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World History & Literature Initiative (WHaLI)

World history is the story of changes within the human community, and in particular, the connections across time and space of humans and the various systems and patterns they construct. The World History & Literature Initiative (WHaLI) is a unique collaboration between the University of Michigan International Institute’s Title VI National Resource Centers and School of Education designed to deepen teachers’ understanding of world history, literature, and the ways in which their students learn new historical ideas.

These materials can be used to help students understand the connections between micro-level “closeup” processes, “bigger picture” world historical processes, and “even bigger picture” global and cross-temporal processes. By nesting historical study in this manner, teachers can instill methods of historical thinking that permit students to “see” global patterns and switch scales from the global to the particular. (Citation?)

We recommend that teachers use this procedure to structure units of study »

  1. Frame the historical problem to organize and structure instruction and student learning.

  2. Solicit students’ pre-instructional ideas about the historical problem.

  3. Take up the historical problem by studying global patterns using evidence and ideas to help students “see” the large scale connections, interconnections, and relationships at the global level (ie, the “Even Bigger Picture).

  4. Return to the historical problem, and ask students to connect new global evidence, ideas, or patterns to their ideas and theories to the question they are investigating.

  5. Take up the historical problem again by studying inter-regional and or regional patterns using evidence and ideas to help students “see” stories bounded by different temporal or spatial scales (ie, the “Bigger Picture” and the “Closeup”) than the global.

  6. Return to the historical problem by asking students to connect the inter-regional and regional evidence, ideas, and patterns to the evidence, ideas, and patterns at the global level and to students’ ideas and the questions they are investigating. In short, ask the students to answer the problem using evidence, ideas, and patterns at various levels and scales. (Citation?)

We are delighted to offer curricular resources for educators across all grade levels. You can explore the WHaLI resources by workshop theme below. Each workshop page also includes additional thematic and world history resources.

  • 2019: Empire, Independence & Decolonization in Global History & Literature
  • 2018: Migration in Human History & Literature
  • 2017: Resistance & Rebellion
  • 2016: Global Human Rights & Human Dignity
  • 2015: Using Literature to Teach History
  • 2014: The City Across Space & Time
  • 2013: The Cold War & Its Aftermath
  • 2012: Global Crisis & Achievement
  • 2011: Age of Global Revolutions
  • 2010: Navigating Scales
  • 2009: Encounters & Exchanges