, memory design, finite state machines, instruction set architectures, and assembly programming. Using these concepts, students build and program a simple processing unit. In each unit students simulate, build and test functioning computer components. This course often requires independent learning and culminates in an extended project. This is a lab-based course and fulfills the Science graduation requirement.
This course is intended to be a first experience in dance. Elementary level students study a variety of dance forms such as contemporary, modern, jazz, ballet and hip-hop. This course also addresses the creative aspect of dance through improvisation and choreography. There is an emphasis on injury prevention for athletes. Students who take this course can continue into Dance I during Winter and Spring terms. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See DAN100 description.
This course is intended to be a continuation of the material covered in the introductory level dance class offered fall term. However, all elementary level students may sign up for this course either for one (winter only), or two terms (winter & spring). Students enrolled in this course may have the opportunity to perform in school dance concerts. No previous dance experience is necessary. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See DAN110 description.
This intermediate level course continues the study of the dance techniques and choreography covered in Dance I. Students enrolled in this course may perform in and choreograph for dance concerts each term. They also have the opportunity to work with a professional choreographer for the Spring Dance Concert. This course may be taken for the full year, or as a two term class in the fall and winter. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See DAN200 description.
This course is geared towards the serious student of dance and is designed to meet individual needs. Upper level intermediate dancers will train in a variety of techniques including contemporary, modern, jazz, ballet and hip-hop. They’ll have the opportunity to choreograph a dance collaboratively for our Student Choreography Showcase in the winter, and rehearse a dance with a professional choreographer for our Spring Dance Concert. Students can sign up either the full year, or two terms (fall and winter). May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See DAN300 description.
This course is appropriate for dancers who are proficient in the techniques offered through the program. Advanced dancers explore the craft of group choreography as well as the art of the solo. Student work is showcased in all of our dance concerts, and there are also opportunities to work with guest choreographers throughout the year. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See DAN400 description.
This class is tailored to meet the individual needs of the pre-professional dancer. Students work closely with the dance faculty to hone their technique, and create solo and group choreography for our performances. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See DAN409 description.
In the first half of the year, students are introduced to microeconomic theory through the study of such concepts as supply and demand, the law of diminishing returns, marginal utility, and the theory of the firm and industry. The second half of the year focuses on macroeconomic analysis and its historic development from Keynes to Friedman. Such concepts as national income analysis and monetary and fiscal policy are covered in depth. We also focus on public policy, globalization, and current political/economic issues through the use of case studies and supplemental readings. Solid analytical and mathematical skills are required, so selection will be made by the department. This course prepares students for the Advanced Placement Macroeconomics and Microeconomics exams.
Envisioning the demands of equitable societies and developing their distinctive, expressive voices as writers and thinkers, ninth graders explore familiar and unfamiliar lives and dilemmas depicted in literary genres drawn from sources across time and the world. In formal and informal narratives and arguments, students begin to recognize their individual styles and to refine their techniques. An examination of the fundamentals of English grammar, mechanics, and punctuation complements the study of literature. All ninth graders write and deliver a literary reading and participate in a poetry contest.
Tenth-grade English emphasizes critical reading, focused discussions and a variety of writing assignments connected to the study of literature derived from the British tradition. These include works of poetry, prose, drama and creative nonfiction from British and postcolonial writers. Close reading assignments and class discussions encourage students to analyze and to appreciate the elements of literature. Works by Chaucer, Shakespeare, the Romantic poets, and a Nineteenth Century novelist provide a common reading list. Students develop their writing voices and learn how to structure and develop expository essays. Tenth graders memorize and deliver a declamation from a literary genre of their own choosing.
This one-term course offers students an opportunity for focused writing practice. Honing and developing their skills in grammar, organization, use of evidence, and argument, students will gain greater facility as writers and build confidence in their ideas and their voice on the page as they make their way through the course. Pass/fail grading in this course will be based on effort. Students may take this course for one term in Fall or Winter, or they may take it for two terms in sequence for even more practice and growth.
The American Dream is a familiar phrase, but what does it mean? Whose dream is it? Is there just one dream for all Americans? How has it evolved over time? Do considerations of gender, race, ethnicity or class affect the pursuit of this dream? In this course, students examine texts from different genres and time periods that focus on the pursuit of an American Dream in order to gain an understanding of how this peculiarly American idea helped to shape the culture and literature of the United States. Along with the reading of various texts, students will hone their close reading skills, critical thinking skills and formal writing skills. Students will practice the writing process: brainstorming, drafting, revising and copy-editing to help take their writing skills to the next scholarly level. We will examine the works of writers such as Emily Dickinson, Kate Chopin, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Nella Larsen, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Anzia Yezierska, among others.
Carl Sagan once declared, “Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs.” What is literature, then, if not the echo of words spoken years ago? In this course, we will seek to hear such echoes in the work of American authors who sought to give voice to the country they knew, the country they suffered for, the country they dreamed of. We will also attempt to discern in these writers the various ways their poems, stories, and plays speak not simply to the reader but to one another. In addition to core texts from F. Scott Fitzgerald and Toni Morrison, we will likely encounter novels from Twain and Chopin; poetry from Frost, Hughes, Dickinson, and Stevens; short stories from Poe, Walker, and London; and drama from Arthur Miller. With an emphasis on analytical writing, students will develop ideas by reading closely and engaging in discourse around the seminar table.
We typically arrive at new understanding through our own experience. And so in this course we will explore the many ways writers across the American experience have captured particular understandings of what it means to live and work and write inside the American context, within its particular history, cultural preoccupations and assumptions. What do we see and hear in these texts? What questions do we hear these writers asking? And in what ways do the texts ask us to interrogate our own preoccupations and assumptions? Our reading will offer opportunity to consider issues of class, race, gender, power and justice (among other forces), as we seek to situate our own experiences, arrive at our own new understandings. Students will hone their skills as close readers and seminar participants, writers and editors, as we encounter works by Morrison, Baldwin, Melville, O’Connor, Fitzgerald, Akhtar, Rankine, Solnit.
Writing what’s new is inextricably linked to reading what’s come before. With that in mind, this three-genre writing workshop offers a survey of American literature with a focus on craft. How does effective writing work? What are the components? How do authors make art? As we survey the past, we’ll learn how to write well in the present. Students will create, present, critique, and revise significant creative writing of their own, including a complete short story, a folio of poems, and short nonfiction pieces. Fiction, nonfiction, and poetry will be equally represented across the year. Students will practice their critical and analytical writing skills both in response to their peers’ work and to the work of authors we read.
In this course, we will use a wide range of American short stories, poems, and novels to sample the many voices and issues that have populated American literature. Students may encounter writers ranging from Edith Wharton and Nathaniel Hawthorne in the 19th century to Alice Walker, Arthur Miller, and Toni Morrison in the 20th. The variety of story styles and ideas helps students to understand better how literature has changed over time and to hone their analytical skills by discussing how the stories work. The purpose of the course is to provide a breadth of exposure as well as a chance to sample modern literature.
America is made up of a patchwork of ethnicities, races, religions, and personal experiences. As the country has grown over the past 250 years, individuals have struggled to find their personal identities in the midst of America forming its own collective cultural and political identity on the world stage. We will examine the experiences of a variety of both native and immigrant Americans as they come of age in the melting pot that is our country. How are the varied journeys writers and their characters take in forming their personal identities informed by and affected by their status as citizens of the United States? We will examine works by authors such as Nella Larsen, Jhumpa Lahiri, Leslie Marmon Silko, Toni Morrison, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Junot Diaz, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Walt Whitman and Langston Hughes.
“I don’t believe in ghosts,” the writer Edith Wharton once asserted, “but I am afraid of them.” In this course, we will dare to awaken a few of the many specters that haunt American literature. We’ll get to know ghosts both spooky and slapstick, wistful and vengeful, long-undead and freshly penned. Throughout the year, we’ll examine these figures through a dual lens: We’ll analyze the ways in which they call out for national witness and restitution, and we’ll study the personal phantoms they animate for each of us. Our core texts will include The Turn of the Screw, Beloved, Lincoln in the Bardo, and The Sentence; we’ll also study short works by a range of authors including Charles W. Chesnutt, William Faulkner, Edith Wharton, Shirley Jackson, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Cheryl Strayed, and Carmen Maria Machado.
This course traces how the American literary tradition has turned again and again to the gothic genre to engage with issues of gender, race, class, justice, and belonging. We will read gothic texts in many forms–novels, plays, short stories, poems–as we consider how gothic tropes such as haunted houses, imprisoned heroines, and dark and stormy nights allow authors to explore American cultural anxieties. In addition to core texts by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Toni Morrison, students may encounter works from Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jeffrey Eugenides, Carmen Maria Machado, Shirley Jackson, Alice Walker, and Jesmyn Ward.
This course focuses on the ways in which in the past two centuries Black women writers have engaged with the intersection of Blackness and femaleness and examined, in their work, the position of Black women in American society. We will read selected fiction by Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, and Jesmyn Ward, and we will frame these texts with excerpts of nonfiction, history, social commentary, and theory by Sojourner Truth, Harriet Jacobs, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, and Patricia Hill Collins, among others. Over time, students will see some common threads emerging across the texts – questions of what it means to inhabit the roles of woman, mother, daughter, and sister; what it means to be beautiful, to use one’s voice, and to own one’s own sexuality; what it looks like to achieve self-actualization and empowerment in the face of structural oppression on multiple fronts; themes, too, of the power of love, family, and community, resistance and resilience, and history – and our work as a group will, indeed, be that of building together an understanding of how the texts, across genres, can and do exist in conversation. It will also be our goal to recognize how these texts can serve to instruct us, regardless of the identities we hold, as we move through the world. This is work that students will take on in discussion, and in regular reflective and analytical writing.
The ground-breaking “dystopian” novels of the 20th Century, such as Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, Huxley’s Brave New World and Kubrik’s A Clockwork Orange, have produced an extraordinary and growing body of literature that imagines future worlds shaped by current trends, for better and worse. What kind of societies will cyberspace, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, emerging technologies, terrorism, population growth, resource wars, pandemics and climate disruption produce? What will be the fate of the institutions and ideals that presently define us? What will happen to our fundamental notions of liberty, the individual, and human relationships? Will human beings flourish or fail? This course will examine these questions through several of the finest recent literary dystopias and will approach the reading in a primarily seminar-style, discussion format, with an occasional foray into relevant essays, short stories and films. Writing assignments will be predominantly creative responses to the reading with some additional focused journal entries and AP-style seminar papers.
This course will examine the importance of narrators to fiction. We will consider the function of the narrator as fundamental to how a reader interprets a text. What happens when an author intentionally includes an untrustworthy, unreliable and even unstable narrator? What about a narrator who only knows part of a story but tells it anyhow? How much does who is telling the story influence how the story is described or expressed? Through reading texts with different types of narrators, we will explore these and other questions to gain an understanding of how narrative form complicates the meaning of the text as a whole. The goal of the course is for every student to make the transition from talking about what a text says, or what happens, to making interpretive arguments about how a text works and what its meanings are. Students will also develop a vocabulary for discussing, analyzing and writing about narrative form. Students will practice the writing process: brainstorming, drafting, revising and copy-editing to help take their writing skills to the next scholarly level. Authors may include Agatha Christie, Michael Cunningham, Henry James, John Mullan, Edgar Allan Poe, Jeanette Winterson, Virginia Woolf and others.
Writers have said of New York City that “the present is so powerful…that the past is lost,” but for anyone who has wandered through the streets or around the boroughs, the city’s stories unfold in mystery, magic, and a myriad of voices. Focusing on Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence and Colum McCann’s This Side of Brightness, students will explore the social, economic, and historical forces that have united and divided New Yorkers since the city’s founding. Related texts include a selection of poems, documentaries, films, and memoirs. Along with sharing ideas freely in discussions, participants will write poems, narratives, and critical arguments.
