Teaching World History: A Resource Book

Teaching World History: A Resource Book

Teaching World History: A Resource Book

Teaching World History: A Resource Book


This practical volume includes a unique selection of materials proven effective in classrooms across the country. These are selections on global, comparative, and cross-cultural approaches to world history, with individual chapters on art, gender, religion, environment, civilizations, cities, political systems, religion and philosophy, literature, trade, and technology.


Today's current events, like the changing patterns of a kaleidoscope, shift bits of the past into new configurations of the present as new interrelated patterns continue to form and disappear from view. World historians seek to understand larger global patterns by using tools of comparison and analysis. They are both scientists and artists: scientific in their research, artistic in their ability to synthesize patterns of change and interpret their findings to a wider audience. Their questions have encouraged new research. Because the questions are different, the answers require a different investigation of the past.

Technology has changed the kaleidoscopic pattern. The global market, Internet, movies, and television have linked together vigorous, cosmopolitan societies with international interests. Yet among today's students, confronted by rapid global change, the desire remains to understand how one's own values and the values of others have been shaped by previous cultural traditions. To understand their own place in time, students seek to understand how they fit within the larger context of human history. Not only do students need to know who they are and the story of their own nation's history; they also must know how their story fits into a global pattern.

World history is a rapidly developing subfield of history with new course offerings in schools and universities across the country, yet few who are teaching the subject have actually taken a world history course. To be useful, world history must be more than the story of selected societies or even geographic regions through time. Just as U.S. history is not the history of fifty individual states but a national history of the American experience, world history is not just the study of nation-states or separate civilizations but a global history of human experience. Teachers and professors are faced with the challenge of constructing a coherent course narrative for world history. Faced with the need for a narrative and the amorphous nature of the subject, founding members of the World History Association pioneered the development of an organization of teachers and professors to serve as a forum for world history. Since its inception in 1982, the WHA has fostered research and discussion among professionals representing all levels of instruction. This book is the product of that work. This collection also reflects the ideas of Ross Dunn and world history teachers who participated in the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation-DeWitt Wallace Reader's Digest program at Princeton from 1991 to 1993. The course descriptions, essays, and lessons reflect the changing nature of world history and offer a wide range of useful ideas for teaching a world history course.

I have been extremely fortunate as a teacher to be guided by many friends and colleagues. Leften Stavrianos and William McNeill have unselfishly continued to answer questions both big and small and provided new ideas to direct my study of world history. I am especially indebted to Marilynn Hitchens, Kevin Reilly, Lynda Shaffer, Ray Lorantas, Morris Rossabi, Anne Barstow, John Mears, Judith Zinsser, Arnie Schrier, and Carl Reddell as well as many other friends in the Rocky Mountains and across the country who have tirelessly guided my efforts to learn and teach world history. I would also like to thank Nancy Arnold, Dale Koepp, and Carolyn Wilson of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, whose efforts addressed the need for scholarly exchange among teachers. Michael Weber's advice and expertise were invaluable. Typing of this manuscript was made possible through funding by Ken and Harle Montgomery. As in other facets of my life, my mother's caring demand for excellence and my husband's sustaining love and support have made this book possible.

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