By the OER Project Team
The OER Project already has an Origins and a 1750 to the Present version of the World History Project course, so why do we need another version? After a deep dive into each state’s world history standards, we realized about half the states begin their high-school world history courses at about 1200 CE. Now, this does vary—some start around 1200, others around 1400, and still others provide more general starting points, like the Renaissance, or the Columbian Exchange, or early modern history.
With all that variation, why did we land on 1200 as a starting point for a WHP course? This was a deliberate decision, and one we think is important. For starters, this periodization falls in line with the College Board’s decision to begin the AP World History course in 1200. However, even if this were not the case, we feel strongly that a course beginning in 1200 aligns with our goal to provide multiple narratives. A course that begins with the Renaissance immediately takes on a very Euro-centric perspective, and one that ignores the influence and achievements of non-European regions centuries earlier. A course that begins with the Columbian Exchange drops students into a world in which populations in Africa and the Americas are being enslaved and brutalized, potentially creating a misunderstanding that this has always been the state of these communities. By starting in 1200, we allow students to grasp a fuller picture of the world, to better understand societies around the world, and therefore provide them a stronger background with which to contextualize the changes that occurred around 1450.
So, for all of you who were plucking assets from Origins and 1750, we’re so excited to announce the WHP 1200 to the Present course! If you’re new to the World History Project, feel free to go through the Teaching World History (TWH) training. We’ll be updating it with content specific to the 1200 course, but until then, we created this handy guide to walk you through which existing TWH sessions to use, and where to turn for WHP 1200-specific content. We’ll also be adding teacher-created course plans for the 1200 course soon, so check out the OER Project and standards alignment blog for updates.
- Unit overview articles—Nine new articles that focus on continuities and changes from one unit to the next.
- Considering the WHP 1200 course comes with a different periodization scheme, it naturally follows that we would need new overview articles to put history from 1200 to the present in context and establish clear connections including those related to the frame narratives and the continuities and changes that occurred across these time periods.
- Unit overview videos—Nine new videos filmed by our superb Aussie-US team of Kim and Colby.
- Same reasoning applies to the overview videos as outlined above for the overview articles.
- Updated practice progressions—All practice progressions for causation, claim testing, sourcing, comparison, contextualization, and continuity and change over time have been revised, and we’ve included some new activities as well. This will help make sure students have the appropriate scaffolds and spiraling activities for each progression—a huge improvement if you’ve been borrowing practice progression activities from both Origins and 1750 for your course!
- New activities in the 1200 practice progressions include:
- Causation—–Black Death
- Causation—Environmental Change
- Comparison—Life in 1200 and Today
- Comparison—Economic Systems
- CCOT—All CCOT activities have been modified to align with the continuities and changes outlined in the 1200 overview articles
- New activities in the 1200 practice progressions include:
- New videos—Our ability to travel during the pandemic may have been limited, but we still managed to put together some amazing videos with a host of international scholars:
- The Emergence of Islam
- Pre-Colonial Caribbean
- Silk and the Song Dynasty
- The Omani Empire
- The Haitian Revolution
- The Middle East and World War I
- The Chinese Communist Revolution in a Global Perspective
- Global China in the Twenty-First Century
- New graphic biographies—Graphic biographies are wonderful for piquing your students’ interest and scale switching from global to regional to individual or local histories.
- Sorqoqtani Beki
- Rashid al-Din
- Zheng He
- Mawläy‘Abd al-Mälik
- Kanzada Begum
- New articles—Creating a new course with a different periodization means that students will require some context about the world in 1200. What communities existed and how were they organized? What types of networks connected these communities? Were these networks local, regional, or global? How did people in the thirteenth century produce and distribute the goods they needed? The vast majority of our new articles for the 1200 course address these questions as well as generally introduce students to life in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. We’ve also added a few articles later in the course that highlight enduring issues such as civil rights and social justice.
- “Communities in Afro-Eurasia”
- “State and Religion in Afro-Eurasia”
- “The Americas 1200–1450”
- “Oceania, c. 1200–1450”
- “Trans-Saharan Routes”
- “Indian Ocean Routes”
- “World Religions Prior to 1450”
- “A Sublime Empire: Ottoman Rule on Land and Sea”
- “China Under Ming and Qing Rule”
- “From Muscovy to the Russian Empire”
- “Survey of Transoceanic Empires”
- “European Colonies in the Americas”
- “West Africa in the Age of Revolution”
- “Post-Abolition Societies”
- “Civil Rights and Global Liberation”
- “Movements to End Racial Injustice: From Civil Rights to Black Lives Matter”
- “A Century of Refugees”
As you can see, we’ve got a lot of exciting new materials for you, and we’re hoping you do indeed find 1,200 more reasons to love WHP. And of course, there is an excellent, supportive community of teachers digging into this new course—so head on over to the OER Project Community to ask questions, share ideas, and collaborate!