Teaching World History as Mystery: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Teaching World History as Mystery

1st Edition

By Jack Zevin, David Gerwin


256 pages

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Paperback: 9780415992251
pub: 2010-12-01
Hardback: 9780415992244
pub: 2010-12-01
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203856055
pub: 2010-12-07
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Offering a philosophy, methodology, and examples for history instruction that are active, imaginative, and provocative, this text presents a fully developed pedagogy based on problem-solving methods that promote reasoning and judgment and restore a sense of imagination and participation to classroom learning. It is designed to draw readers into the detective process that characterizes the work of professional historians and social scientists ─ sharing raw data, defining terms, building interpretations, and testing competing theories. An inquiry framework drives both the pedagogy and the choice of historical materials, with selections favoring the unsolved, controversial, and fragmented rather than the neatly wrapped up analysis of past events.

Teaching World History as Mystery:

  • Provides a balanced combination of interestingly arranged historical content, and clearly explained instructional strategies
  • Features case studies of commonly and not so commonly taught topics within a typical world/global history curriculum using combinations of primary and secondary documents
  • Discusses ways of dealing with ethical and moral issues in world history classrooms, drawing students into persisting questions of historical truth, bias, and judgment


"Any approach that stresses critical skills, gets students actively involved in the curriculum, and challenges the sterile tradition of teaching history and social studies, is a welcome addition to a teacher’s arsenal. For progressive and ambitious teachers looking to improve the quality of teaching social studies, this work is a valuable addition."—Theory and Research in Social Education

Table of Contents




1 Teaching World History as Mystery

2 Looking at World History Anew

3 Stones that Speak: Of Megaliths and Monoliths

4 Rome Lasts! A Mystery of Durability and Power

5 Mythlabeled? Creating the Crusades

6 The Possibilities for Pizza: A Search for Origins

7 Incas and Spaniards

8 Secrets of Secret Societies

9 Where are the Women in World History?

10 Conclusion

About the Authors

David Gerwin is Associate Professor of Social Studies Education at Queens College, City University of New York. A former high school history teacher and history professor, he has sought out endeavors that combine historical scholarship and teacher professional development, including collaborations with the American Social History Project, Working Films, and the New York Historical Society on grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History program.

Jack Zevin is Professor of Social Studies Education at Queens College, City University of New York. A former secondary school teacher in Chicago, he has championed the cause of inquiry and discovery teaching methods and has worked extensively with preservice and inservice teachers on curriculum projects, teacher preparation programs, and research studies. He is the author of Social Studies for the 21st Century, now in its Third Edition (Routledge).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / Social Science