Literature has an historical precedent of transmuting the realities of human existence into compelling narratives, thus accommodating an impulse articulated by Nietzsche when he wrote, “we have art in order not to die of truth.” This course will allow students to engage in the practice of writing creative nonfiction with a variety of forms and approaches. We will read and follow the models of Ta-Nahisi Coates, Hanif Abdurraqib, John McPhee, Rebecca Solnit, Adam Gopnik, David Foster Wallace, Zadie Smith, Jia Tolentino, Rebekah Taussig and several others as we familiarize ourselves with the genre and create artistically compelling pieces of narrative truth.
The tutorial approach to learning is a very old method of education that allows students to explore ideas on their own terms. For this class, students will compose their own reading lists and syllabi on one of the following topics: Understanding Love, Wealth & Work, The Value of Art and Philosophy, or Staring Down Mortality. Thus, students might explore the works of Jane Austen alongside Gary Shteyngart, or perhaps compare the dystopias of Octavia Butler with those of Kazuo Ishiguro. The class will meet in groups large and small to discuss the progress of their knowledge-building on the specific topic. Students will also be asked to deliver lectures, write a variety of papers, and participate in seminar discussions.
Starting with Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, the classic Japanese film told in multiple viewpoints, students will begin to consider the way writers and artists manipulate personal, visual, and cultural perspectives. With the early atomic age and the current struggles against terrorism, whether foreign or domestic, as backdrops, readers will turn their attention to Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows, which begins with the destruction of Nagasaki and moves forward to 9/11, then to Wole Soyinka’s post-colonial play Death and the King’s Horseman, and lastly to Shamsie’s Home Fire, a re-imagining of Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone. Along with sharing ideas freely in discussions, participants will write poems, narratives, and critical arguments.
Since the introduction of moveable type to Europe in 1450, political argument has been the common currency of public debate and democratic citizenship. Many of our most widely read public documents John Milton’s “Areopagitica,” Jonathon’s Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government,” Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” originated not as the widely admired works of literature they have since become, but as works of the moment addressing the great historical, political and cultural questions of their ages: freedom of speech and conscience, civil and human rights, the duties of citizens and the limits of democratic governance, to name but a few. This course traces the rich history of public argument across time (from the 18th to 21st centuries), genre (pamphlets, manifestos, public letters and lectures, Op-Eds, blogs and long form polemic), and media (print and digital). It seeks to introduce students to the classic ideas of conservative, liberal and radical thought, while extending the reach of student’s reading and deepening their understanding of the conventions and rhetoric of public argument. The syllabus will be shaped around heterodox bundles of texts and include work by authors such as: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, James Madison, Karl Marx, Abraham Lincoln, John Stuart Mill, Aldous Huxley, William James, George Orwell, Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag, Christopher Hitchens, Amos Oz, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer, Mark Danner, Michael Massing, George Packer, Mark Lilla, Ta Nehisi Coates, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Zadie Smith, Wesley Yang, Katha Pollitt, Jonathan Chait, John McWhorter, Ross Douthat and Andrew Sullivan, among others. Course may also be taken as HIS410.
Complexity arises from the simplest of premises: the more we look, the more we see. It’s a premise that leads from seeming-simple textual study to profound depths and critical insight. Students in this course will apply slow thinking principles to the study of significant poems, parables, and literary images, beginning from the premise that learning to discover the uses that a text may have in the life of its reader takes time, energy, conversation and contemplation. They will evaluate the subtle shadings and philosophical contours of parables by Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges and Clarice Lispector, poems by Arthur Rimbaud, C.P. Cavafy and Rainer Maria Rilke, and images for contemplation from the work of James Joyce, Louis Agassiz, and C.S. Lewis, among many other brief but significant texts. Through a deliberative process of notebook work, distinction and comparison, dialogue, and extended composition, students will apply their discoveries to a consideration of what Michel de Certeau terms “the practice of everyday life” and to the ongoingness of intellectual pursuit.
This course applies slow thinking principles to the study of structural metaphor and cultural production. Reading slowly, carefully, critically, and with discussion and the elucidation of ideas through writing in mind, we will consider some large questions: How is our experience of the world structured by language? What aspects of an action as simple as seeing are culturally informed or determined? What does it mean to be aware of the nature of your experience, and to act on that awareness? We will read John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing,” George Lakoff & Mark Johnson’s “Metaphors We Live By,” and David Antin’s “Tuning” to open these questions, and to understand their implications in our lives. Once we have established a conceptual framework, we will spend time engaged with cultural trends and artifacts – art objects, movies, commercials, magazine and newspaper articles, etc. – to develop a sense of just how prevalent our culture’s underlying metaphors might be, and to examine their possible impacts on our thinking.
This spring, we will approach poetry through the lens of slow looking, slow reading, slow composing and slow thinking, in a course that favors depth and amplitude of experience over speed of production. Students will look long and hard during each class meeting at rich, compelling and various examples of great poems written in the present and recent past for inspiration and example. They will immerse themselves in the world as it blossoms into spring, applying precise observation tactics to the study of the natural and human spheres and mining those observations for images and metaphors that will form the basis for their own notebook work and poems. They will think slowly and deeply, in notebook writing and seminar discussion, about the problems and opportunities that poems present. Throughout the term, they will work deliberately to incorporate each of these inputs into the development of their own poetic process and a small collection of well-informed, carefully considered original poems.
This course starts with Jo March, the star of Little Women and the nineteenth century’s most famous literary girl, because Jo March had a problem. It was a boy problem. Or, really, it was a girl problem. “I can’t get over my disappointment in not being a boy!” Jo steamed. Jo’s frustration was the shared frustration of so many young American women before 1920. Yet Jo’s story was also a triumph. Her creator, the writer Louisa May Alcott, reached enormous critical and popular success by refashioning American girlhood in Jo’s image as a time of freedom, agency, innocence, and power. When we examine writing about American girlhood, we come to see the critical role that real and imagined young women played in helping this country understand itself as a land of breathtaking opportunities and heartbreaking constraints. In this course, we will read fiction, autobiography, and diaries by writers such as Harriet Jacobs, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Zitkála-Sá, and Alcott to see how generations of women writers revised and remembered what it means to be young.
Secrets loom large in William Styron’s masterful novel, and readers will need to reserve their judgments about the choices the characters face until the stories of Sophie’s haunted past, Nathan’s frenzied present, and Stingo’s unfolding future intersect. Along with exploring the novel fully in discussions and informal responses, we’ll view and consider the award-winning film adaptation and several other artistic responses to the Holocaust.
Since Bob Dylan’s recent award of the Nobel Prize in Literature, songwriters and lyricists have gained more and more notoriety as true poets whose works are worthy of poetic analysis and study. This class will explore music lyrics from a variety of cultures and time periods to not only analyze their poetry, but also to investigate how the music and performer associated with each can affect our interpretations of the text we hear. Starting from the earliest music with lyrics that we know about and including your favorite music from today and everything in between, we’ll analyze lyrics as poems, reflect on the larger meaning of those lyrics within the societal contexts in which they were written, and even try our hand at composing new lyric poems. Students will keep journals to reflect on their own personal interpretations of the lyrics we study in class, and will periodically complete analytical writing to demonstrate understanding of lyric structure and meaning. No previous music experience or expertise is needed, and all poetry or music lovers are welcome in the class.
Dramatists expose the lies and illusions that can rend the social, familial, or political fabrics individuals often take for granted. Students will explore how those fault lines widen or mend in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, James Ijames’ Fat Hamlet, Lynn Nottage’s Ruined, and Suzan-Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog. In examining the forces at work within and upon each play, students will discuss cultural contexts and performance choices, and improvise creative possibilities in staging exercises. Along with sharing ideas freely in discussions and short responses, students will write and workshop monologues.
Inside Out: Coming to Terms With Climate Change. This course will use non-fiction, fiction, poetry and documentary film to establish an understanding of the origins and implications of the greatest challenge ever faced by human civilization and to explore the art, the politics and the ethics of confronting climate change both individually and collectively. Writing will be mostly creative responses to the reading, and as far as possible, we will exchange the classroom and the seminar table for the surrounding fields and woods, where walking will be the forum and the catalyst for our discussions as we consider the ways in which climate change is beginning to question, transform and redefine even our most fundamental ideals of success, community, leadership, education — and what it means to be human. May be taken as PHI420.
Sarah Resnick in The New Yorker frames the idea of racial passing in an article on Brit Bennett’s novel, The Vanishing Half: “From the antebellum period until the end of Jim Crow, countless black Americans crossed the color line to pass as white—to escape slavery or threats of racial violence, or to gain access to the social, political, and economic benefits conferred by whiteness.” The Vanishing Half, published in 2020, is a recent example of a robust tradition of literature engaging with the idea of racial passing, and the focus of this course is on three such texts – Bennett’s novel, as well as Nella Larsen’s Passing and Danzy Senna’s Caucasia. We will discuss the positioning of the novels’ characters who pass as white, as well as the effects and implications, according to these authors, of racial passing. In reading these novels in relation to one other, students will have a chance to consider the ways in which the three texts speak to each other: how they are similar, and how, in other meaningful ways, they may differ. As we read the texts, students will also be invited to consider their own position in the world, as well as how these narratives resonate with and inform their understanding of themselves and American society. Students will have opportunities to read closely, discuss collaboratively, and take on in writing the questions arising from the literature that most interest them.
This course will present opportunities for students to explore, interrogate, and reflect upon the experience of elite, residential learning. In the course of reading fiction and nonfiction pieces exclusively framed within American boarding school settings, students will examine questions surrounding these institutions in general as well as our own discrete roles within them. Readers will confront the works of Kendra James, John McPhee, Tobias Wolff, Lacy Crawford, Lorene Cary, Curtis Sittenfeld, and Shamus Khan. Through the course of various creative and analytical writing assignments and regular Socratic dialogue, students will synthesize their own experiences with those of the selected authors to arrive at a more nuanced and focused understanding of this idiosyncratic approach to education.
Everyone is translating all the time. By starting from this premise—that we are all translators, regardless of our fluency or lack thereof in other languages—students in this class will unpack the very nature of language, and what it means to try and communicate with other human beings. How do can we honestly express ourselves to others across racial, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural barriers? How successful or unsuccessful can we ever be in these efforts? Are there certain words, feelings, and ideas that are ultimately “untranslatable”? Do we always lose something in translation, or might we gain something, too? Together, we will explore a wide array of genres, such as translated fiction, poetry, films, and music, interviews with translators, and literary theory. Authors may include Gloria Anzaldúa, Mikhail Bakhtin, Walter Benjamin, Franz Kafka, Jhumpa Lahiri, Salman Rushdie, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Students will leave this course with a deeper understanding of the process by which language conveys meaning. Alongside close readings of texts, they will also uncover their own histories as translators. Students will write analytical pieces and creative personal responses throughout the term, and translate a text of their choosing for the final project. They need not have fluency in a language other than English to take enjoy this course.
This one-term course offers seniors an opportunity to strengthen their academic writing before they head off to college. The course is designed not only to ensure that students feel capable and confident in foundational writing skills of thesis-formulation, organization and structure, use of evidence, grammar and punctuation, and citation of sources; students will also have a chance to build more advanced skills, including how to effectively incorporate secondary sources and how to apply their skills to writing tasks across a range of academic disciplines. As a way of building toward these skills, students will complete a variety of writing assignments (a set of directions, a letter, a manifesto), and they will have quite a bit of choice as to what they write about (pop culture, music, TV, sports?). We will then use the lessons gleaned from these assignments and apply to them to the context of academic writing. Student will also read short pieces – essays, articles, short stories, perhaps a novella – to provide common material on which to write, but the focus of this course will be on the writing itself. As such, students can expect a lot of writing practice, a lot of 1-on-1 instruction, feedback, and conferencing, and, hopefully, a lot of growth.
The modern detective story is said to have its beginnings in Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841). Poe may have given the world its first detective and devised the format for a new genre of short story, but over the last 180 years, many writers have embraced detective fiction and created such well-known detectives as Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. The mysterious murder or theft, the small circle of suspects, the clues hidden in plain sight—these are the genre’s tools that have engaged and perplexed readers for generations. This course will examine detective fiction’s beginnings and its enduring legacy. In their exploration of the course texts, students will model their own reading and thinking on the detective’s analytical processes to strengthen their own skills of close reading, note-taking, critical thinking and logical reasoning. Regular analytical writings will accompany the readings. Authors may include Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, P.D. James, Anne Perry, and Edgar Allan Poe, among others.
For centuries, aspiring artists, writers, and performers, immigrants from across the globe, and newcomers from every corner of the country seeking fame or fortune have hoped to call New York City a home. Their experiences are often the inspirations for the stories, plays, and films students will encounter. Readings and viewings will likely include Wonderful Town: Stories from the New Yorker, Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. Along with sharing ideas freely in lively discussions, participants will write critical arguments, monologues, and a personal meditation.
Even the strongest friendships in Shakespeare’s comedies and tragedies grow fragile within romantic, familial, or political disruptions. Without losing sight of those larger forces, students will consider the strained sense of honor among friends in Much Ado About Nothing and the misguided choices dividing Hamlet and Ophelia, along with the easily overlooked Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, in Hamlet. To bring the plays alive beyond the page, the ensemble will discuss performance choices, critique filmed productions, and improvise creative possibilities in staging exercises. In addition to sharing ideas freely in lively discussions, participants will write critical arguments, monologues, and a personal meditation.
Let’s read dead people’s mail. Now, you might be wondering, why we ought to spend a term doing something as nosy as that? It is because before smartphones, Zoom, Instagram, Snapchat, texting, TikTok, and even landlines, people wrote letters to one another, ink-stained missives that crossed oceans on ships and traversed mountains on horseback. They used these letters to document their lives, conduct their business, and even to write fantastical stories. As physical artifacts and objects of literary analysis, letters are fascinating and unruly, ripe for discussions about private selves and public performances, emotional presence and physical absence, and authorial intentions and readers’ (mis)understandings. Working with both published and unpublished letters, as well as fiction and visual art, we will think about the role letters have played in shaping the lives of their writers. Together we will be rummaging around in correspondence by Emily Dickinson, James Baldwin, Alice Munro, Helene Hanff, among many others. Finally, we will pick up the pen to write and send many letters of our own.
In this introductory course, students learn basic French communication skills – while also exploring the cultures of the Francophone world. They engage in their own learning through collaboration, investigation and practice using text, video and audio materials. Students learn to write and speak in the present, past, and future tenses and give commands. An emphasis on speaking, listening, reading and basic writing guides the course. Students leave the introductory level ready for further French language acquisition.
This second level course focuses on increasing communicating skills, both in written and oral form, through the lens of grammatical acquisition. Students are exposed to, and expected to master, the past tenses and the future tenses that they will use in their writing and speaking. The study of negatives, and several pronoun categories will be integrated along the way. Reading a variety of Francophone texts, along with video skit performances, daily oral participation, and individual and group projects will establish the natural use of the acquired grammar.
This course is for students with a high degree of aural-oral proficiency. In addition to an in-depth study of grammar, students develop conversation skills and read a variety of short literary works from France and the Francophone world. Various technology sites will be used to enhance both written and oral production. As with all honors classes at Deerfield, French 2 Honors requires a substantial and consistent work ethic in order to master the material in a satisfactory manner.
The third year of language study is pivotal. Using the skills gained in the first two levels as a springboard, the students expand and deepen their knowledge and comfort level with language use. Intensive grammar review of the items covered in the previous levels allows students to deepen their understanding of the past and future tenses as well as the conditional mood. The reading of their first substantial novel opens them up to the diverse francophone diaspora. An end of year project puts to use all of the skills acquired in the first three levels of language study.
The honors track for level 3 continues exposure to advanced grammatical structures, which includes all tenses within the indicative and subjunctive moods, and a more sophisticated application of pronouns. Through the study of literary texts, students understand grammar and structure in context. Papers, skits, daily analysis, and class debates engage the students with the material. As with all honors classes at Deerfield, French III Honors requires a substantial and consistent work ethic in order to master the material in a satisfactory manner.
This course is for students who would like to pursue the study of French at a more advanced level. Students examine grammar more deeply through literature, continue to develop oral proficiency through discussion, and further hone their reading comprehension through the study of selected historical periods and their accompanying texts. A textbook is also used when grammar and structure review is necessary. Papers, skits, daily analysis, and debates help students engage with the material.
This honors course emphasizes oral proficiency, composition, and literary and oral analysis. Students will read a variety of genres from the Francophone world. This class will also examine French history through various films. As with all honors classes at Deerfield, French 4 Honors requires a substantial and consistent work ethic in order to master the material in a satisfactory manner.
This honors course emphasizes oral proficiency, composition, and literary and oral analysis. Students will read a variety of genres from the Francophone world. This class will also examine French history through various films. As with all honors classes at Deerfield, this course requires a substantial and consistent work ethic in order to master the material in a satisfactory manner.
This is a topics-based course for advanced speakers of French who have finished French 5 Honors. The course is especially designed for those students who wish to continue their French studies at the college level. Readings explore a wide variety of topics such as issues of contemporary France and the European Union. Open to students with permission of the instructor. This course may not be offered every year. Strong students can choose to take the AP exam. As with all honors classes at Deerfield, this requires a substantial and consistent work ethic in order to master the material in a satisfactory manner.
Students in this single-term elective will explore a specific topic of French and Francophone culture. Centered around a case-study of a specific literary, cinematic, musical, or cultural expression, this course allows students with various levels of French language competency to participate in an in-depth exploration of a specific topic. Students will learn useful research tools while continuing to enhance their language through the creation of a self-designed ‘capstone’ project related to the specific theme of the course. This course will vary yearly based on the research experience and expertise of the instructor.
This is a topic course for advanced speakers of French who have finished French VI-Honors at Deerfield, or its equivent. It is a course especially designed for those students who wish to continue their French studies. Readings will continue beyond the French VI-Honors curriculum and explore French colonization and the questions emerging in its aftermath, both in the colonized world and in France itself. This course may not be offered every year.
Who were the ancient Greeks? What did they think? How did they express themselves? And what is their relevance today? This course provides an introduction to the Greek language, specifically the dialect of Athens during the fifth and fourth centuries BCE. Precise, intricate, and beautiful, Attic Greek was a language of philosophy (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle), history (Thucydides), oratory (Demosthenes), tragedy (Sophocles, Euripides), and comedy (Aristophanes). The course introduces students to the vocabulary and grammar of Attic Greek, while exploring themes in Greek history, literature, and mythology. Offered as part of a two-year sequence. Knowledge of Latin is not required nor expected. Greek 100 does not fulfill the Language graduation requirement.
The second year of ancient Greek is designed to bring students from the rudiments of grammar to authentic texts. Beginning with a comprehensive review of Attic morphology, syntax, and vocabulary, the course graduates to advanced topics in Greek grammar and relevant social and historical content. Students proceed to authentic texts in both poetry and prose during the first term; the second term of Greek 2 will be spent on Plato’s Crito, an accessible and foundational example of classical Greek prose and ancient philosophy.
The third year of ancient Greek is a survey of classical Greek literature, beginning with the Fables of Aesop and concluding with the philosophy of Aristotle. Students will gain proficiency in the dialects of ancient Greek and the composition and analysis of Greek prose and poetry. Designed for advanved readers of ancient Greek.
Health Seminar I is a ninth grade course aimed to introduce students to the basics of mental & physical health, healthy relationships, and substance use. Students examine specific mental illnesses as well as discuss the effects of nutrition, social media, and substance abuse on mental wellness. Students will learn how to access supporting resources at Deerfield. This course meets two times a week: Monday and Fridays or Tuesday and Thursday. When Health Seminar I falls on a Wednesday, students will have Wednesday as a free period. Health Seminar I is a Fall Term course, though there will be one section taught in Spring Term for students who took theater or dance in Fall Term.
Health Seminar II is a tenth grade course seeking to support ongoing student awareness of issues related to mental health, healthy relationships, and addiction. Building off foundational concepts delivered in the 9th grade, course instructors guide student discussion around components of abusive relationships, the opioid crisis, and consequences of alcohol abuse. Additional topics we will discuss include human sexuality, alcohol and other drugs, and stress management. This course meets on Thursday or Wednesday and Friday depending on the week; students will have Monday and Tuesday as a free period.
This course examines the development of a number of early societies spanning multiple continents and many thousands of years. Those societies may include Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Mesoamerican cultures. Course materials include a wide array of historical and literary texts that provide insight into the ways ancient peoples organized themselves and explained the world around them. We will explore cross-cultural interactions across time and space with a focus on the ways that religious and cultural exchange shaped and continue to influence the world around us. Topics may include the literature of early Mesopotamian civilizations, the social structure of Egypt and Mesoamerica, and the political organization of classical Greece and Rome. Each 100-level history course provides students with a foundation of core skills, including source analysis, discussion and debate, inquiry-based research, and analytical writing and presentation.
Using literature and a rich variety of historical sources, this course studies the cultural, political, and economic consequences of colonialism in selected countries in Africa and Latin America. Each unit explores how the forces of conquest, colonization, and commerce have shaped the lives of individuals and communities in these countries. The interdisciplinary course materials also focus on the process of upheaval and change associated with revolution, decolonization, and independence in these regions. The course texts rely heavily upon indigenous voices and investigate a range of countries that may include Mexico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, the Congo, and South Africa. Each 100-level history course provides students with a foundation of core skills, including source analysis, discussion and debate, inquiry-based research, and analytical writing and presentation.
This course serves both as an introduction for students who have never studied Asian history and as a means, for those with foundational background, to further explore the societies, politics, and belief systems of India, China and Japan. While students focus primarily on one of the three regional civilizations each term, they also trace the complex web of commercial and cultural exchange paths that crossed Asia and stretched to Europe, Africa, North America, and Oceania. Along the way, they inquire into the relationship between these early pathways and modern global ones. Secondary source texts provide scaffolding for the course, but we spend even more time examining philosophical texts, early historical treatises, travelogues, and manuals on ruling and warfare. We additionally pay close attention to the role of racial/social hierarchies in shaping power dynamics, both in Asia and in a globalized, modern world. Each 100-level history course provides students with a foundation of core skills, including source analysis, discussion and debate, inquiry-based research, and analytical writing and presentation.
How did the universe begin? How has the universe developed over time? How do humans fit into this evolving story? Where is the future heading? These are questions that origin stories from different cultures have addressed for thousands of years. This course explores the modern scientific origin story of how the universe and life within it has grown more complex over the last 13.8 billion years. This tale, itself thousands of years in the making, has been woven together by a wide spectrum of thinkers and scholars from numerous scientific and historical fields. Together, students will engage powerful ideas and common themes across the entire time scale of history, from the Big Bang and creation of star systems to the emergence of the Earth’s first microorganisms and the recent rise of human societies. Because Big History relies upon content, concepts and texts drawn from many disciplines, students will need to carefully weigh how scholars develop and justify their claims about the past, and how, over time, new claims serve to refute or refine earlier ones. Students will also have the opportunity to create their own narratives, explanations and arguments in response to Big History’s essential questions. Each 100-level history course provides students with a foundation of core skills, including source analysis, discussion and debate, inquiry-based research, and analytical writing and presentation.
