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Integrating World History Perspectives into a National Curriculum: A Feasible Way to Foster Globally Oriented Historical Consciousness in German Classrooms?

Susanne Popp
University of Siegen

Perspectives on World History Courses in German Classrooms


    Unlike many other school systems in the world, the German system does not offer any world history courses to its students—and nobody seems to miss them, even though current educational discourse deals quite intensively with the impact of the "Age of Globalization" on educational planning and decision making. It is not only that these courses are not missed. In Germany, most of the people participating in public debates about the future of history teaching and learning completely ignore "world history," in particular the new concepts and curricula for a globally conceptualized world history1 as associated, for example, with The College Board, Advanced Placement®, or "The National Standards for World History." In addition, many German historians who influence curriculum development also show a certain amount of reserve toward world history. The reason is not only due to their specialization in national histories, but also to the lack of trust that have for history teachers and didacticians, whom they see as being all too naïve to deal with the theoretical, methodological and textual demands of a prospective "world history" concept in the classroom, at least until world history departments are established at German universities that do research, carry out teacher training, and provide scientifically reliable material and documents for use in history lessons.
    Moreover, some of the German historians—like Hans-Ulrich Wehler2—fear that if history education in German schools is too much concerned with non-European topics, it could lead to German history teachers neglecting their most important task: to tell the young Germans about Nazism and the Holocaust and to foster a feeling of the continual responsibility of German society resulting from this period of German history. Above all, there are many specialists who do not know much about the new concepts of world history, but nevertheless do not approve "world history" as such, because in their view it is in general nothing but "speculative philosophy," lacking any disciplinary standards, or a Euro-centric "imperialistic claim," or an encyclopaedic collection of vast numbers of data and facts.
     Nevertheless, efforts are being made at present, even by the German history academy, to restructure well-known ways of questioning. The willingness is hesitant, perhaps, but is steadily increasing its attention to transregional or global interconnections beyond the well-known framework of national history.3 Even the public interest in surveys that are far- reaching in time and space is noticeably increasing, but seen in the light of European integration, nobody will be surprised that among these surveys a distinctly Euro-centric variant of world history can be recognized.4
    This paper does not discuss the introduction of special world history courses in Germany but rather looks at the possibility of integrating world and global historical aspects into the current German history curriculum. The most important reason for this is that in the near future—as I see it—despite the growing interest in global history, there is absolutely no chance of world history courses being introduced into the German school system which would run parallel to established "national history" courses. 4
    Here are some of the major reasons for my assumption: there is a complete lack of tradition of world history curricula in German schools —apart from the Marxist "world history" variety which was practiced until 1990 in the schools of the former socialist part of Germany, the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Furthermore, German curriculum experts and teachers are accustomed to the idea of an undivided single history curriculum. As the number of history lessons is continuously decreasing in most of the German federal states even as the range of topics is increasing, there is no readiness at all to offer world history courses which would reduce the number of curricular lessons on the traditional topics.5 Moreover, German history teachers have not studied "world history" at the university. This is an important factor since German teachers are usually not allowed to teach subjects in the secondary school which they have not studied at university. 5
    Finally, the current curriculum reforms put emphasis primarily on the introduction of methodical, student-centered skills in the history classroom. As far as issues and content are concerned, however, the main efforts are directed towards the demands of new concepts of European history, to be combined with national history. Many of the German curriculum experts are strongly inclined to think that a discussion about "world history" is expecting too much in this situation.
    Considering that it is very unlikely that world history courses will be added to the German history curriculum in the near future, and considering the limited scope of available time in the given schedule, it is therefore advisable that we look for some alternative ways of doing justice to the needs of a younger generation, the members of which are growing up in the "Age of Globalization," and are frequently finding themselves sitting in multicultural classes. Obviously, we have some reasons to assume that the traditional German national history curriculum, embedded into a "Western heritage" framework, no longer meets the full range of the students' needs for historical orientation in the present world. For the reasons mentioned above, the German historical didactics pundits are thus obliged to face reality and concentrate on the question of how to fit certain issues of the core curriculum into the framework of a larger historical context. This approach is quite feasible as one can describe or present a national history both from the viewpoint of national historiography as well as rethinking it from a world and global historical perspective,6 even though the outcomes may contrast greatly. There are examples of such a divergence in the "U.S. National Standards for History" when comparing topics taught both in their "National" and in their "World History" curriculum.7
