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World History Activities

My graduate studies in African history included significant attention to world history. Since the late 1980s I have maintained a scholarly focus on world history, but always with emphasis on Africa's place in the world.

Creating Global Historical Data

To conduct global historical studies we need global historical data. In 1998 I first proposed, along with Adam McKeown, a project for constructing a world-historical dataset. The University of Pittsburgh has proved to be a hospitable environment for expanding this project since 2007: I have directed the World-Historical Dataverse project at Pitt since 2008, and I have directed the multi-institutional Collaborative for Historical Information and Analysis (CHIA) since 2011. This work includes serving as co-editor of the Journal of World-Historical Information.

Research & Interpretation

My world-historical studies have focused in the following areas (specifics are available on my CV):

    African Population & Migration

          Models, theory, and empirical studies estimating African population size and African
          migrations for the period from 1650 to 1950

    Economic & Social History

          Studies in African and Atlantic economic history, social history of Francophone Africa,
          studies of worldwide social movements

    Early Human History

          Focusing on language and language groups in world history, on climate and migration, and
          on genetics and migration.


          Synthetic study of the impacts of slave trade and slavery in Africa and the diaspora,
          synthetic overview of the African diaspora, synthesis of world history (in preparation)


          Methodological overview of the field of world history, methods in historical demography,
          theory and methods in migration, methods of world-historical analysis

Professional Development For Teachers

In a new enterprise, the Alliance for Learning in World History links the World History Center to the National Center for History in the Schools (UCLA) and to the Department of History at California State University – Long Beach in an effort to define and support professional development for in-service teachers of world history, and to support educational research and curriculum advance in world history. This work is supported by the Social Science Research Council and the British Council.

In the Pittsburgh area, I have been active since 2007 in professional development activities for teachers, and have consulted with national teacher organizations in support of improved methods of teaching world history. From 2004 to the present, the World History Network, Inc., a nonprofit organization for the global development of world-historical study, has served as a bridge between my activites at Northeastern and those at Pitt.

From 1997 to 2004, in work at Northeastern University, the World History Resource Center conducted teachers workshops for the Massachusetts Department of Education, the New England Regional Council of the National Council of Social Studies, the Boston Public Schools and many other individual school districts and school collaboratives. In association with over twenty other Boston-area professional development organizations, the Resource Center organized four meetings of the World History Symposium, two-day conferences with presentations on teaching world history at al levels of K-12 education. Additionally, the Resource Center completed two major contracts with the College Board to provide support for the AP World History course for which the first exam was given in 2002. The Resource Center directed the AP World History National Training Workshop in 2000, in which 36 competitively selected teachers were trained as leaders of AP World History workshops. In 2001, the Resource Center gathered 14 leading teachers and professors to create instructional materials for the AP World History course: a web guide, a best practices manual, and a set of 13 detailed teaching units on major issues in world history.

Building Academic Institutions

Institutions for study of world history took form seriously beginning in the 1990s. I have been privileged to play a role in building several world-historical institutions:

    World History Center (Pitt)

          On the initiative of Dean John Cooper of the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences and with
          approval of the Department of History, the World History Center at Pitt opened in October
          2008 and has expanded its activities steadily.

    NOGWHISTO worldwide

          The Network of Global and World History Organizations (NOGWHISTO) was created in
          Dresden in 2008, and in 2010 was recognized as the official organization for world history
          within the International Committee for Historical Sciences (CISH). It consists of five
          continental organizations of world historians. The World History Center at Pitt and the
          World History Network, Inc., played a key role in the formation of three NOGWHISTO
          affiliates: the Asian Association of World Historians, the African Network in Global History,
          and the Latin American Conference of Global Historians.

    World History Network, Inc.

          The World History Network was created in 2000 as a project for creating a comprehensive
          web resource in world-historical teaching and research, under a 2000 grant from the
          National Endowment for the Humanities. With closure of the World History Center in 2004,
          the World History Network, