Category Archives: History

Sapiens (HS only) (hannah)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

Homo sapiens rules the world because it is the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in its own imagination, such as gods, states, money, and human rights. 

Starting from this provocative idea, Sapiens goes on to retell the history of our species from a completely fresh perspective. It explains that money is the most pluralistic system of mutual trust ever devised; that capitalism is the most successful religion ever invented; that the treatment of animals in modern agriculture is probably the worst crime in history; and that even though we are far more powerful than our ancient ancestors, we aren’t much happier. 

In this social studies class, we will read the book Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. There will be about 45 pages of reading per week, some of which we will do together in class. This class will also include lessons on early civilizations, human growth and development, social systems, and global history. 

In the past, I’ve taught the graphic novel version of Sapiens. This is the original version which offers more depth of historical examples and critical language. We may also look at the graphic novel to supplement our understanding.

An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States – American History (HS Only) (TSam)

An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States (REVISIONING HISTORY)

  • American History

The first intersectional history of the Black and Native American struggle for freedom in our country that also reframes our understanding of who was Indigenous in early America.

Beginning with pre-Revolutionary America and moving into the movement for Black lives and contemporary Indigenous activism, Afro-Indigenous historian Kyle T. Mays argues that the foundations of the US are rooted in anti-blackness and settler colonialism and that these parallel oppressions continue into the present. He explores how Black and Indigenous peoples have always resisted and struggled for freedom, sometimes together, and sometimes apart. Whether to end African enslavement and Indigenous removal or eradicate capitalism and colonialism, Mays shows how the fervor of Black and Indigenous peoples’ calls for justice have consistently sought to uproot white supremacy.

Mays uses a wide array of historical activists and pop culture icons, “sacred” texts, and foundational texts like the Declaration of Independence and Democracy in America. He covers the civil rights movement and freedom struggles of the 1960s and 1970s and explores current debates around the use of Native American imagery and the cultural appropriation of Black culture. Mays compels us to rethink both our history as well as contemporary debates and to imagine the powerful possibilities of Afro-Indigenous solidarity.

Some class activities to expect:

Note Taking


Short Answer quizzes

Short Writing Assignments

Required texts/materials: The instructor will procure the texts/materials.

Intersectional Sociology of Gender (2 terms, last term) (HS) (elizabeth ortega)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

Hi everyone, I enjoyed this class and am truly excited for this next and last term. We will continue to examine how gender, from an intersectional lens shapes the media, violence, sexuality, intimacy, education, the economy, different family structures, religion, government and society at large. We will explore how gender varies by race, class, ethnicity, global region, sexual orientation, why feminism and women’s liberation across the globe aim to improve the lives of women and men and everyone in-between. Emphasis will be on U.S. history and society, but comparisons to other countries will be made to examine how gender works and plays out.

These are the topics to come and I can’t wait for more with you all.

Gender Based Violence and Gender Inequities

White body supremacy and violence (overt and covert)

Religion and Systems of Beliefs 


Through this class students will be able to 1) analyze how social structure and culture shape gendered identities and experiences, apply sociological terms and concepts concerning gendered experiences and phenomena to their papers and presentations 2) Identify how race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality affect gender relations and experiences 3) Explain how gender creates power and control imbalances in people’s personal relationships