Course Catalog

Please select from the list of departments to see details about Lick-Wilmerding High School course offerings. 

Courses and Descriptions


The History Department strives to help students understand the power dynamics of the past to better understand the world they live in and make informed and ethical choices throughout their lives. Over the course of the three year program, students practice the skills of historical inquiry and analysis, compassionate listening, and personal agency. Faculty hope LWHS graduates utilize these skills to contribute meaningfully to their communities.
  • Modern U.S. History Seminar: The U.S. and the Middle East

    The histories of the U.S. and the Middle East have been inextricably intertwined for at least a century. Middle Eastern oil has been integral to America’s political, economic, and cultural development since the early 1900s, and the political history of the region has been at the center of American foreign policy since at least the 1940s. This course examines the complexity of U.S./Middle Eastern relations through an exploration of the issues that have defined this relationship. Oil, the Arab/Israeli conflict, the Cold War, terrorism, Islamophobia, and more recently, the Arab Spring, are among the many issues that students will explore. Additionally, students will undertake both original research projects and more action oriented work that seeks to illuminate the broader LWHS community about the structures and ideologies that underlie U.S./Middle Eastern relations. 

    Prerequisite: U.S. History Honors

    This semester long course is offered in Spring 2024. It is a UC approved course.
  • Modern US History Seminar: Politics and Power PPP

    When the U.S. Constitution was written in 1787, the writers sought to correct the issues under the nation’s first government, The Articles of Confederation. More importantly, though, these men embarked on an experiment—a “government by the people, and for the people.” This new nation was not formed based on a common ancestry or identity, but rather on a set of ideals that sought to bring the states, and the people within them, together. Almost 250 years later, this document and the choices made in Philadelphia in 1787 still guide our decisions and, at times, divide our people. This semester-long senior seminar course invites students to investigate the structures, documents, landmark decisions, and people of the United States government. Students will examine the structures of the constitutional system by breaking down the branches and systems of government. Students will also use historic and contemporary case studies to investigate the choices of those in power and the impact of these choices on the American people using both historic and contemporary case studies.

    Prerequisite: U.S. History Honors

    This UC approved course will be offered Fall 2023.
  • Modern World History

    The sophomore World History course highlights broad social, political, and economic historical developments from the early modern period through the Cold War. We will explore why global power structures have changed and what their impacts have been on modern global issues and current events. We also will examine systems of power, focusing on the ways they shaped interactions between peoples around the world. We will focus on major global developments including how the present has been shaped by the great global convergence, Atlantic revolutions, industrialization, imperialism, resistance movements and global conflicts. Students will learn and practice historical skills including research, source analysis, discussion, writing, presentation, and collaboration.

    Prerequisite: None

    This is a year long course. It is UC approved.
  • Modern World History Seminar: A Collision of Cultures - Identity in Modern Latin America

    This course examines the ethnic, racial, gender, and economic realities of Latin America in both the past and the present. It considers how cultural encounters have manifested themselves in the modern popular culture, politics and economics of the region.

    Guiding questions include:

    What is the nature of Latinx identity in the United States,Central America and South America?

    How does the category of Latinx compete with/exist alongside other identities such as Afro-Latino, Amerindian, White, etc… ?

    How does identity manifest itself in the political relationship between the United States and Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries?

    Students will examine the impact of immigration, the emergence of geographic ethnic and cultural enclaves, and the constant reformulation of identities in Latin America. In particular, the course will consider the anxieties that inform the borrowing, appropriation, and reformulation of cultural and intellectual movements from other parts of the globe.

    Prerequisite: US History Honors

    This semester long course is offered Fall 2023 and is UC approved.
  • Modern World History Seminar: Foodways in the Present and Beyond

    Human history is mirrored in the diverse ways that our ancestors learned to feed themselves, the culinary practices they developed and how they are tied to stories of culture and identity, especially after the agricultural revolution. Today, industrialized food systems around the world are putting immense pressure on our natural environment and making food insecurity an increasing certainty in the future. This course will ask students to consider the historical dynamics that shaped how different peoples approached food and what that reveals about their larger social, spiritual, economic and political conditions. We will better understand the food challenges and choices facing our species today through historical inquiry, relevant local field trips, self-directed cooking at home and by celebrating the art of eating.

