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International Institute pres.

2019 World History and Literature Initiative: Empire, Decolonization & Independence in Global History & Literature

The World History and Literature Initiative (WHaLI) is a unique collaboration between area studies centers in the International Institute and the U-M School of Education, funded in part by Title VI grants from the U.S. Department of Education, with additional funding from the International Institute and the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies.

About the conference:

Today we live in a world of a few hundred nation-states. “Yet,” historians Burbank and Cooper argue, “the world of nation-states we take for granted is scarcely sixty years old." People lived throughout most of human history in empires, states that never claimed to represent a single group of people or a nation. Such imperial systems were durable, ruling over vast territories for long durations of time. The Ottoman Empire and the Roman Empire, for example, each lasted for almost 700 years, the Mongols and Comanche Empires for about two centuries, while some have argued the Chinese Empire endured for well over 4,000 years. All empires faced resistance and rebellion in some form and to some degree.

Imperial systems and those who have opposed, resisted, and rebelled against imperial power, politics, and culture have played a long and important role in global history. Given how important empires, decolonization, and independence movements have been, it is not surprising that we have a rich historical, literary and artistic heritage that captures the impact empires and liberation from imperial control has had on individuals, peoples, communities, and the world.

The World History and Literature Initiative’s (WHaLI) three-day conference for secondary teachers will focus on these issues using examples drawn from different historical times and areas of the world. In addition to helping teachers develop their knowledge and understanding of this Empires, imperial practices, independence movements and decolonization in world history and literature, the conference also illuminates challenges students face in learning such content and explores ways teachers might meet those challenges. WHaLI conference provides participants with relevant resources as well as lunch and refreshments. This year we will meet on December 6 (Friday), December 7 (Saturday) and December 14 (Saturday).


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