This course will help students gain a better understanding of how ideas around gender are perpetuated and disseminated through popular culture. Using interdisciplinary approaches to visual analysis, such as historical, sociological, and theoretical, we will explore the ways in which film and television are used as tools to reinforce and critique our understandings of gender. Overall, the goal of this course is twofold: to give students a better fluency in the language of gender and to help students build a critical toolkit for analyzing the world around them, through the lens of gender. The films for this course are from the last 30 years in American cinema, and will include titles like Fight Club (1999), Mean Girls (2004), and Moonlight (2016). We also plan on incorporating shorter pieces, such as TV episodes and music videos, to help students see how visual media, in all forms, is steeped in ideas of gender. Some key questions for this course are: what defines masculinity and femininity? How are ideas of masculinity and femininity related to other aspects of identity such as race and sexual orientation? To what extent can popular culture trouble mainstream ideas of gender? How can we become more critical of the media we consume and the messages that media contains?
Thinking and deciding are both fundamental aspects under girding the value of an individual’s agency; however, humans tend to perform poorly at both of these essential activities, and we rarely engage in formalized ways to improve our thinking and deciding. We will explore two main ways your brain engages in thinking (e.g., fast versus slow), shortcuts in thinking, and overconfidence. We will then learn about the dichotomy of luck and skill, employ some of the tools that are effective in decision making, and understand why getting and giving advice may be of little value. Ultimately, we will establish a metacognitive awareness of how we can make better choices.
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. This is a one-term course.
This issue centered course, ranging across a range of disciplines (media studies and rhetoric; anthropology, geography and psychology; philosophy and ethics; history and political science; literary and film studies) and drawing on diverse bodies of scholarship, mostly drawn from journals of public opinion and academic research, seeks to impart what the educational Philosopher Nel Noddings calls the skill “of disciplined civic inquiry” by providing students with a tool kit and vocabulary for understanding some of the great questions facing the 21st century. We will begin with an inquiry into the power of the media, new and old, to shape – and warp – our understanding of the world, including the debate around various kinds of media bias. We will then turn our attention to the duties and obligations of citizens in the 21st century; the sources and origins of global conflict; the future of democracy; peace and war (including the theory of just and unjust wars, war crimes, and transitional justice); contemporary controversies around human rights and the UDHR; and the economic, health and cultural impacts of globalization.
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. Grades will primarily be based on assessments, group presentations and projects.
This course builds upon studentsí 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 class focuses on the individual student’s stated goals and objectives as it continues to develop language skills through authentic texts and literature in Modern Standard Arabic alongside a variety of textbook activities online. Grammar is integrated through classroom discussions and activities. In Arabic 5, students continue to expand vocabulary and develop advanced communication skills in the dialects of choice. Learning mediums include apps, interactive websites, videos, recordings, as well as the tried and true pen and paper. This class is conducted in Arabic.
This one-term course is intended to be a first experience in the visual arts. It prepares students for AP Studio Art by introducing the fundamentals of drawing and painting – line, form, composition, and color through a variety of assignments involving the still life, perspective, and interior spaces. A brief survey into 19th and 20th century art is included.
This one-term course offers an opportunity to investigate the formal elements of both digital and film photography, while exploring the potential for creative expression and visual narrative. Students study and experiment with the nomenclature of DSLR cameras and advanced computer software, as well as film cameras and darkroom printing. Projects take inspiration from great photographers of the past and present to foster intentionality with design and content. The course concludes with the assemblage of a digital and printed portfolio.
We will create ambitious video projects while taking inspiration from the history of filmmaking and its latest innovations. Storytelling through film will be our focus. There will be an emphasis on experimentation and originality as each student creates a series of short videos in response to specific creative challenges. No filmmaking experience is necessary. This is a one-term course.
With an examination of basic design concepts, projects in this course are focused on experiencing the creative and iterative process. Students will develop solutions to increasingly complex design problems gradually by developing and learning from multiple versions of their designs. A variety of mediums and tools will be used, including drawing and building both physical and digital models. Students will present their projects to outside critics and all projects will conclude with a verbal and written critique. This is a one-term course.
Selecting movements from prehistory to the present, works of art are examined in the context of their era’s dominant ideas, political events, economic factors, and social structure. Visual literacy and analysis through class discussions and writing assignments will enable students to discuss art, learn from it, and appreciate the extraordinary creativity of people throughout our world’s history.
This course consists of a study of the forms of cities throughout history, both built and unbuilt. Through readings, discussions, and drawings, the design of cities will be examined, with an emphasis on how current and future decisions regarding constructed environment can be influenced by this study. While architecture is certainly part of the course, the primary focus will be on urban development rather than on individual buildings. The design component of the class will involve redesigning a portion of a city and building a digital model of it.
This class consists of advanced work for students who have completed two terms of Architectural Design and/or Architectural Drawing. A spring term project of the class’s choice for the Deerfield campus is selected with 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.
Exploring history through works of art offers an approach for understanding our global community and is an effective way to review significant events from a visual perspective. From prehistory to the present, artworks are examined in the context of their era’s dominant ideas, political events, economic factors, and social structure. Visual literacy, critical assessment, analytical reading, class discussions, and written expression will enable students to analyze art, learn from it, and appreciate the extraordinary creativity of people throughout history.
Drawing is the primary method by which architects communicate their design ideas, but the drawings themselves are frequently overlooked as works of art. Principles and elements of two-dimensional architectural representation are taught using both traditional and digital media. Projects range from drawing traditional architectural views (plan, section and elevation) by hand and with AutoCad to rendering drawings using colored pencils and watercolors.