    Prerequisite: U.S. History Honors

    This UC approved course will be offered both Fall 2023 and Spring 2024.
  • U.S. History Seminar: 20th Century U.S. Women's History

    This course examines the history of women in the United States in the 20th century. We will investigate the diversity of women's experiences, considering how differences of race, class, sexuality, and geography affected women's lives. From investigating the roots of different feminisms to understanding women's role in 20th century social movements and the changing nature of women's work, our job this term is to think critically about the difference that gender makes in history. Along the way we will consider how women's history interacts with and transforms the established narrative of U.S. history.

    Prerequisite: U.S. History Honors

    This Spring 2024 course is UC approved.
  • U.S. History Seminar: ACT UP FIGHT BACK–A History of the AIDS Movement PPP

    One of the most successful movements of the last century, the AIDS Movement transformed how we think about activism, healthcare, and LGBTQIA+ rights. While many associate the movement exclusively with gay, white, men, it was actually a remarkably diverse, fierce group of people who combined their collective experiences to enact systemic change. This class will delve into the history of the movement, highlight the work and voices of BIPOC activists, and explore how this movement fits into a larger history of social change movements in the United States. As we face many struggles today requiring massive systemic transformation, we can learn from the strategies and structures employed by AIDS activists to build a more inclusive, intersectional movement. A key component of this PPP course will be to interview AIDS activists and long-term survivors to gain a first hand understanding of the movement and its impact locally and nationally.

    rerequisite: US History Honors

    This semester long course is offered Spring 2024 and is UC approved.
  • U.S. History Seminar: American Propaganda

    This course explores the history of advertising and its antecedents, public relations and propaganda as they have shaped our perceptions of reality. We will begin with WWI, when forms of propaganda being practiced were tied to developments in media technology and the growth of consumer credit. This will ultimately lead us to an investigation of contemporary communications, particularly on social media platforms. By interrogating the role that media plays in the spread and creation of propaganda, how politics are involved, and the persuasive tactics that propaganda uses, we will be able to identify and analyze propaganda not merely as a historical artifact but as a living reality that shapes and defines our beliefs about ourselves and others.

    Prerequisite: US History Honors

    This semester long course is offered Fall 2023 and is UC approved.
  • U.S. History Seminar: Asian American Activism

    Is there a common, unifying characteristic of Asian American activism? By studying the visions, methods, and challenges of a range of examples of Asian American activism across time and place, we will answer that question together. At a time of emphasis on the wide range of experiences and histories of specific Asian American communities, we will investigate and evaluate the current need and significance of the term Asian American. While we explore a common, unifying component of anti-Asian racism, we simultaneously search for whether or not there is a common, unifying quality of Asian American resistance.

    Prerequisite: U.S. History Honors

    This UC approved will be offered both Fall 2023 and Spring 2024.
  • United States History Honors

    As a survey of United States history, this required 11th grade course offers students a study of the social, political, economic, and cultural developments and patterns that have formed the United States from its origins to the present. Our course’s guiding questions include: How has resistance to injustice shaped the nation? How do different groups understand injustice differently? What is the changing role of government in individuals’ lives? How are historical narratives created? How does historical narrative impact the actual unfolding of history? The assignments and activities focus on research, analysis, discussion, writing, presentation, and collaboration. We approach with the perspective that history shapes the way we understand ourselves, our communities, our nation, and our role in the world.

    Prerequisite: Modern World History
    This is a year long course. It is UC approved.
  • US History Seminar: History of American Film

    Movies are more than popular entertainment, they offer us stories about the past. Stories about what Americans hoped for and what they feared. Movies allow us to examine the politics of previous eras and help us to understand how Americans have conceived of race, class, and gender. While we will consider the technical tools and cinematic practices that make movies captivating, we will also explore how movies shape and are shaped by the American social, cultural, and political landscape. Ultimately, this course aims to examine how film sits at the center of modern American history. By thinking critically about films of the past, this class attempts to encourage students to think critically about media in the present.

    Prerequisite: US History Honors

    This semester long course is offered Spring 2024 and is UC approved.


Lick-Wilmerding High School

755 Ocean Avenue | San Francisco, CA 94112 | 415.333.4021
A private school with public purpose, Lick-Wilmerding High School develops the head, heart, and hands of highly motivated students from all walks of life, inspiring them to become lifelong learners who contribute to the world with confidence and compassion.