Honors American Studies
Welcome to the 11th Grade American Studies program! Over the next year, you will be asked to think critically about the “story of America” presented in history books, novels, speeches, and artworks—as well as everyday objects like credit cards, teddy bears, and birth control pills. Our goal is to draw your attention to the complex cultural, historical, social, and political events that have shaped the history of the United States and those who have told its story, from the early origins of our democracy to the current political movements spurred by social media. We also hope to show you the United States in a broader, global context by examining the ways in which our country has participated in the transcontinental flow of people, ideas, and power.
Thinking about United States history as a “story” is also meant to remind you that reading and writing about the past requires more than memorizing lists of facts and dates. Instead, studying history involves considering and developing arguments about the past that are accountable to evidence. Of course, names, places, and dates are important to the stories we tell about the past, just as a good book needs characters and a setting. But without a plot—or, in the case of history, an argument—there would be no good reason to pick up the book in the first place.