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Upper School Curriculum

  • English
CL English 12: Ghost Stories
Grades: 12 (Grade 11 with departmental approval)

There’s nothing better for a good scare than a ghost story, but entertainment value alone does not explain the persistence of ghost stories across time and cultures. In this course, we will explore the cultural work that ghost stories do. In myth, folklore, literature and film, we will see how ghost stories are sites for examining human psychology, history, memory, trauma and injustice. Students will collaboratively discover, classify and decode tropes of the genre. They will research the historical, cultural and regional contexts behind specific stories, sites and legends. They will dive deeply into case studies of particular modern historical events — World War I and the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami — that generated widespread cultural belief in ghosts and a desire to communicate with them, and conclude the year by uncovering local stories and the histories behind them. Students can expect regular reading assignments that include short stories, novels, folktales, nonfiction essays and historical narratives, as well as the occasional podcast and film. Classwork and assessments will include group and independent work, presentations, literary analysis, interdisciplinary research and the occasional opportunity for storytelling and creative writing.

  • Grade 11
  • Grade 12