Students receive instruction in architectural design, drafting, planning, and materials and construction methods based on the principles of classical architecture. Plan, section and elevation drawings are produced as well as study and final models. 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 class will explore the rich intersections of the three disciplines and cover several divergent topics. Examining several philosophical principles as they pertain to literature and art, we will explore how language and the prism of perception can change through the use of these mediums. How can existence be confirmed through the making of art? We will discuss the unique relationship that Picasso had with the poet Max Jacob and how each broke down his own medium to form new ways of interpretation. The class will culminate by examining the power of signage from the Women’s Suffrage Movement as well as 1960’s Civil Rights iconography “I Am A Man” that was informed by Ellison’s seminal book Invisible Man.
This course does not require experience in art making. We will use some of the topics discussed in the Fall/Winter course “Consider. Intersections in Art” (See description for Consider. Intersections in Art) and use a more hands on approach in the making of work as a reaction and conversation with these topics. Any student is welcome to join this spring class, which will be combined with Topics Tutorial.
This course expands on the one-term Photography course, with continued emphasis on the history of photography, the formal elements and principles of design, and creative storytelling with the camera. Students work to build a portfolio of images with a range of subject matter, levels of abstraction, varying points of view, depth of field, color, and lighting. Digital and film cameras will be employed, along with a vast array of printing processes. The class routinely takes field trips to a myriad of locales around the northeast. The course concludes with the submission of an AP portfolio to the College Board in the spring. May be taken as a 6th course: ART510P.
See ART510 description.
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. Each student is expected to do outside reading and studio work and to prepare an AP portfolio during the Spring Term. All students are required to submit the eventual portfolio. Students assume a photographic lab fee of $60 towards the preparation of their portfolio. The decision to take the AP exam in May will be made in consultation with the instructor. May be taken as 6th course: ART520P-(p/f)
See ART520 description.
This course is intended for the student who desires to pursue visual art beyond the Advanced Placement studio art syllabus. The major focus is on studio work: drawing, painting and sculpting in the style of a number of contemporary artists. Students gain a broader perspective through slide lectures from visiting artists, field trips and films. From Brunelleschi’s principles of linear perspective, to the palette of Monet’s haystacks, to Christo’s wrapped coast, students discuss the importance of self-expression, and moments of inspiration. “All the really good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.” (Grant Wood). May be taken as 6th course: ART600P.
See ART600 description.
This advanced studio course is for students who have exhausted the drawing/painting curriculum including the AP level and Topics: Post AP studio art. Students will pursue a theme and prepare work for a group show to be installed in the Reid art gallery. Topics Tutorial be taken as 6th course: ART700P.
See ART700 description.
This single term course explores the origin, evolution and fate of our Universe, the rules that govern it, the methods by which we observe it and the data stored in light that tells the story of our shared origins. Course topics include the history of spaceflight, orbital/gravitational mechanics, astronomical observation, the evolution of our solar system, the life cycles of stars, black holes, special/general relativity and the evidence for a Cosmos that is far bigger than previous generations could’ve imagined. The course format incorporates extensive group work and individual projects as students develop more robust science communication skills in addition to honing observational skills during evening telescope sessions. Students will develop a strong understanding of the story and scale of the Cosmos and a better sense of our place in it here on our planet, Earth. This course does not fulfill the Science graduation requirement.
Biology Accelerated is an 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 fast paced, demanding course for students interested in exploring the principles of biology in detail. The course will cover cellular energetics, cell division and communication, genetics, human systems, evolution, and ecology and will be taught with a particular focus on inquiry based lab work. In the lab, students will use molecular biology and bioinformatics tools and conduct statistical analyses of lab results, with the potential to share individual results publicly. Additional reading of articles and journal publications will support and enrich the content. Students should expect a significant amount of homework each night with a large investment in reading and writing. With some independent work, students can be well prepared for the AP Biology exam.
Experimental Neurology conceptually studies cell physiology, neurotransmitter biochemistry and neuroanatomy with application to modeling human addiction and disease. Experimentally, students explore mechanisms of signaling and regulating gene expression in Drosophila neurons using transgenic and optogenetic technologies. A major focus of the courseis on experimental design, data analysis and scientific writing.
This course introduces to 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. We begin with the atom, dissecting models in an effort to understand matter at the point where it intersects with students’ understanding of energy. Bonding and molecular modeling allow for a deep dive into the relationship between structure and function. Finally, we address chemical equilibria and use real world examples to address issues related to chemical stability and change. Compared to Chemistry Honors, this computational aspect of this course is de emphasized. Students are expected to have a working knowledge of pre algebra skills, including, but not limited to, unit conversions, order of operations, solving multiple step equations, graphing skills, and fluency with elementary operations and fractions. Whereas Chemistry Honors will require a high level of independent work, most complex problem solving 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 are not required to be successful in this course, students must have strong mathematically 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 extends and applies concepts learned in physics and chemistry and assumes students arrive with a working knowledge of concepts learned in an introductory chemistry course as well as a strong foundation in mechanics and energy. Topics covered include periodicity, bonding, intermolecular forces, kinetics, equilibria, acid base chemistry, buffering and buffer construction, thermodynamics and electrochemistry. These topics will be introduced in the context of environmental chemistry, biological chemistry, and electrical energy production and storage. Although advanced math is not required, students must have strong mathematical problem solving skills. Students will design and carry out experiments throughout the course. This course includes topics that are beyond the scope of the Advanced Placement chemistry curriculum. Successful completion of a placement exam on the first full day of classes is required to remain enrolled in this class. With some independent work, students can be well prepared for the AP Chemistry exam.