    In the following I should like to outline some preliminary considerations towards such a didactic approach, for which the latest "globally conceptualized world history concepts" can offer some valuable suggestions. To start, I should like to make a few remarks about the German core curriculum for history in the secondary schools. But first I would like to clarify the term "world and global historical perspectives." Following Jürgen Osterhammel,8 I take here "global history" to be the history of globalization, starting—as many see it—as early as about 1500 CE, but really gathering full momentum in the second half of the 19th century. "World history," on the other hand, includes "global history," but goes beyond it. Within our context of history didactics it means, above all, the construction of a horizon of historical perception which comprises the globe, humanity, and general developments in the sense of "global trends" and "big issues."
Some Comments on the Core-Curriculum of History Teaching in Germany  
    The German school curricula are laid down by the educational administration of each of the sixteen federal states—Berlin, Bavaria, Baden-Wurttemberg, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hesse, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Lower Saxony, North Rhine Westphalia, Rhineland Palatinate, Saxony, Saarland, Saxony Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thuringia—and are obligatory for all teachers. Even though every federal state in Germany has its own curriculum which differs to some extent from state to state, we can nevertheless identify an underlying similarity in the history curricula nationwide. As a whole, it combines the traditional "Western civilization" approach (respectively the "Western heritage" concept) up to the Middle Ages with a national historical approach from the Middle Ages up to the present.
    This core curriculum usually starts with topics which in the "U.S. National Standards for History" are subsumed under "World History." After the topic "Beginnings of Human Civilization" or "Stone Age," a description of the major characteristics of early river valley civilizations follows—mainly Mesopotamia or, very much more frequently, Egypt—which are presented as "our" history, that is to say the history of "our" Western civilization. The next step covers the Greek and the Roman ancient world with the Roman reign north of the Alps being the first topic representing "our" history in the stricter sense of national or even regional history. The Middle Ages commences with the Carolingian Empire, often implicitly shown as the prototype of "our" integrated Europe. Other topics of interest include the major characteristics of medieval society (in particular medieval castles, cities, and monasteries), feudalism, the changing relations between the papal power and the power of the Roman Christian emperor, and, finally, the crusades and their encounter with Islam.
    The following topics of the German core curriculum can likewise be found in the "World History" curriculum of the "U.S. National Standards for History," in part even in the "National History" curriculum if they contain specific references to American history. For "Early Modern History," the topics are "The Renaissance," "The Reformation," "The Discovery of America," "The Rise of Absolutism," and the English resistance to it. The topic "The Age of Enlightenment" introduces students to the American and French Revolution and to the so-called "German Question" resulting from the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire (nationis Germanicae) in 1806. The history curriculum covering the 19th and 20th century is —apart from the history of imperialism—clearly dominated by German national history in a more restricted sense. The whole narrative finally leads up to the European integration process.
    This core curriculum is usually taught in three or four school years with two lessons per week, so that in the end every sixteen-year-old-student should have gained an overview of history covering "our" Western, European, and German history from the Stone Age to the present. But, as they do not get to know any perspectives of global history, many students get the impression that the "story-line" of history, as presented to them, represents the essence of history. They would need to survey history on a world-wide scale to be able to understand that this specific historic outline is only one among many others, determined by a certain cultural perspective and marked by the idea of what the students are supposed to consider their national (and European) historical identity.
   It is evident that such a limited historical awareness does not meet the requirements for the understanding of a globalized world and of intercultural communications. But apart from these aspects, the total neglect of attention to world and global history perspectives also has a profound impact on the general quality of history education because it leads to distorted basic concepts of historical thinking. The remark of the German philosopher Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742-1799), "If you understand nothing but chemistry, you do not understand chemistry at all,"9 can be taken as a motto for a type of history education which does not encourage the students to become accustomed to linking up the topics of their national history curriculum with more comprehensive contexts of world and global history. If the "global trends" and "big questions" of a certain era are completely neglected, students are unable to decide which aspects of a given historical topic are to be seen as specifically German (or European) history, or part of a more general history. Take, for example, the expansion of Christianity between 300 and1000 CE as part of the expansion of many so-called world religions at the same time, or the breakdown of German liberal democracy at the end of the Republic of Weimar as part of a worldwide breakdown of liberal political systems between 1920 and 1940. Our pupils do not have enough guidance to distinguish whether a certain topic is meant to be an exemplary case for a more general development, chosen in the field of "our" history (e.g., industrialization explained by examples of German history), or whether it is meant to be a concrete and specific element of national history (e.g. Bismarck's social legislation with its impact on German domestic policies). 13
   Moreover, such vagueness in the construction of historical meaning leads many students to develop or strengthen one-sided ideas about the exceptionalism of characteristic features and historical foundations of the Western culture. If German textbooks and lessons only refer to the Mesopotamians or Egyptians without mentioning any comparable civilizations outside the context of "our heritage," many students will draw, mostly tacitly, the conclusion that all of those famous "inventions" of mankind—like script, numbers and calendars, states, or the division of labor—emerged exclusively in "our" sphere of cultural heritage. On the other hand, it rarely occurs to them that those civilizations have not exclusively been the "cradle" of the European civilization but also of many others, for example the Arab or the Islamic civilizations. 14
