Friday, January 4, 2019

Lesson Resources--Globalizing World History

Here are two resources for excellent lesson plans for both Wolrd History and AP World History.

Eric Beckman, an AP World History teacher in Minnesota, has a terrific blog with links to lessons that he has developed over the years, some of which he presented to world history conferences.

I love his lesson on the Swahili Coast and plan to use his lesson on The Haitian Revolution next week.

Beckman has more lesson plans on this website called Uncovering World History.

All his lessons include resources and links. For example, his lesson on the Haitian Revolution includes four primary sources for a reading jigsaw-- Letter by Tobias Lear to James Madison,  Letter by the French Minister of the Marine to the Fort de Joux Commandant (1802), Toussaint letter to Napoléon from Fort de Joux (1802),and Toussaint L’Ouverture in An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti.

Another fantastic teacher with great resources is Bram Hubbell who has a blog called Paperless History.  He regularly tweets (@paperlesshist)  excellent maps on Mondays, and visual resources on Wednesdays.

Hubbell also has a page of resources.  One that I particularly like includes links to articles and websites about the global nature of World War I.

Here's a map he tweeted last week showing resistance to colonization.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

AP World Podcasts by Unit & Key Concept

Here's a terrific podcast about the integration of the Americas into the global trade system between 1450 and 1750 from AP World History teacher, Mike Lutz.

Mike reviews the Spanish and Portuguese in Latin and South America, the development of the silver trade, the rebellion of Túpac Amaru and the centrality of the Catholic Church.

He also has podcasts for each unit in AP World, which are organized by key concepts and includes links to some topics in the episode. For example,  he includes a link in the episode below to the image of the Virgin of Potosi and to an episode of the podcast, 15- Minute History and of Khan Academy, about the development of the silver trade in the Pacific.

Check out part of Mike's playlist below and listen to the excellent episode below.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Haitian Revolution: Excellent Resources

Here are some excellent resources for teaching the Haitian Revolution from Professor Julia Gaffield, author of Haitian Connections in the Atlantic World: Recognition after Revolution.

Professor Gaffield explains how different stakeholders in revolutionary Haiti understood equality and liberty in the short video clip below. 

In addition to the video,  you can explore Professor Gaffield's website, Haiti and the Atlantic World, here. It includes links to both primary and secondary sources.

And here's a link to a terrific essay about Jean-Jacques Dessalines in The Conversation called Meet Haiti’s founding father, whose black revolution was too radical for Thomas Jefferson. Professor

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Trans-Pacific Silver Trade: Four Great Resources

Studying the silver trade between 1450 and 1750. Here are four terrific resources. Three podcasts about silver and an awesome multimedia site about the Manila Galleon.

  1. 15 Minute History, a podcast from the University of Texas at Austin, discusses the trans-Pacific slave trade. Kristie Flannery, a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas, describes Manila in the 16th century as the 12th largest city in the world serving the Spanish as a source of wealth through tax of natives, as an ideal location for trade with China, and Manila was a great location for the Spanish to convert natives to Christianity.
  2. In another 15 Minute History Episode, Kristie Flannery discusses the Trans-Pacific silver trade and argues that it marks the beginning of globalization. 
  3. Footnoting History Podcast has a great episode on the Potosi silver mine in the Andes mountains of modern-day Bolivia.
  4. The China Ship, from the South China Morning Post, is an awesome multimedia site all about the Manilla Galleon. Historian Kristie Flannery, calls the galleon the umbilical cord that connected Manilla to the Americas and Mexico. I made questions for each of the four chapters on the site.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Teaching the Cold War as a Global War

