Close-up image of an early modern Islami Carpet

Primer: Transcultural History


Broadly, transcultural histories include those historical contexts and processes brought about by circulation of people, objects, and knowledge through travel, trade, migration, or globalization. The transcultural approach belongs to a set of methods developed to study world history as processes and encounters that come in the wake of the “global turn” in humanistic disciplines over the course... Read More »

Ptolemy's Map displays a out of proportion western Europe, Mediterranean, and North Africa.

Ptolemy's World Map


Claudius Ptolemy lived in the city of Alexandria in Egypt from about 100 to 170 CE. At that time Egypt was a Roman province and Ptolemy may have been a Roman citizen. A geographer and astronomer, Ptomely's book Geographia, influenced mapmakers on questions such as the size of the earth for centuries.

Geographia had been translated into Arabic in the 9th century and... Read More »

Circular medieval painting of a man raising his right arm

Res Obscura

Functioning primarily as the personal blog of historian Benjamin Breen, Res Obscura stays true to its by-line by being ‘a catalogue of obscure things’.
Image of a map showing the east coast of the United States

Running Reality

This site is great for teaching students about geographical analysis and how historical events affect the physical environment and territories of people and groups.
Photograph of St. Michael's Cathedral, Novorkhangelsk circa 1895

Russian Church and Native Alaskan Cultures

Supplementing each chapter are as many as 31 digitized images or manuscripts. The exhibit is both informative and thought-provoking.
Drawing of two men working to create a large timeline

Salisbury Crags


Before about 1800, most people in the Christian world assumed that the earth was just a few thousand years old. But growing interest in fossils and strange geological formations made some people think the earth must actually be much older.

If you were interested in geology but lived at the time of the French Revolution, and came across this curious geological formation, what would you... Read More »

Image of a sixteenth-century Ottoman carpet showing a portion of the carpet's main design field that contains a triple arch design with slender double columns and a hanging lamp in the central archway

Short Teaching Module: Early Modern Islamic Carpets as Transcultural Objects


Islamic carpets were ubiquitous in the early modern period (1500-1800) in Europe as much as it was in the Islamic world. They were important objects of decor within homes, imperial palaces, and religious buildings. These decorative art objects were produced in great numbers and in a variety of designs and techniques across the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. They,... Read More »

Short Teaching Module: European Maps of the Early Modern World


I use images of three historical maps for topics on colonial exploration and for interpreting historical evidence in undergraduate courses on history and historical methodology. I have several aims in using the maps. One is to study moments as well as change over time in Europeans’ conceptions of the world. Another aim is to show how maps, in the words of Joni Seeger in “... Read More »

Image of the newspaper article. Description in annotation.

Short Teaching Module: Race, Gender, and Transnational Histories of Solidarity


Studying transnational histories of solidarity among women of African descent reveals new dimensions of global political and social movements through the intersection of race and gender. Where nationalist narratives of progress acknowledge Black women’s various challenges to social, political, and economic oppression, this framing often obscures the connections people made between their... Read More »

Short Teaching Module: The Forgotten Beirut-based Companies in the Global History of Capitalism


The history of capitalism has traditionally centered Europe, but the reality is that globalization and exchange has been shaped by actors from around the world. This teaching module explores the history of Levantine companies whose business practices led to the accumulation of large amounts of capital in the 19th century and whose actions and finances were an important influence on the history... Read More »