   Without going too much into detail, and without attempting a comprehensive overview, I would like to outline some other didactically important shortcomings of this type of core curriculum which—like the German one—almost totally precludes larger trans-regional and trans-cultural historical contexts. First, this type of core curriculum does not offer much resistance to the widespread misinterpretations of the curricular selection criteria on the part of the students. They often think that those civilizations, empires, nations or wars which are mentioned in the classroom are the only ones that are worth mentioning at all, because students automatically construct subjective theories of "world history" by themselves. If their history lessons do not deal with historical horizons on the world history scale, the learners cannot even become aware of their "homespun" world history assumptions. And because our students do not need any history instruction at school to become familiar with a scheme like "the West and the Rest", those "private" world history-theories are very often made up of such convictions that the "West" has always been the active and dominating center of world history and that a dynamic Europe alone in the middle of a lethargic world caused humanity to progress. 15
   Secondly, this "disembedding" of historical topics from any context on the world history scale also influences the development of adequate concepts of historical change, because to a large extent it plays down the factors of historical change in "our" Western or German history that came from outside, and, consequently, overplays the domestic factors. In this way many students become inclined to think of Western, European, and German history in a more or less teleological way that can best be compared to the organic growth of plants—unfolding, despite all vicissitudes of life, according to an inner program which has been set in advance. In general, the core construction of our line of history leads many students to fundamentally underestimate the impact of trans-regional interactions, e.g. the migrations of people, ideas, and goods, on historical change. But the learners are also likely to underrate the immense influence of trans-regional cultural transfer which was brought about by nomads or migrants. Without an adequate world history horizon, students learn to look at nomad and migration movements, for instance, one-sidedly as threats from the "outside" to "our" ancestors and—on the whole—think that the quality of something "being historic" or the status of "historical relevance" is exclusively restricted to "settlement," or empire- and nation-building. 16
Classroom Strategies of Introducing Macro-Perspectives by Questioning Techniques  
   In the current situation, German history teachers interested in developing a more globally oriented historical consciousness in the classroom by introducing globally conceptualized world history perspectives cannot afford more than 10 % of the available "budget" of history periods for this purpose, i.e., one lesson maximum of a major teaching unit of eight or ten lessons. Although several topics of the German core curriculum (such as ancient Greece) are subsumed under "world history" elsewhere (e.g., in the USA) obviously there is not even the slightest chance of covering "world history" topics to the extent as they are outlined in the curricula of AP or the "National Standards for World History." Apart from occasional project work, it will not be possible to deal more intensively with the past history of certain non-European societies. 17
   However, what we can achieve is to foster the students' globally oriented historical consciousness by developing their skills in asking systematic questions regarding the larger historical framework of those major topics of Western, European, and German history prescribed in their curriculum. Through regularly putting questions in this direction, students will at least learn to touch the limits of the historical outlines presented to them as "history in general" by catching a glimpse of the immense fields of history which their lessons are not dealing with. Knowing what is not talked about in the classroom offers a very important insight, especially when we consider that many students accept the given line of history as being the hub of world history. Furthermore, this method of posing historical questions could help students to become aware of their curriculum's implicit dependence on a limited standpoint. In addition, our students will begin to realize, bit by bit, that Western, European, and German history, which is conceived to be "our" history, is much more intertwined with transregional interrelations than is outlined in their textbooks. This insight, however, is an appropriate prerequisite for another becoming sensitive to what extent the chosen level of perception and analysis (local, microregional, national, macroregional, global) influences what we get to see while regarding the past. Students can find out that there are phenomena highly relevant to national history that is almost invisible on a national scale, but very clearly perceptible on a global scale. The average German student, for example, deals very thoroughly with German national history without ever noticing that there is a global process of nation building in the modern world, which the German case—setting aside all its specific features—is a part of. 18
   In addition, such a positive attitude towards asking questions regarding broader historical contexts and frameworks may enhance students' interests in trans-regional and cultural comparisons. This is very important, particularly when they are confronted with claims of national or European historic "uniqueness," and when they try to find out in which respect a given phenomenon is to be assessed as "unique" or "typical" or quite simply as an exemplary case among others which are not mentioned. 19
   Finally, and this is certainly the most important aspect, questions directed towards broader historical horizons can give rise to the idea of a history of humankind and its shared experiences in the German history classroom, where it is normally completely obscured by the core curriculum. Not least because many of today's problems have a global dimension, even the most modest means should be mobilized to familiarize our students with the idea that there is, over and above all the national histories, a history of humankind with significantly big trends of historical change (especially in the areas of e.g. demography, technology, interaction), which directly influences even the micro-regional or local history of the place where the students live. 20