Recently, the AP World Twitter chat looked at resources for teaching the Cold War as a global war. We considered images, video clips, podcasts,  and even lesson ideas.
  1. On Top of the World has a terrific podcast in which the hosts discuss Odd Arne Wested's book called "The Cold War: A Global History." They offer some great ideas for teaching the Cold War through a more global lens. 
  2. The Atomic Heritage Foundation has a summary of proxy wars in Africa during the Cold War. They include the Congo Crisis, the Ogaden War, the Angolan War, and the Namibian War for Independence.
  3. AP World teacher Eric Beckman has a Cold War lesson in which students look at several Cold War events from around the world, place them on a map, annotate them, and put them on a thermometer to show how hot the event was.
  4. Three videos provide clips that work well with the global nature of the Cold War.   
  5. Odd Arne Wested's Book, "The Cold War: A Global History," won the Bancroft Prize and reviews the major hotspots around the world including Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
  6. Al Jazeera has an excellent essay, Between East and West: The Cold War's legacy in Africa. 
  7. Bram Hubbell suggested looking at the early Cold War as a war of words. He demonstrates this with Stalin’s Soviet Victory speech, Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech, Truman’s Marshall Plan speech, and Ho Chi Minh's  Declaration of Vietnamese, which you can find here
  8. Images like posters and cartoons help students see the global nature of the Cold War. Angela Lee tweeted a great site for posters showing China and the USSR during the Cold War. For example, the image on the left shows the earlier friendship between China and USSR and the image on the right shows the Korean War from the Chinese perspective.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Two Resources for Teaching Religion in the Classroom

Here are two great resources for incorporating religion into your curriculum. One is an excellent podcast about religion called The Classical Ideas Podcast and the other is a terrific youtube channel about religion called Religion for Breakfast.

Classical Ideas Podcast

Gregory J. Soden, a doctoral student in social studies education, hosts a podcast about religion.

Some of his topics are ideal for the classroom.  For example, Episode 74 reviews the basic beliefs, practices, important people, and specific goals of the Sikh religion. His guests are two prominent Sikhs,  Dr. Harbaksh & Jasmine Sangha, and Dr. Chetan and Ranjana Hans.

Another episode deals with Shintoism.  Eric Lancaster is Soden's guest.  He is an instructor of Japanese at the University of Missouri and an instructor of religious studies at Columbia College.

Soden tackles Toaism in Episode 57 with Dr. Pablo Mendoza, Assistant to the President for Social Equity at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He has also taught Cheng Man-Ch'ing (Zhang Manqing) Yang-style Tai Chi Ch'uan (Taijiquan).

The first 20 episodes of the podcasts (and eps 30 & 64) include local people in Columbia, MO  where Soden is a graduate student, introduce some basics of their lives within certain traditions. Those episodes are often overlooked now, but they are all really cool introductory episodes about the basics of many religions.

Religion for Breakfast

Religious scholar, Andrew Mark Henry,  hosts a terrific Youtube Channel about religion.  His videos are a little like Crash Course. They are short, to the point, and engaging.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Teaching Religion in World History



Dr. Robert Strayer

Earlier this year, Dr. Robert Strayer, author of the textbook, Ways of the World, wrote a fascinating two-part reflection on the AP World Facebook page about teaching religion in world history.

With his permission, I am reposting his reflections below.

Dr. Strayer offers some good advice to those of us who incorporate religion into our world history curriculum. For example, he reminds us that we must remain agnostic "about the validity of the "truth-claims" in world history."

And in Part II, he notes the importance of showing how religion changes and evolves over time.

The heart of religious life, it seems to me, involves human interaction with an assumed but invisible realm. At least until the European Enlightenment, the assumption that such a realm existed, that there is more than meets the eye, was pretty much universal, though expressed and experienced in a great variety of ways.

For some it was the realm of God, the gods, spirit or spirits, located variously above, beyond, beneath or within the human and visible realm. Sometimes this found expression as “theism”, a belief in the reality of supernatural beings to which humans might relate. At other times it found expression in less clearly personified ways as a sense of the sacred, the holy, the numinous, the mysterious, the source of all life and being.

Whatever our own religious outlook…or lack of one…historians must remain agnostic about the validity or the “truth-claims” of religion, treating it as a human phenomenon and a dimension of human experience. But we must also recognize its enormous significance for human life and for historical development.

Historians in general and the AP World History curriculum framework in particular consider religion largely as a “belief system,” a set of ideas, theologies, doctrines, creeds, philosophies and beliefs. Such an outlook lies behind the debate about Zoroastrianism. Is it monotheistic or polytheistic/dualist? The first thing to say about such an “intellectual” take on religion is that religious “beliefs” are often ambivalent, conflicted, and murky.

