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Teo Ruiz Heads State History Project

Sites of Encounter in the Medieval World

world map 1154Professor Teofilio Ruiz will lead a statewide network of history educators to launch “Sites of Encounter in the Medieval World” this fall. Ruiz will serve as faculty adviser to the project, working in partnership with the California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP), headquartered in the Department of History at the University of California, Davis. The project is funded by an Our Shared Past grant from the Social Science Research Council and the British Council. Ruiz will oversee the scholarly development of this innovative program. The Medieval World project will be the second unit developed by the CHSSP’s History Blueprint initiative (http://historyblueprint.org), a comprehensive program of curriculum, assessment, literacy, and teacher professional development.

The California History-Social Science Project is a collaborative organization of history scholars at California’s public universities and K-12 history teachers. All of the seven History Project sites, including the UCLA History-Geography Project, will participate in the “Sites of Encounter in the Medieval World” project. The first goal of the project is to design an innovative curriculum unit entitled “Sites of Encounter in the Medieval World” for seventh-grade students. Drawing on new historical scholarship about the Mediterranean world, maritime technological transfers, travel narratives and multicultural entrepôts, the unit will immerse students in sites of encounter – Sicily, Majorca, Quanzhou, Mali, Cairo and Melaka - where merchants, travelers and scholars participated in shared cultural, economic and scientific networks. Beginning with the study of concrete objects – maps, ships, astrolabes, silks and spices – the History Blueprint unit will guide these young students to an understanding of Afroeurasian interconnections and shared values from 1000 through 1492, along with pedagogical support for reading and analyzing primary sources and developing historical thinking. When the unit is complete, it will be posted online for a free download to any teacher in the U.S. or abroad. To support world history teachers and to engage our scholarly network in the larger task of reframing the entire world history curriculum, the CHSSP will also convene an online colloquium entitled “Reframing World History.” The colloquium will include papers, talks and blog posts on large models for curriculum revision, as well as specific sources, sites and historical moments useful for teaching world history.

If you would like to see an example of the History Blueprint approach, our first unit, on the U.S. Civil War, is online at http://historyblueprint.org.

For further information about the History Blueprint, see http://chssp.ucdavis.edu/programs/historyblueprint.