Hubert S. Packard Chair in History and English
and Telephone Numbers:
Paul Mellon Humanities Center #206, 203-697-2658
Memorial House #114, 203-697-2340
Choate Rosemary Hall
333 Christian Street
Wallingford, CT 06492-3800
COURSES TAUGHT AND TEACHING INTERESTS
Directed Study: Model Congress [fall 2019 term]
A trio of veterans of the PS550 course are tasked to run the Model Congress simulation for the three sections of the class this fall. In addition to overseeing party organization and bill preparations, the Directors chair a dozen committee and House floor sessionns in the course of the exercise. They also produce a research paper associated with contemporary American politics.
English 477: Satire: Literature of Protest and Change [fall, winter, and spring terms, 2019–2020 academic year]
Disruptive, uncomfortable, and often funny, satire provides keen commentary on the social, political, and cultural context from which it originates. This course exposes students to a variety of satires from different historical and cultural settings and questions whether satire can effect change. In addition, students investigate the modes and tools of satirical texts—understatement, hyperbole, irony, metaphor, etc.—in order to gain a deeper sense of how satires are successfully created and executed. The course studies satire in a variety of forms and media such as novels, plays, television shows, films, and graphic novels. Authors studied include: Aristophanes, Petronius, Jonathan Swift, Benjamin Franklin, Oscar Wilde, Flannery O'Connor, and Kurt Vonnegut.
History 413AD: American Diplomacy [fall 2019 term]
After an introduction to the roots of U.S. foreign policy, this course reviews American diplomatic history from the Spanish-American War to the current day. Major topics include the Big Stick policy, the Open Door, World War I, unilateralism vs. internationalism in the 1920s and 1930s, World War II, the Cold War and containment policy, and the challenges of the post-9/11 era. Primary sources are used extensively and both traditional and revisionist interpretations of the America's role in the world are examined. Teaching interests include: Wilsonian internationalism; origins of the Cold War; the evolution of U.S. policy in Vietnam; the place of covert operations in a democracy.
Political Science 550HO: U.S. Politics and Government I [fall 2019 term]
Students consider the organization and operation of the three branches of the United States government and their interaction, both theoretical and actual. The roles played by extra-governmental institutions--political parties, the media, special interest groups, PACs, pollsters, lobbyists, et al.--are studied as well. In the fall portion of this two-term sequence, students spend a day in Hartford exploring state government by meeting with Connecticut officials and also participate in an extensive Model Congress exercise, simulating the process of developing legislation in a political context. Teaching interests include: Constitutional development, federalism, and the changing role of political parties through history.
Courses this year:
English 405: The Classical Tradition [2018–2019 academic year]
This year-long course explores the influence of classical Greece and Rome as the foundation of Western civilization, and how the surviving works of antiquity have shaped and informed culture from the Renaissance to modern times. Students will be introduced to timeless questions of human identity and meaning, primarily through the genres of epic poetry and drama. Through literature is at the heart of this study, visual arts, history, and philosophical works will be regularly considered. The course will include texts by Homer, Sophocles, Aeschylus, Plato, Ovid, Virgil, Dante, the Beowulf poet, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton as well as contemporary authors.
English 480S: The Age of Anxiety [spring 2019 term]
The third term of a year-long multi-disciplinary humanities course investigating the great cultural revolutions of the past few centuries in the culture of the West. Following a fall term that considers the Romantic revolt against the Enlightenment in the late 18th to mid-19th centuries, and a winter term that focuses on Modernism’s “shock of the new” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the spring term explores the post-World War II era through characteristic works of literature, visual art, music, film, philosophy, and social theory.
History MSH1: From Athens To Washington, DC: The Evolution Of Democracy [summer 2019 term]
First imagined in ancient Greek city-states, democracy has evolved over the centuries into one of the most important and polarizing political ideals in the history of civilization. This course explores the earliest seeds of democracy, as well as its modern iterations. Students examine what democracy is and what democracy is not, focusing first on classical models in Greece and Rome, and then modern examples of Britain and the United States.
History KI41: American Government and Politics [summer 2019 term]
In this foundation course the Constitution and federalism are viewed through the lens of contemporary politics. Students learn how the offices of the President, Congress, and the Supreme Court operate in theory and reality. This course will focus on topics of current interest and major political candidates and their respective party platforms. Teaching interests include: Constitutional development; federalism; political parties; media issues.
History 411HO: Constitutional Law (Honors) [spring 2020 term]
This course explores the evolution of the United States Supreme Court and its influence on the American people. For the first half of the term, students read a history of the High Court and write several short papers on topics in constitutional history. In the latter portion of the course, the class resolves itself into a “Mock Court” program, in which students argue landmark cases decided by the real Court in the past century. When presenting cases as a lawyer, students research the legal background, prepare a one-page argumentative brief, and engage in oral argument before the rest of the class. The remaining students serve as the Court's justices who deliberate on each of the several dozen cases handled over the course of the term. Teaching interests include: common law tradition; development of judicial power; freedom of the press; rights to political representation; civil rights; privacy; rights of the accused.