Most foundational religious texts after all deny the possibility of capturing the reality of the Divine in language or intellectual formulations. To Hindus the Divine has been described as “Thou against whom all words recoil” and the best we can say about God is “neti, neti” or “not this, not this.” The Dao de Ching declares that “The Way that can be spoken is not the eternal Way.” The Quran defines Allah as “The One beyond compare.” The Buddha told his followers “Be a light unto yourself; betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth. Look not for refuge to anyone besides yourselves.” The Jewish prophet Isaiah declared that “as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts, says the Lord.”

None of this has put a dent in the outpouring of religious language, but those formulations are often anything but clear-cut and definitive. Hinduism is often regarded as wildly polytheistic, but Hindu philosophers also put forward the notion of Brahman, a primal unitary energy infusing all things. Only Brahman is real; all else is an illusion. Thus Hinduism might be considered “monistic” if not “monotheistic”. To Muslims, the Christian notion of the Trinity makes it a polytheistic religion. Early Buddhism largely did without God or the gods, but subsequent versions of the faith turned the Buddha into a kind of divine being and populated the universe with other supernatural beings to whom the faithful might turn for assistance.

The point here is the limitation of “belief” as a way of thinking or teaching about religion. No doubt, beliefs have often been important and served as a source of conflict and division both within and between religious traditions. But religion is about more than belief as I hope to suggest in Part II of this posting.


So beliefs are important in the teaching of religion, but it is equally important to show how they have evolved and changed over time.

The elaborate Christian doctrines that emerged in the 3rd and 4th centuries and later were very different from the simpler teachings of Jesus. As the religious tradition of India in what we now know as Hinduism evolved over time, it developed a wide variety of philosophical understandings and practices. The Islam of the Shariah and of the Sufis both traced their origins back to Muhammad and the Quran, but they were very different understandings of Islam. We need to be very careful about defining any of the religions we teach as definitely and clearly this or that. For historians, the emphasis is on “process” rather than “essence”.

But beyond belief, other dimensions of religious life are even more fundamental and more historically significant. One of them is “beholding”, which refers to the interior dimension of religious life, what practitioners claim to have experienced: visions, ecstatic state of consciousness, an awareness of Divine Presence, hearing a voice of God, a sense of the sacred or the holy.

Historians, of course, can neither validate nor refute claims about inner experience, but we must acknowledge their significance. Something happened to the Buddha sitting under a tree in northern India, to Jesus during his 40 days in the wilderness, to Muhammad in the cave outside Mecca. Those inner experiences motivated and inspired their behavior and drew millions to follow them. Perhaps the best way to get a handle on “beholding” is to have a look at the writings or poetry of those in the more mystical branches of their traditions: Rumi and Hafiz in the Islamic world; Mirabai from the bhakti expression of Hinduism; St. Francis, Julian of Norwich and Hidegard of Bingen in the Christian world; Du Fu and Li Po from the Chinese Zen/Daoist tradition. In all such cases, “belief” took a back seat to inner experience.

Yet another focus for the teaching of religion in a world history context involves behaving. Behaving points in the first place to the visible rituals and practices of religious life: Buddhist meditation; Catholic mass; Muslim’s 5x/day prayer; Jewish holidays; chanting; singing; sacred dancing. For many, such practices were surely far more significant than the elaborately articulated beliefs of the learned elites.

But behaving also refers to the moral, ethical, and legal prescriptions for living in the world which religions so often express: the Jewish 10 Commandments, the 5 precepts of the Buddhists, the Sharia of Islamic law codes, Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. While beliefs surely differed across religious communities, many have argued that there is a common thread running through the ethical values of many religious traditions. That common thread was one that emphasized the overwhelming importance of love, compassion, or kindness. It might be interesting to have your students consider whether the classical religious traditions are more similar or different.

A final dimension of religious life, and one quite available to historical reflection lies in belonging. Belonging suggests the institutional, social, and political dimension of religious life. As religions spread and became embedded in institutional frameworks, the acquisition of wealth, power, and hierarchy grew more prominent. The difference between the early Christian “house churches,” established by Paul and often led by women, gave way to a far more elaborate bureaucratic structure with an all-male leadership.

