Update from the History Department
On Saturday 26 August, Year 11 students, Julia Leggatt, Zoe Pliatsikas, Jessica Romiti, Evangeline Tomic and Ruby Sutherland, received certificates from the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney in recognition of their having completed the course entitled 'America: Prophecy, Power and Politics'. Students completed this NESA-endorsed university level course as part of their Preliminary Record of School Achievement in addition to the 12normal units. The achievement contributes six points towards a University of Sydney undergraduate degree and will stand students in good stead as an early indication of how to approach tertiary level study.
PLC Sydney's connection with the United States studies Centre was further developed on Wednesday 30 August through participating in a History Department-led incursion for Modern History students across Years 9-12. Dr Norman Ricklefs, father of Year 9 students Claudia and Hannah, once again used his expertise to lead off the event, examining features of United States foreign policy in the nuclear age from the post-war occupation of Japan to more recent events in the Middle East. Brendan Thomas-Noone, a policy analyst from the US Studies Centre, followed up by developing the theme of international relations in the nuclear age. The final session used the evidence presented in the two sessions to seek to identify possible principles that underlie United States foreign policy.
The History Department, and especially its students, are indebted to both speakers who exceeded any reasonable expectation, speaking with obvious knowledge, expertise and authority. Dr Ricklefs accomplished a considerable tour de force in covering not only some six decades in his presentation but illuminating much of what he said about US policy in the Middle East from his own direct experience. It was a rare opportunity for students to hear events explained at first hand.
To judge from the many questions that came from the audience, students were clearly engaged by everything that was offered, itself clear evidence that students are interested not only in the past but concerned to make their study of Modern History useful in helping to stimulate questions and provide some guidance to contemporary issues. The incursion concluded with both speakers reflecting on how central to their working lives is both their knowledge of the past and, more crucially, the skills they have acquired in studying the past through the discipline of History.
Image (from left): Ruby Sutherland, Zoe Pliatsikas and Evangeline Tomic (Year 11).