Teaching world history surveys can be a nightmare! How on Earth is anyone supposed to cover so much information from all over the world and from so many different time periods? It can be nothing short of overwhelming.
But fear not, listeners! Professor David Eaton has a strategy to stay sane and make the class more accessible to your students. Instead of following the “laundry list” approach of covering everything under the sun, he suggests using selected case studies to illustrate key concepts. In his World History through Case Studies: Historical Skills in Practice
(Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), he holds that mastering these concepts will build the critical thinking skills essential to a historian. While World History through Case Studies
could be used in the classroom, the real target audience is world history teachers who wanted to make their courses more successful.
In our conversation, Dr. Eaton discusses the book and offers his thoughts on the field of world history. We also get into some of his case studies, which range from the history of yoga to the domestication of cattle and from human sacrifice in Mesoamerica to genocide in Poland. There is something for everyone in this discussion.
Dr. David Eaton is an Associate Professor at Grand Valley State University. Along with Matt Drwenski, Dr. Eaton hosts “On Top of the World
Michael G. Vann is a professor of world history at California State University, Sacramento. A specialist in imperialism and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, he is the author of The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empires, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam (Oxford, 2018). When he’s not quietly reading or happily talking about new books with smart people, Mike can be found surfing in Santa Cruz, California.