Event Type

AHA Online, AHA Workshop, Workshop

AHA Topics

K–12 Education, Teaching & Learning, Undergraduate Education

Event Description

Generously sponsored by OER Project

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of its involvement in the creation of the C3 Framework, the AHA convened a weeklong professional development institute via Zoom for K–12 teachers of world history (including dual-enrollment courses).


2023 Teacher Institute: Is Democracy in Crisis?

The five sessions in this week-long program explored how teachers can channel one of the most pressing questions in global current events to engage students in the world history classroom. Historian Kenneth Pomeranz led participants through analysis of the efforts of leading historians to contextualize the political, social, and economic forces driving a resurgence of authoritarianism around the globe. Understanding today’s international news requires careful consideration of many of the issues around which teachers organize surveys of world history: competing models of sovereign authority; the expansion of global capitalism; the Cold War and its legacies; the enduring power of ethnonationalism; and the ongoing reverberations of imperialism, decolonization, and racial discrimination. The institute focused on providing participants with content knowledge, primary sources, and lessons that can be applied directly topics covered in many state standards for world history from the Neolithic to the present.


Participants joined five two-hour sessions in Zoom over five days between July 31 and August 4. Sessions included:

  • A public webinar on the global crisis in democracy, also part of the AHA’s History Behind the Headlines series bringing together historians with expertise in different regions of the world
  • Scholarly presentations on the state of the field in world history with featured historian Kenneth Pomeranz
  • Discussions and exercises highlighting primary sources that might be used to illustrate topics covered in many state standards
  • A hands-on pedagogy workshop tailored specifically to the challenges of the secondary world history classroom
  • Access to free primary and secondary sources, as well as a curated collection of AHA teaching resources related to the theme of the institute
  • The opportunity to interact with historians and build a network of fellow world history teachers

Participants read short primary and secondary sources in advance of individual sessions. Download the full agenda as a PDF.

Featured Historians

Bridgette Byrd O’Connor holds a DPhil in history from the University of Oxford and taught the Big History Project and World History Project courses and AP® US government and politics for 10 years at the high-school level. In addition, she’s been a freelance writer and editor for the Crash Course World History and US History curricula. Currently, Bridgette is one of the historians and editors driving content for the OER Project.

Nick Dennis is currently Deputy Head at Kellett School, The British International School in Hong Kong. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Schools History Project and a co-presenter of some of the World History Project videos. He is also an author of many teaching resources and articles on teaching history, using technology for learning, school leadership, and diversity and inclusion.

Trevor R. Getz believes history is a creative as well as a critical act, and “does” history in comics, Lego, and documentaries. He is a Professor of African and World History at San Francisco State University and Visiting Professor at Stanford University as well as an editor for the OER Project and curricular consultant for several school districts. Trevor’s work focuses on history education-especially in the field of world history-as well as the social history of Africa. He is the author or co-author of eleven volumes, including Abina and the Important Men, which won the 2014 James Harvey Robinson Prize. He is the recipient of the American Historical Association’s 2020 Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award.

Kenneth Pomeranz is a University Professor of History at the University of Chicago and former president of the American Historical Association. His publications include The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (2000), which won the John K. Fairbank Prize from the AHA and shared the World History Association book prize; The Making of a Hinterland: State, Society and Economy in Inland North China, 1853–1937 (1993), which also won the Fairbank Prize; and The World that Trade Created (with Steven Topik, 1st ed. 1999, 3rd ed. 2012). He has also edited or co-edited five books, and was one of the founding editors of the Journal of Global History.

Bennett Sherry is one of the historians helping to build the OER Project. He holds a PhD in world history from the University of Pittsburgh, where he taught courses in world history, human rights, and the modern Middle East. Bennett writes about refugees and international organizations in the twentieth century. He lives in Bath, Maine, the City of Ships..