History 432AD: Modern Japan: From Samurai to Sony [winter 2019 term]
This course explores Japan's transformation from feudal state to Asian military power from 1800 to 1945 and then its rise from bitter defeat in World War II to become an economic superpower. We consider how traditional Japanese culture has shaped the nation’s business and industrial successes and failures in the postwar era. Other focal points of the course include the changing status of women, race and racism in the Pacific War, and Japan’s relationship with the United States. While its primary focus is historical, the course explores many facets of Japanese life, including religious, artistic, and literary elements. Teaching interests include: Tokugawa political and social structures; Zen Buddhism; Japanese painting; Meiji Restoration; race, propaganda, and the Pacific War; Japanese high schools and the education system; gender issues; contemporary business culture.
Political Science 430AD: Political Ideologies [spring 2020 term]
The course presents a comparative analysis of three major political ideologies: democracy, communism, and fascism. Students examine theory and structure, as well as the historical development and contemporary forms of each ideology. Primary sources are used extensively, as the students are asked to explore the ideas of such major political thinkers as Socrates, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Jefferson, Mill, Marx, and Lenin.
Political Science 555HO: U.S. Politics and Government II [winter 2019–2020 term]
This second portion of the politics and government sequence picks up where PS550 left off, exploring such topics as the media and poltics, lobbyists and special interest groups, gerrymandering, and the dynamics of modern campaigning. The focus shifts to a seminar format as students consider relatively recent works about the U.S. Supreme Court and electoral politics at the federal level. In late January, the class takes a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., that includes interviews with major figures in the national government. This course, taken with PS550HO, should prepare students for the AP U.S. Government and Politics examination. Teaching interests include: media analysis, money and politics, and judicial power.
Political Science 600: JFK Program Tutorial [winter 2019–2020 term]
An intensive tutorial for sixth formers in the JFK Program in Government and Public Service. The heart of the experience is a series of close readings and essays, to be discussed in weekly conferences with the teacher and a couple of classmates.
Distance learning courses:
Introduction to U.S. History
A 40-hour immersion into key developments and themes in the study of U.S. history, from colonial settlement by Europeans through the present day. This course is designed for ambitious students planning to attend school in America who otherwise may not have a background in the history of the United States. Critical skills useful in the study of history are introduced as well.
Other recent courses:
English 300: American Literature and Composition
This course introduces students to the rich multicultural heritage of American literature. Students read a broad range of works that give voice to diverse perspectives on being American. The balance of contemporary and traditional readings enhances students' knowledge of literary techniques and movements. In the fall and winter terms, major authors studied include Irving, Dickinson, Emerson, Douglass, Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, Whitman, Twain, Cather, and Chopin. In the spring term, special emphasis is placed on works of African-Americans, Native Americans, and other ethnic voices often underrepresented in traditional American literature courses. Close reading and critical writing are emphasized. Teaching interests include: diverse interpretations of "the American Dream"; religion in American life; the American Renaissance; the mythology of the frontier; changing gender roles in American literature; the tension between individual identity and the need for community; slavery, segregation, the civil rights movement, and racial identity in America.
English 437S: Shakespeare And The Death Of Kings
An exploration of William Shakespeare's history plays: Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II, Henry V, and Richard III. These plays have endured for over four hundred years because they offer a timeless examination of the structures of power and because they contain some of the Bard’s best poetry and most vivid characters. The primary focus of the course is literary, paying careful attention to matters of language, but the study also is informed by an understanding of the relevant historical background—principally the Plantagenet kings and the Wars of the Roses—as well as appropriate theatrical considerations (i.e., stagecraft, production design, directorial choices, etc.). Most of the term is spent focusing on Shakespeare’s portrayal of the historical events between 1398 and 1485, beginning with Henry IV's usurpation of the English crown, covering his son's conquest of France, and ending at the conclusion of the War Of The Roses, as Henry Tudor assumes the throne, uniting the feuding houses of Lancaster and York. The course examines such recurring themes as the nature of heroism and kingship, politics as performance, the personal and the political "bodies" of the ruler, and the relationship between leader and citizen.
History KI42: Foundations of Economics and Politics
This course explores the underpinnings of Western political philosophy and, in doing so, students also will be exposed to the basic tenets of modern economics and the ways in which public policy shapes and is shaped by economic conditions. Monetary policy, the Federal Reserve, and macroeconomic principles are examined. The course explores the meanings of conservatism and liberalism in contemporary politics and provides comparisons with other political and economic systems where appropriate. Teaching interests include: social contract theory; civil disobedience; American intellectual history.
