AP World History: Where the World Goes To Class

Thursday, April 22, 2021 - By: Zosia S, Hope ‘21

Taught by Ms Cuk and livened by an enthusiastic group of history buffs, AP World History is a class that will make history. This is the first year Brentwood has offered this course as part of the academic selections and, so far, it has been a success. This class of sixteen students, including myself, has been hard at work since September.

From the start of the year, we were all aware of the value of vigorous readings from our brick-of-a-textbook. Adrienne R, Hope ‘21 even describes the class as “reading, reading, reading”. We were aware of the value of establishing a strong and broad foundation of historical knowledge and expanding accordingly; we were aware of the value of making connections while learning about historical events. However, we were unaware of the value of each other. It has been made clear that it was each student’s personal, ethnic, ideological and gender perspectives which have shaped the class.  

Ms Cuk, with a Masters in International History and Politics from the Graduate Institute of International & Development Studies in Geneva, is the teacher of AP World History. Her passion and fascination for the subject matter inspires us all. She describes the course as unique, such that it “offers a broad historical context for the developments and events that shape modern world history”. When asked about the diversity within the class, she explained how “People develop historical understanding based on their place of origin” and it is evident that when we look at the “Mexican perspective or Chinese perspective or an Indigenous or an American perspective that there is an understanding of history influenced by that point of view”. This is important for many reasons, but specifically, it “ensures that it [the course] is not Eurocentric”.

The class is currently in the midst of completing the curriculum as students read, write and discuss events of the twentieth and twenty-first century. As it is an Advanced Placement course, the objective right now is to prepare us for the upcoming examination on May 10th. Essays are being written and multiple choice questions are being answered. What most of us will take away from this class is not just the in-depth discussions on historical events but also the in-depth perspectives within the discussions. We all come from different places and it is crucial that we listen to each other’s experiences. Events become just dates and facts if not for the humanizing factor of stories. Our ancestors were Veterans, Red Guards, and Chiefs. Our ancestors were both victim and perpetrator. Our ancestors are important in order to understand where we are today.

The oncoming AP World History class of 2021/2022 will hopefully continue the legacy and bring even more perspectives to the course. For those current Grade 10s and 11s who enjoy analysing historical sources and documents and using them to construct a defensible argument, this is the course for you. As Ms Cuk said, “History is about understanding where we’ve come from, in order to help us figure out where we want to go and how we can get there”.

Zosia S, Hope ‘21

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