On Top Of The World



A podcast about how we teach World History and why we teach what we do.


  • Ep 48: Buy My Book

    20/09/2019 Duration: 33min

    Your hosts discuss Dave's new book: World History Through Case Studies: Historical Skills in Practice. Dave tells us about how studying things like the history of veiling, yoga, or the World Cup will engage your students and help them think like a historian. Ditch the textbook and buy Dave's book!  Bloomsbury Amazon  

  • Ep 47: The New AP World History CED with Eric Beckman

    08/08/2019 Duration: 01h01min

    The new AP World History Course and Exam Description (CED) is out and we have to figure out the best and most responsible way to teach it.  In this episode, Matt interviews Eric Beckman, a veteran teacher and winner of the 2018 William H. McNeill World History Association Teacher Scholarship. What exactly has changed? Where and how should we start this new truncated course? Are Texans taking over World History? How can we best create an anti-racist and global course within the parameters of the new standards?  With our goal of helping students do better on the exam, making the course more coherent, and making the course less Eurocentric, this episode will help both novice and experienced teachers grapple with the 2019 standards from College Board.    Links: Learning, Online by Eric Beckman Eric's Twitter The AP World History: Modern CED  

  • Ep 46: How to Hide an Empire

    12/07/2019 Duration: 56min

    Are mountains of bird sh*t, a doctor giving his patients cancer, and the width of screw threads central to the rise of American imperialism? Yes! Matt and Dave discuss How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States by Daniel Immerwahr. This a text that will leave North American readers like Matt and Dave, saying "Oh sh*t! That really happened?" It is also history that weaves together mass politics, insane personal stories, and the twists of fate that shaped the changes and continuities of American history beyond and across the boundaries of "logo map." Recommendations:  Dave - A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine Matt - Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850 by Andrew J. Torget How English Became the Global Language by David Northrup Dave's book is available for pre-order right now! World History through Case Studies: Historical Skills in Practice by Dave Eaton

  • Ep 45: Against the Grain

    07/03/2019 Duration: 56min

    Dave and Matt return from a winter break to discuss the future of AP World and review James C. Scott's book Against the Grain.  Recommendations: Dave: Webb, Humanity's Burden and Klieman, "The Pygmies Were Our Compass" Matt: Wrangham, Catching Fire Music Eric Jones, Angkor Feist, Let It Die MIMS, This Is Why I'm Hot

  • Ep 44: Texting in Class - Panorama

    28/12/2018 Duration: 48min

    Texting in Class makes a triumphal return! Matt and Dave review Panorama: A World History by Laura J. Mitchell and Ross E. Dunn.   Recommendations: Dave - Empires of Ancient Eurasia: The First Silk Roads Era, 100 BCE – 250 CE by Craig Benjamin Matt - The Common Wind: Afro-American Currents in the Age of the Haitian Revolution by Julius S. Scott Dave - Grand Valley Journal of History for undergraduate students   Music: Angkor - Eric Jones I Can See For Miles - The Who Atomic Bomb - William Onyeabor 

  • Ep 44: Playing with Paradox Games

    28/12/2018 Duration: 44min

    Matt and Dave are joined by special guests Henrik Lohmander and Peter Nicholson, computer game designers and historians with Paradox Interactive. We discuss their fascinating jobs working on the historical strategy games, how to break into historical game development, and the challenge of balancing history and player fun.  Recommendations:  All - Imperator: Rome Henrik - A Social History of the Deccan, 1300–1761: Eight Indian Lives, Richard M. Eaton Dave - Empires of Ancient Eurasia: The First Silk Roads Era, 100 BCE – 250 CE, Craig Benjamin Matt - Global Crisis: War, Climate Change and Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century, Geoffrey Parker   Music: Angkor, Eric Jones Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Tears for Fears  Caesar, Ty Seagull  Personal Jesus, Depeche Mode 

  • BONUS: Document Analysis Practice

    17/12/2018 Duration: 01h19min

    New episodes are on the way! In the meantime, you can listen to Matt and Dave talking through some primary source analysis best practices, document analysis, and lesson ideas. We hope that you or your students find this episode helpful! We originally did this as a video stream for the fine folks over at Fiveable but on the condition that it would be free to the public and that we could share it with our listeners too. Here is the link to all the documents used in the episode.    

