Saturday, December 31, 2016

Understanding Middle Eastern Dress Codes

Decipher Middle Eastern dress codes and misconceptions with these two young Muslims from the video series, Ethnically Ambiguous.

It's terrific and only two minutes.

You can also check the other episodes in which Anna and Shereen tackle the culture and religion of the Middle East.

Nutmeg, NAFTA & Globalization

Look at the history of trade in big products like silver, sugar, spices, and gold.  All these products helped connect the world. But at what price?

This is the subject of a terrific essay by Amtav Gosh, in the New York Times called What Nutmeg Can Tell us About NAFTA. Gosh is author of numerous books, including Sea of Poppies and Flood of Fire,

Gosh reviews the nutmeg trade noting how it connected the world but at the cost of atrocities that included an attempted genocide." Indeed, the methods the British and Dutch used to gain control of the islands are horrific.

He concludes that there is no "inherent merit in connectedness," arguing that violence and death often accompany trade and deepens inequality.

Another example of violence and death associated with globalization was the opium trade.

According to Gosh, most people overlook this side of globalization and equate it with tolerance.  He suggests that "neither cosmopolitanism nor parochialism is a virtue in itself. We need to ask: cosmopolitanism in the service of what? Protectionism to what end?"

It's a terrific review of the spice trade in the early modern period (1450-1750) with interesting ties to the debate about globalization today.

Friday, December 30, 2016

The Story of a Courageous WWII Hero Who Saved 2,500 lives

Here's a great story about a Polish social worker, Irena Sandler, who saved thousands of children's lives from the Warsaw ghetto.  

Mackenzie Lee, who is a writer,  brings her to life in this awesome twitter story. If you have a twitter account, you can access it here.

Ms. Lee notes that Sandler was captured by the Gestapo and even tortured  but never gave up any names.

She also notes that Sandler was up for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 but was not selected.

This might be a terrific reading assignment for students for the unit on WWII.

Russian Revolution: 100 Years Later

Here are three short essays about the Russian Revolution from Smithsonian Magazine. They are written by Dr. Carolyn Harris, professor of history at the University of Toronto, School of Continuing Studies.

The first essay in the series, "What You Need to Know First to Understand the Russian Revolution," reviews the domestic and foreign policy of Tsar Nicholas and Russia's involvement in World War I.

In "The Murder of Rasputin," Harris  situates Rasputin within the larger context of the Russian revolution and questions the veracity of the most well-known accounts of Rasputin's murder

These essays are ideal for students.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Empire of the Tsars

Here's a terrific series about Romanov Russia by BBC and hosted by historian, Lucy Worsley.

The first part, which I just watched, covers the life of Peter the Great. The second part covers Catherine the Great, and the last episode covers the Russian Revolution and the end of the Romanov

Each episode runs about 60 minutes but is very engaging.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Haitian Revolution: Was it the Most Significant

Was the Haitian Revolution with its assertion of human rights the defining event of the revolutions period in the 18th and 19th centuries?

That's the argument that Duke professor, Laurent Dubois, makes in the digital magazine Aeon. Dubois argues that the Haitian Revolution was the most radical revolution because of its demand for human rights. He calls it a "signal and a transformative moment in the political history of the world."

Dubois argues that the revolution struck the heart of the economic system in the 18th century when Haitian revolutionaries overturned the slave system that dominated much of colonial America.

This is a fascinating essay definitely worth incorporating into an honors or AP class.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Three Teachings: Resources for Chinese Religions

Teaching Chinese religion?  Here's a great website to consider for background or as a student resource.

Daoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism are known as the Three Teachings in China. Historian Stephen Teiser notes that a 6th century scholar referred to Buddhism as the sun, Daoism as the moon, and Confucianism as the five planets.

Asia for Educators has a terrific website about the three religions, adapted from Professor Teiser's book,  “The Spirits of Chinese Religion,”  part of which you can download in pdf.  Teiser is the D. T. Suzuki Professor in Buddhist Studies and Professor of Religion at Princeton University.

Students can read a brief overview of the Three Teachings and why they are so important in understanding Chinese history.

Next, they can read about each of the traditions. Professor Teiser offers us insights far beyond what BBC and other encyclopedic religion sites offer.   For example,  readers will learn about the way of the Celestial Masters, an early Daoist movement that began in the second century.  According to Professor Teiser, the celestial masters added mythology and rituals to many Daoist groups.

And in the Confucianism section, students will learn the attributes of a the ideal ruler which, according to Teiser, are "benevolence toward others; a general sense of doing what is right; and loyalty and diligence in serving one’s superiors."

Here's a review of the Three Teachings from "It's History."

How Does Gutenberg Printing Press Work? (Video Clip)

Studying the Renaissance and Reformation. See how a Gutenberg printing press works.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Make Digital Timelines with Sutori

We work with timelines a lot in world history. Getting students to put events in chronological order and understand the causal relationship between them is an important skill.

Sutori, the company that bought Hstry Timelines, provides a terrific medium for making these timelines. Students can import images, weblinks, and videos with relative ease.

My World Religion students worked with Sutori last week developing a timeline of Siddhartha Gautama's life and the development of early Buddhism. Within sixty minutes, most had created a visually pleasing and accurate timeline.

Here's how it works.
  • Create a free teacher account with your name and a password. 
  • Next, create a class and give it a name. 
  • Sutori generates a code for your class. 
  • Provide your students with the weblink to your class and code.
  • Students then log in with a user name and password. 
There are plenty of possibilities for Sutori in other disciplines as well. In English, students might summarize a story or the development of a main character and in math, students might show the order of a math equation.

Here's a link to Sutori's help site.

Here's a link to one of the timelines one of my students made on the life of Siddhartha.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Watch Human Population Grow Through Time

Watch the human population increase overtime starting about 200,000 years ago.

In this clip from the Museum of Modern History, you can see the events that have an impact on population.

Da Vinci: His Life in Three Minutes

Here's terrific three minute clip from Out Monkey reviewing the life of Da Vinci.