In this AP Seminar course, students explore the complexity of global food and water access/delivery systems while developing their skills as critical thinkers and strong communicators. The course focuses on current local and global issues related to freshwater availability and infrastructure, agriculture and food production, and water and food insecurity. The course teaches students to develop their own strong research questions, understand and analyze arguments, evaluate multiple perspectives, synthesize ideas, collaborate effectively, build and communicate their own arguments in both written and oral formats, and reflect on their increasing ability to engage with real world issues as engaged global citizens. Throughout this interdisciplinary course, students deepen their understanding of freshwater access and food systems through debates, seminar discussions, independent research, collaborative projects, oral presentations, guest speakers, and field trips. Students research freshwater issues and the environmental, economic, cultural, and health impacts of widely differing food systems and learn to both collaboratively and independently propose solutions and work actively for positive change. Most of the second half of the year will be spent working on a team project and individual research-based essay as part of the College Board Assessments for AP Seminar.
This course examines selected themes in the history of Europe, from the Renaissance to the recent past. Major topics include the Renaissance, the Reformation, politics, society and culture in early-modern Europe, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, the era of the French Revolution and Napoleon, the emergence of modern political ideologies, nation-building and imperialism in the nineteenth century, the world wars and the advent of the Cold War. The course prepares students for the Advanced Placement European History exam. As the course requires solid analytical skills and the ability to manage a substantial reading load, recommendation will be made by the department. To view a typical assignment students are expected to read and annotate in 70 minutes, click here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/13ohzInBhfssAi7KBD5gvU1wDppZb0LeN/view
This course in American history prioritizes depth over breadth in exploring certain critical junctures in the political, social, economic, and cultural history of the United States from pre-colonial times to the present, including its relations with other countries. We will ask how history and identity are inextricably linked, consider the ways in which history is the set of stories we choose to tell, and examine the competing values that have shaped the development of the United States as well as the forces of continuity and change. This course stresses the skills of a historian, including careful reading, critical thinking, primary-source analysis, discussion skills and analytical writing; its core assessments will extend beyond writing to activities that include debates, roundtables, simulations, and research-based projects.
This course, for students who are excited by historical inquiry and have demonstrated aptitude in prior humanities classes, is a fast-paced survey of United States history from colonial times to the late 20th century. Using a college-level textbook that is supplemented daily with excerpts of primary sources, as well as occasional secondary source readings and videos, students examine major themes and developments in social, economic, and diplomatic history within a framework of a political narrative. With an emphasis on careful reading, critical thinking, primary-source analysis, research, and analytical writing, students engage with one another and with the text to develop both a command of the substantial material and the skills of a historian. With some additional self-study, students taking this course can be well prepared for the AP U.S. History exam. A typical night’s assignment students will be expected to read and annotate in 70 minutes: https://drive.google.com/file/d/13ohzInBhfssAi7KBD5gvU1wDppZb0LeN/view
What motivates people to do good or evil? What is it like to live in a society that does not value truth? How do wars and scientific discoveries shape our conception of ourselves and our world? What threatens liberal democracy? These are some of the questions we will explore as we examine great upheavals of the last 100 years. Focused largely on events in Europe, and centered on the experiences of individuals, this interdisciplinary course explores how dreams of the future as well as memories of the past control the destinies of nations and people, yet are often contested or rest on myths. Topics may include the Great War and the intellectual and artistic revolution it fostered, Hitler and Stalin’s totalitarian regimes, Putin’s Russia, and the United States’ war in Iraq. Assessments will vary from writing analytical papers to producing a podcast to constructing a virtual museum exhibit.
The Nazi regime relied on long-standing strains of anti-Semitism as well as newer racial ideologies to gather support for their purposeful and highly systematic attempt to destroy the Jewish population in Europe. Beginning with an introduction to the roots of anti-Semitism in Europe, this course then explores the political, social and economic factors in Europe that made Adolf Hitler’s rise to power possible. It also examines the origins, development, and implementation of the Nazi Germany’s genocidal policies and their relationship to the Second World War. Using diaries, speeches, bureaucratic documents, memoirs, films, and historical scholarship, this course considers accounts by perpetrators, victims, survivors, bystanders and rescuers in order to wrestle with the motivations and suffering of the various people involved. Finally, the course investigates the aftermath of the Holocaust and its legacies today, including the historical scholarship of the last generation of Holocaust studies.
With its celebration of innovation, return on investment, and creative destruction, capitalism appears to be about the future. But it can be understood only by studying its past. Together we will investigate the global origins, development, and spread of capitalism from the 18th century to the present. We will pay special attention to investment, credit and money, conceptions of growth, the corporation, labor movements, technology and the environment, race and gender, consumer cultures, and the role of the state. Drawing on new historical scholarship, documentaries and podcasts, and a diverse array of primary sources, we will develop a critical understanding of capitalism as a system and ideology created and shaped by individual choices, social struggle, and government actions. After four months spent mastering core concepts and collaborating at the seminar table, students will design and embark on a two-month research project on a related topic of their choice.
There may be nothing more important to human beings than our ability to enshrine experience and recall it. While philosophers and poets have elevated memory to an almost mystical level, psychologists and neuroscientists have struggled to demystify it. This two-term, interdisciplinary course combines history, the neuroscience of how our brains create and retain memories, and the varied ways in which societies around the world have recorded and explored the concept of memory. While the course aims to explore the theme of memory globally, the course focuses specifically on two areas: the United States of the mid-to-late 19th century, and the Middle East of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The course examines the legacy of figures such as John Brown and Yasser Arafat, asking “How should we remember important polarizing leaders?” Texts will include E.L. Doctorow’s novel Ragtime, the 2017 play Oslo, and the 2020 memoir entitled The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine; students will compare these literary texts with their own research on historiographical interpretations. Students will also study resistance in the face of heavy odds and debate how these conflicts over memorialization affect our contemporary world.
Heroin, “Oxy,” fentanyl, carfentanil. These drug names, along with names of pharmaceutical companies set to pay billions in fines and civil liability, punctuate news stories about an opioid crisis that blossomed in the ‘90s and that has continued, unabated, in the pandemic era. Why, among developed countries, does the US stand out for this problem? Whose problem is it? Our course begins just up the road in Greenfield. We then trace opioids to their sources, mapping the global web of narcotics-trafficking routes and identifying stakeholders who both benefit from and are crippled by one of the world’s most lucrative renewable commodities. To understand opium’s power, we examine its history, exploring man’s economic, political and even artistic addictions to opium through topics as varied as the 19th- century Opium Wars, 20th-century music, and 21st-century film. Students will read major portions of Sam Quinones’s award-winning Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic. They will additionally interview substance-abuse specialists and travel to a courthouse to meet with social workers and legal experts in the field. Assessments in this one-term elective include debates, student-run discussions, and a short independent research project.
Witchcraft and its practitioners are staples in Western popular culture, and yet modern images and understandings grew out of a confounding history: thousands of people getting charged and even executed for an invented crime with no proof. This class will explore the beliefs, rituals, and persecution of what we know as “witchcraft” in the Atlantic World from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century. Students will also interrogate how that era of witch hunts translated into the iconic images of witches that we have today. Students will come to understand the intersections of religion, politics, gender, and power in shaping attitudes towards witchcraft as well as the ways in which these attitudes evolved over time. In this one-term class, students will analyze primary documents from Europe and colonial America collected in Elaine Breslaw’s Witches of the Atlantic World and Alison Games’s Witchcraft in Early North America, as well as sources from modern popular culture. A unit on the Salem Witch Trials of 1692 will give students the opportunity to explore a nearby case study of both the history and memory of a high-profile witch hunt.
Making Historical Documentaries. By combining the historian’s traditional tools of research and writing with the ability to harness sound and visuals, documentaries play a powerful role in shaping our understanding of the past. With ready access to audio and video sources on the Internet, as well as to filmmaking tools on laptop computers, students in this course develop and create their own films to tell compelling stories and convey important ideas about the past. After examining how documentary filmmakers’ choices—from the selection of evidence to the framing of images and inclusion of music—shape, add to, and detract from an informed historical understanding, students use provided tools and space to create documentary films on topics largely of their own choosing. To do so, students draw on and develop their skills in research and analysis, creative writing and storytelling, and artistic construction of the films themselves.
Since the introduction of moveable type to Europe in 1450, political argument has been the common currency of public debate and democratic citizenship. Many of our most widely read public documents John Milton’s “Areopagitica,” Jonathon’s Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” Thoreau’s “Resistance to Civil Government,” Frederick Douglass’s “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July,” and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail originated not as the widely admired works of literature they have since become, but as works of the moment addressing the great historical, political and cultural questions of their ages: freedom of speech and conscience, civil and human rights, the duties of citizens and the limits of democratic governance, to name but a few. This course traces the rich history of public argument across time (from the 18th to 21st centuries), genre (pamphlets, manifestos, public letters and lectures, Op-Eds, blogs and long form polemic), and media (print and digital). It seeks to introduce students to the classic ideas of conservative, liberal and radical thought, while extending the reach of student’s reading and deepening their understanding of the conventions and rhetoric of public argument. The syllabus will be shaped around heterodox bundles of texts and include work by authors such as: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, James Madison, Karl Marx, Abraham Lincoln, John Stuart Mill, Aldous Huxley, William James, George Orwell, Hannah Arendt, Susan Sontag, Christopher Hitchens, Amos Oz, Martha Nussbaum, Peter Singer, Mark Danner, Michael Massing, George Packer, Mark Lilla, Ta Nehisi Coates, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Zadie Smith, Wesley Yang, Katha Pollitt, Jonathan Chait, John McWhorter, Ross Douthat and Andrew Sullivan, among others. Course may also be taken as ENG410.
How have people banded together to affect social change? Why have different social movements used different tactics—withholding labor, engaging in violence, inspiring laughter or shock or horror—to achieve societal recognition and government protection? This class will explore the history of protest movements, along with the cultures and environments from which they arose. We will consider how successfully protest movements created lasting change, and we will identify and interrogate our metrics of success. Themes of this class include the preconditions of popular activism, the speed and scope of governmental change, and the complexities of coalition-building. The class will investigate case studies in labor, racial justice, and the gay liberation movement, among others. We will engage with a broad range of media, including historical monographs, film, music, law, and art.
In Western society, sports emerged as exclusive spaces for boys and men. One of the objectives of this class is to explore how women steadily worked to challenge notions of male dominance and forge their own place in sports, winning major gains in the twentieth century. The other objective is to move beyond the binary perspective of that history and interrogate how sport can both reinforce and challenge basic constructions of gender and sexuality. Employing methodologies from the discipline of history and the interdisciplinary fields of women, gender, and sexuality studies, students examine oppression and opportunity within a broad context of sporting activity. In class, students analyze primary source material including rhetoric in sports coverage, popular culture images, and material culture like uniforms and locker rooms. Major assignments include written source analyses and a research-based presentation on a relevant current issue and its historical context. During this one-term class, students forge a better understanding of intersectional analysis and develop skills essential to several social science fields.
In 1876, an employee at the Western Union Telegraph Company expressed skepticism about an unwieldy new invention: “The so-called ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” In this class, we will explore the groundbreaking technologies that have changed how we communicate, travel, work, and identify as a united (or divided) people. This class will follow the intertwined story of technology and democracy, focusing on the United States while also considering global histories. We will study how individuals have created technologies and how governmental institutions have responded, whether by promoting, coopting, or stifling technological innovation in the name of advancing democracy. Topics may include the American patent system, sewage and water utilities, electricity, radios, computers, and social media. In the winter-term, students will write a research paper to explore the political and material impacts of a technology of their choice.
