Have you been re-thinking how you teach world history? Did you rise to the challenge of our times by opening a new portal to the past for your students, one that also helps them acquire the skills that only the study of world history can teach them? Is there something you have been working on for years, or a fresh new idea that you’re really proud of?
Here’s your chance to publish your ideas as part of History for the 21st Century (“H/21”), a collaborative project that takes a fresh look at introductory college history courses. The project is supported by a grant from a civic-minded history alumnus at San Francisco State University, and managed by an independent editorial board of historians. We’re starting with world history courses; and our collection is called “Our World in Time.”
H/21 is commissioning dozens of teaching modules that will be peer-reviewed and “test-driven” in classes before being finalized. Published modules will be available to all instructors and their students at no charge as Open Educational Resources under a creative commons license. We’re looking for modules that are inquiry based, and that combine important and innovative perspectives, engaging materials, a focus on the skills that underpin the work of historical writing and analysis, and well-considered assessments of students’ work. Modules will usually encompass two days to two weeks of class work and may be “dropped-in” to existing courses or combined with other materials in new course designs. Authors will be compensated.
Our initial set of modules includes:
- Trevor Getz, “Questioning Decolonization” — This module examines the separation of African and Asian colonies from European empires in the middle of the 20C. Students will explore the causes and effects of this phenomenon from multiple perspectives. They will also engage with the relationship between colonialism and current relationships with (neo-colonial) and understandings of those countries.
- Steve Harris, “1905” — This module explores five sets of developments during 1905 as a basis of understanding modernity and globalization: the Russo-Japanese War, the Russian Revolution, the British partition of Bengal, the (non-progress of women’s rights, and Einstein’s annus mirabilis. Students will consider the connection between history (the events/developments) and History (the study of the past).
- Xiaolin Duan, “An Object of Seduction: The Early Modern Trans-Pacific Silk Trade” — This module looks into the 16th-18th century Asia-Pacific silk trade, with a particular focus on southeast China, Manila in Philippine, and New Spain (colonial Mexico). It focuses on the similarities and interconnectedness between Ming dynasty China and colonial Mexico to understand how the fashion of wearing silk textiles contributed to the formation of the global market and affected the traditional empires.
- Andrew Hardy, “Diversity and Imperial Strategies in the Early Chinese Empires”– This module will ask students to find an answer for the following question: How did the Han dynasty manage to impose a stable, unified, centrally administered empire over a geographically vast and culturally diverse area? Students will first survey the political and cultural landscape of the early Chinese world to gain an appreciation of the challenges any would-be empire might face. Then, students will split into groups to examine sources from a single region or topic of interest in the Han (such as crime and punishment).
If you’re interested in becoming an H/21 author, or if you want to try out some of our initial modules in your classroom, join our project at www.history21.com to learn more. You’ll find a detailed set of FAQs for authors, some other module ideas, and a module proposal form to submit for consideration by the H/21 Editorial Board.
Trevor Getz and Steve HarrisWHA Members