And when Christianity became official within the Roman Empire, what had been an intermittently persecuted minority became closely aligned with state authority and more than willing to ostracize and persecute those who disagreed with officially prescribed doctrines. As Buddhism spread across Central Asia and into China, it acquired state support and its monasteries often became places of considerable wealth.

And in the 9th century, the Chinese state took drastic action against this Buddhist establishment, ordering some 260,000 monks to return to normal life as tax paying citizens. Thus historians can reflect on the various ways in which religiously-based identities have shaped human communities, supported and challenged political authority, generated conflicts/wars, and prompted social protest.

In short, religions are far more than “belief systems.” They also become vehicles for profound inner experience; they provide practices and rituals to sustain the faithful; they establish ethical/legal guidelines for living in the world; and they give rise to communities of belonging, which interact with state authorities and social structures in various ways. All of this can be examined historically.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Science Revises the Heavens: Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler

Here's the dated, but still very good, James Burke documentary, Science Revises the Heavens, from the series, The Day the Universe Changed.

Burke examines the discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton.

Some parts are terrific for class. For example, Burke does a great job of explaining the heliocentric view of the universe.

Decline of the Ottoman Empire: Short Clip from Caspian Report

Here's a terrific 10-minute clip from Shirvan Neftchi for the Caspian Report about the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Neftchi notes that there was no single catastrophic event that caused the Ottoman downfall.  He notes that the empire was falling apart from the inside for centuries. The Battle of Lepanto in 1571 and the Battle of Vienna in 1683 both weakened the empire.

But the decline of the Ottoman empire was very gradual and, according to this report, began with Venetian traders who, along with other European traders, put so much pressure on Ottoman guilds that the government banned Europeans from buying strategic raw materials.  This led to a large black market which eventually corrupted the bureaucracy.

Monday, November 12, 2018

The Global Nature of WWI: Two Awesome Twitter Threads

The 100th anniversary of the end of World War I has spawned a number of new resources about the war.

Two of those resources remind us of the global nature of that war.  Both come from writers on twitter who tweeted the nature of the war in China and Africa

I snagged both twitter threads and used a service to embed them below. My thanks to Angela Lee for tweeting both.

The first comes from Eileen Cheng-yin Chow, Director of Shewo Institute of Chinese Journalism.

Chow notes that although China contributed much to the war effort, including an untold story over 140,000 Chinese laborers who fought on the European frontlines beside French, Russian and British troops,  she got few concessions at Versailles.

The thread includes some interesting links including a trailer for a new movie from Yellow Earth Productions called "Forgotten" that is about China during the war.

Another link takes you to a fascinating National Post Story about Chinese Labor Corps during the war.

The second twitter thread reviews the participation of African colonial troops in the war and comes from historian, Michelle Moyd, Associate Professor of History at Indiana University Bloomington, USA. She is also the author of Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa.

Moyd writes about German East Africa and the "devastating" campaign of General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck.   She includes links to maps and two short essays on Lettow-Vorbeck and the African troops.

Both of these threads are excellent and some of the links should be useful in the classroom.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

European Sailors and Navigational Tools in the Age of Encounter and Exchange

NOTE: I changed the title of this post from "European Explorers and their Tools in the Age of Discovery" to European Sailors and Navigational Tools in the Age of Encounter and Exchange. I did so because of an excellent essay by Bram Hubbell, an AP World History teacher in New York.

Hubbell notes that referring to the period between 1450 and 1750 as the age of discovery is misleading because it "implies that Europeans were the first to reach the Americas."

And, notes Hubbell, Da Gamma, Magellan, and other Europeans were not really explorers,  "They were playing catch up & learning about Indian Ocean navigational knowledge that others had known for 1500 years already!"

Studying European sailors in the 1500's? Here are two good resources, both of which might work for short web quests.

One includes the Mariners Museum lets you explore the instruments of exploration as well the explorers by time period.  During the Age of Discovery, you can look at short biographies of the major explorers,  and short overviews of ships like the carrack and carrack and tools like the backstaff and quadrant.

PBS World Explorers is another great resource. It uses Google Earth to show voyages of Cabot, Drake,  Magellan and Vespucci, DeGamma, and Columbus.

