ERIC Number: ED248160
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Reference Count: 0
Use of Comparative Biography in the Teaching of World History.
Comparative biography can be used as a means of enlivening the teaching of college level interdisciplinary world civilization courses. By providing (and writing) well-written "human interest" material drawn from biographical essays, instructors can illustrate problems or issues in human life by showing how major political or cultural figures solved them. When selecting or writing comparative biographies, three criteria should be aimed for: (1) interest--is the person intrinsically "interesting" or can the biography be made interesting to a general audience? (2) importance--did the person make an impact on history either by reflecting the values of society or by seeking to change those values or directions? and (3) issues--did the person deal with social, political, or intellectual issues that are still of interest to educated men and women? Specific pedagogical goals include leading students to a sense of historicity by comparing cross-cultural values, investigating ways in which historical figures have been judged by other historians, writing respectable popular history, and using respectable specialists as sources. Specific examples of such biographical comparisons include: "Zoroaster and Buddha: Explaining Evil,""Diogenes and Mahavira: Unconventional Men," and "Al-Ghazzali and Aquinas: Faith and Reason." A survey of teachers using biographical essays at Murray State University (Kentucky) indicated that both teachers and students found comparative biographies readable, enjoyable, and educationally interesting. (LH)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Comparative Literature
Note: Paper presented at the Missouri Conference on History (Kirksville, MO, April 23, 1983).