Modern humans benefit from the natural and unnatural synthesis of molecules exhibiting useful properties. Some of these compounds exhibit the ability to store and release energy that humans can redirect toward useful work. We will explore some key mechanisms of energy storage in molecular systems. This will include the construction of batteries, exploration of energy storage in phase transitioning media, awareness of the tremendous amount of energy that is embedded in the fossil fuel economy that powered the 20th century, exploring the opportunities afforded by biofuels, and understanding the photonic energy capture by plants and dye sensitized solar cells. This is a one-term course.
Modern humans benefit from the natural and unnatural synthesis of molecules exhibiting useful properties. Some of these compounds exhibit medicinal properties or are sometimes labeled as biologically active. We will explore some key biomolecular mechanisms of action that lend themselves to molecular intervention (e.g., cell surface receptors, enzymes, nuclear hormone receptors, etc.) and discuss how informed molecular design can furnish drug like compounds (e.g., antagonists, agonists, inhibitors, etc.). We will discuss how seemingly suitable drug candidates fail to advance through clinical trials because of undesirable physical properties and side effects. Finally, we will highlight the real world business based considerations that influence the development of pharmaceuticals. This is a one-term course. This course does not fulfill the Science graduation requirement.
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.
This course is a continuation of Chinese I skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. In addition, the course includes an in-depth study of grammar. Students strive for accuracy while focusing on the ability to communicate in varied contexts and with proper grammar. Class work is supplemented by various technology tools and online resources. Class is conducted in Chinese.
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.
This course aims to develop competency in advanced Chinese with an emphasis on fluency ofspoken language, reading, and writing. A variety of authentic materials is used to give students a deeper knowledge of Chinese language, culture, history, and social issues. However, a systematic study of Chinese vocabulary and grammar will continue to be emphasized and practiced through the use of the textbook. Students in this class are introduced to the format and material of the Chinese AP Language Examination. Class is conducted in Chinese.
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 is a modern Chinese literature and writing class for students who love to read and write. Students explore a variety of readings and practice a wide range of writing styles in order to analyze and develop effective skills for literary analysis and appreciation. Narrative fiction, films, poetry, and critical essays are included. Students are expected to take an active part in class discussion. In addition, culture and history will be an integral part of this course. Class is conducted in Chinese.
Advanced Tutorial may be offered to students who, in consultation with the department and with its endorsement, wish to pursue an individualized course in Chinese.
This course is designed for students interested in the history, literature, and legacy of ancient India. 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 (and sympathy with) 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. With some independent work, students can be well prepared for the AP Computer Science A exam. This course does not fulfill the Science graduation requirement.
This course follows Programming Methodology 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 for students with a strong interest in computer science. The course 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 s 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 is a lab based course and fulfills the Science graduation requirement.
This course is intended to be a first experience in dance. Elementary-level boys and girls study a variety of dance forms such as contemporary, modern, jazz, ballet and hip-hop. This course also addresses the creative aspect of making dances through improvisation and choreography. There is an emphasis on injury prevention for athletes. Students who sign up for this course are encouraged to continue into Dance I winter and spring terms. May be takenas 6th course: DA100P.
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 be taken as 6th course: DAN200P..
See DAN200 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 be taken as 6th course: DAN300P.
See DAN300 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. Theyíll 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 cansign up either the full year, or two terms (fall and winter). May be taken as 6th course: DAN400P.
See DAN400 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 be taken as 6th course: DAN500P.
See DAN500 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.
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. This course prepares students to take both the AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics exams. Selection will be made by the department.
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? To gain an understanding of how the pursuit of the distinctive American Dream helped to shape the culture and literature of the United States, students examine texts from different genres and time periods. Texts may include Rebecca Harding Davis’s Life in the Iron Mills, Nella Larsen’s Passing, Horatio Alger’s Ragged Dick, and short stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Anzia Yezierska.
Through stories, films, video games, and songs, we explore two kinds of environment: ecological, which is what we share with non human life forms, and cultural, made by/for human communities. We learn that in dystopian and horror narratives about the environment, the fantastic and the monstrous function like a terrifying dream: they reveal our deepest flaws and secrets; they pose but rarely answer the question, ‘what exactly does it mean to be human?’
In addition to the core texts from Fitzgerald, Hurston, and Dickinson, we will also 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.
When Hamlet asks, “To be, or not to be? That is the question,” he utters what has become, unfortunately, a cliché. In the context of Shakespeare’s play, however, this question ripples with Hamlet’s anxiety, with his wondering as to how (or whether) he should move forward with his life. This course will explore works, like Hamlet, characterized by protagonists who grapple with similar “central questions,” questions like: What defines me? What does it mean to be a good daughter, son, or child? What does it mean to be a good parent? To what extent has my family, race, gender, and/or choices determined my future? To what extent do I have the power to make my own choices at all? How do people see me? Which path should I take? At the same time, the asking of big questions is not (or certainly shouldn’t be) something done only by fictional characters. To that end, students will also keep journals in which they will reflect on their own day-to-day lives and experiences. At the end of the course, as students approach the writing of their meditations, each will have his/her/their journal as an additional text to help them see and think about what questions are emerging as central in their own lives. This course exercises the skills of analysis, critical thinking, and writing, as well as the practice of regular self-reflection. Course texts may include Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and Danzy Senna’s Caucasia.
How is our experience of the world structured by language? What aspects of an action as simple as seeing are culturally controlled? What does it mean to be aware of the nature of your experience, and to act on that awareness? In this class, we’ll read John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, George Lakoff & Mark Johnson’s Metaphors We Live By, and David Antin’s performance poems to open these questions, and attempt to understand and complicate their implications in our lives. Once we’ve established a conceptual framework, we’ll spend time engaged with cultural trends and artifacts – art objects, movies, commercials, social media feeds, magazine and newspaper articles, etc. – to develop a sense of just how prevalent our culture’s underlying metaphors are, and to examine their impact on our thinking and our daily activities. Students will maintain notebooks, write regularly, and complete creative work in response to readings and discussions.
