“Integrated World History in a Humanities Program at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts: A Four-Year Study of Humanity”

The Academic Studio’s humanities curriculum – English (reading, composition and literature), geography, world history, American history, civics and art history – is fully integrated with the goal of developing young artists/citizens with a deep understanding of both human history and the skills necessary to imagine, create and articulate their own place in the world. Overarching questions being examined include: What does it mean to be human? What are the unifying themes of human existence? Where, when and how do human experiences diverge?

Within the NOCCA humanities program, the world history curriculum has a unique structural framework. Instead of compartmentalizing the history curriculum into traditional, separate courses, this four-year high school program is shaped by a broad, chronological time frame and by multiple, global perspectives. Students learn the history of humanity from its origins to the present in its sweeping outlines, and by examining carefully chosen examples they also probe deeply into particular times and places. Year One starts with a deep time study of early humans and examines lives, places and stories through 1300 CE. Year Two looks at new expansions and encounters through 1700. In Year Three the emergence of a global system over the next 200 years is investigated. Finally, Year Four explores the complex interplay of global forces in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Students use disciplinary literacy skills to ask historical questions; select and analyze sources; evaluate and weigh evidence to support claims about the past; understand historical context; and consider numerous perspectives by conducting research projects and writing narratives and persuasive essays. Some essential questions raised are: How do we know what we know about the past? In what ways have humans affected and been affected by the environment? Why have the complexities of human relations changed over time? How have humans’ views of the cosmos, nature and one another changed and affected change through the ages?