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Upper School Curriculum

  • Advanced (ADV)
  • English
ADV English 12: Race and Identity in America
Grade: 12
PREREQ: Teacher recommendation advised

This course will examine the power of race as a social construct — not rooted in biological reality — that has affected American life as much as any other human force or entity. Looking at race in fiction, essays, poetry, film and through the lens of literary theory, we will explore the impact of race on us individually, collectively and nationally, seeking to understand America’s persistent racial injustice through the context of its egalitarian ideals. That is to say, the course seeks, in the words of author Heather McGhee, “to tally the hidden costs of racism to us all.” All essay assignments invite students to synthesize literary analysis, real-world problem-solving and personal reflection as they pursue individually determined research questions. The course culminates in a memoir project that asks students to consider the impact of race hierarchy on American culture and how they understand their own identities, articulating the nature of their historical, cultural, racial, psychological, economic, political, ethnic, spiritual and biological pasts so that they may inherit themselves. 

  • Grade 12