As departments plan for 2021-2022 school year course options, the history department is proposing two new electives (Humanism and the Italian Renaissance and BIPOC History of Connecticut) as well as a number of electives that have been offered in previous years.
Electives that are already approved and have been taught in the past include History of Religions, Economics, International Human Rights, 1960’s Race, Politics, and Culture in America, Contemporary China, Global Issues, and American Law. The History of World Music, approved several years ago but not yet taught, is a course that will be co-taught by history teacher Peter Jones and history Department Chair David Baker, who currently teach 20th Century American Music together. This new course will look at world cultures through music.
In addition to the electives that have been approved already, the two proposed courses, Humanism and the Italian Renaissance (proposed by history teacher Stacey Savin) and BIPOC History of Connecticut (proposed by Mr. Baker and fellow history teachers Katie McCarthy and Tricia Watson as well as local historian and KO alumna Allison Kyff), are awaiting approval.
The BIPOC History of Connecticut course would look at the experiences of people of color and Indigenous people in Connecticut’s past. The history department wanted to offer a course that would teach students about local history that previously had been neglected. “As students, we never really learned about the history of people who were oppressed and people who didn’t have a voice in Connecticut for so long,” Mr. Baker said. “Also, we haven’t learned about other cultures in Connecticut beyond mainstream white America.”
Humanism and the Italian Renaissance is a course that aims to transport students into the past. “After spending [the] past year, which was so fraught for a soul and frightening and distressing,” Ms. Savin said, “I wanted to transport my students to a different place and time.” This course was inspired by the cancelation of the Model UN trip to Rome that was supposed to occur in the summer of 2020. Ms. Savin wanted to create a course that was based on beauty and wonder. This class will cover all aspects of the Renaissance including art and the accomplishments of humans during this time. “I wanted to give the students an appreciation for what human beings can do and at different times,” Ms. Savin said.
Even with all these diverse elective options, not all of them can be offered in one year since there are more courses than teachers. Which of these electives will be offered next year will not be finalized by the history department until February 2021.