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WHaLI 2021 | Democracy in World History & Literature


A Workshop for History, Social Studies & E.L.A. Teachers




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“As long as there are people,” explained Czech statesman Vaclav Havel, “democracy in the full sense of the word will always remain an ideal.” Indeed, while democracies have developed for thousands of years all around the world, they have proven difficult to sustain over long periods of time and often fail to live up to their ideals. Democracies increase the chances of achieving the greatest good for the greatest number, but they can exclude or discriminate against non-citizens or “outsiders” seeking to participate as equal citizens. The history of democracy also underscores that democracies must be continuously re-created and protected from threats, both internal and external. Given humanity’s long experiment with democracy, it is no wonder that we have a rich historical and literary heritage capturing the ideas, processes, and practices that have allowed democracies to develop among diverse global communities in different times and places.

The World History & Literature Initiative’s (WHaLI’s) workshop for secondary teachers focuses on these issues, using examples drawn from different historical times and areas of the world. 

The symposium also illuminates challenges students face in learning such content, explores ways teachers might meet those challenges, and provides participants with relevant resources that can be used in the classroom.


Sponsors: University of Michigan International Institute & School of Education. This event is funded in part by Title VI NRC grants from the U.S. Department of Education.