Short Teaching Module: Women in Classical Athens and Sparta


Primary texts about women in classical Athens and Sparta provide an excellent, if extreme, example of one of the main themes in the 100-level “World History to 1500.” This theme is the relationship between social structure and political institutions. My reason for choosing politics and society as one of my main themes is that I would like students to understand how social relationships,... Read More »

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Short Teaching Module: Women's Travel Writing


Women’s travel writing is a rich source for teaching world history. In this module, Patricia M.E. Lorcin explains how she uses two examples of women's travel writing to help students better understand a wide range of issues in world history. These issues include gender; sexuality; race; professionalism; symbolic content; gendering of the text (the feminization or masculinization of the... Read More »

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Sippy Cup


This ceramic cup with a drinking spout is from the cargo of an Arab or Indian ship that sank in the Strait of Malacca between 826 and 850 CE. The ship, which contained thousands of other ceramic pieces, was probably bound for the Persian Gulf. The cup was made at the Changshan ceramic production center, whose kilns produced export wares during the Tang dynasty (618-906 CE). Such cups may have... Read More »

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Sorghaghtani Beki and Tolui


In this illustration from Rashid al-Din’s Compendium of Chronicles Sorghaghtani Beki and Tolui sit together on a pillowed throne. Here the artist depicts different aspects of ideal Mongol masculinity than do illustrations of warriors, as Tolui interacts in a dignified way with the court ladies and officials surrounding him. As in Rashid al-Din’s text, Sorghaghtani Beki is portrayed as... Read More »

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Sorghaghtani Beki in the eyes of court historians


Sorghaghtani Beki, the wife and then widow of Chinggis Khan’s youngest son Tolui, appears in many contemporary written sources about the Mongol Empire, and is always viewed positively. Here the two court historians and officials ‘Ata-Malik Juvaini and Rashid al-Din describe how Chinggis Khan’s immediate successor Ogedei relied on her advice, and how the success of her sons was the result of... Read More »

Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu

A legendary repository for scholars of Southeast Asia and researchers interested in the Chinese World Order, Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu is a veritable treasure trove of information on a dynamic region during a period of transcendental change.

Speculum Historiale by Vincent of Beauvais


Earlier accounts of Charlemagne’s life, rife with positive bias though many may be, pale in comparison to the heavily legendary account present in the thirteenth century’s memory of Charlemagne. By the time that the Dominican Vincent of Beauvais wrote his Speculum Historiale (Historical Mirror), the figure of Charlemagne had become infused with the stuff of legend and myth. Vincent was not an... Read More »

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Syllabus: Women and Gender in World History, 600-2000


The syllabus below lays out a 15-week course, beginning in the 6th century and continuing through the 20th century. It provides suggestions for how to use units and their various parts with your students, as some of the materials are student-facing, and others are instructor-facing.

Units in the Teaching section of World History Commons tend to be multi-source and multi-part. In... Read More »

Teaching East Asia Online Curriculum Projects

The lessons provided are insightful explorations of Japanese history that strike a balance between academic rigour, accessibility, and being able to draw student attention, making them a valuable addition to any world history teacher’s toolkit.
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Testament of a Father during the Black Death


Below is a will that offers a window into the family life of Carinus, a parchment worker, or cartolarius, a fairly common trade in the university town of Bologna. Although many wealthy people left long and complicated wills filled with lists of pious bequests, this simple will is more typical of artisans who, despite modern assumptions to the contrary, commonly made wills in medieval Italy.... Read More »