HISTORY, POLITICS, AND CURRENT EVENTS

A PERIOD COURSES

“BUILD” AFRICA

ADDIE BULLOCK ‘14 AND ANDREW BOGARDUS
Using the African Leadership Academy model, one based on Stanford Business School, students will explore pan-African issues, U.S. involvement in those issues, and modern portrayals of Africa in the media. Students will interact with ALA students, located in South Africa, to utilize the BUILD concept (Believe, Understand, Invent, Listen, and Deliver) to collaboratively develop solutions to the most pressing needs. After receiving feedback, the class will present the best model to the school.

CARRYING THE TORCH: THE OLYMPICS

DANA ANSELMI AND KELLEY BOGARDUS
It happens every two years: the lighting of the torch, the roar of the crowd, the blend of the colors, the symphony of dialects, the march of the athletes, and the thrill of the battle. The Olympic Games represent over 100 years of global collaboration and healthy competition. On the heels of the winter games in Sochi, Russia, this class will examine the origins of the Olympics as well as noteworthy historical, political, and social themes through documentaries and clips of memorable moments. Students will have the opportunity to travel to a nearby ski jump and a curling facility (where they will try their own hand at this Olympic sport) to see how these global sports are important cultural pastimes, even in small town USA. A local Olympic medalist will also address the class and answer questions about her experience as a member of the 1996 Bronze Medal US Women’s Hockey Team.

CHINA: THE ROARING DRAGON

LU XU
As the world’s second largest economy, China wields incredible influence in the global marketplace. How did this come to be? Through a study of its history, culture, and political system, students will gain an appreciation and understanding of this country’s storied development. After discussing the issues facing China today and its unique relationship with the United States, students will practice Chinese calligraphy and preparing traditional Chinese food. The class will culminate with student presentations of a research project on a topic of interest.

JOGA BONITO

JON MOODEY
Why has soccer, a simple game of modest origins, become such a dominant and influential force around the globe? By viewing segments of a six-part documentary series called
History of Soccer: The Beautiful Game and reading portions of Franklin Foer’s How Soccer Explains the World, participants in this course will explore the history, evolution, and impact of the game of soccer around the globe. Participants will have an opportunity each day to play futsal, a version of soccer in which creativity, improvisation, and technique are emphasized. Made popular on the streets of Brazil, futsal gave birth to a new and beautiful style of play, one which Pelé would later coin joga bonito.

MAGIC VS. BIRD

JAY CRONZE ‘09 AND J.J. JEMISON ‘09
Not only a battle between two of the greatest players of all time and two of the greatest franchises, but also between two men from very different backgrounds, the rivalry between Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird reveals much about both the state of the NBA and the state of our society. In this class, we will review the historical context behind this relationship and both players’ unique paths to super- star status. We will also examine the concept of rivalry, where it comes from and who creates it, and how this specific rivalry impacted the U.S. well beyond the realms of the basketball arena. Finally, we will analyze Johnson’s announcement about his HIV status and Bird’s reaction to it, and chart these two icons’ transformations during the twilight of their careers.

POLITICAL ADVERTISING, PROPAGANDA AND FILM, 2000-2013

BRIAN SULLIVAN
This course will explore the media’s impact on American culture during the War on Terror as
well as its portrayal of the battle over gun control. Students will explore the context surrounding these ideological clashes, including 9/11 and Columbine, through essays, political advertisements and short films. They will also examine how advertising and film influence American culture. Students will be expected to read various propaganda advertisements as well as create one of their own.

SPORTS AND POLITICS

BILL GULOTTA
Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Joe Louis, and the Miracle on Ice: What do these major athletic figures and events teach us about the social and political climate of their time? In this course, we will examine various periods of U.S. history through the lens of major athletic events. Joe Louis’ victory over the German, Max Schmeling, in a turbulent pre-WWII era; Jesse Owens’ Olympic triumph in Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Olympics; the defeat of the Russians by the U.S. men’s hockey team at the height of the Cold War. These events, and others, provide unique insight into our nation’s history.

WHO AM I?

BEBE BULLOCK ’86 AND JASON GAPPA
Do you know that you are the sum of all your ancestors? Your grandmother’s choices, your great- grandfather’s risks, and your great-great-grandmother’s adventures are your foundation. Find out why you live where you live; discover where your name comes from; delve into the history of your past. Perhaps you will discover that your ancestors emigrated from Russia via Canada, that your great-aunt was the first woman to run a bank, and your grandmother was part of planning the Columbian Exhibition of 1893. Using online and local resources, including a visit from the head of the New York Genealogical Society, we will discover ancestors’ occupations, household status, property ownership, native language, and country of origin. Discover the parts of your history, to make them a part of your present.