Students will approach the global art world as active participants and engage with its forms and content as they read, discuss, and write about art, artists, and art-making over time. We will explore the whole of the world’s visual imagery, from prehistoric times to the 21st century. They will understand how the following “big ideas” spiral across topics and units: culture; interactions with other cultures; materials, processes and techniques in art-making; artwork’s purpose and audience; and theories and interpretations of art. Students will develop their facility for visual analysis, contextual analysis, comparison, and argumentation. The goal is for students to experience art rather than memorize facts about it, and to establish an engaging dialogue about art and history. Through seminar discussions of nightly reading, students will approach art from different angles and consider its relevance to our own world and perceived notions of beauty, power, and identity. Students will also learn to make interdisciplinary connections, as art history offers the rare opportunity to examine other disciplines through sensory experience. May also be taken as ART420.
An interdisciplinary, co-requisite course combining honors U.S. History and eleventh-grade English, American Studies tracks intersecting threads of history, literature, art, and culture throughout the development of the United States. By examining the works of historians, artists, filmmakers, and writers from both the past and present, students develop a nuanced understanding of the political, cultural, intellectual, and social forces that shaped the country and continue to influence the present. Close analysis of primary and secondary sources, discussion and debate, research, and reflection will form the foundation for a variety of creative and analytical assessments that ask students to advance arguments of their own about the challenges and opportunities inherent in the country’s evolution. Meeting each class day, American Studies is a team-taught course with teachers from the English and History and Social Science Departments. As the course requires developed analytical skills and the ability to manage a substantial reading load, course requests will be reviewed by the department.
Here in the Pioneer Valley, the dark greens of late summer transition to a rich panoply of color as temperatures shift from hot and humid to crisp and cool. Come winter, cold and quiet dominate the New England landscape and creatures of all sorts scurry to hibernate. They sleep until the return of the sun, which arrives in spring to thaw ice to water and paints a gray world bright. Students in this cross-disciplinary, place-based course will experience these changes through outdoor excursions that lead them to contemplate their relationship to the natural world. Field study will offer the opportunity to practice the close observation required to successfully write about place, while classroom study of relevant historical context and such contemporary environmental writers as Robin Wall Kimmerer, Kathleen Moore, Kevin Fedarko, Terry Tempest Williams, and Cheryl Savageau will animate students’ understandings of both what they see and new ways of seeing. Over the course of the year, students will develop historical research and writing skills with the goal of composing a long-form braided essay that combines personal narrative with nature writing, research, and critical engagement with the readings from the term. May also be taken as IDH400.
An interdisciplinary, co-requisite course combining honors U.S. History and eleventh-grade English, American Studies tracks intersecting threads of history, literature, art, and culture throughout the development of the United States. By examining the works of historians, artists, filmmakers, and writers from both the past and present, students develop a nuanced understanding of the political, cultural, intellectual, and social forces that shaped the country and continue to influence the present. Close analysis of primary and secondary sources, discussion and debate, research, and reflection will form the foundation for a variety of creative and analytical assessments that ask students to advance arguments of their own about the challenges and opportunities inherent in the country’s evolution. Meeting each class day, American Studies is a team-taught course with teachers from the English and History and Social Science Departments. Similar to Honors US History, with some additional self-study, the course prepares students for the Advanced Placement exam in US History. As the course requires developed analytical skills and the ability to manage a substantial reading load, course requests will be reviewed by the department.
Here in the Pioneer Valley, the dark greens of late summer transition to a rich panoply of color as temperatures shift from hot and humid to crisp and cool. Come winter, cold and quiet dominate the New England landscape and creatures of all sorts scurry to hibernate. They sleep until the return of the sun, which arrives in spring to thaw ice to water and paints a gray world bright. Students in this cross-disciplinary, place-based course will experience these changes through outdoor excursions that lead them to contemplate their relationship to the natural world. Field study will offer the opportunity to practice the close observation required to successfully write about place, while classroom study of relevant historical context and such contemporary environmental writers as Robin Wall Kimmerer, Kathleen Moore, Kevin Fedarko, Terry Tempest Williams, and Cheryl Savageau will animate students’ understandings of both what they see and new ways of seeing. Over the course of the year, students will develop historical research and writing skills with the goal of composing a long-form braided essay that combines personal narrative with nature writing, research, and critical engagement with the readings from the term. May also be taken as IDE400.
Who were the Romans? What did they say about the world? And how did they say it? Latin 100 provides beginning students, who have not previously studied Latin, with the tools they need to ask and answer these questions. The course emphasizes the vocabulary, morphology, and syntax of classical Latin, direct engagement with Roman literature, and the rudiments of Roman history, culture, and mythology. The study of etymology and the comparison of Latin with English are fundamental components of Latin 100.
Designed for students with previous exposure to Latin, whose primary goals are Latin reading comprehension, ancient history, mythology, and the legacy of Latin in English. Students can expect instruction in both Latin and English; the primary textbook is Hans Ørberg’s Lingua Latina per se illustrata, Pars Prima. Latin 200 takes a reading-based, immersive approach to the acquisition of vocabulary, morphology, and syntax. This course prepares students for Latin 300.
After a solid foundation in Latin vocabulary and morphology, Latin 209 will cover the remainder of Latin grammar during the Fall Term. English is the language of instruction. Students are also introduced to the fundamentals of Latin poetry, including metrics, scansion, and figures of speech and thought. The Winter and Spring Terms will be dedicated to reading authentic, unadapted Latin. Readings emphasize the many encounters of Roman with other ancient Mediterranean civilizations. This course prepares students for Latin 400.
A continuation of Latin 200, Latin 300 likewise takes a reading-based, immersive approach to Latin vocabulary, morphology, and syntax, using Hans Ørberg’s Lingua Latina per se illustrata, Pars Secunda. Students can expect instruction in both Latin and English. The focus is on the comprehension of authentic Latin prose and poetry, ancient history, mythology, and the legacy of Latin in English. In the Spring Term, students are introduced to the fundamentals of Latin poetry, including metrics, scansion, and figures of speech and thought. This course prepares students for Latin 400.
This is an advanced literature seminar, conducted in English, offering a rigorous study of Vergil’s Aeneid and exploring Rome’s place in the history of western Europe. Through the study of language, literature, and history, students will seek to understand Roman identity and its influence. The course assumes a thorough grounding in Latin vocabulary, grammar, and prosody. It covers the selections of the Aeneid found on the AP Latin syllabus and familiarizes students with the nature of that exam.
This two-term, advanced seminar, conducted in English, is a survey of Latin literature from the comedies of the second century BCE to the literature of the Roman empire. Readings will be selected from the texts and authors of the traditional canon, with special emphasis on an examination of canonical status and on texts by and about groups traditionally assigned to the “margins:” women, slaves, the non-elite, those identified or self-styled as “barbarians,” et al. The study of non-Romans will include a study of selections from Caesar’s Commentāriī dē Bellō Gallicō (some of which are included on the AP syllabus). In addition to reading, attention will be given to aspects of history that support the study of the texts in question, including inscriptions, graffiti, art history, and archeology.
The Latin 6 seminar, conducted in English, is a special topics course, designed for advanced students in the Latin curriculum who have completed Latin 5. The texts of the course will continue a survey of Latin authors (as begun in Latin 5), with emphasis on student interest. Along with central texts, students will gain experience in prose and verse composition. Special topics, such as epigraphy and historical linguistics, will be explored where appropriate.
Latin 699 is reserved for the most advanced students in the Latin curriculum. The syllabus will be determined by the students in consultation with the teacher. Advanced topics in classical studies and long-term, in-depth research are encouraged. The course will not be offered every year.
From the extent of our privacy to the limits on the powers of government to the meaning of equality, the United States Supreme Court is the arbiter of many critical issues in American society. This one-term course examines the Court’s efforts to balance the often conflicting rights of individuals with the broader interests of society. In doing so, the course considers the proper role of the Court itself. Topics for debate may include privacy issues, equality under the law, and freedom of speech. Assessments primarily consist of moot courts in which students assume the role of lawyers and justices to examine, argue, and rule upon recent or current issues before the Supreme Court.
This is a course in first year algebra with emphasis on such topics as the properties of the real number system, solving first degree sentences in one variable, the fundamental operations involving polynomial and rational expressions, systems of linear equations in two variables, fractions, factoring, ratio, proportion, variation, exponents, roots, quadratic equations, and problem solving. All of the material of a typical first year of algebra will be completed as well as a variety of enrichment topics.
This course is designed for a student who has already studied some or much of the material that is covered in a typical first year algebra program, but who would benefit from additional work with the topics of Algebra I. The fall term is devoted to a review of the basic skills and ideas of real numbers, followed by single-variable equations and inequalities and then work with linear relations and their applications in the late fall and winter. Students end the winter with the study of quadratic relations and their applications and spend the spring term on introductions to exponential relations, probability and statistics, and the idea of functions.
This course is designed for students who would benefit from significant reinforcement of topics from Algebra I as they pertain to geometric problems. The emphasis in this course is on recognizing the geometric relationships in shapes and solids. New concepts are introduced using inductive reasoning and exploration. Students who complete this course will be prepared for a 300-level course.
This course integrates material from both plane and solid geometry. However, the development of the material requires extensive use of the skills and concepts already studied in algebra. The major emphasis is the study of the properties of two and three dimensional geometric figures from both a deductive and inductive reasoning approach. Additional topics include material from analytic geometry, exercises in logic, the graphing of functions and relations and elementary trigonometry. Students who complete this course will be prepared for a 300-level course.
This course meets the standards of a second year algebra course, and is designed for students whose background indicates a need for a review of material from previous courses. The course moves at a somewhat slower pace than MAT305. Students who complete this course are prepared for a 400-level mathematics course.
This course is intended for students who have had success in MAT105 and MAT205 or the equivalent. The course material is developed with an emphasis on the functional approach and most topics include a range of applied problems. The main focus of the course is the analytical development of the linear, quadratic, polynomial, exponential and logarithmic functions. Other topics developed include an analysis of both the real and complex number systems, systems of equations in two and three variables, and an introduction to trigonometric functions. Students may take a 200-level and this 300-level course concurrently. Students who complete this course are prepared for a 400-level mathematics course.
The course follows the same material as MAT305 but in greater depth. Students in this class are frequently asked to solve non-routine problems and to apply familiar concepts in new problem situations. Students may take a 200-level and this 300-level course concurrently. Successful completion of this course normally advances a student to Math 409.
This course is intended as a follow-up to Algebra II or an equivalent course. It is designed to complete the study of the elementary functions (linear, quadratic, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric). Additionally, the course presents material from finite mathematics including an introduction to probability and statistics, and the normal distribution. Throughout the entire course modeling of real phenomena is emphasized.
This course is a follow up to MAT305 and as such continues the development of functions and relations. The course includes a thorough study of polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions, an analytical development of conic sections, polar equations and graphs, matrices, and an introduction to data analysis. Calculator based graphing technology is incorporated into the course, and the instructional approach relies on students’ immediate access to this technology.
This course is designed as a continuation of MAT309. The topics covered in this honors course include all those listed under MAT405 but the pace is such that the material will be completed by the end of the winter term. Successful completion of this course normally advances a student to MAT519 (AP Calculus BC). Students who take this course will also be enrolled in MAT519A.
