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About World History

World History is designed to support both semesters of the world history course offered at both two-year and four-year institutions. Serving a student base of both majors and non-majors in the field, as well as an institutional variation in requirements of one or two semesters depending on the plan of study, the course introduces students to a global perspective of history conveyed within an engaging narrative. Concepts and assessments are presented in ways to help students think critically about the issues they encounter so they can broaden their perspective of global history and how the topics studied apply to their current life as citizens of the world.

The text shows how historical content and the ways in which history is studied are relevant to modern-day needs and situations. The narrative shows readers the why of historical events and people, providing context and import to engage students. A primary goal of the book is to include content, scholarship, and activities that explore a variety of perspectives, including those traditionally underrepresented in this canon.

Being able to thoughtfully achieve a global approach requires explicit discussions about the challenge historians face in their work. Each instructor and student enters the classroom with a construct that informs their existing understanding as well as their ability to understand and to appreciate novel perspectives. World History works to present an honest and authentic view of history for students to explore. The authors and reviewers achieve balance by introducing and juxtaposing people’s experiences of history for a rich and nuanced discussion. New resources and new voices are integrated into the text in a deep and meaningful manner. Primary source material represents the cultures being discussed from a firsthand perspective whenever possible, showing a variety of experiences and voices that stress the interconnected nature of people and societies throughout history. Moreover, the work of diverse and underrepresented scholars and scholarship bolsters the text’s ability to embrace diversity of thought and interpretation while spotlighting parts of history and places that often receive less coverage in history textbooks. Students will be challenged to use empathy to understand others’ ways of thinking in order to better understand, analyze, and evaluate today’s changes in the world.

Pedagogical Foundation

Learning Objectives

Every module begins with a set of clear and concise learning objectives that have been designed to be both measurable and meaningful. These objectives closely align with current teaching practice and aim to help the instructor decide what content to include or assign, and to guide student expectations of learning. After completing the module and end-of-module exercises, students should be able to demonstrate mastery of the learning objectives.

Key Features

Various features throughout each chapter engage students with the content while having them practice some of the most essential skills in the study of history, such as the examination of primary sources, the analysis of multiple accounts of an event or period, the study of non-textual artifacts, and the exploration of how specific historical topics connect to today's world.

  • In Their Own Words: Students are presented with a textual primary source for review and/or analysis, with discussion/reflection questions included. This feature bolsters the foundational importance of using primary sources in historical studies.
  • Dueling Voices: Learners are given either a historiographical debate, or a side-by-side primary source reading that offers two different interpretations of the same event. Sometimes these are directly contrasting, and sometimes they help elucidate different perspectives. Discussion questions are included. This feature highlights that history is an interpretive discipline and that historians must regularly grapple with conflicting and at times contradictory information and approaches.
  • Beyond the Book: Non-textual sources— such as art, physical objects, or architecture—are presented for study with the goal of helping students understand the value of these kinds of sources in historical work. Discussion questions open up conversations about how to understand these important artifacts.
  • The Past Meets the Present: Students explore how an aspect of chapter content speaks to an issue in the present day, and have the opportunity to engage further in the topic with reflection/discussion questions.
  • Link to Learning: This feature provides a very brief introduction to online resources—videos, interactives, collections, maps, and other engaging resources—that are pertinent to students’ exploration of the topic at hand.

Section Summaries

Section summaries distill the information in each section for both students and instructors down to key, concise points addressed in the section.

Key Terms

Key terms are bold and are followed by a definition in context. Definitions of key terms are also listed in each end-of-chapter Glossary, as well as a book-level Glossary appendix.


A variety of assessments allow instructors to confirm core conceptual understanding, elicit brief explanations that demonstrate student understanding, and offer more in-depth assignments that enable learners to dive more deeply into a topic or history-study skill.

  • Review Questions test for conceptual apprehension of key concepts.
  • Check Your Understanding Questions require students to explain concepts in words.
  • Application and Reflection Questions dive deeply into the material to support longer reflection, group discussion, or written assignments.

Answers to Questions in the Book

The end-of-chapter Review, Check Your Understanding, and Reflection Questions are intended for homework assignments or classroom discussion; thus, student-facing answers are not provided in the book. Answers and sample answers are provided in the Instructor Answer Guide, for instructors to share with students at their discretion, as is standard for such resources.

About the Authors

Senior Contributing Authors

Headshots of Ann Kordas, Ryan J. Lynch, Brooke Nelson, and Julie Tatlock, left to right.
Senior Contributing Authors (left to right): Ann Kordas, Ryan J. Lynch, Brooke Nelson, Julie Tatlock.