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. Authors may include Chris Bohjalian, Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith, Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Woolf and others.
The critic Eliot Weinberger contends that the history of American poetry is the history of a series of great poems, each of which permanently altered the landscape of poetry. But you won’t find the Great American Poem in the mall beside the Great American Cookie, so it’s reasonable to wonder which were those poems? What were the conditions that made them possible? Why haven’t more of us read them? What makes something “great” anyhow? And where would we look if we wanted to find the Great American Poems(s) of our own time? After establishing our footing in the first four questions by looking at the historical record, we’ll address the final question, investigating the poetry of our time via suggestions from contemporary poets and critics. On the way to developing an individual understanding of what separates great poetry from ordinary and excellent poetry, students will read widely and variously, write creatively, and maintain both a Sourcebook and a Commons book. Among other authors, we will read work by Whitman, Dickinson, Stein, Williams, Hughes, Hayden, Ginsberg, Ashbery, and contemporary poets.
Starting with Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon, the classic Japanese film told in multiple viewpoints, students will begin to consider the manner in which writers and artists manipulate personal, visual, and cultural perspectives. Then, with the early atomic age and the current struggles against terrorism, whether foreign or domestic, as backdrops, readers will first turn their attention to Kamila Shamsie’s Burnt Shadows, which begins with the destruction of Nagasaki and moves forward to 9/11, and later to Home Fire, a re imagining of Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone. Along with sharing ideas freely in discussions, participants will write poems, narratives, and critical arguments.
In this course we will examine 20th and 21st century American portrayals of slavery through creative works and situate them in their historical contexts. We will use The New York Times’ “The 1619 Project” as a starting point for understanding America’s 400 year history with slavery on its soil, then we will probe texts selected from The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, Kindred by Octavia Butler, A Mercy by Toni Morrison and Father Comes Home from the Wars by Suzan Lori Parks. We will evaluate how various contemporary writers represent the “Peculiar Institution” as a way to tackle modern issues such as racial profiling and mass incarceration. We may also watch the film Fruitvale Station directed by Ryan Coogler and the documentary 13th directed by Ava Duvernay.
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 PHI671.
In this literature-based writing and thinking course, we will probe the boundaries of what has been considered literature and arrive at an understanding of the contemporary canon. Through careful reading of works from outside of the traditional canon of world literature, we will seek to understand what aspects of a work make it, at its core, literary. Through interrogation of literature’s many places in culture and life – What is the use of literature? How is literature applicable to my situation? How can I put literature to work improving my experience of the world? – we will expand our ability to be affected by and changed by literature, and simultaneously open ourselves to fresh possibilities in literature. The course will be reading intensive, and though our class discussions will be based in examination, description, and critical thought, students will at times be encouraged to try out the various encountered forms creatively in their responses. Students will leave the course with a wide array of ideas about what literature has been and will become. Among other authors, we will read work by Italo Calvino, Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, Zora Neale Hurston, and Marjane Satrapi.
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 Aduriquib, 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, Ideas that Changed the World, and How Humans Use Culture. 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. Therefore, a student exploring love might choose to read works by Duras or Marquez. Those interested in our relationship with work and wealth might examine the stories of Sparks or Cheever. In any case, students will meet in their tutor groups to reveal their interpretations of these readings. Thus the tutorial group then becomes a space where students’ own literary interests become the focus of the curriculum. Groups will coalesce along shared interests and students will collaborate to examine problems, ideas, and solutions from a plurality of perspectives.
Forming a troupe of fledgling actors, students will explore improvisational exercises, rehearse and perform monologues and short scenes in a workshop setting, read and respond to contemporary plays, and view professional performances. If you’ve always wanted to act or if your appetite for the stage already has been whetted, join your classmates in indulging those desires and exploring the acting craft.
Even the strongest friendships in Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies grow fragile within the romantic, familial, or political chaos. Without losing sight of those larger forces, students will consider the bonds between Helena and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Falstaff and Prince Hal in Henry IV, Part 1, and Hamlet and Ophelia 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. Critical essays and informal, imaginative responses will help participants document their discoveries.
Finding their own powers in the realms ordinarily ruled by men, the women in the comedies, often in different guises, challenge conventions and redefine the boundaries of love. Isabella in Measure for Measure Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, and Viola and Olivia in Twelfth Night all express themselves in singular manners. To bring these women alive beyond the page, the ensemble will discuss performance choices, critique filmed productions, and improvise creative possibilities in staging exercises. Along with sharing ideas freely in lively discussions, participants will write critical arguments, monologues, and a personal meditation.
Encountering Shakespeare’s The Tempest and The Winter’s Tale, plays that favor redemption over revenge, students will explore the ways the artistic and social contexts in which Prospero and Leontes ponder the “rarer action” of forgiveness can reshape the experience for readers, actors, and audiences. To bring the plays alive beyond the page, the ensemble will discuss performance choices, critique filmed productions, and improvise creative possibilities in staging exercises. Informal, imaginative responses will help participants document their discoveries.
The Capstone is a self directed, writing and research project that takes place over the course of an entire term. It is more than just a research paper, however. The Capstone project challenges students to go beyond finding and synthesizing information to directing their own scholarly projects that have a stake in real world conversations on the topic of choice. Participants will be asked to deepen one’s understanding of the material by interviewing an expert in the field, drawing on their expertise and gaining first hand experience through observation, experimentation, creation, and extensive reading and writing on the selected topic. Therefore, the Capstone is not just a matter of passive research, but of active participation in the creation of knowledge on the selected topic. The project culminates in a research paper and a formal presentation before the wider Deerfield community.