This course is intended for students who have earned credits in Algebra I and Geometry only by the end of their sophomore year. In addition, some students in Algebra II may also be recommended for this course. The course is designed to move students through fundamental content from Algebra and Precalculus that will prepare them for success in the senior year in one of Deerfield’s 500 level courses. All students will complete a study of polynomials, logarithmic, exponential, and trigonometric functions before branching to additional content. Students will choose their intended senior year course and work through mathematics directly designed to prepare them for this path.
This course follows MAT400. It is also intended for students who have completed 405 and who do not wish to study calculus at this time. This course provides a continued emphasis on the development of functions and relations, including a thorough study of polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and power functions. Further, data analysis and difference equations are used to model real world phenomena. Calculator and computer based graphing technology are incorporated into the course.
This course offers an introduction to the derivative and the integral and their applications. The pace of this course allows for some review of precalculus topics when necessary.
This course follows the Advanced Placement AB syllabus, which incorporates an introduction to the derivative and the integral and their applications. Students in this course are prepared to take the AP exam in May.
Are you interested in using data sets to make compelling arguments and tell interesting stories? Would you like an introduction to why Data Science is a growing field across so many industries? Would you like to design and execute a data project aligned with your interests in social justice, environmentalism, or some other area? Students in this course will analyze the patterns in data, apply methods of data collection and sampling, and perform statistical analysis on data sets to explore measures of center, spread, correlation, and uncertainty. They will learn how to clean a data set to reveal patterns and consider how bias affects choices around data manipulation and use. In the final trimester, students will engage with data story-telling and decision-making: exploring visualizations, distributions, trends to tell data stories and make decisions. The course will culminate in a capstone project in which students use data to explore a topic or issue based on their interests and present their findings. Throughout the course, students will use computational software to explore and analyze data.
This course follows the Advanced Placement BC syllabus, which incorporates an introduction to the derivative and the integral with their applications and work in infinite series. This four-term course, which begins in the spring term of the prior year, is for students who are outstanding in mathematics. Open to students who have completed MAT409 or the equivalent, with permission of the department. Exceptional mathematics students entering Deerfield in the fall term with demonstrated excellence in precalculus may consult the mathematics chair as to placement in the fall. Students in this course are prepared to take the AP exam in May.
This course follows the Advanced Placement BC syllabus, which incorporates an introduction to the derivative and the integral with their applications and work in infinite series. This four-term course, which begins in the spring term of the sophomore or junior year, is for students who are outstanding in mathematics. Open to students who have completed MAT409 or the equivalent, with permission of the department. Exceptional mathematics students entering Deerfield in the fall term with demonstrated excellence in precalculus may consult the mathematics chair as to placement in the fall.
This course follows the Advanced Placement Statistics syllabus, which introduces students to the major concepts and tools for collecting, analyzing, and drawing conclusions from data. Students are exposed to four broad conceptual themes: exploring data by observing patterns and departures from patterns, planning a study by deciding what and how to measure, anticipating patterns by producing models using probability and simulation, and studying statistical inference by confirming models. May be taken concurrently with Precalculus or a 500-level or higher course. Students in this course are prepared to take the AP exam in May.
This course continues the study of single variable calculus and introduces topics from multivariable calculus. Topics may include understanding the relation of series and convergence to calculus, work with parametric, polar, and vector forms in more than two dimensions, optimization problems, advanced integration, and a broad introduction to differential equations. An open-source textbook and Sage, an open-source software package which does symbolic manipulation and advanced graphing, is used extensively in this course.
This course covers the major topics of Multivariable Calculus, including optimization problems and vector calculus, and concludes with an introduction to ordinary differential equations. Mathematica, the symbolic mathematics software, is used extensively in the course for displaying 3D graphs, performing advanced numerical analysis, and analyzing nonlinear differential equations and systems of such equations. A licensed copy of the software is provided to all students.
Linear Algebra begins with the concept of systems of linear equations. From this foundation, Linear Algebra uses the mathematical objects and operations derived from vectors and matrices to construct a more abstract system of concepts that has broad relevance in higher mathematics as well as myriad practical applications. Topics studied include linear independence, subspaces, linear transformations, bases and dimension, orthogonality, determinants, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, and matrix diagonalization. Applications investigated include simple economic models, predator-prey ecological models, cryptography, and Markov chains. This course may be taken concurrently with MAT619.
Special Topics is designed for students who have completed the math curriculum, including Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus, and are looking to delve more deeply into advanced mathematics. Topics covered will depend on the interests of students and teachers, and may include Differential Equations, Number Theory, Combinatorial Algebra, or others.
Few artistic genres are more uniquely “American” than the Broadway musical. This course examines American musical theatre and organizes our exploration around recurrent themes from the Broadway stage, such as the immigrant experience, race, religion, love, protest, storytelling, gender identity, and sexual orientation. We will study the music and shows in the context of a broader study of the American cultural, political, and sociological history that shaped their production. No prior music or theatrical experience is required, and students will have the option to choose more performance-based or writing-based projects as they prefer. Can be taken as THE110.
How is today’s music put together? What path does music take from the time it leaves the creator until it arrives in your ear. Working in the recording studio, we will learn all aspects of production. Starting with pre-production, then recording, then editing, then mixing. Students will need to do much of the homework in the studio itself.
Anyone can sing! This course offers students the opportunity to learn new styles, techniques, and skills and become better at singing all kinds of music. Class time consists of rotating coaching by primary instructor and our professional staff, student-led rehearsals, and guest artist visits (masterclasses and performances) from renowned musicians. Students develop vocal technique, emotional expression, and teamwork skills while exploring historical context, music theory, compositional architecture, performance psychology, and group dynamics. Each term features performances in a wide range of musical styles and genres, including pop, modern, classical, folk, and much more, often in collaboration with the Honors Vocal Ensemble class. Evaluations are based on growth across each term, not perfection or pre-existing talent. Daily practice is expected and participation in the Deerfield Chorus (one night per week) is required of all Vocal Ensemble singers. Vocal Ensemble singers are also encouraged to take private lessons. No audition or previous experience required. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See MUS200 description.
This course provides an opportunity for experienced woodwind, brass, and percussion players to collaborate in a variety of ensemble settings including concert band, woodwind chamber groups, brass ensembles, saxophone ensembles, percussion groups, and jazz/rock bands. Ensemble assignments are made by the course instructor, and additional ensemble coaches are drawn from the applied teaching staff. Students work on improving their blend, technique, intonation, musicianship, ensemble playing, and improvisational skills.
See MUS210 description.
This course offers instrumentalists the opportunity to work in small ensembles, learning and performing repertoire by the world’s greatest composers. Class time consists of rotating coaching by the primary instructor and our professional staff, performance classes in the Concert Hall (including peer feedback), student-led rehearsals, and guest artist visits (masterclasses and performances) from renowned chamber musicians. Students develop instrumental technique, emotional expression, and teamwork skills while exploring historical context, music theory, compositional architecture, performance psychology, and group dynamics. Each performance cycle culminates with a Chamber Music Showcase Concert, which is open to the public and professionally recorded, after which students are re-assigned new groups and new repertoire. Daily practice is expected and participation in the Deerfield Orchestra is required of all chamber musicians except pianists. Chamber musicians are encouraged to take private lessons.
See MUS220 description.
This course is an extension of MUS130. Students must have taken Studio Production I and have departmental approval. Students in MUS230 will participate in all presentation sessions of MUS130 and work independently on projects during class meetings. Projects will explore more advanced production skills and students will be asked to recreate existing professional productions to learn more advanced techniques.
Open by audition to advanced and experienced choral singers who have already taken MUS200 and who have departmental approval. This course offers students the opportunity to learn new styles, techniques, and skills and become better at singing all kinds of music. Class time consists of rotating coaching by Dr. Pfitzer and our professional staff, student-led rehearsals, and guest artist visits (masterclasses and performances) from renowned musicians. Students develop vocal technique, emotional expression, and teamwork skills while exploring historical context, music theory, compositional architecture, performance psychology, and group dynamics. Each term features performances in a wide range of musical styles and genres, including pop, modern, classical, folk, and much more, often in collaboration with the Vocal Ensemble class. Evaluations are based on growth across each term, not perfection or pre-existing talent. Daily practice is expected and participation in the Deerfield Chorus (one night per week) is required of all Honors Vocal Ensemble singers. Honors Vocal Ensemble singers are also required to take private lessons. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See MUS409 description.
This course is an extension of MUS210. Students must have already taken Band class and have departmental approval. In addition to participation in MUS210 ensembles, students in Honors Band will prepare and perform solo repertoire and must take private lessons.
Open to students who have already taken MUS220 with departmental approval. This course offers advanced instrumentalists the opportunity to work in small ensembles, learning and performing repertoire by the world’s greatest composers. Class time consists of rotating coaching by Mr. Bergeron and our professional staff, performance classes in the Concert Hall (including peer feedback), student-led rehearsals, and guest artist visits (masterclasses and performances) from renowned chamber musicians. Students develop instrumental technique, emotional expression, and teamwork skills while exploring historical context, music theory, compositional architecture, performance psychology, and group dynamics. Each performance cycle culminates with a Chamber Music Showcase Concert in the Concert Hall, which is open to the public and professionally recorded, after which students are re-assigned new groups and new repertoire. Daily practice is expected and participation in the Deerfield Orchestra (one night per week) is required of all chamber musicians except pianists. Chamber musicians should also take private lessons.
This class aims to empower students to compose, produce, and share their own musical creations by unlocking the secrets of what makes music magical. To some degree, students will choose the repertoire that we analyze. Working in the recording studio, we will break down and study elements of harmony, rhythm, melody, architecture, structure, color, instrumentation/orchestration, studio production choices, and performance techniques. Students will compose multiple musical works, both large scale and small, inspired by various analyses. There will be opportunities to publish and share projects, including live performances and online digital distribution services. There will be at least one film soundtrack project, and collaboration with other courses such as Film and Video will be encouraged. Industry-standard tools such as Avid Sibelius® music composition software and Logic® production software will be provided and taught. Ability to understand musical notation and basic music theory knowledge are required for this class. Students interested in preparing for the AP Music Theory can prepare for the exam during this course.
Justice. Equality. Dignity. Freedom. Responsibility. In Ethics, students explore these and other key ethical concepts. In this class, students will practice skillful use of clear, logically structured argument to analyze and understand these ideas, applying them to real-world cases as well as personal stories. They’ll explore to what extent their ethical understandings are shaped by their identities and life experiences. The class draws on both historical and contemporary sources to help students achieve a deeper understanding of the ethical issues that shape their lives. Assessment includes argumentative writing and independent research projects.
This course will examine a range of questions about the nature of happiness. What is happiness, and why does it matter? Is it the main thing to pursue in life, or are there other things that are more important? Is it a kind of pleasant feeling, or is it something more “objective” than that? What assumptions about happiness are implicit in the ways that psychologists, economists, and writers of popular media measure and talk about happiness? Students will consider these and other questions, engaging with historical and contemporary work from philosophers, scientists, religious thinkers, and contributors to popular media. The primary aim of the course will be to introduce students to rich traditions of philosophical thinking about happiness and to equip them to begin thinking with some degree of rigor and discipline about questions of happiness as they arise in their lives.
In this class, students will explore some of the most popular topics in contemporary philosophical debates about art. We will discuss what constitutes a work of art and whether the audience needs to be considered for it to be a work. Through the reading of DuBois, Hume, Kant, hooks, Guston, Warhol, Descartes and others, students will learn how to apply philosophical tools of analysis and argumentation to questions about the purpose of art, its validity within social constructs, its aesthetic and monetary value and the implications within. Students will dig into how art has been and should be judged through the lens of gatekeepers like museums, art galleries and private collections in this ever changing landscape. While certain readings will focus on specific art forms such as painting, sculpture, literature, film, and music, the class will aim to investigate art as broadly as possible. No previous knowledge of art history is needed.
