Published Date

October 4, 1998

Resource Type

AHA Resource, For the Classroom


Ancient, Teaching Methods

AHA Topics

Teaching & Learning, Undergraduate Education



1. Read over the chapter quickly, noting or marking topics that lend themselves to Doing World History methods.

2. Choose one or two of the Doing World History methods that you think appropriate for interpreting the chapter. In your own words write a paragraph or two interpreting the chapter from the chosen perspective.

3. Go back to the pertinent sections of the chapter and re-read them. If you need facts and information to back up your interpretation, take notes. Again, remember to take notes in your own words so you will have to think about the information you are taking down. Avoid repeating the phrases and sentences of the author(s). This is an important part of the learning process.

4. Return to your original version and tinker with it until you are satisfied that you have offered an interpretation of the chapter focusing on one or more of the Doing World History methods.

5. If you chose Big Picture, do you offer a time line and an explanation of the ultimate significance of the selected events? Do you have too many dates and events to remember? Do the chosen events adequately reflect the most important points of the chapter?

6. If you chose diffusion, is the idea of something spreading explicitly stated in your paper? Is this spreading process important to the themes of the chapter?

7. If you chose syncretism, is the idea of mixing cultural elements clearly stated in your paper? Can the reader discern from your explanation who borrowed from whom and with what results? Is the syncretism you mention important in understanding the events discussed in the chapter?

8. If you chose comparison, did you point out similarities and differences between the cultures you discuss? Did you offer significant comparisons, or are they merely superficial and obvious?

9. If you chose common phenomena, are the items mentioned really shared by the two or more civilizations you discuss? In other words, be careful to point out what is shared.

10. Finally, did you go beyond merely repeating or rephrasing what is in the book? Remember, Doing World History means thinking and writing about the past.