   The intention to train the student's skills in asking about broader frameworks should flow into history periods in general, but additional time at the beginning and at the end of a teaching unit should be provided for teaching these skills specifically. In different teams students can get used to examining world history maps10 and asking systematically, for instance:

(a) about the configuration of major political and cultural entities in the contemporary past as they emerge on a world map scale (e.g. civilizations, empires, nations, major religions) and about the range of regional contemporary geographical knowledge about the world.

(b) about the configuration of the most important trans-regional and trans-cultural interlinks and networks (e.g. the most important cities, ports, the major sea and overland routes, and the merchants dominating and regulating the trade, the most important goods and ideas transported on those routes, and the most important migratory movements).

(c) about "global trends" and "big questions" of a certain era, especially concerning the demographic, economic, and technological preconditions (including the given capacities for the generation, storage and transfer of knowledge) of contemporary systems of power and warfare, social organization and work, communication and far-reaching contacts.

   According to the German core-curriculum, spot checks such as these can be done at 3000 BCE (related to the history of Mesopotamia or Egypt), 500 BCE (related to "Ancient Greece"), 1 BCE or 1 CE (related to "The Roman Empire"), at 500 CE (related to topics like "The breakdown of the Western Roman Empire", "The migration of the [so-called] Barbarians" and—even if a little bit too early— "The rise of Islam"), at 1200 CE, at 1500 CE (related topics like the discovery of America, Humanism and the Renaissance in Roman Christian Europe the Reformation) and so on, in increasingly shorter time-periods up to the present. 22
   As a next step, students try to assign the main topics of their teaching unit to the macro-level phenomena, and discuss in their groups and afterwards in a plenary debate to see if they have discovered any aspects which inspire them with new ideas or questions about the familiar issues. While doing so, it is a good idea for the students to record their findings on worksheets incorporating the basic contours of a world map, which they then collect in a personal portfolio, and which they can use later for diachronic comparisons when they look back on the continuity and change between the major eras they have dealt with. 23
   For German teachers who are unfamiliar with constructing macro-perspectives, it is very helpful to consult the current concepts of globally conceptualized world history like those of AP or "U.S. National History Standards." Let us take, as a random example, the "Carolingian Empire." In the German classroom, this topic is usually presented as if there was no other historical world around at this time worth mentioning apart from the Carolingian Empire. The one and only point of interest is derived from the impact that this Franconian Empire had on the foundations of European civilization and on the developing German history. In contrast to this, the "National Standards for World History" place the Carolingian Empire ("Era 4") in far wider context, for instance, of "[…] a growing sophistication of systems for moving people and goods here and there throughout the hemisphere—China's canals, trans-Saharan camel caravans, high-masted ships plying the Indian Ocean. These networks tied diverse peoples together across great distances. In Eurasia and Africa, a single region of intercommunication was taking shape that ran from the Mediterranean to the China seas. A widening zone of interchange also characterized Mesoamerica."11 Among many other things, the "Standards" underline the spread of major religions during 300 and 1000 CE, the changing configuration of empires on the Eurasian continent, and important nomadic and migratory movements. While most of our German students tend to assume that Europe always had the leading historical role in the world, the concept of the "National Standards" makes it very clear that at that time Roman Christian Europe had quite a marginal position in the contemporary world as far as the main sea and overland routes were concerned, and compared with the more densely-populated centers of production, trade, and urban life in Eurasia and northern Africa. 24
   The main problem for the German teacher is to select adequate global and world history perspectives which can extend, deepen, and enrich the given topic. In the case of the Carolingian Empire, it seems worthwhile to encourage the students to realize (a) that the spread of the Roman Christian faith can be seen as part of a far-reaching historical process (cf. Buddhism, Hinduism, the newly risen Islam) and (b) that that spread of major religions far beyond their place of origin, in general, was an immensely important and momentous step in the process of the trans-regional and cultural integration of more or less independent zones. It left cultural markers that remain with us even today.12 25
   The method of unfolding history at certain intervals and also systematically applying macro-surveys has to be seen as the most important means of introducing global and world history perspectives in the German classroom. At the same time this approach should be integrated into a "vertical" change of perspectives as often as possible. Choosing suitable examples (e.g. industrialization), the pupils should examine how far the same historical subject can be representative on different levels ­ on a local, national, or world-wide scale. But such macro-surveys can also be connected to further activities. Students could, for example, construct a "horizontal" change of perspectives (e.g. the mutual perception of Islam and Latin Christianity), or synchronous trans-regional and trans-cultural comparisons (e.g. Christianity vs. Islam, or monotheistic belief systems vs. others), or diachronic comparisons, dealing with fundamental aspects of change and continuity on a world level across the epochs. In the same way, it is constructive to emphasize historical phenomena with a genuine trans-regional and trans-cultural quality which usually are not sufficiently accentuated in our classrooms (to take some random examples: Silk Road during the Mongolian Empire, the impact of the Arab reception of ancient science on Europe, the spread of epidemics like the Black Plague, or cultural transfer across far distances, e.g. the invention of paper or the compass). 26
