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Editor's Message

Marc Jason Gilbert

     World History Connected, an open sourced, peer-reviewed publication of the University of Illinois, which currently reaches 1.85 million readers and 3 million visits to its website, announces the publication of it February 2019 issue (Volume 16, no. 1).

     This issue's Forum, or themed articles section, offers four articles on the Atlantic World guest-edited by a distinguished scholar in that field, David Northrup. Northrup contributes an essay introducing each article, as well as an article of his own that offers critique of the current state of the field of Atlantic history. He challenges those who favor confining Atlantic history to the colonial centuries, which he believes began well before Columbus and continues up to the present.

     The next two articles in the Forum focus on pedagogy. Rebecca Hayes gives practical examples of how to employ foods and other Columbian exchanges in the classroom and how to widen the theme of the Atlantic Revolutions for American students by using examples from the less familiar revolutions in Haiti and Latin America. Christoph Strobel shows how students can make good use of William Wood's 1634 account of the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts as a case study of Native American and European relations. His case study focuses on the native peoples of the New England as the Atlantic world was engulfing them.

      Following these two pedagogical studies, Ibrahim Sundiata, employing his skills as an African American intellectual and a noted historian of Africa, critiques how harsh realities and mythmaking have interacted in the construction African American history, arguing that modern mythologies place an exaggerated emphasis on slavery and underrate the importance of racism. He argues that modern myths distort the African American experience as well as the history of Africa and world history. The final contribution to this Forum, by Nicolás González-Quintero, expands upon Rebecca Hayes's connection between the Caribbean and Latin America in the Age of Revolutions. He demonstrates that the Spanish American wars of independence were a civil war among trans-Atlantic parties.

     The Forum is followed by two contributions to the Articles section.  The first, by R. Charles Weller, is as rich as the Forum in both its innovative scholarship and implications for teaching. He opens his article with an observation that the prevailing response of his students to 'the Islamic Golden Age' and its medical, scientific, technological, philosophical and artistic contributions to the European Renaissance, semester after semester, is that the vast majority—some 9095 percent—have never heard anything about it. Most of the few who say they have learned about it point to an Advanced Placement World History course in their high school as the source of their knowledge."  He then turns the general ignorance of the young to the centrality of Islamic contributions to medicine, science and technology within world history into a "launching point" for his subject, which "is yet another largely 'lost' or 'stolen' strand of the world history storyline, namely: the spread of (Black African) Islam to the Americas via the Transatlantic Slave Trade. His amply evidenced conclusion is that the spread of Islam to the Americas via the transatlantic slave trade and the subsequent, historically-related development of Black Islam in the 20th century is that Islam is a genuinely American religion, an integral part of American national history and identity from the colonial period down to the present," as well as being an integral part of the "transatlantic, Islamic and broader global history storylines."

     The second article, by Joanna Neilson, addresses another lacuna in student knowledge: most students the world over are taught about their own nations' leading foundational documents, such as national constitutions-but very little about the global context which influenced them or in some cases made them possible; even necessary.  Neilson examines the Organic Law or Political and Administrative Code of the Tunisian Kingdom of 1861 and the Ottoman Constitution of 1876 as case studies that instructors can use as models for how this subject can be easily incorporated in their lectures or classroom discussions. She also addresses approaches to using the article's document collection and illuminates how "the comparative study of such cases and use of these documents can stimulate student interest in world history."

     World History Connected's Book Editor, Christine Skwiot, continues her unbroken string of gathering books and book reviewers examining wide-ranging topics of interest of world historians and appealing to all levels of instruction.  She welcomes any titles you believe the journal should address. Currently, the journal has a number of fascinating and timely books available for review. Please see the "Books Available for Review" button on the left-hand side of the journal's webpage. If you are interested in reviewing any of these titles, or other recent works, please e-mail Christine at supplying her with a brief biography or C.V. and the title that interests you. Please note that availability of books for review is subject to change and that World History Connected cannot honor every request. In addition, due to cost considerations, WHC can only ship books for review to the United States and Canada but is happy to assist reviewers outside of those areas to connect with publishers directly.

     Finally, World History Connected has of late received Forum proposals now in the pipeline that include Film, Gender, the Vikings in World History and also articles on Teaching World History Through Experiential Learning and would welcome additional submissions on those subjects, both articles and reviews of related books.  WHC would also very much like to receive more individual articles for our articles section generally, particularly regarding sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia in world history, which are not the subjects of planned Forums soon, though that depends on contributors! Papers on Forum subjects and the submission of individual articles may be sent to the Editor,  Please feature "WHC" in the subject-line of your e-mail.

     It is hoped that readers will consider attending the World History Association's annual meeting in Puerto Rico this summer for feedback and conversation. For information, visit

Marc Jason Gilbert, Editor
Hawai'i Pacific University

Marc Jason Gilbert is Professor of History and National Endowment for the Humanities Endowed Chair in World History at Hawai'i Pacific University. He can be reached at

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