Ann Kordas, Johnson & Wales University
Ann Kordas holds a PhD in History from Temple University, and a JD from Boston University School of Law. She is a professor in the Humanities Department at Johnson & Wales University, where she teaches courses in U.S. history, world history, the history of the Atlantic World, and the history of the Pacific World. Her research interests lie primarily in the fields of cultural history and gender history.

Ryan J. Lynch, Columbus State University
Dr. Ryan J. Lynch is Associate Professor of the History of the Islamic World and Associate Dean of the Honors College at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. A specialist of pre-modern Islamic history, he completed his DPhil and MPhil in Islamic Studies and History at the University of Oxford, an MLitt in Middle Eastern History and Language at the University of St Andrews, and a BA in History and Religious Studies at Stetson University. Dr. Lynch’s research focuses primarily on the period of the early Islamic conquests, the Islamization of the Middle East, Islamic state formation, and Arabic historiography, while he also has a growing interest in how modern terror groups use an imagined Islamic past to justify their extremist views in the modern period. He is the author of the award-winning book Arab Conquests and Early Islamic Historiography (I.B. Tauris, 2020).

Brooke Nelson, formerly California State University
Brooke Nelson is the Director of Curriculum at Marco Learning, an edtech company focused on making great educational resources available to all students. Previous to this role, she taught at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and Marymount California University. Her favorite courses to teach were World History, Death and Dying, and Introduction to Western Civilization because they allowed her to share her love of history with both non-major and major students. Her research focus is the late Roman world, with a special emphasis on religious conflicts and gender studies. She has a doctorate from Claremont Graduate University and master's degrees from the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Edinburgh.

Julie Tatlock, Mount Mary University
Dr. Julie C. Tatlock chairs the Department of Justice, Sociology and History at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her research interests include World History, Gender History, British History, and Face-to-Face and Online Pedagogy. She has several recent publications including, Shaping Online Spaces Through Online Humanities Curricula (IGI Global, 2023), “The Original Order of Things,” (Lutheran Journal of Ethics, 2020), and “Enhancing Student Engagement Online: Creative Pedagogy in the Digital World,” IGI Global, 2019). She is passionate about innovative teaching and learning as well as making higher education accessible to all students.

Contributing Authors

Chris Bingley, UCLA
Celeste Chamberland, Roosevelt University
Scott Corbett, Ventura College
Rick Gianni, Grand Canyon University
Jennifer Lawrence, Tarrant County College
Jamie McCandless, Kennesaw State University
Cristina Mehrtens, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Anthony Miller, Hanover College
Abigail Owen, Carnegie Mellon University
David Price, Santa Fe College
Kim Richardson, University of South Carolina Lancaster
Christopher S Rose, Our Lady of the Lake University
Joseph Snyder, Southeast Missouri State University
Christopher Thrasher, National Park College
David Toye, Northeast State Community College
Alexander Wathen, University of Houston-Downtown
Grace Hunt Watkinson, Kennesaw State University
Joel Webb, Auburn University