This course tackles the big questions that shape modern lives: What is justice? What is liberty? What is equality? When is the state allowed to restrict our freedoms, and why? How should goods be distributed in a just society? The class will explore these and related questions through both classical and contemporary readings. In addition, students will devote considerable time to analyzing, constructing, and critiquing arguments about political issues. The class will equip students to think carefully and critically about the difficult and often controversial topics that come up in their lives as citizens.
Self-Driving Cars, the Metaverse, Siri and Alexa… Roombas! Artificial Intelligence (AI) is seemingly all around us. But what is AI? How does it work now, and how might it work in the future? What are the benefits and the dangers of AI to individuals, to groups, and to human kind? What kind of moral duties (if any), might humans have to intelligent systems as they develop and “learn”? How will AIs “learn” to make moral judgements? Can they? Students will explore these questions by applying key ethical concepts to these emerging issues, practicing reasoned argument and perspective taking skills, and applying their understandings to creatively imagine what an ethical relationship between humans and AI might look like in the future.
This course will use non-fiction, fiction, poetry and documentary film to establish an understanding of the origins and implications of the greatest challenge ever faced by human civilization and to explore the art, the politics and the ethics of confronting climate change both individually and collectively. Writing will be mostly creative responses to the reading, and as far as possible, we will exchange the classroom and the seminar table for the surrounding fields and woods, where walking will be the forum and the catalyst for our discussions as we consider the ways in which climate change is beginning to question, transform and redefine even our most fundamental ideals of success, community, leadership, education__and what it means to be human. May be taken as ENG420.
This course examines a wide range of philosophical questions and problems, drawing on both classical and contemporary readings. Students will be exposed to a number of historically important philosophical thinkers in the Western tradition, such as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Nietzsche. The class will also explore some philosophical ideas that are in some ways alien to this tradition, particularly those of Daoism and Buddhism. Possible topics of study include: the nature of reality; subjectivity and objectivity; freedom of the will; knowledge and skepticism; the existence of God and the nature of religious experience; the status of ethical norms; the nature of the self; and more. Emphasis will be placed upon both the theoretical and practical aspects of philosophical reflection. Students will learn to engage skillfully with complex philosophical arguments and to apply abstract ideas to their own lives in ways that will enrich and inspire. No background knowledge of philosophy required.
Would we have Isaac Newton’s theory of motion without the philosopher Rene Descartes? Would we have Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity without the philosopher Ernst Mach? This course will explore why approaching science from a philosophical perspective is still relevant today and crucial for scientific progress. We will start by answering the question, what is science trying to do and how does it work? We will then explore different topics in physical and biological sciences, such as quantum mechanics, evolution, and consciousness. There are many contrasting views and it will be up to the students to understand and critique them so they can form their own unique perspectives. No background knowledge of philosophy is needed.
This is an introductory physics course that includes the study of kinematics, forces, energy, and electricity and magnetism. Students learn to develop and apply models through guided inquiry, group discussion, and collaborative hands-on investigation. They learn to communicate their thinking through multiple visual, mathematical, and computational representations. This course focuses on the concepts, principles, and ways of thinking that will underlie students’ further study of science.
This is an introductory physics course that includes the study of kinematics, forces, energy, and electricity and magnetism; it moves at a faster pace and with greater depth than Physics 1. Students learn to develop and apply models through guided inquiry, group discussion, and collaborative hands on investigation. They learn to communicate their thinking through multiple visual, mathematical, and computational representations. This course focuses on the concepts, principles, and ways of thinking that will underlie students’ further study of science.
This is an algebra-based, introductory physics course appropriate for 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students who have not previously taken a high school physics course. Students cultivate their understanding of physics through inquiry-based investigations as they explore topics such as: kinematics; forces; energy; momentum; oscillations and wave behavior; and topics in modern physics.
In this course, students will study, design, and build electronic circuits and systems. The course is organized around increasingly complex hands-on challenges starting with basic circuit construction, and culminating in a fully designed and built system. Students will work individually at times and in groups so that they may balance individual accountability and improve their group dynamics. Grading is based mostly on performance in the challenges as well as engineering notebooks with minimal testing.
In this course, students will study, design, and build permanent infrastructure systems. The course is organized around increasingly complex hands-on challenges starting with basic construction and design principles. Students will work individually at times and in groups so that they may balance individual accountability and improve their group dynamics. Grading is based mostly on performance in the challenges as well as engineering notebooks with minimal testing.
In this course, students will study, design, and build mechanical moving systems. The course is organized around increasingly complex hands-on challenges starting with basic Newtonian physics, and culminating in a fully designed and built system. Students will work individually at times and in groups so that they may balance individual accountability and improve their group dynamics. Grading is based mostly on performance in the challenges as well as engineering notebooks with minimal testing.
Students in this class will spend the year working to understand an electric vehicle’s inner workings through a hands-on process of deconstruction, design, and reconstruction. The course’s primary focus is converting a vehicle with an internal combustion engine to run on electrical power. Students are offered a unique opportunity to solve problems by testing practical designs and bringing their ideas to fruition through the hands-on construction and implementation of their ideas. Students will be assessed on their ability to collaborate effectively, demonstrate independence, resilience, and time management. Additionally, students will study topics including, but not limited to, gear ratios, thermodynamics, DC motors, fuses, switches, motor controllers, variable resistors, rolling resistance, battery charging, battery management, torque, amperage draw, and energy efficiency.
This is an advanced course for students who are interested in studying physics beyond the introductory level. The course will help students build and expand on their skills of problem-solving, experimental design, data analysis, and modeling. Students will explore mechanics and electricity & magnetism. In the spring, students will explore topics that allow them to create and test models of complex systems. Calculus will be used as required. Work in this course can be extensive and demanding.
As the United States heads into a presidential election year, this course will put the headlines of the news cycle in historical perspective and challenge students to think critically about the mechanics of democracy. In this introduction to major topics in political science, we will explore the evolution of political parties; the role of advertising, polling, and campaign finance; and debates around suffrage, redistricting, and the Electoral College. A diverse source base will inform our study, including documentaries, podcasts, narrative nonfiction, and social media, as well as primary documents and scholarly articles. This one-term course will culminate with each student analyzing a primary campaign of their choice. In addition, class will include debates, roleplays, and roundtable discussions as we consider the past, present, and future of American party politics.
This 10-topic policy course investigates US-China diplomacy in the context of China’s major domestic and international priorities from the Cold War to today. The course begins with an overview of China’s current challenges, including U.S.-China tensions, Hong Kong, the Taiwan question, Uighur Muslims, and COVID-19 response. It then steps back to the years just after WWII, when the U.S. laid groundwork for a fascinating and ever-evolving relationship with both the People’s Republic of China and the government in Taiwan. We take as our text Nina Hachigian’s Debating China: The U.S.-China Relationship in Ten Conversations, in which “China side” and “U.S. side” experts communicate in frank and open exchanges on topics such as trade, censorship, human rights, climate change and clean energy. We additionally use memoirs, documentary footage, art, and the wisdom of guest speakers to enhance our reading of high-level diplomatic exchanges. Finally, overviews of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the Nixon visits, Deng Xiaoping’s “economic miracle,” and China’s Belt and Road Initiative help us track a relatively consistent and informed US policy towards China, even as we note important departures from that policy. Students discuss and debate their way through most of the course, and they wrap up with independent research on a present-day policy issue of their choice.
This course will examine the causes, conduct, patterns, and effects of asymmetric warfare from antiquity to ISIS. The course will draw on primary sources, historical texts, films, and case studies to reflect multiple perspectives. While case studies may range from Spartacus to Syria and from the Algerian FLN to the Colombian FARC, our common goal is to develop a framework for understanding the role of the United States in the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda. Towards that end students will read academic theories of political violence in order to enhance their capacity to engage with social science research about topics that may include terrorism, truth and reconciliation, de-radicalization and reintegration of fighters, the role of intelligence services, and counterinsurgency tactics such as torture and assassination. Major themes of the course include the role of memory and identity in the construction of narrative and ideology; the primary skills it develops are critical thinking, writing, and discussion, assessed through policy memos, roundtables, and a major research project.
Would you rather go through life unable to remember, or unable to forget? What happens to a person if they are raised alone in a locked room, with little to no human interaction–will they ever learn to speak? Can the power of the group make you disbelieve your own eyes? In this elective you will learn about psychology’s most famous (and infamous) personalities and experiments as we analyze and interpret behavior and mental processes through activities, demonstrations, and discussion. We will read peer-reviewed journal articles, watch footage from original case studies and experiments, and think critically about the work of psychologists such as Solomon Asch, Albert Bandura, Elizabeth Loftus, Stanley Milgram, Philip Zimbardo and B.F. Skinner (to name just a few). You will leave this course with a demonstrated understanding of key topics in Social, Cognitive, Behavioral, and Abnormal Psychology, while also learning about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice. This class is highly participatory in nature, and you will be asked to apply the concepts we study in class to your everyday life.
Native people inhabited the Americas well before Europeans arrived in the 10th (Norse) and 16th (Iberian) centuries. Native cultures are inextricably tied to the American story. This course begins to tell of the stories of Native peoples in the Americas through their history, their spirituality and their present lives, while attempting to highlight the Native voice in retelling these stories. Given the location of our inquiry, particular attention will be given to the Native populations that resided, and that also continue to reside, in New England states and southeastern Canadian provinces. Frequent field trips will take place to the settings of rich Native history in western Massachusetts, and a fall long weekend trip to a Native reservation may be an option.
The course explores the expression and idea of religion throughout our world and what the world’s religions attempt to explain. Judaism, Christianity and Islam, all called Abrahamic religions and all deeply connected to the historical person and idea of the Prophet Abraham, are the religions of over half of the world’s population. This class both looks at how that came to be and why. A primary consideration of this course is how the belief in a supernatural moral authority, named Yahweh, God, or Allah, respectively, informs our understanding of purpose and intervenes in lives lived through immensurable relationship with humankind. In this class we stand at a distance from personal belief, instead looking at the religious encounter of others through their worship practices, holy days, scriptures, historical figures and contemporary expressions in literature and media.
The course explores the expression and idea of religion throughout our world and what the world’s religions attempt to explain. Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, all called Dharmic religions given their emphasis on living a life of purpose by walking a particular path, secured their roots in the Indian-Asian subcontinent, and now are the religions of choice by approximately one in five persons that inhabit the Earth. This class first looks at Hiduism, arguably a monistic belief system, and then asks how Buddhism and Jainism came to flower in Indian soil from Hindu roots. In this class we stand at a distance from personal belief, instead looking at the religious encounter of others through their worship practices, holy days, scriptures, historical figures and contemporary expressions in literature and media, all the while recognizing what can be learned by viewing these traditions from our footing in the United States, a nation founded on Christian principles.
Environmental Science 1 is a survey of topics focusing on how humanity can harness our knowledge of the natural world to provide historical context on the current state of humans’ relationship with the environment, as well as guide humans to create a more sustainable future. Students will investigate anthropogenic climate change, examining both causes and consequences. Students will take advantage of the deciduous forest ecosystems in our backyard. We will take frequent field trips to best take advantage of the natural splendor of the Pocumtuck Valley and the larger New England environment. By exploring the local challenges and opportunities that humans pose for their surrounding environment, students can begin to think of solutions for a more sustainable future.