For people marginalized from the mainstream American imaginary, movement is deemed unruly, but artists have creatively taken up ways to resist and take flight to push back against erasure. In the closing moments of Song of Solomon, for instance, Toni Morrison writes, “…if you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.” Flying, Morrison suggests, requires the possibility of falling, of risk, of surrender. This twin meaning of flight will serve as a focusing lens with which students in this class will examine a range of similar texts, ranging in possibility from Helena Maria Viramontes’ Their Dogs Came With Them to C Pam Zhang’s How Much of These Hills is Gold. We will write creative responses, explore relevant film and music, reflect on our personal relationships to place and power, and work together to open spaces of possibilities for ourselves and others.
In this course, students will participate in outdoor excursions to contemplate their relationship to the natural world. Contemporary environmental writers such as Robin Wall Kimmerer, Kathleen Moore, Terry Tempest Williams, Rebecca Solnit, Tom Wessels, and Cheryl Savageau will animate students’ understandings of the local landscape of the Deerfield River and the Pocumtuck Ridge, or other natural places that they call home. Field study will help students practice the close observation and attention to detail required to successfully write about nature. The term will culminate in a braided essay of personal narrative combined with nature writing, research, and critical engagement with the readings from the term.
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 Stephen Karam’s The Humans, Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, Lynn Nottage’s Ruined, Suzan Lori Parks’ Topdog/Underdog, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and Tom Stoppard’s Rock ‘n’ Roll. In exploring 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, participants will write monologues, critical arguments, and a personal meditation.
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.
In this course we will investigate the making of the modern short story as explored by a variety of multicultural writers of color in their debut collections. Authors may include Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies), Junot Diaz (Drown), Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (The Thing Around Your Neck) and ZZ Packer (Drinking Coffee Elsewhere). The short story is a form with a unique power to illuminate contemporary existence, and our investigations will focus on the subtle, essential elements that breathe life into the short story form. Students will have ample opportunities to write their own short stories and workshop their creative ideas throughout the course.
In this course we will study 20th and 21st century stories by several African American writers that center on young black protagonists in search of identity and a place in the world. Working primarily with fiction, texts may include The Color Purple by Alice Walker, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow, and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. We will examine the characters’ journeys while navigating the harsh realities of the centuries long history of racism in America. We will explore such questions as, how does a sense of identity develop—is it built, chosen, discovered, learned, imposed? How does one navigate between the dreams of youth and the compromises of experience? How is the story of finding your place complicated when social differences of race, gender and class stand between you and the dominant narratives of mobility in America?
Sarah Resnick in The New Yorker frames the idea of racial passing in a recent 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 positionality 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 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, and social commentary by Sojourner Truth, Harriet Jacobs, Ida B. Wells, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, and Mikki Kendall. 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.
Sequential art has existed in various forms for just about as long as humans have been writing stories; the Bayeux Tapestry depicts the 1066 Norman invasion of England, hieroglyphs and frescoes immortalize the exploits of the powerful in ancient Egyptian societies, and carved friezes across the Mediterranean tell stories from Greek mythology. In the 1960s, a new and exciting mode of storytelling was born from this history of images in deliberate sequence: the graphic novel (or comix, or illustrated novel, or many other names, depending on who you ask). Neither newspaper funnies nor serialized superhero saga, graphic novels both subvert and enhance narrative traditions in ways that this class will seek to explore. Students will read Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics to generate a critical framework for approaching a selection of novels from authors such as Alison Bechdel, Kyle Baker, Chris Ware, Art Spiegelman, and Marjane Satrapi. Students will interact with the texts via class discussion, formal and informal written critical arguments, personal narrative, research on the burgeoning comic book scholarship, and the creation of some comics of their own.
In this introductory course, students learn basic French communication skills ñ 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 excited and interested in 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, the future tenses, and the conditional 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 accelerated intermediate level 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 II 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 move to the study of the conditional past, if clause structures, and an introduction to the subjunctive. Naturally the studentís language production becomes more sophisticated. 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 III 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 certain 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 accelerated 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. Students are introduced to the structure of the Advanced Placement French Language and Culture Examination. As with all honors classes at Deerfield, French IV Honors requires a substantial and consistent work ethic in order to master the material in a satisfactory manner.
This is a literature seminar that continues to emphasize grammar and composition in order to polish students’ writing skills. Students read works by a variety of authors from France and the Francophone world. Papers, oral presentations, debates and discussions are also used to continue developing oral competency.
This accelerated 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. Strong students in this course can choose to take the AP exam. 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 V 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.
This is a topics-based course for advanced speakers of French who have finished French V 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 course requires a substantial and consistent work ethic in order to master the material in a satisfactory manner.
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 or 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 II will be spent on Plato’s Crito, an accessible and foundational example of classical Greek prose and ancient philosophy.
Advanced Tutorial may be offered to students who, in consultation with the department and with its endorsement, wish to design an individualized course in Greek literature.
In this introductory health class students will engage in discussions that will expand their understanding of what it means to be healthy. We will embrace the motto, “healthy mind, healthy body, healthy you!” Topics covered include adolescence, self-care, personal values, stress and stress management, relationships, and more.
In this introductory health class students will engage in discussions that will expand their understanding of what it means to be healthy. We will embrace the motto, “healthy mind, healthy body, healthy you!” Topics covered include adolescence, self-care, personal values, stress and stress management, relationships, and more.
In this introductory health class students will engage in discussions that will expand their understanding of what it means to be healthy. We will embrace the motto, “healthy mind, healthy body, healthy you!” Topics covered include adolescence, self-care, personal values, stress and stress management, relationships, and more.