Main didactic functions of the new perspectives in the old curriculum  
   The new American curriculum concepts of a globally conceptualized world history offer an invaluable abundance of suggestions to any German history teacher who is interested in linking up the familiar topics with world history perspectives. The major didactical problem, however, is not a lack of ideas, but the need for a compelling and carefully targeted choice of perspectives and topics, because it is absolutely necessary to avoid any randomness and arbitrariness, since students cannot get used to a certain way of historical questioning and thinking if they are not already familiar with a systematic way of proceeding. In general, concepts which are connected with long-term social change in the areas of economic, social, political, military, cultural, religious, technological, or demographic change and linked to a "historical development towards a more cohesive world order and associated world culture"13 should be preferred. But this basic orientation is still too vague for concrete planning decisions. In addition, the teachers' choice has to be geared for some main didactic functions that world and global history perspectives should fulfill in view of the promotion of a globally oriented historical consciousness in the specific situation of the German classroom. 27
   First, there is the didactic function of orientation: the choice of world and global history perspectives should adhere to the intention of helping students assign the main topics of the familiar Western, European, or German history to a larger historical framework with particular respect to the "big questions" and "global trends" of a certain era. 28
   Second, there is the didactic function of systemizing and contextualizing which is about linking the ordinary topics of "our" history with the global macro-level, and especially with such historical developments which can only be perceived on a macro-level. Likewise, it is an important aim that students have the chance to find how important it is to discern how a given topic could be considered a specific "local" phenomenon or as part of a generally global "situation." 29
   Third, attention should be paid to the didactic function of critical reflection: the choice of world and global history perspectives should also be oriented towards an ability to think critically about the historical narrative offered in the classroom. In particular, the students should gain glimpses into the limitations of its range and into the narrative's "centering" with its inherent biases. Above all, they should become ready to identify and unreservedly examine implicit claims of "uniqueness" and "superiority" regarding Western and European history. 30
   Finally, general meta-cognitive functions should be observed. One of the major problems we encounter during our history lessons is rooted in the "fragmented" historical knowledge which the students cannot connect with or transfer to other topics or condense into synopses. This problem is partly due to a complete lack of any general historical knowledge which would help the students to anchor their concrete knowledge fragments. To work on surveys on a macro-level surely helps students to develop a reliable historical system of reference, making it easier for them to assimilate new information and to reconstruct dates and terms in their memory, when needed in contexts different from the one in which they acquired the knowledge in the first place. 31
   From an American point of view, this briefly portrayed concept of developing global and world history perspectives within the limits of a national historical narrative may probably appear to be quite insufficient for the purpose of world history. On the whole, this approach is focused on and restricted to introducing new ways of asking and reasoning about well-known topics. Nevertheless, in some ways, this path makes a virtue of necessity as far as it welds together national history with world and global aspects of history. And this is a procedure that exactly echoes the experiences connected with globalization that our students are confronted with every day. As is generally known, globalization does not mean that the global world and the local world are separate entities. On the contrary, people everywhere are expected to understand local or national matters with regard to their global significance—and vice versa. This is transferable to history education. Not least for intercultural understanding, young people must learn to see, describe, and understand more about their own national history from a world and global history viewpoint and learn to correct its self-centric biases by "provincializing"14 the narrative. If national history and world history at school are separated into at best loosely coupled curricula, history education as a whole runs the risk of not doing justice to the complexity of the current local global experience of life. There can be no globally oriented historical consciousness without the capability and the willingness to apply world and global history perspectives to that national historical narrative. Such narratives help shape individual identities, and in so doing can allow members of identity groups to over-emphasize the historical differences between "us" and "them" while neglecting a lot of similarities. 32

