Lesson Plans

A Guided Introduction to College-Level Texts on Non-Elites in World History

Subject Area: World History (High-School Level or Intro College)

Author: Joseph McMenamin, World History Teacher, Magnet High School, Scotch Plains, NJ.
Lesson Description: This learning unit provides a series of lessons which introduce high-school students to the study of non-elite subjects in a variety of word historical contexts. The lessons include an introductory overview of the study of history from the perspective of non-elite actors, followed by three lessons which reintroduce core concepts in more depth. The learning unit aims to develop advanced skills in reading historical texts by guiding students through short excerpts from a series of primary and secondary readings, similar to texts that they might read in a college-level history course. The lessons also allow students to examine and analyze how the masses were involved in various historical processes, namely the Age of Exploration, the Industrial Revolution, and the Age of “New” Imperialism.

Table of Contents

• Lesson Plan: Non-Elites in World History
• Excerpt from Hegel’s The Philosophy of History with discussion questions
• Excerpt from James Scott’s Weapons of the Weak with discussion questions

• Lesson Plan
• “Hi-Story” Activity and Grading Rubric
• Excerpt from Amitav Ghosh’s In An Antique Land with discussion questions

• Lesson Plan: Hans Rosling, “200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes.”

• Mini Socratic Seminar Activity on “Language and Colonialism” with guided short readings from Macauley’s “Minute on Indian Education” (1835) and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o’s “Decolonising the Mind” (1986).

Download the full lesson.