Humanities and Social Sciences
Courses in the Humanities and Social Sciences department are organized separately by discipline, but all of them examine in some way how people across time have tried to understand and organize their worlds. All of them value critical thinking and clarity of expression—both written and oral—and expect active engagement on the part of students. In addition, an increasing number of these courses reflect the assumption that responsible citizenship in the 21st century demands a broader perspective than was perhaps necessary in the past. As a result, interdisciplinary approaches and global themes suffuse many of our current offerings and will play an even greater role in the next few years.
Beyond the diploma requirement, the department offers opportunities to examine many other regions of
our rapidly shrinking world. Students who intend to pursue a thorough course of
history at Hotchkiss are encouraged to include traditions other than U.S. Students planning to pursue history at college must be able to demonstrate a solid, continuous interest in the field.
Level one courses are introductions to the study of history, geared towards Preps and Lower Mids. These courses pay particular attention to note taking, writing, research, and reading skills.
Level two courses are devoted to the study of U.S. History, which must be taken by new upperclass students who have not earned a credit in U.S. History prior to enrolling at Hotchkiss.
Level three courses are designed for Upper Mids and Seniors and allow students to develop further their historical skills and to pursue particular interests in history.
Usually Upper Mids and Seniors
HI430 The Constitution and the Supreme Court
HI431 Traditional East Asia
HI432 Modern East Asia
HI441 The Anatomy of Revolutions
HI452 African-American History Since Emancipation
HI462 A Gay & Lesbian History of the U.S.
HI471 History of the Middle East to 1917
HI472 History of the Middle East Since 1917
HI481 Russian History: The Creation of Empire
HI482 Russian History: The Rise and Fall of Communism
HI490 AP Modern European History
HI582 World War II as Global War
HI951/2 Independent Study
Philosophy & Religion
The Philosophy and Religion program is committed to the importance of thinking hard about one's own and others' most fundamental values and beliefs. Growth in such thinking comes through critical conversation – with philosophers and religious thinkers (past and present), with forms of life very different from one's own, with long-established traditions and their keenest critics, and with classmates and teachers. Each of our courses invites students to join actively in this conversation. All our courses ask you, the student, to think for yourself: questioning received opinion, learning from outlooks that challenge your assumptions, and trying out your own ideas.
Economics and Social Sciences
Economics studies how people coordinate production and distribution of goods and services. Market exchange is one mechanism for coordinating production and distribution but processes of conflict and coordination outside of markets also have an impact: what is produced; how it is produced; how and to whom it is distributed; and who bears the full costs of production and distribution. Standard economic theory is divided into two broad subdisciplines. Microeconomics analyzes the behavior of individuals, households, business firms, and governmental entities. Macroeconomics focuses upon aggregate economic performance of nations and their interdependencies in the global economy. Economics courses at Hotchkiss include the AP course, which introduces students to standard micro and macroeconomic theory. Additional courses focus on development studies and examining the relative importance of gender, race and socio-economic class in determining participation in economic activities.
Political science concerns the study of governments, public policies, and political processes, systems, and behavior. Political scientists strive to understand the relationships underlying political events and conditions and to construct general principles about the way politics work. Though codified in the 19th century, political science has ancient roots that stretch back to the works of Plato and Aristotle. Hotchkiss offers a course in comparative politics, one of the distinct sub-disciplines that constitute political science. Comparative politics involves the systematic study and comparison of political systems, seeking to explain differences between as well as similarities among countries.