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 Some possible projects related to World History


 

Project: Create a Compact Disk Linking World History and Geography


This project applies the techniques of GIS (geographical information system) to world history. However, the mapped information would be extended on a time line showing the geographical distribution of each element . It would become like a graph which changes in time.

The five elements or aspects of society include: (1) population, (2) language, (3) religion, (4) occupation or industry, and (5) nationhood. It is possible to plot on a map of the world how the various elements are dispersed.

(1) Population: The human population on earth began two million years ago with ape-like creatures in Africa and evolved into a hominidic race emerging 100,000 years ago. The earth's human population has increased from 4 million persons in 10000 B.C. to 6 billion persons in 1999. This history, therefore, has two facets: (a) the changing racial, ethnic, or tribal mix of populations upon the earth's surface and (b) the growth of population in absolute numbers. It would include the story of migrations, agriculture, wars, famine, disease, health improvements, and other elements that would affect either aspect of population. The current situation would be represented by a world map showing population density and by one showing the predominate racial or ethnic groups in a territory.

(2) Language: It is, likewise, possible to produce a map of the world showing the distribution of languages. The story of language distribution has to do with migrations of particular peoples into a territory, governments controlling these territories and their language policies, the evolution of languages over time, the acquisition of written language and printing, education and literature, and the influence of broadcasting and films.

(3) Religion: Another world map would show the predominate religion in particular territories. This, too, has a story. The religions were founded and spread by particular persons. Certain political empires adopted them as official religions. There were religious wars, programs of missionary work, monasticism and education, heresies, and other events which affected a religion's hold on territories.

(4) Occupation or industry: Here the world map would indicate the dominant industry or occupation in a territory. Some regions are mostly agricultural while others are centers or heavy industry and still others belong to the post-industrial economy. This is the story of progress from the hunter-gatherer stage to agriculture, and then to mining and manufacturing, and then to white-collar work in government or the private sector.

(5) Political organization: This would feature a conventional map of the world showing the territories controlled by national governments. Its history would work backwards from the present to explain how the earth's nation states came to be. This approach to world history is objective and interesting, but its story is also fragmented. Historical events explain how and why the current situation came to be.

 


 

Project: Establish A "World History Month"


Ideas sometimes need a time and place to get noticed. That is why holidays or celebratory months can be a useful device to call public attention to an idea or a cause. Journalists are more likely to run stories about particular topics when these topics are related to a holiday. Having an appropriate time to do something is itself a spur to activity.

There are, as we know, official months devoted to the history of particular groups. Black History Month (in February) and Women's History Month (in March) are the two principal examples. Why not have a "World History Month" to add to this list? This could be a catch-all celebration for persons not included in the other events; or it could take on qualities of its own in relation to awareness of a broader world.

When might this be scheduled? April, immediately following Women's History Month, is one possibility. May, however, has the advantage of including certain holidays which are already widely celebrated and are related to global themes. May 1st is May Day, an international labor holiday which began in the United States. It has been replaced in the U.S. by World Law Day. So whichever holiday one prefers on May 1st, there is an international flavoring to that day.

Numerous employers observe Black History Month and Women's History Month by bringing in speakers to talk to their employees on themes related to these celebrations. The same could be done for World History Month. This would be a chance for teachers and other proponents of world history to evangelize. Their talks or lectures would be a chance to show the public that world history is an interesting subject.

It is possible that a group of historians might organize a "speakers bureau" which it would announce to organizations likely to celebrate World History Month. First, of course, we would want to arrange some official designation for this type of event. It would be desirable to seek greater legitimacy in designating the month of May (or whichever month one might choose) as World History Month.

 


 

Project: A World History

bed-and-breakfast


Some day, Bill and Lian McGaughey may move to Milford, Pennsylvania, where they own a house with several bedrooms near the center of town. In that event, they may operate a small bed-and-breakfast using one or two of the spare rooms in the house. They would offer a package deal: (1) an overnight stay in the house and a small breakfast, and (2) an early-morning discussion of world history in the living room. Bill McGaughey, author of Five Epochs of Civilization, would facilitate that discussion. Lian McGaughey is a former general manager of two hotels in China. She was an eye witness to events of historical importance as that country has become an economic and political power house in today's world.

Milford, Pennsylvania, county seat of Pike County, is on Interstate highway 84 connecting New England with Pennsylvania and points west. It is approximately ninety miles west of New York City. This town of 1,200 residents has several historic attractions: Gifford Pinchot, first head of the U.S. Forestry Service, made his home in Milford. President John F. Kennedy accepted the Pinchot mansion on behalf of the federal government a month before his death. Charles Sanders Peirce, an influential philosopher, lived outside Milford. Zane Grey, father of the western novel, wrote some of his best-known works in Lackawaxen, located in western Pike County. (More Hollywood films have been based on his books than those of any other writer in history.) Before Hollywood, the area was a center of filmmaking. D.W. Griffith directed several silent films that were shot in Milford or in Cuddebackville, NY. The Pike County Historical Society owns an American flag soaked in the blood of Abraham Lincoln; it was used to cradle the head of the dying president as he was carried from Ford Theater to a house across the street.

Each weekend in the summer, the population of Milford swells as tourists from New York City and other places look for recreation in the foothills of the Pocono Mountains. Since New York is home to the United Nations and an ethnically diverse set of residents, it is hoped that some residents of that city would be interested in coming to Milford to discuss world history in a relaxed setting. The McGaughey home in Milford, next to the Sawkill creek, has a good view of "The Knob", the beginning of the Pocono mountain range just west of town. There is a hiking trail across the Sawkill that leads to the Pinchot estate, now a research center for environmental studies.

Warning: This World History bed-and-breakfast is not yet in operation. The McGaugheys still live in Minneapolis.

 


 

Project: A Variety Show based on the Fourth Civilization

Plans are underway to create a variety show, which would be part live and part taped. The idea would be to tell the history of the entertainment industry and give examples of its art forms in live performances.

Entertainment, the dominant force in American culture today, is dominated by a few highly paid performers whose names are household words. Most are reduced to being a passive audience. This variety show would give lesser known performers a chance to perform in a live theater.

Prospectively, the theater would be located in a building on Glenwood Avenue, just west of downtown Minneapolis.
 

      

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