The modern world is experiencing rapid anthropogenic climatic and environmental changes that present clear and immediate challenges for humanity. Honors Environmental Science will explore a series of topics related to the role that humans play in their respective environments around the globe. Students will draw from the scientific community to understand the failures and successes of humans in preserving their environment and learn of opportunities to further protect biodiversity, stable climatic conditions, and the larger, natural world. Students will be challenged to build upon their previous research experience in advanced science courses to further refine their experimental and analytical skills in areas related to conservation, restoration, adaptation and mitigation. The campus as well as adjoining forests, fields and rivers will serve as field sites throughout the year as students explore the natural world, develop research questions, design independent studies, and critically think about solutions for a sustainable future. Students can expect to undertake a rigorous quantitative approach to data exploration and analysis.
What is race? What is racism? How did the concept of race emerge and (how) has the understanding of what race means changed over time? What forces caused these changes? How do the forms and expressions of racism affect the lived experience of them? Are there circumstances or strategies that amplify, minimize or eliminate racism? Over ten weeks, we will explore these questions and others through the lenses of unique disciplines (including History, Biology, Philosophy, Art, Economics, Sociology, and more), employing the distinct methods and dispositions of each to come to a richer understanding of race and racism. Students will confront the driving forces, machinery, and consequences of racism in the United States, and across the globe. Students will have nightly readings, engage in daily seminar discussions and regular journal writing, and develop independent projects.
Sports act as a mirror that reflects who we were, who we are, and who we want to be. This class prepares students to be honest about those reflections by balancing narratives of criticism and narratives of celebration. Working with academic articles from the interdisciplinary field of sport studies and various popular culture sources that students are likely to encounter through media in their daily lives, the class uses sport as a lens through which to understand systems of power and privilege in global society. Students undertake inquiry into the role of capitalism in shaping sports industries, the relationship sports have with international politics, and the multicultural development of competitive athletic circuits throughout the world, among other topics. As they explore the historical context and implications of ongoing conversations and controversies, students practice critical analysis, engage in timely debates, and produce both reflective and analytical pieces of writing that interrogate the very category of what constitutes sport and how different conceptions of sport shape identity at personal and national levels.
In this introductory course, students learn basic Spanish communication skills – including vocabulary and grammar – while exploring cultures and traditions. They expand their knowledge of the Spanish-speaking world and engage in learning through collaboration, investigation and practice using text, video and audio materials. An emphasis on speaking, listening, reading and basic writing guides the course. Students complete this level ready for further Spanish language acquisition. Class is conducted primarily in Spanish.
In this course, students continue their exploration of Spanish by focusing on Spanish grammar and vocabulary, applied to “real life” situations. We work to further develop the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing, while at the same time exploring the Spanish-speaking world through a wide variety of materials, including literature, film, music, periodicals, and various web-based resources. Students develop their command of Spanish structures and vocabulary, their ability to communicate when writing and speaking, and a deeper understanding of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. Class is conducted primarily in Spanish.
Spanish 3 is an intermediate level course in which students review the grammatical structures from the beginning sequence while developing their communicative abilities. The class also studies in greater depth the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, using articles, books, films, and other materials as starting points for studying topics pertinent to Latin America and Spain. Conversational fluency is developed through daily pair and group activities, and oral exams and projects push students to express longer and more complex thoughts. The class also focuses on more extensive reading and writing practice, and students are frequently required to write reflections and essays in Spanish. Class is conducted in Spanish.
Spanish 3 Honors is designed for students who have excelled in Spanish 2. Students review all of the major grammatical structures at a fast pace while developing their communicative abilities. The class also studies in depth the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, using articles, books, films, and other authentic materials as starting points for studying topics pertinent to Latin America. Conversational fluency is developed through daily pair and group activities, and oral exams and projects push students to express longer and more complex thoughts. The class also focuses on more extensive reading and writing practice, and students are frequently required to write reflections and essays. The students who excel in Spanish 3 Honors are recommended for Spanish 5. Class is conducted in Spanish. Recommendation will be made by the department.
This 300 level course is designed to meet the needs of students who speak Spanish in their home environment, but who have little or no formal education in the language. Placement will be determined by the Spanish placement test and subsequent oral interview. The course aims to help students build upon the language skills they already possess while gaining a deeper understanding of their cultural heritage. Students in their course will expand their vocabulary, deepen their understanding of Spanish grammar, learn to recognize and use various language registers, and develop academic reading and writing skills. The cultural content of the course will include topics of identity, bilingualism, biculturalism, the history and usage of Spanish in the United States, and cultural production of Latinx communities. After successfully completing the Spanish for Heritage Speakers course, students will have completed their language graduation requirement. Those students who choose to continue to study Spanish will work with their teacher to determine whether they should take Spanish 4 or Spanish 5 the following year.
Which works of art reveal a moment in the history of a country? Which songs unveil the stories of its people? Which films transport us to a different place and allow us to experience another culture? Throughout the year, students are exposed to varied cultural materials and experiences that foster a deeper understanding of the values and practices of the target culture. Individual and collaborative work allows students to develop greater proficiency in the structures of the language and expand their knowledge of the diversity of voices within the Spanish-speaking world. Activities include in-class discussion, group activities, compositions and journal writing centered on the active use of language and a review of the most important aspects of Spanish grammar. Materials include extensive readings (literary and journalistic texts) and audiovisual sources (film). Class is conducted in Spanish.
This course follows most of the curriculum from Spanish 4, but adds a community service component. The Spanish 4- CS course is open to those who have finished Spanish 3 or 3 honors at Deerfield and who wish to serve the community while continuing their Spanish studies. This course is a full academic year commitment. We ask that students speak with their current teacher prior to signing up for this class to express their interest in the community service component. The community service project(s) in which students participate may vary in response to local conditions, but may include teaching Spanish to young children and working with local schools and organizations. Class is conducted in Spanish. Recommendation will be made by the department.
In this advanced course, students continue to develop oral and written proficiency in Spanish through the study of the literature, cultures, and politics of the contemporary Spanish speaking world. By way of fiction, film, music, and periodicals, students will explore complex topics such as national identity, political resistance, gender and politics, and migration, while deepening their understanding of Spanish structures and vocabulary. The course provides students with the critical tools necessary to engage with Spanish-speaking cultures from local, national and transnational perspectives. This class is conducted in Spanish.
This course allows our most advanced students of Spanish to delve further into the language, cultures and literature of the Spanish-speaking world. The course readings include a broad sampling across both traditional and modern literary genres, so students might read novels, short stories, essays, poetry and theater, and they will also learn about blogs, new media, comics, film, and other visual arts. Through this development of visual literacy students will hone their analytical and critical thinking skills and deepen their appreciation of the depth and range of the cultures of the Spanish-speaking world. By the end of the course, the students will be able to use Spanish flexibly and effectively for both academic and intercultural purposes.
This is a film appreciation course conducted in Spanish. It allows our most advanced students to get acquainted with the grammar of cinema and with the concepts and terminology needed to analyze movies and write film criticism. The course surveys the cinemas of several Spanish speaking countries and encourages students to make fictional movies and documentaries dialog with other artistic expressions such as novels, graphic novels, short stories, and poems. Students also make a few creative audiovisual projects to better understand the cinematic concepts under study.
This is a topic course for advanced speakers of Spanish who have finished Spanish 6 Honors at Deerfield Academy. It is a course especially designed for those students who have reached the top level of our curriculum and wish to continue their Spanish studies. Readings will continue beyond the Spanish 6 curriculum and delve more deeply into Spanish and Latin American literature. Class is conducted in Spanish. This course is not offered every year.
This course explores the principles of acting including ensemble building, improvisation, voice, movement, textual analysis and theater vocabulary. Class assignments include writing and performing monologues, and presenting group scenes and projects. Additionally, students explore various plays from classical to contemporary. No previous acting experience is necessary. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See THE100 description.
Few artistic genres are more uniquely “American” than the Broadway musical. This course examines American musical theatre and organizes our exploration around recurrent themes from the Broadway stage, such as the immigrant experience, race, religion, love, protest, storytelling, gender identity, and sexual orientation. We will study the music and shows in the context of a broader study of the American cultural, political, and sociological history that shaped their production. No prior music or theatrical experience is required, and students will have the option to choose more performance-based or writing-based projects as they prefer. May be taken as MUS110.
Acting Technique is for students interested in expanding their ability to communicate through a variety of techniques that engage the individual and ensemble physically, mentally and emotionally. Through monologues, scene work, and improvisation, students explore the act of making theater of all types. No previous acting experience is necessary. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See THE200 description.
Committed acting students are encouraged to progress to a more advanced study of acting and to contribute to the development of a creative ensemble. In addition to learning more complex acting techniques in preparation for the scene work to come, students delve into the world of directing for theater. Students work on a major directing assignment, which culminates in directing a scene from their chosen play with their peers as performers. Several plays from around the world are read and analyzed throughout the course. No previous acting experience is necessary. May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See THE300 description.
This course analyzes and critiques classic and contemporary cinema from around the world. We shall examine basic elements of film production, comparative filmmaking styles and various genres such as Film Noir, Surrealism and Italian Neo-realism. Additionally, students study prominent international filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock, Vittorio De Sica and many more. Weekly screenings for homework are mandatory.
This elective is for students who have an interest in a more in-depth study of theater. In addition to honing performance skills, students will explore a number of wide-ranging plays of different genres from around the world. There will also be several performance and directing opportunities throughout the term, culminating in a class presentation. For seniors, this will be your final opportunity to perform at Deerfield Academy! May take as a 6th, pass/fail course.
See THE400 description.
Before they enter Deerfield, all new students are required to take a math placement test to determine an appropriate class. Students who have already taken a language they wish to continue studying at Deerfield will take a placement test to determine what level class they should take. If the placement in either department is deemed inappropriate after the student arrives, then the teacher may suggest a change of level. Students may also request such a change if they feel they are misplaced, and should consult with their teacher and their academic advisor before contacting the Dean of Studies.
Students have a variety of opportunities to travel abroad through the Center for Service and Global Citizenship travel programs that run domestic and international trips during school breaks.
Study abroad and term-away opportunities are available to students through approved, partnered-programs. Study abroad is available in 10th through 12th grade, but typically students who choose to go abroad will do so during their junior year. Read more about off-campus study opportunities online here.
Yes. In order to garner Honors distinction a student must have a cumulative term average above 90.0%. High Honors requires an average of 93.0% or above. You can read more about Deerfield’s honor roll online here.
Because of its commitment to high-quality academics, Deerfield offers a wide range of rigorous courses. All of Deerfield’s classes are appropriately challenging, but courses designated as “honors,” “accelerated,” or “AP” provide an extra challenge for ambitious students.
All students are assigned a faculty advisor by late summer before they start school. After their first year, students may choose a new advisor, or continue with their original advisor, depending on the relationships they have developed with Deerfield’s faculty. Advisors are responsible for submitting course requests and writing an advisor report every term. They are available for questions a student may have and are involved in every major academic, co-or extra-curricular decision a student makes while at Deerfield. In addition, faculty eat lunch with their advisees every Thursday and may schedule other meetings for their advisees. Advisors are a key component of the Deerfield experience, as they provide guidance and support to students throughout their time at Deerfield.
Students are permitted to miss a maximum of eight (8) combined class days for Pursuits of Excellence, College Visits or other reasons each academic year (no more than 6 days missed per term). Exceptions to the eight-day limit must be approved through the Academic Affairs Office. Requests must be received at least three (3) days prior to the event. Any student requesting to miss class should make sure they are aware of the 20% Rule policy (found in the Student Handbook under the 20% Rule), and, if their request is approved, students should be sure to inform their teacher(s) of their upcoming absence(s) and arrange to make up missed work. Please click here to read more about our Request to Miss Classes Policy.
Alums and current students can request their Deerfield transcript online via our secure credentialing site, Parchment. More information on how to create a Parchment account and order your transcript can be found online here. If you have questions, please contact the Academic Affairs Office at 413-774-1470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.