This health course expands on the 9th grade introductory class and deepens students’ understanding of mental health, mental illness, and healthy relationships. Through classroom presentations and discussions we will explore aspects of identity, learn about various mental illnesses, better understand how to engage in and develop healthy relationships, and discuss the role of adolescent development as it pertains to these topics. Additional topics we will discuss may include human sexuality, alcohol and other drugs, and stress management. All three and four year students are required to take this course during grade 10 regardless of a previous similar course.
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 200-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 200-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, 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 also read from early primary texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, the Confucian Analects and the Maníyoshu, as well as from early travelogues, histories and manuals on ruling and warfare. Each 200-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 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 essential questions. Each 200-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 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.
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.
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.
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. This is a one-term course.
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 explore the global origins, development, and spread of capitalism from the 18th century to the present, examining not just how it has changed the world, but how the world has changed it in return. We will pay special attention to property rights, markets, the corporation, labor movements, technology and the environment, race and gender, consumer culture, 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 both social struggle and government actions. Students will have opportunities to extend their study of these themes through research on companies and parts of the world of their choice.
As the United States heads into its midterm elections, this course will put the headlines of the news cycle in historical perspective and challenge students to think critically about the mechanics of democracy. 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 2022 Senate or Congressional race 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.
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. In each section of the course, students will also study resistance in the face of heavy odds and debate how these conflicts over memorialization affect our contemporary world.
In conjunction with a systematic review of fundamentals, students engage in selected readings of both prose and poetry during the year. Texts, for which students may be asked to identify parallels to modern examples of ancient literary and documentary genres comprise the Fall Term. Students progress to Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis in the winter and an exploration of what it means to be an effective citizen of a diverse and sprawling community that is in need of wise, informed guidance. Selections from authors that may include Ovid, Catullus, Vergil, and Caesar constitute the spring syllabus, in which students, confronted with love, conflict, purpose, and destiny in their own lives, meet these themes writ large in Roman history and culture between the end of the 2nd Punic War and the death of Augustus.
This is an advanced literature seminar, conducted in English, offering a rigorous study of Caesar’s Commentāriī dē Bellō Gallicō and 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. The course covers the core of the AP Latin syllabus and familiarizes students with the nature of that assessment.
A continuation of Latin 400, likewise conducted in English. In the spring, students who have completed Latin 400 in the same or previous year may elect to sit for the AP Latin exam. This course is a thorough review of the AP syllabus and the skills necessary for success on the AP Exam. Students who do not wish to take the Latin AP may opt to take a spring classics elective.
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. In addition to reading, there will be a significant emphasis on prose and verse composition; attention will also be given to aspects of history that support the study of the texts in question, including inscriptions, graffiti, art history, and archeology.
Advanced Tutorial may be offered to students who, in consultation with the department and with its endorsement, wish to pursue an individualized course in classical studies.
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 which then leads to 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 then 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 preparedfor 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 fora 300-level course.
This course is an enriched version of Math 202 and is designed for the well-qualified math student. The course covers the same geometric topics as Math 202 but in greater depth. Students investigate additional topics at the discretion of the instructor. Successful completion of this course normally advances a student to Math 303.
This course meets the standards of a solid course in second year algebra. However, it is designed for students whose background indicates a need for a review of material from previous courses. As such it moves at a somewhat slower pace than Math 302. Students who complete this course are prepared for a 400-level mathematics course.
This course is intended for students who have achieved success in Math 102 and Math 202 or the equivalent. The 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.
This course is an enriched version of Math 302 and is designed for the well-qualified student. The course develops the same material as Math 302 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 403.
This course is intended for students who have demonstrated an interest in pursuing additional mathematics courses at Deerfield but have found themselves unable to achieve their goals in their time remaining at the school. Students who have earned credits in Algebra I and Geometry only by the end of their sophomore year may be eligible for this course by teacher recommendation. 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 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 develops 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 Math 302 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 is greatly influenced by the fact that all students have immediate access to this technology.
This course is designed as a continuation of Math 303. The topics covered in this accelerated course include all those listed under Math 402 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 Math 603 (AP Calculus BC).
This course follows Math 401. It is also intended for students who have completed 402 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. The pace of this course allows for a 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 required 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 MAT402 or the equivalent, with permission of the department. Exceptional mathematics studentsentering 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 required to take the AP exam in May.
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 a 400-level or higher course. Students in this course are required 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 MAT603.
Special Topics is aimed at students who have completed the rest of the 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.
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. This is a one-term course.
Singing builds community, commitment, self-discipline, personal ownership, and responsibility to the group. Open to anyone, and focused on singing, this course will introduce and develop skills in interpreting musical notation and understanding of melody, harmony, rhythm, and aesthetics. Students will develop proper singing technique and healthy habits relating to body alignment, breath management, vowel formation, proper resonation, clear diction, and accurate intonation. Classroom activities include sight-singing, light calisthenics, breathing exercises, meditation, historical research, music games, and improvisation. The ensemble will study and perform a wide range of musical styles and genres,including regularly dividing into separate Soprano/Alto and Tenor/Bass groups. Evaluations will be based on performance and growth across each term. May be taken as 6th course: MUS300P.
See MUS300 description.
Open by audition to advanced singers, this course builds on previously demonstrated skill in interpreting musical notation and understanding of melody, harmony, rhythm, and aesthetics. Students will develop proper singing technique and healthy habits relating to body alignment, breath management, vowel formation, proper resonation, clear diction, and accurateintonation. Classroom activities include sight-singing, light calisthenics, breathing exercises, meditation, historical research, music games, and improvisation. The ensemble willstudy and perform a wide range of musical styles and genres, including serving as an SATB a cappella ensemble. Evaluations will be based on performances in and out of the classroom setting. May be taken as 6th course: MUS303P.