Wayne Ackerson, Georgia Gwinnett College
Jonathan Allen, University of Maryland, College Park
Milan Andrejevich, Ivy Tech Community College
Maria Arbelaez, University of Nebraska Omaha
John Bertalan, University of South Florida
Robert Bond, MiraCosta College
Wesley Borucki, Palm Beach Atlantic University
Ken Bridges, South Arkansas Community College
Michael Burchett, Ohio Christian University
William Burns, The George Washington University
Matthew Byron, Young Harris College
Robert Caldwell, University at Buffalo
Elaine Carey, Purdue University Northwest
Katherine Clark Walter, The College at Brockport
Melanie Cochran, Volunteer State Community College
Melissa Daggett, San Jacinto College
Sharon Deubreau, Rhodes State College
Charles deWitt, Belhaven University
Sherrie Dux-Ideus, Central Community College
Mark Ellingson, Interdenominational Theological Center
Ronald Eydenberg, Middlesex Community College
Bryan Gibbs, Dallas College
Lela Gibson, Santiago Canyon College
Travis Grasser, Collin College
Chris Gratien, University of Virginia
Matthew Hacholski, Seward County Community College
Brian Harding, Mott Community College
Paul Harvey, Steilacoom Historical School District No. 1
David Head, University of Central Florida
Catherine Holden, Stevenson University
Christopher Jackson, De Anza College
Lesley Kauffman, San Jacinto College
Mark Klobas, Scottsdale Community College
Jennifer Lang, Delgado Community College
Ira Lovitch, Mount St. Mary’s University
Paul Lubienecki, Chautauqua Institution
Senya Lubisich, Citrus College
John Lund, Keene State College
Jodie Mader, Thomas More University
Michael Mangus, The Ohio State University at Newark
Nicky Kay Michael, Bacone College
Charlotte Miller, Middle Georgia State University
Brandon Morgan, Central New Mexico Community College
Phil Nash, The Pennsylvania State University
Caryn Neumann, Miami University
Kenneth Orosz, SUNY Buffalo State College
Lisa Ossian, Des Moines Area Community College
Tao Peng, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Janet Rankin, Oregon State University
Jason Ripper, Everett Community College
Maria Ritzema, College of DuPage
Lomarsh Roopnarine, Jackson State University
James Ross-Nazzal, Houston Community College
Kimlisa Salazar Duchicela, Pima Community College
Greg Sanford, MCC Penn Valley
Leah Seabook-Rocha, Central Texas College
Julia Sloan, Curry College
Steven Smith, Fullerton College
Mary Sommar, Millersville University
Ralph Sonenshine, American University
David Stefancic, Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, IN
Bianka Stumpf, Central Carolina Community College
Deborah Vess, East Georgia State College
Paul Vickery, Oral Roberts University
Christopher Ward, Clayton State University
Laura Wood, Tarrant County College
Clinton Young, University of Arkansas at Monticello

Additional Resources

Student and Instructor Resources

We’ve compiled additional resources for both students and instructors, including Getting Started Guides, an instructor’s answer guide, test bank, and image slides. Instructor resources require a verified instructor account, which you can apply for when you log in or create your account on Take advantage of these resources to supplement your OpenStax book.

Instructor’s answer guide. Each component of the instructor’s guide is designed to provide maximum guidance for delivering the content in an interesting and dynamic manner.

Test bank. With nearly 1,300 assessments across both World History volumes, instructors can customize tests to support a variety of course objectives. The test bank includes review questions (multiple-choice, identification, fill-in-the-blank, true/false), short answer questions, and long answer questions to assess students on a variety of levels. The test bank is available in Word format.

PowerPoint lecture slides. The PowerPoint slides provide learning objectives, images and descriptions, feature focuses, and discussion questions as a starting place for instructors to build their lectures.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity builds trust, understanding, equity, and genuine learning. While students may encounter significant challenges in their courses and their lives, doing their own work and maintaining a high degree of authenticity will result in meaningful outcomes that will extend far beyond their college career. Faculty, administrators, resource providers, and students should work together to maintain a fair and positive experience.

We realize that students benefit when academic integrity ground rules are established early in the course. To that end, OpenStax has created an interactive to aid with academic integrity discussions in your course.

A graphic divides nine items into three categories. The items “Your Original Work” and “Quoting & Crediting Another's Work” are in the “Approved” category. The items “Checking Your Answers Online”, “Group Work”, “Reusing Past Original Work”, and “Sharing Answers” are in the “Ask Instructor” category. The items “Getting Others to Do Your Work”, “Posting Questions & Answers”, “Plagiarizing Work”, and “Artificial Intelligence, Chatbot Apps” are in the “Not Approved” Category.
Visit our academic integrity slider. Click and drag icons along the continuum to align these practices with your institution and course policies. You may then include the graphic on your syllabus, present it in your first course meeting, or create a handout for students. (attribution: Copyright Rice University, OpenStax, under CC BY 4.0 license)

At OpenStax we are also developing resources supporting authentic learning experiences and assessment. Please visit this book’s page for updates. For an in-depth review of academic integrity strategies, we highly recommend visiting the International Center of Academic Integrity (ICAI) website at

Community Hubs

OpenStax partners with the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) to offer Community Hubs on OER Commons—a platform for instructors to share community-created resources that support OpenStax books, free of charge. Through our Community Hubs, instructors can upload their own materials or download resources to use in their own courses, including additional ancillaries, teaching material, multimedia, and relevant course content. We encourage instructors to join the hubs for the subjects most relevant to your teaching and research as an opportunity both to enrich your courses and to engage with other faculty. To reach the Community Hubs, visit

Technology partners

As allies in making high-quality learning materials accessible, our technology partners offer optional low-cost tools that are integrated with OpenStax books. To access the technology options for your text, visit your book page on

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