history is here.
In the year 2000, Ross Dunn treated us to
an anthology entitled The New World History: A Teacher's Companion.
Introducing the collection, Dunn argued that the new world history "is the
search for answers to questions about the past in which the inquiry embraces
whatever geographical, social, or cultural field is appropriate and in which
conventionally defined entities such as nation-states are not allowed to
limit the scope of investigation arbitrarily" (p. 6).
Through its influence on teachers across the
United States, The New World History has
tens of thousands of students to the work of the founding scholars who helped
to create the field of world history and, through that scholarship, to the
rewards of global historical study. Indeed, the "new" world history is now
well established throughout the country. More than 34,000 students across
the United States took the Advanced Placement World History exam in 2003,
up 65% from the year before. College courses in world history are proliferating,
as are Ph.D. programs. The Journal of World History, now in its 14th
year, has been critical in establishing world history as an exciting research
field, while H-WORLD and the College Board's AP World listserv link world
history educators and researchers across the nation and the globe. |
We at World History Connected deeply
appreciate and admire the Journal of World History for its role in
developing world history as a rewarding, dynamic, and rigorous field of
scholarship and teaching. JWH has championed integration of history's
many sub-fields at a time of growing specialization.
At the same time, we believe that a single
journal can no longer do justice to the field. Both new and experienced
educators face practical challenges integrating the latest scholarship into
their classrooms. There is a need for a journal which helps bring world
history right to the classroom.
Our goals at World History Connected
are ambitious. Primary among them is to bridge the long-standing divide
between teachers in secondary and post-secondary education. At WHC,
we believe world history educators at all levels have much to talk about,
and much to learn from one another. We also aim to introduce teaching methods
that have proven particularly effective in world history classrooms. Finally,
we intend to provide our readers with the latest news in world history research
|s, with innovative scholarship directly relevant
to a world history curriculum, and with reading, teaching, and archival
This first issue begins, fittingly, with essays
from two of the field's most accomplished scholars, mentors, and teachers,
William H. McNeill and Patrick Manning. We also feature a contribution by
Yoshiko Nozaki, (University of Buffalo), about the latest developments in
the Japanese textbook controversy over 'comfort women.' Ane Lintvedt, (McDonogh
School, Owings Mills, Maryland) has prepared an overview of the state of
world history education in the United States, and Jack Betterly (recently
retired from Emma Willard School, Troy, New York), shares his innovative
method for incorporating and evaluating discussion in the world history
classroom. In addition, readers can expect book and film reviews along with
columns on using primary sources in the classroom, converting Western Civ
lessons into world history lessons, and on innovative technologies and resources.
As we celebrate the publication of the first
journal devoted specifically to world history instruction, we feel compelled
to comment on the political challenges facing world history education. This
past summer, Senator Judd Gregg (R, New Hampshire) introduced S. 1515--legislation
that seeks "to establish and strengthen post-secondary programs and courses
in the subjects of traditional American history, free institutions, and
Western civilization." Dubbed the 'Higher Education for Freedom Act' (S.
1515), this legislation aims to remedy what Gregg believes is an endemic
problem in our educational system today--namely, that fewer and fewer colleges
and universities require the study of United States history or Western Civilization
as prerequisites for graduation. Without such study, Gregg argues, "the
people in the United States risk losing much of what it means to be an American,
as well as the ability to fulfill the fundamental responsibilities of citizens
in a democracy." While the Gregg Act does not specifically mention World
History, it seems clear that such legislation would privilege the study
of Western Civilizations over World History.
As Ane Lintvedt's essay in this issue demonstrates,
the rapid growth of world history education seem to confirm Gregg's suspicions
that Western Civilizations courses are declining. But what does this mean?
Will this trend erode American civic values, as Gregg asserts?
As World History educators, we see the situation
in a different light. We believe that World History education equips students
with extraordinarily rich resources and analytical techniques for understanding
European and U.S. historical development.
We do not wish to minimize the importance of national
histories, nor do we wish to replace the teaching of national histories
with the teaching of World History. In fact, we agree that students know
far too little about American history, and wish to support effective remedies
to that deficiency. However, we see no contradiction between the goal of
imparting strong lessons in American and other national histories and the
equally important goal of teaching world history.
As we launch World History Connected, we
take great pride in the labor that so many of our colleagues and mentors
have devoted to making world history the center of curricular change in
high schools and colleges. We are particularly indebted to the founding
members of the World History Association, who kept the idea of world history
alive when it was not stylish to do so. We are equally indebted to teachers
like Ray Lorantes, whose decision to bring world history into the classroom
inspired many others to do the same. Carrying such a debt, we can only "pay
it forward," building upon the work of teachers at every level to develop
stronger world history education. In the end, it is the achievements of
our students which will vindicate our work. It is to them that we dedicate
Tom Laichas, co-editor
Tim Weston, associate editor