1 cf. Ross E. Dunn, "Constructing World History in the Classroom," in Peter N. Stearns and Peter Seixas and Sam Wineburg, eds., Knowing, Teaching and Learning History. National and International Perspectives (New York: New York University Press, 2002), 121-139. Eckhardt Fuchs and Benedikt Stuchtey, eds., Across Cultural Borders. Historiography in a Global Perspective (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002); Eckhardt Fuchs and Benedikt Stuchtey, eds., Writing World History 1800-2000 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2003). Patrick Manning, Navigating World History. Historians Create a Global Past (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). Bruce Mazlish and Ralph Buultjens, eds., Conceptualizing Global History (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993). Bruce Mazlish and Akira Iriye, eds., The Global History Reader (New York, London: Routledge, 2005). Leften S. Stavrianos, Lifelines from our Past (Armonk, New York: Sharpe, 1997). Peter N. Stearns, Western Civilization in World History (New York: Routledge, 2003). Representing a Classroom-centered Perspective, cf. Jeremy Bentley and Herbert F. Ziegler, eds., Traditions and Encounters. A Global Perspective on the Past, 3rd ed. (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2006). Charlotte Crabtree et al., eds., Lessons from History. Essential Understandings and Historical Perspectives Students Should Acquire (Los Angeles: National Center for History in the Schools, 1992). Heidi Roupp, ed., Teaching World History. A Resource Book (Armonk, New York: Sharpe, 1997). Peter N. Stearns et al., eds., World Civilizations: The Global Experience (New York: Longman, 2 vol., 2000, 2003). Peter N. Stearns, ed., World History in Documents. A Comparative Reader (New York: New York University Press, 1998).

