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Editor's Message and Introduction to the Issue

Marc Jason Gilbert


     As readers will see from the generous introduction to this issue's "Art and World History" Forum, the place of this subject is close to both this writer's and its guest editor's hearts, as well as an exciting area of research. It is also reflective of our attachment to best practices, which tell us that art is one of the most effective means of delivering world history education.

     Like much of world history, the trans-regional consideration of art, as illustrative of, and as an influence driving world historical processes, is thought by many to be too daunting to even attempt. World historians are frequently told their entire field is impossible due to the difficulties posed by the need to work in multiple languages, etc., and say the same for the study of world art.

     This Forum is designed to show that "impossible" may be far too strong a word, especially since among its contributors are art experts long accustomed to cross-cultural historical analysis and an artist with no advanced training in world history who offers the most cutting edge and thoroughly "world historical analysis" imaginable.

     Just beyond the Forum is a review of the key literature on modernity in Chinese art and how to employ these resources to illuminate both Chinese history and the history of "modernity."

     Two further essays also explore the making of the modern world. The first explores American perceptions of Balkan politics during the Second World War. Though its focus is public diplomacy, it also offers examples of how art can illuminate topics such as the place of women in irregular warfare and the role of comic book covers as a measure of public opinion.

     It is hoped that the second essay will be of great value to those preparing to address Columbus in the 620th anniversary of the arrival of Columbus in the Western hemisphere this coming October. It reviews a multiplicity of common pitfalls as well as proven approaches to that subject.

     As Columbus Day falls in October, any treatment of the great explorer would seemingly have fallen within the orbit of the focus of the October issue, which is devoted to exploring common problems that world historians must confront both in the classroom and in research. However, it would then have arrived too late to be of assistance for teacher preparation for the fall semester. Staying ahead of the curve in both scholarship and its classroom applications is the dual mission of this journal. Let us know how we are doing at

Marc Jason Gilbert
Hawaii Pacific Unversity


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