B PERIOD COURSES

CRACKING THE CODE

ELIZABETH BAER
Pro Vita What do these Egyptian hieroglyphics spell? Are you curious about how linguists used the Rosetta Stone to decipher a once-forgotten alphabet? How did these symbols evolve into our alphabet? After reviewing different types of writing systems – pictograph, syllabary, alphabet – we will proceed to study how some ancient writing systems were decoded. In this course, we will create rebuses, an essential development in the transition from pictograms to alphabets, and use transliteration exercises to map the relationship between systems. Finally, we will work together to create a visual representation of an idea.

THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BADGE

BILL GULOTTA
Each of us may have to depend on a firefighter or police officer in a moment of crisis in our life. What goes through the emergency responder’s mind in a moment of crisis? This course will introduce you to the training and psyche of these brave professionals. A graduate of Framingham State Police Academy and the Baltimore Police Academy, Mr. Gulotta will present an overview of the skills necessary to become an officer. After initial training, you will explore real-life emergency situations and will undoubtedly renew your appreciation for the great service emergency responders provide our communities.

PERSON OF THE CENTURY

PAUL AND MAURA MACKENZIE
Barbara Walters recently declared Miley Cyrus one of the year’s most fascinating figures. Is she one of the most intriguing? One of the best? Of the year, the decade, the century? How does
Time magazine select a person of the year? How should we? What criteria do we use and how do we define success? Who would be your leading candidates for person of the 20th century? On what basis would you evaluate their “goodness?” Can you develop a ranking system for good people? All of this and more will be considered in this class, as teams vie to have their candidate selected as the Best Person of the Century.

POWER OF THE PROFILE PORTRAIT

DONALD ANSELMI
Queen Elizabeth. Ché Guevara. Marilyn Monroe. Martin Luther King, Jr. Jimi Hendrix. Bill Gates. What do all of these people have in common? Each is the subject of a world-renowned portrait. There are many powerful images of politicians, actors, artists, revolutionaries and other famous figures that have had a lasting effect on the world and that people associate with different ideas and movements. Students will not only study these images, but they will also dictate the track of the course by bringing in portraits of people that interest them. Students will walk away with a better understanding of the influence of media and marketing and a sense of why the people we discuss are famous in the eyes of the masses.

THE UNITED STATES: GOLIATH OR GOOD NEIGHBOR?

R.G. MEADE
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States became the world’s sole superpower. This course will examine and assess the current involvement of the U.S. in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. The focus in class discussions will be on the role of the U.S. in the economic, political and cultural development of a global society in the 21
st century. The goal of the course is for students to increase their awareness of the issues confronting the international community, to become better informed about U.S. involvement in these issues, and to enhance their knowledge of world geography.

W. E. B. DU BOIS: A MAN FOR THE AGES

SKIP MEADE AND NOAH FAISON ’16
The co-founder of the modern civil rights movement, the early leader of the Pan-African movement, the author of the Souls of Black Folk, and the first Black American to be awarded a Ph.D. from Harvard University, W. E. B. Du Bois began his illustrious career as the valedictorian of the class of 1886 at Great Barrington High School. One of the most influential and internationally acclaimed individuals of American society, Du Bois was born just up the road from Berkshire and much of his work was based upon his experiences in southern Berkshire County. Using a variety of media, including the archival collection from the Du Bois Library of the University of Massachusetts, we will explore this great man’s life and legacy and his lasting impact on the world today.

WHAT IS A HERO?

MIKE MCCABE
We all have heroes in our lives. Who are these heroes and what are their heroic qualities? Using several major heroes and heroines of Greek and Roman epic poetry--Achilles, Aeneas, Athena, and Odysseus-- we will examine how these iconic figures have influenced western European culture from antiquity and how they laid the foundation for the present day representation of a hero. We will look at specific passages from the
Iliad, Aeneid and Odyssey, and we will use movie and television depictions of each epic poem to learn more about these protagonists. We will then discuss modern-day heroes and the many forms in which they come. Each student will choose a figure particularly heroic to him or her and present to the class on the final day. 

Berkshire School

245 North Undermountain Road
 |  Sheffield, MA 01257
 |  T: 413 229 8511

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