  • BONUS: The Traitor Baru Cormorant

    31/10/2018 Duration: 01h22min

    Put on your masks and get out your account books! Matt and Dave are joined by a very special guest, Dungeon Master Rob! They discuss Seth Dickinson's groundbreaking fantasy novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant. Although it is a work of fiction, the book's approach to race, queerness, and empire can help us as world historians break free from some of the limitations of the archive.  Happy Halloween and happy the Monster Baru Cormorant day!   Links: Dungeon Master of None, Rob's podcast (Matt also co-hosts) The Traitor Baru Cormorant  The Monster Baru Cormorant   Recommendations: Dave - A Man of the People by Chinua Achebe Dave - Wizard of the Crow by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o  Dave - Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India Nicholas B. Dirks Rob - The Divine Cities Trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett  Matt - Purchasing Whiteness: Pardos, Mulattos, and the Quest for Social Mobility in the Spanish Indies by Ann Twinam   Music: Angkor, Eric Jones  Rebel, Rebel, David Bowie Empire State of Mind, Jay Z. feat

  • Ep 42: The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt

    16/10/2018 Duration: 01h06s

    Dave and Matt sit down with Michael Vann to talk about his new graphic history, The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empire, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam. Your hosts discuss the joy of finding unexpected things in the archive, the necessity of writing a colonial urban history as a world history, the importance of cultural history and thick description, and the opportunities that graphic histories give teachers in the classroom.  Also, check out Mike's excellently-titled article in the Journal of World History: Sex and the Colonial City: Mapping Masculinity, Whiteness, and Desire in French Occupied Hanoi   Recommendations: All - The Great Hanoi Rat Hunt: Empire, Disease, and Modernity in French Colonial Vietnam by Michael G. Vann and Liz Clarke Micheal - Melancholy Order: Asian Migration and the Globalization of Borders by Adam M. McKeown Dave - Matatu: A History of Popular Transportation in Nairobi by Kenda Mutongi Ghana on the Go: African Mobility in the Age of Motor Transportation by Jennifer A

  • Episode 41 - The Cold World War

    19/09/2018 Duration: 51min

    Reminder: Free registration for the 2018 Great Lakes History Conference! What is the Cold War to a World Historian? Dave and Matt use Odd Arne Wested's Bancroft-winning book as a launching pad to examine the longue durée of the 20th-century and a global approach to the US-Soviet conflict that centers decolonization and the "Third World."   Recommendations:  The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times by Odd Arne Wested  Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Stephen Kinzer 

  • Ep 40 - It's Just Me Against the World

    20/07/2018 Duration: 01h04min

    Matt and Dave discuss the story of the worst (best?) dinner party in World History! Starting in 1780 in colonial Peru, the rebellion that followed said dinner party was one of the bloodiest of the Age of Revolutions.  Led by the charismatic José Gabriel Condorcanqui Túpac Amaru II and the brilliant Micaela Bastidas Puyucahua, the Andean rebellions threatened the 200-year-long order of the  república de indios in South America.  Your hosts discuss the unique geography of the Andes, the endurance of Inca and sub-Inca authority and culture, the Bourbon reforms that helped spark the rebellion, and the bloody civil war that nearly toppled Spanish control of Peru. Matt and Dave argue for the inclusion and importance of Túpac Amaru and Túpac Katari revolts alongside the Atlantic Revolutions.  When included in our World History these rebellions challenge the straightforward Enlightenment-to-revolution model and force us to consider both the intensification of economic change in the late 18th-century and resistance t

  • Ep 39 - AP WH Revision: College Board Makes It Worse

    19/07/2018 Duration: 29min

    Lord help us, but College Board is back on its bullshit. All our writing, discussing, and protesting got us a whole 250 years! The new start date is 1200 CE.  College Board still doesn't get World History.  Matt and Dave discuss.   Recommendations: Matt - The New World History: A Field Guide for Teachers and Researchers, ed. by Ross Dunn, Laura Mitchell, and Kerry Ward Dave - Worlds Together, Worlds Apart, Robert Tignor et al. Closing Music: "The World Turned Upside Down" by Billy Bragg 

  • Ep 38 - Live from Milwaukee!

    27/06/2018 Duration: 01h08min

    Listen in on Dave and Matt's panel and Q&A at the World History Association in Milwaukee, WI! Your hosts talk history podcasting and the history of this podcast.  Listen in to hear our plans for the future of the show as well as some great question and suggestions (00:29:54) from our lovely studio audience.   Thanks for coming to our show and see everyone next year in San Juan!  P.S. Sorry that some of the audio quality on the audience questions is not as good as we would like it to be!

  • Ep 37b – A Solomonic Halving: Rick talks AP Exam Changes, Pt. 2

    10/06/2018 Duration: 52min

    Matt and Dave continue their interview with Rick Warner! We discuss the announced halving of the AP World History course and the College Board’s condescending and dismissive attitude to the concerns of teachers and professors.  We talk about the CB Open Forum (you can watch the whole thing, here on our Facebook page) and the tone-deaf response from VP Trevor Packer.    #saveapworldsaveapworld.org Recommendations:Dave - Karol Giblin’s comment at the Open Forum (comment starts at 26:00)Rick - Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (RIP)Matt - Squirrel Cage episode of Parts Unknown Matt - Africa is a Country Matt - Barbara Weinstein’s AHA Presidential Address P.S.  If you are attending the WHA in Milwaukee, our panel is at 9am on June 23.  Come see us!