Using Images in AP World History

Images offer students a great way to understand history. The AP World History chat recently asked teachers to suggest images they used in their classes.  Here are a few that I snagged.

Bram Hubbell tweeted the handout below for analyzing images which ask students to consider the context, audience, and message of each image.

The nine images below cover all periods from post-classical to the early 20th century.

The image below represents the Danse Macabre, or the Dance of Death, painted in the 16th century during the Black Death.

Here's an image from the Song Dyansty scroll which shows society and urban life in Song China.

Here is a 1918 image from an Indian Home Rule pamphlet. It shows the British keeping Indians off Wilson's boat of self-determination.

The image below from Puck in 1899  shows Japanese perceptions of the West.

The image below come s from a Chinese newspaper in China on western colonialism and the response of the Qing court.  According to the essay from which this came, "the action takes place on “sacred” Chinese soil, Shenzhou, and under the brilliant sun of “civilization,” wenming, that shines on the present. The Westerner on the left is entering the sacred place with a “greedy look” on his face, while the Manchu official on the right is just “idly standing by."

This 1886 image below called "Mongolian Octopus" looks at the causes and effects of immigration between 1750 and 1900.

Here's a German cartoon called "Thus Colonize the English" showing imperialism in Arica.

 This 1900 image below from Puck shows Chinese perceptions of Western imperialism.

Foreigners divide up China in the image below Minhu ribao 1909. The pig in the middle, according to Angela Lee, is labeled China and the slices are areas of China.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Understanding Mercantilism

I'll be covering mercantilism in a couple weeks.  Here are a few resources I found. They include two video clips, an essay from the Economist, and a mercantilism simulation.

The first video clip is very short, but a good overview of the basic idea behind mercantilism, more exports than imports. It's only two minutes long and good for class.

The second clip comes from Tom Richey and runs 18 minutes. He adds a lot more history and context to mercantilism and ties it to absolutism.

Another resource includes an essay in the Economist called, What is Mercantilism.  The author shows how mercantilist themes continue in current debates. For example, he notes that "China and Germany are often envied for their trade surpluses or seen as economic models, and China especially has very deliberately subsidised exports."

Finally, here's a simulation students can play. The game includes 11 role-playing cards. Each card has a set of circumstances "that slant “your” perspective on mercantilism." Each group has to discuss the effects of mercantilist policy on their set of circumstances.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Ottoman Empire: Excellent Two-Part History Podcast

Studying the Ottoman Empire?

15-minute History, a podcast from the University of Texas at Austin, has a terrific two-part history about the Ottomans.

The first part reviews the origins of the empire and the second part considers the empire's long decline and whether the empire was truly the Sick Man of Europe by the 20th century.

In addition to listening to the podcast, you can also read the transcript which might be good for students who don't have the patience for listening.

The host of 15 Minute History is Christopher Rose, Outreach Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and his guest for the two-part podcast was Barbara Petzen, Director of  Middle East Connections.

The podcast includes a link to a primary source collection about the Ottoman Empire from Primary Source.  You can read, for example, about the devshirme system in a short document called "The Tribute of Children, 1493."

Friday, October 19, 2018

Mughals: Art and Tolerance

In this 2012 review of Mughal art, William Dalrymple offers a terrific portrait of the Mughal emperors -- Akbar, Humayun, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan.

All four promoted and patronized art.  That art was colorful and liberal, at least by Muslim standards. Persians, for example, were scandalized by the art calling it "too ripe and rounded' and "too bright and colorful."  According to Dalrymple, that was because the art did not show the "restraint and geometric perfection of Safavid painting."

The Mughal love for art and its emphasis on liberalism shows a strong humanist streak in many Mughal emperors and especially, Akbar.

According to Dalrymple,  Akbar "succeeded in uniting Hindus and Muslims in the service of a multi-ethnic, multi-religious state, promoting Hindus in his civil service, marrying Hindu princesses and entrusting his army to the Rajput ruler of Jaipur."

Akbar's love for art included religious Christian art like frescoes of Christain saints and painted images of Christ.

Although the art exhibits about which Darylmple writes closed long ago, his essays offer world history students an engaging overview of the Mughals.