2 cf. Hans-Ulrich Wehler, "Jugend ohne Geschichte. Nordrhein-Westfalens üble Schulpolitik," Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 3 March 2003, 31.

3 To mention just one example, I'd like to point out the transnational perspectives on the German Empire in: Sebastian Conrad and Jürgen Osterhammel, eds., Das Kaiserreich transnational. Deutschland in der Welt 1871-1914 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004). Representing the German discussion with regard to history teaching at schools, cf. Susanne Popp and Johanna Forster, eds., Curriculum Weltgeschichte. Interdisziplinäre Zugänge zu einem global orientierten Geschichtsunterricht (Schwalbach/Ts.: Wochenschau Verlag, 2003). Susanne Popp, "Ein 'global orientiertes Geschichtsbewusstsein' als zukünftige Herausforderung der Geschichtsdidaktik?," sowi-online-journal (2002), <> (25 February 2006). Susanne Popp, "Geschichtsunterricht jenseits der Nationalhistorie?," Zeitschrift für Geschichtsdidaktik 1, no. 1 (2002), 100-122. Susanne Popp, "Orientierungshorizonte erweitern—welt- und globalgeschichtliche Perspektiven im Geschichtsunterricht. überlegungen im Kontext der Entwicklung von Bildungsstandards für das Fach Geschichte", Informationen für den Geschichts- und Gemeinschaftskundelehrer, no. 69, (2005), 43-65.

4 Among many other examples cf. Alexander Demandt, Kleine Weltgeschichte. Die ganze Weltgeschichte in einem Band (München: Beck, 2003). For the use of children cf. Manfred Mai, Weltgeschichte (München: Hanser, 2002).

5 In addition, the school subject of history is more and more integrated into "social sciences", and thus loses its share of the timetable, too.

6 For instance: Thomas Bender, ed., Rethinking American History in a Global Age (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002).

7 For instance the topic of the American Revolution in History Standards for Grades 5-12, United States, Era 3: Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1820s) <>, and in History Standards for Grades 5-12, World History, Era 7: An Age of Revolutions, 1750-1914 <>.

8 cf. Jürgen Osterhammel and Niels P. Petersson, Geschichte der Globalisierung. Dimensionen, Prozesse, Epochen (München: Beck, 2003). cf. Bruce Mazlish, "Global History and World History," in Mazlish and Iriye, The Global History Reader, 16-20. Michael Geyer and Charles Bright, "World History in a Global Age," American Historical Review 100 (October 1995), 1034-1060.

9 "Wer nichts als Chemie versteht, versteht auch die nicht recht." (Sudelbücher, Heft J, 860), cf. Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Aphorismen, Notizen, Entwürfe, ed. by Wolfgang Promies (München: Hanser, 1973), 274.

10 Even younger students can solve tasks like this, for instance by using world maps such as the ones in Jeremy Black, ed., DK Atlas of World History (London: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000). An excellent six-volume reference book can be used by the students to critically check the information they found in their textbooks or also on the Internet: Imanuel Geiss, ed., Geschichte griffbereit [History at Hand], 3rd ed. (Gütersloh: Wissen Media, 6 vol., 2002). In general, the introduction of world and global history perspectives requires a well-equipped classroom (e.g. world history atlases and globes, reference books, Internet access). Furthermore, we have to make our students accustomed to completing double or multiple timelines which compare data from "our" Western, European or German history with the ones from the "outside". They are to be collected in personal portfolios along with the world maps.

11 cf. National Center for History in the Schools, University of California, Los Angeles, "National Standards for History. Part Two: National Standards in History for Grades 5-12 World History. Era 4: Expanding Zones of Exchange and Encounter, 300-1000 CE" (1996) <> (25 February 2006).

12 "Wherever these faiths were introduced, they carried with them a variety of cultural traditions, aesthetic ideas, and ways of organizing human endeavor. Each of them also embraced peoples of all classes and diverse languages in common worship and moral commitment." in <> ("Era 4"; overview").

14 cf. Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe. Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000).


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