  • Ep 37a – The Helicopter and the Truffle Hunter: An Interview with Rick Warner, Pt. 1

    09/06/2018 Duration: 26min

    Matt and Dave sit down with World History veteran Rick Warner to discuss the long arc of the field and the AP exam.  The AP exam revision will be discussed in part 2 of the interview.  Rick argues for the centrality of World History as a teaching field and that “World History is invented in the classroom.” We celebrate the vibrant community of both university and high school faculty over some High West double rye whiskeys.   Finally, we talk about the multiple narratives in World History, as opposed to the singular narrative often prominent in other fields of the discipline, and the importance of periodization. Our discussion with Rick will continue in the second part of our interview in which we discuss the recent changes to the AP World History exam and the backlash against College Board's halving of the course.

  • Ep 36 - AP WH Revision Bullsh*t

    08/06/2018 Duration: 45min

    In a surprise announcement last week, the College Board declared they are cutting out the whole first half of the AP World History curriculum (a.k.a. Periods I, II, & III).  The course is now going to be just World History from 1450 CE. We think this is a truck load of bullshit.  Tune in to find out exactly what kind of bullshit this is as well as a few reasonable arguments in favor of this change. However, we mostly want to hear from you.  Please leave us a comment with your thoughts on the change.  Or, if you’d like to leave a voicemail that we can play during our next episode send an email to ontopoftheworldhistory@gmail.com, a twitter message to @podhistory, or a message on our facebook page.   Recommendations: Dave – Manufacturing Confucianism: Chinese Traditions and Universal Civilization by Lionel M. Jensen Matt – Cotton, Climate, and Camels in Early Islamic Iran: A Moment in World History by Richard W. Bulliet

  • Ep 35 – The History Manifesto

    08/06/2018 Duration: 45min

    The original “Bro-dels” Matt and Dave tackle Jo Guldi and David Armitage’s The History Manifesto.  How should historians respond to the “crisis of the humanities?”  Your hosts discuss Guldi and Armitage’s ideas of “long-termism,” big data, and the need for public-facing scholarship from the perspective of World History.  While the book has got some great ideas, it seems like the authors have never met any of the world historians, who have been attempting to answer some of the big questions in the Manifesto for the last few decades!  We don’t feel slighted.  Totally not mad. Don’t worry! Y ou can read the Manifesto for free (see link below).  Take a look and then join Matt & Dave in a wide-ranging discussion of hierarchy in the history academy, dropping enrollment, and Canada’s saddest reactionary, Jordan Peterson.Links:The History Manifesto by Jo Guldi and David Armitage“Rise of the humanities” by Peter Mandler“The CANADALAND Guide to Jordan B. Peterson”Prof. Mike Davis: “There Was Once A Generation of Li

  • Ep 34 – Black Earth

    29/03/2018 Duration: 53min

    We’re heading back to the “Blood Lands” of Eastern Europe for a sobering discussion of the uses and abuses of the history of the holocaust from an ecological and global perspective.  We discuss Timothy Snyder’s Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning with special guest Andrew Behrendt.  A great listen for teachers who are grappling with how to apply the lessons of the 20th-century with their students.Recommendations:Dave – The Logic of Violence in Civil War by Stathis KalyvasAndrew – Modern Hungers: Food and Power in Twentieth-Century Germany by Alice WeinrebMatt – The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times by Odd Arne Westad

  • Ep 33 - The Dawn Watchers

    31/01/2018 Duration: 56min

    Dave and Matt have read Maya Jasanoff’s new book on the life and times of Joseph Conrad, The Dawn Watch.  We discuss Conrad’s life, and the limits of his vision in the turbulent world of the late 19th-century.  This is a story that has remarkable parallels to our own moment in history: a world of transnational corporations, terrorism, immigration, and disruptive technological change.  Plus, why our world is more similar to the lead up to the First World War than you think! For History teachers with students who have read Conrad’s works for a literature course or an English class, we weigh the benefits and drawbacks of using Conrad in a history classroom.Tune in for a tales of Polish nationalism, depression, race, and empire!  Stay to find out why old Józef really, really hates those darn steamships.  Recommendations:Maya Jasanoff – The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global WorldChinua Achebe – “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness'” and Things Fall ApartAllan B. Calhamer – Diplomacy Greg

  • Ep 32 – We, Too, Are History

    29/11/2017 Duration: 48min

    On today’s episode, Matt interviews one of his former students, Valeria Alvarado, an immigrant rights activist and an undergraduate History major.  Val co-founded “We, Too, Are America,” an online platform dedicated to fighting the current administration’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.  The two discuss the undergraduate History experience, navigating the seminar as a woman of color, dealing with tokenism in the classroom, and the importance of understanding colonialism.RecommendationsMatt - Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed Val - Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond We, Too, Are America: https://www.wetooareamerica.org

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