Browse Teaching

Explore commonly taught topics along with related primary sources, discussion questions, teaching strategies, and annotated bibliographies.

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Short Teaching Module: Rules of the Thälmann Pioneers (20th c.)

National and state level world history curricula include study of 20th-century political and economic regimes, namely communism and capitalism. As students learn about these political ideologies and economic systems, they often embrace black and white thinking.

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Short Teaching Module: Jewish Children & the Holocaust

Originally published in Polish by the Jewish Historical Commission in Cracow in 1946 and republished in English in 1996 by the British publisher Vallentine Mitchell, The Children Accuse is required reading about the early postwar testimonies of Jewish children in Poland. 1 The book consists of 55 children's testimonies and 15 adult testimonies.

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Short Teaching Module: Russian Youth and Masculinity (19th c.)

Autobiographical writing as a rich source for the exploration of European childhood and youth is self evident; in many cases, it is one of the most nuanced ways to understand historical actors' earliest experiences. 1 Such is the case in Russia, where there emerged a new genre of writing on childhood and youth in the middle of the 19th century.

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Short Teaching Module: Grimms' Children's and Household Tales

Folktales and fairy tales are excellent resources for dealing with historical topics related to children and youth. In the first place, the genres themselves are often associated with children and childhood, especially since editors, writers, and pedagogues in 19th-century Europe began presenting folktales and fairy tales as tools to be utilized in the moral and cultural education of children.

Title page of Noticias de Portugal

Short Teaching Module: Orphans and Colonialism (17th c.)

The story of colonialism in the early modern era is generally told as one of adults—and primarily adult men—exploring, conquering, and transporting goods and ideas. Historians of women have made it increasingly clear that women are also important actors in this story, but children and adolescents have received little attention.

Short Teaching Module: Letter by the Bratislava Five

This teaching module addresses a protest in Bratislava during the summer of 1989 aimed at commemorating the anniversary of the Warsaw Pact invasion by publicly laying flowers at various locations in Slovakia where citizens had been killed in 1968. The primary sources referenced in this module can be viewed in the Primary Sources folder below.

Short Teaching Module: Czech Independence Day Speech

The dramatic changes in Eastern Europe happened so rapidly and over so broad an area that making these events understandable for students can be a challenge. This teaching module uses a landmark speech by Vaclav Havel as a means to unpack the rapid events of 1989. The primary sources referenced in this module can be viewed in the Primary Sources folder below.

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Short Teaching Module: Children and Witchcraft (16th c.)

The overall details of the rise and decline of this cultural focus on witches are generally accepted. Beginning as early as the late 1400's (and almost everywhere in the Atlantic world by the early 1500's), early modern Europeans sought, discovered, and condemned their own neighbors for maleficia (using magic to cause harm) as well as participating in a Satanic community.

Short Teaching Module: Remembering Tiananmen Square

Although China is located quite far from Eastern Europe, dissidents in Eastern Europe identified with the struggles by opposition leaders in China and used images of the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising to reinforce memories of resistance in Eastern Europe. The primary sources referenced in this module can be viewed in the Primary Sources folder below.

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Short Teaching Module: Roman Children’s Sarcophagi

I use images of two Roman marble sarcophagi for topics on children and childhood in undergraduate courses on ancient society, family, gender, representations, and historiography. The sarcophagi can be used to study one period of antiquity or to examine changing notions of childhood over time.

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Short Teaching Module: Chinese Propaganda Posters

Visual images provide valuable material for the exploration of childhood, youth and history. Propaganda posters from the People's Republic of China (1949-present) are particularly rich, offering images that are both bold and subtle, and which many students find as nicely accessible sources to explore.

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Short Teaching Module: Children, Culture, and Folktales

For this particular lesson we examined two classic tales that while similar in many respects, highlight regional cultural differences especially in regard to childhood ideals. In Hans Christian Andersen's "The Red Shoes" (1845) the protagonist gives into temptation but is able to redeem herself in the end.

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Short Teaching Module: Play in Tokugawa Japan

At the beginning of a lecture on the daily life of townsmen in Edo (Tokyo), I first presented an image of Tokugawa-period (1600–1868) Japanese children. This detail from an ink painting by Hanabusa Itchô (1562–1724) shows a childhood experience common to both sexes: watching a puppet show. From this unusual starting point, I aimed to address the issue of social class.

Title page for The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

Short Teaching Module: Childhood and Transatlantic Slavery

Especially useful in helping to place slavery in a world history perspective is one of the first slave narratives, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa the African, originally published in 1772.

Short Teaching Module: Surnames and Nationality

Images of 1989 tend to center on dramatic events in Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, or other major East European cities. However, many of the changes in Eastern Europe and the world were far more subtle but no less important.

Short Teaching Module: Bevel-Rimmed Bowls

The main point in discussing bevel-rimmed bowls in the classroom is that artifacts are as useful as texts in researching ancient societies.

Florence Farmborough

Short Teaching Module: Florence Farmborough and the Russian Front, 1914-1918

Farmborough’s diary works well because it divides easily into short segments and is not difficult to understand because it uses modern language. Farmborough was an English nurse working on the Russian front. Her diary contains many descriptive, lively accounts of the war and the very active role played by women, both in the traditional role as caretakers of the wounded, but also as fighters.

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Long Teaching Module: Western Views of Chinese Women

As the sources in this module illustrate, this fundamental distinction between the Western and the Chinese was expressed in both implicit and explicit ways in the foreign press. Chinese women became representative objects for Western observers, proof of the failings of Chinese culture and the necessity of Christian conversion.