Seminar: History of Minorities in America offered as a US history credit for juniors


This year, only 5 students are enrolled in the class “Seminar: History of Minorities in America”. [VICTORIA H./THE BLUE & GOLD]

The history elective Seminar: History of Minorities in America will be offered as an alternative to the United States history credit for juniors starting from the 2022-23 school year. 


The course is taught by Dr. Erika Soublet (she/her), a US history teacher, and focuses on how marginalized groups in America helped shape and develop the country into what it is today. As Seminar: History of Minorities in America is a seminar course, it is based mostly on discussions and individual case studies led by students and thus has no tests and exams.


“My favorite part [of this class] is that we get to guide the discussions ourselves,” Moa S. (‘22, she/her), a senior currently enrolled in the class, said. 


Previously, students were required to take a U.S. history course as a prerequisite before enrolling in History of Minorities in America. Dr. Soublet plans to make alterations to provide students with the context needed to understand the course material more thoroughly. 


“We’re going to consider the importance of marginalized communities to the forming of America, and I think that’s really necessary to start shifting that narrative about what it means to be an American,” Dr. Soublet said. 


She still plans to invite guest speakers to attend and speak on their own personal experiences with the students, giving them a more personal view on how the history of minorities being overlooked affects modern-day America.


The Seminar: History of Minorities in America class aims to provide students with a more in-depth understanding of the history of America outside of the accomplishments of white Europeans, bringing more focus to minority groups like women, Black or African Americans, Indigenous Americans, people with disabilities, Asian Americans, Hispanic or Latinx Americans and members of the LGBTQ+ community. The class discusses how those past events shape current social issues in America. 


“U.S. history isn’t just the history of the Saxon Protestants who came to America and established a country. America truly is a melting pot of people,” Dr. Brandon Maguire (he/him), the history and social studies department head, said. 


Dr. Soublet hopes to help students foster a deeper understanding of the impact marginalized groups had on the shaping of America while also incorporating current-day social issues like the Black Lives Matter movement or cultural genocide of Native American people. “I want students to embrace the diversity that is American history, but also then to see the connections to the issues that we currently have,” Dr. Soublet said. 

Sabrina C. (‘21, she/her), an alumnus who took the course during her senior year, noted that the course broadened her perspective and helped shape her interactions with the people around her, especially in college. “I honestly think that everyone needs to take this course, but it really is what you make of it— you have to be genuinely interested and open to new ideas/perspectives and difficult topics in order for it to be impactful,” Sabrina said. “If you really open yourself to it, this class has the power to teach empathy.”