History 310: United States History
This course is a chronological survey attentive to the political, economic, cultural, social, and constitutional developments by which the United States achieved independence, became a nation, and grew into a world power since 1898 and to superpower status since 1945. Students learn how to 1) read both contemporary and past writings; 2) take notes on both reading and class discussion; 3) make reasoned interpretations about the causes and consequences of historic events; 4) research both secondary and primary sources; and 5) write analytical and persuasive essays. While all teachers follow a core curriculum that covers the essential topics of American political, social, economic, intellectual, and diplomatic history, a variety of methods are employed in the many sections of the course.
History 423AD: The United States in Vietnam, 19451975
The Vietnam War remains a compelling chapter in the recent history of this nation. This course is a study of the political, diplomatic, and military aspects of the American involvement in Vietnam and the war's impact on the home front. Particular attention is paid to the cultural and historical traditions of Southeast Asia, the French colonial experience in Indochina, and the elements of American decision-making both in Washington and Vietnam. In addition to historical texts, the course employs fiction and film in its exploration of the Vietnam War.
History 461AD: The Use and Abuse of Power
This course examines the nature of power--what it is, how it is gained, used, and abused. Also important to this ongoing discussion are the distinction and relationship between power and authority. Keeping as its focus issues pertaining to the United States in the 20th century, this course investigates power as exercised by the government, the media, and cultural and economic elites, as well as within human relationships. Topics of possible examination include gender issues, race, religion, militia and neo-fascist movements, and the changing moral and ethical climate in the United States. Teaching interests include the Civil Rights movement; modern feminism; globalization; the interaction between the media and politics.
Modern Africa and Global Relations [Summer Academy at Cape Town]
This seminar examines the diverse continent that is Africa and its relations with the rest of the world. Central topics for discussion include: cultural geography, impacts of slavery, colonialism, and independence, the challenges of development, and the effects of globalization. Students should develop an understanding of how Africa's current place in global economy and in global politics.
Other history courses taught:
Directed Study: Classical Greek History term
This course is taught as a tutorial focusing on Athenian society and culture in the 5th century B.C. Readings are drawn from primary sources, especially Herodotus and Thucydides.
Directed Study: Classical Roman History
This course is taught as a tutorial focusing on Roman poltics, society, and culture.
History 112: Classical History
This course may be taken as a term elective or as part of the full-year Introduction to History sequence. The focus is on the development of classical traditions and institutions in Greece, Rome, India, and China between 500 B.C.E. and 800 C.E. The development of good study skills and habits is emphasized with an expectation that students will learn to use the library and the Internet as research resources. Students also explore connections between history and the modern world.
History 115: Contemporary Issues
The course focuses on 4-6 issues per term and uses the following different forms of public speaking presentations: speeches to inform, speeches to persuade, extemporaneous speeches, oral reports, debates, discussions, and role plays. Sample topics are: The Middle East, Homeland Security vs. Individual Freedoms, The Engine of Capitalism vs. Corporate Ethics, Global Environmental Abuse from the Perspective of 2050, To Keep and Bear Arms: Gun Control vs. People Control, Slicing the Pie: A Federal Budget Game, Public Education and School Choice, and Nation Building: What Does it Take?
English 375/History 375: American Studies (Honors)
This interdepartmental course is an alternative to AP U.S. History and is for fifth form students who wish to pursue a detailed study of United States history, literature, and culture. Students are recommended for the American Studies program by their previous teachers and must meet the honors criteria of the English and history departments. The program fulfills the fifth form English and the United States history requirements. The course is taught in double periods and earns one course credit in both English and history. Teaching interests include: Revolutionary era; the Constitution and U.S. legal history; literature of the American Renaissance; American landscape art; history of the American West; Populism and Progressivism; the New Deal; civil rights movement; the rise of the imperial presidency; the Vietnam War.
History 445AD: The Holocaust
The roots of European anti-Semitism and the Nazi attempt to exterminate all of European Jewry in the mid-20th Century are the focal points of the first half of this course. From this "case-study," we examine definitions, causes, and the ways in which people explain their experiences by comparing it to other historical examples of oppression and genocide. The approach and the materials are interdisciplinary (history, literature, sociology, psychology, religion, ethics, poetry, and documentary videos) and each student does independent research. While a background in modern European history is helpful, it is not required.
Modern Chinese History
Russia of the Commisars: History of the Soviet Union
other English courses taught:
English 403: Journeys and Quests
The journey as a motif, both in literal and metaphorical terms, provides a focus for this study of literature. All sections read an ancient Greek tragedy, an epic poem, Hamlet, and Heart of Darkness. In addition, authors may include Camus, Eliot, Erdrich, Fugard, the Gawain-poet, Gide, Hardy, Hesse, Joyce, Kafka, Lessing, Naipaul, Ngugi, O'Connor, Swift, Tolstoy, Unamuno, Voltaire, Wordsworth, Yeats, and other mostly non-American authors. Students write critical and personal essays.
other summer school courses taught:
Introduction to U.S. History
Literature and Cinema of the Vietnam War
Mock Trial/Moot Court
Copyright © 1998-2019
Ned Gallagher. All rights reserved.
Last revised: August 22, 2019