ERIC Number: ED313286
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Apr-21
World History and the Humanities.
English, John C.
Courses in western or world civilization are sometimes required of college undergraduates in the United States. Many teachers depend on a standard textbook to teach these courses. If these texts are examined, certain patterns begin to emerge. The typical world civilization text and course devote the greater part of their space to the western experience; this may create false impressions. Many texts use the metaphor of growth or development, but doing so may obscure more than it clarifies. The emphasis on politics and government, especially elite politics, distorts an understanding of the ways in which people actually live and how their social institutions operate. World civilization courses and texts should truly represent "world" history, with more attention given to non-western societies. Consideration must be given to the underclasses as well as the elite, and to the castes or ethnic communities within any given society. There should also be a focus on universal human problems such as how people make a living, how they nurture and educate their young, how they regulate sexual relationships, how they maintain order, and how they worship. Finally, world civilization should be a course in comparative history in which societies from various times and places are compared and contrasted in relation to universal human problems. A list of the 20 western and world civilization texts examined is included. (JB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biannual Conference of the National Association for Humanities Education (Kansas City, MO, April 20-22, 1989).