Teaching World History Through Revolutions Transcript
I believe that the best way to approach world history which is a completely unmanageable topic because of the scope and the scale of it -- approach it as a using global phenomena which is common themes that run through the story and the dynamics of world history. One of the themes I use is revolutions to talk about the way that people respond to initiate and participate in the dynamics of some kind of revolutionary moment. The French Revolution, 1989, Arab Spring -- we to look at migration and world history we take a look at genocide and world history. There's a lot of different global phenomena we use to examine those different periods because of the wealth really the depth of the resources there. Fundamentally when I'm teaching a subject i have to do that prep work in preparation for teaching it you have to do the kind of search that you're asking your students to do which is to find resources that speak to the ideas that you want to communicate to whoever your audience happens to be. And I've really, I mean, it's really literally I've never gone in there World History Commons and not been able to find a resource that I can use to achieve that goal whatever the goal happens to be. If I'm teaching about revolutions and I need some resources on the French Revolution, there are things I'm going to find that neatly fit within the approach that i want to present to the students. And that's true of 1989 as well so I've really never been unsuccessful in terms of accessing the site and that's true for my students as well. I've never had that student in class teaching revolutions come up to me and say you know i just can't find anything in there that's never happened. The French Revolution moment is one because it isn't simply an event that happens inside France. It's an event that happens globally you've got Haiti and the various other Caribbean revolutions that happen that that are sort of begun because of the promise of the French Revolution. At least how it's broadcast around the world. Revolutions in South America and Central America as well, and certainly some of the changes that happen within the newly emerging United States are based on conversations that the revolutionary fathers are listening to in France. And their reactions to them in 1989 the same kind of global conversation is happening around change in the lives the structures of their life across the globe. My students are always a little surprised that like Tiananmen square which they know vaguely it's happening simultaneously with the collapse of the communist regimes and eastern Europe. It's a truly global conversation about you know what's the best possible form of organizing themselves politically socially so that 1989 fits within the global conversation and that's and I talk about you know that kind of revolutionary change how people talk about it how they begin framing it what are the sort of the causes and initial causes of revolutionary moments across world history. One of the things that that 1989 resources really good at it that world history has to portal what was going on in Czechoslovakia and the communist regime in Hungary and Romania, Poland.