See MUS303 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. May be taken as 6th course: MUS310P.
See MUS310 description.
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 willchoose the repertoire that we analyze. We 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 the secrets that we unlock through our various analyses. There will be opportunities to publish and share projects, including live performances and digital distribution services such as Spotify. Collaboration with other courses (e.g. Studio Production, Digital Filmmaking) will be encouraged. Industry-standard tools such as Avid Sibelius music composition software and ProTools production software will be learned and employed for projects. 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.
This course offers our most advanced instrumentalists the opportunity to work in small ensembles, learning and performing repertoire by the worldís greatest composers. Class time consists of rotating coaching by Mr. Bergeron and our professional staff, performance classesin the Concert Hall (including peer feedback), student-led rehearsals, and guest artist visits (masterclasses and performances) from renowned chamber musicians. Students explore questions of performance practice, instrumental technique, emotion, expression, historical context, music theory, compositional architecture, performance psychology, and group dynamics. Each semester culminates with the Chamber Music Showcase Concert in the Concert Hall, whichis open to the public and professionally recorded. Daily practice is expected and participation in the Deerfield Orchestra is required of all chamber musicians except pianists. Chamber musicians should also be taking private lessons. May be taken as 6th course: MUS403P.
See MUS403 description.
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 we should 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? We 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 you to rich traditions of philosophical thinking about happiness, and to equip you to begin thinking with some degree of rigor and discipline about questions of happiness as they arise in your own life.
This one-term 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. We 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!
“Who are we? How did we get here? Where are we headed?” When scholars ask these questions about American society, the answers can take the form of data about everything from population to housing to education to leisure activities. They can also take the form of large over arching theories that seek to put data into a form of explanation of historical trends or predictions for the future. Both of those approaches are the work of sociologists and social philosophers. This elective is an introduction to that work and will offer students the chance to do some of it for themselves. Readings will include classic sociology from Max Weber, W.E.B. Dubois, Simone De Beauvoir, and Studs Terkel and move on to important contemporary works like Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste, Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone, Michael Sandel’s Tyranny of Merit, and Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland. Students will do a project that gathers data of the kind sociologists use and then develop a social philosophy analysis to present to the class.
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 ENG671.
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 (w/ algebra). 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.
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 bring 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 course introduces students to the process of designing, building, coding, and debugging autonomous robots. In a scaffolded series of activities students learn the essential principles of circuits, functional coding of a microprocessor, and how to use actuators and sensors to create devices that interact with the real world. Understanding is built primarily through guided explorations integrated with discussions with their peers and the teacher. This class culminates with a robotic challenge in which students are asked to create a robot to solve a complex task. Through these experiences student’s gain ownership of their knowledge and understanding, and of their robot.
Introduction to Engineering is a project based course where students solve real world problems while learning process skills such as project management and technical skills such as 3D design and fabrication.
This is an algebra based, introductory physics course. Students cultivate their understanding of physics through inquiry based investigations as they explore topics such as: kinematics; forces; energy; momentum; electric charge and electric force; electric circuits; thermodynamics; magnetic fields; electromagnetism; optics; and quantum, atomic, and nuclear physics. This course is appropriate for 11th and 12th grade students who have not previously taken a physics course. Students who wish to begin the Physics 2 (w/ calculus) sequence during spring term may elect to finish Physics 2 (w/ trig) after winter term and enroll in Honors Physics: Mechanics 1 for spring term if they meet the requirements for that course.
This is a second year course for students who have a serious interest in studying physics beyond the introductory level; it is the first term of a two term sequence preparing students for the AP Physics C exam in Mechanics. Topics include motion/kinematics, Newton’s laws, and energy. Students will spend significant course time working collaboratively in small groups on problem solving and laboratory experiments. Calculus will be used as required. Work in this course can be extensive and demanding.
A continuation of Honors Physics: Mechanics 1, this is the second term of a two term sequence preparing students for the AP Physics C exam in Mechanics. Topics include orbital motion, center of mass, momentum, simple harmonic motion, and rotational motion. Students will spend significant course time working collaboratively in small groups on problem solving and laboratory experiments. Calculus will be used as required. Work in this course can be extensive and demanding.
This is a second year course for students who have a serious interest in studying physics beyond the introductory level; it is the first term of a two term sequence preparing students for the AP Physics C exam in Electricity and Magnetism. Topics include Coulomb’s Law, electric fields, electric potential, capacitance, and electric circuits. Students will spend significant course time working collaboratively in small groups on problem solving and laboratory experiments. Calculus will be used as required. Work in this course can be extensive and demanding.
A continuation of Honors Physics: E & M 1, this is the second term of a two term sequence preparing students for the AP Physics C exam in Electricity and Magnetism. Topics include magnetic fields and forces and electromagnetic induction. Students will spend significant course time working collaboratively in small groups on problem solving and laboratory experiments. Calculus will be used as required. Work in this course can be extensive and demanding.
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 one term 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 on large ships in the 16th century. The contributions of Native cultures are inextricably tied to the American story. This course begins to tell of the contributions of Native peoples through their history, their spirituality and their present lives on reservations – 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.
“Silence is God’s first language; everything else is a poor translation.” Thomas Keating, DA ’40 At times, silence can communicate expression and thought clearly; at other times, it can be unnerving. Silence can speak and silence can confound. The legacy of scriptural and spiritual silence in a variety of faith traditions will be the focus of study, while frequent experiences of quiet contemplative practices will punctuate a historical literary encounter with unspoken Word. This is a one-term course.
The course will examine how Earth came to be the planet we know today: a habitable but changing world, home to a diverse array of organisms, global feedback loops and interconnected biogeochemical systems. Students will explore deep geologic time starting with the early Earth, trace the evolutionary tree and examine the myriad of ways in which our planet shaped life and how life shaped our planet. The course will focus on both the biotic and abiotic dynamics that drive the interplay between the Sun and our planet’s ice, rocks, soil, atmosphere, freshwater and Ocean. Additionally, we will examine how humans have become integral drivers of planetary evolution, transforming Earth’s surface, waters and atmosphere and how humanity can harness our collective will to protect the planet for a bright future. Students will spend extensive time conducting project work outdoors and also develop an understanding of Geographic Information Systems software as a powerful tool for both science communication and geospatial data analysis. This course does not fulfill the Science graduation requirement.
The course begins with an overview of climate science, including atmospheric composition, biogeochemical cycles, principles of energy conservation and flow, the greenhouse effect, atmospheric and oceanic circulation, and natural climate variability. Students will investigate recent anthropogenic climate change, examining both causes and consequences. Students will examine agriculture systems, comparative biomes looking at depth into freshwater and marine ecosystems, while taking advantage of the deciduous forest ecosystem in our backyard. As a means to addressing environmental justice, students will look at Environmental Law and Policy. Finally, we will study energy systems; both conventional non renewables as well as novel renewable energy systems in addition to adaptation/mitigation efforts that will guide humanity’s future. With some independent work, students can be well prepared for the AP Environmental Science exam. We will take frequent field trips to best take advantage of the natural splendor of the Pocumtuck Valley.
The modern world is experiencing rapid anthropogenic climatic and environmental changes that present clear and immediate challenges for humanity. This course will challenge students to build upon their previous research experience in advanced science courses to further refine their experimental and analytical skills. Conservation, restoration, adaptation and mitigation will all play important roles as we navigate changing planetary systems and this course will focus on how humanity can harness our knowledge of the natural world to guide us. 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, carry out field/lab projects. Students will also use remote environmental sensing and Geographic Information Systems software to query and develop conservation/sustainability strategies at the local, landscape and global levels. Students enrolled in ES600 should be prepared to spend time outdoors conducting research throughout the year and in a range of weather conditions.
In this introductory course, students learn basic Spanish communication skills–including vocabulary and grammar–while exploring new 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 excited for and interested in further Spanish language acquisition. Class is conducted primarily in Spanish. Open to all students; juniors and seniors need permission from the Academic Dean’s Office.
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 authentic 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. A full term is devoted to reading a Latin American novel. 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. Selection will be made by the department.
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.
In this spring term course, students will continue with their study of Spanish language and culture at the same time that they prepare for the AP exam in Spanish Language and Culture. Students in this course will be expected to take the AP exam.
This course allows our most advanced students of Spanish to delve further into the language, cultures and literatures of the Spanish-speaking world. The course readings includea broad sampling across both traditional and modern literary genres, so students might read novels, short stories, essays, and theater, and they will also learn about blogs, new media, 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 an honors-level, two-term course.
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 course introduces students to key principles of drama and theatrical performance in Spanish. It is an opportunity to learn about theatrical traditions of Spanish speaking cultures by means of textual analysis, acting and staging techniques, and critical appreciation of Spanish, Latin American and Latinx theatrical productions. Class assignments include playwrights’ labs, brief translation projects, radical adaptations of monologues and short scenes from classical plays, and a final performance.
Advanced Tutorial may be offered to students who, in consultation with the department and with its endorsement, wish to pursue an individualized course in Spanish.
This one-term course explores the basic 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 be taken as 6th course: THE200P.
See THE200 description.
Acting II 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. This is a one-term course. May be taken as 6th course: THE300P.
See THE300 description.
Anything Goes: Musical Theater is for students interested in learning the basic principles of acting and singing in a musical theater context. Over the length of this course, students will gain practical and theoretical knowledge of musicals through creative work for performance pieces and contextual lessons on musical theater history. No previous experience is necessary, although some background in singing is helpful.
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 with their peers as performers, from their chosen play. Several plays from around the world are also read and analyzed throughout the term. No previous acting experience is necessary. May be taken as 6th course: THE400P.
See THE400 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. Weekly screenings 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. May be taken as 6th course: THE510P
See THE510 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 section teacher may suggest a change of level. Students may also request such a change and should consult with their teacher and their academic advisor before contacting the Academic Dean.
Study abroad is available to all students from their sophomore to senior years, although typically students who choose to go abroad will do so during their junior year.
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. Exemplary students with a grade point average of 92.0 or higher may qualify for admission to the Cum Laude Society, a national honor society.
Because of its commitment to rigorous academics, Deerfield offers a wide range of accelerated and Advanced Placement courses. All of Deerfield’s classes are appropriately challenging, but AP and accelerated courses provide an extra challenge for ambitious students.
All students are assigned a faculty advisor at the beginning of their time at Deerfield. After their first year students may choose a new advisor, or continue with their original one, 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 any questions a student may have and are involved in every major academic or athletic decision a student makes while at Deerfield. In addition, faculty eat lunch with their advisees every Thursday and may schedule outside events for their advisees. Advisors are a key component of the Deerfield experience, as they provide guidance and friendship to students throughout their time at Deerfield.
The Pursuit of Excellence Policy states that students may miss up to five class days a year if an unusual and extraordinary opportunity arises, including opportunities in a variety of academic, athletic, and artistic fields. The Office of the Academic Dean determines the legitimacy of pursuit of excellence requests on a case-by-case basis.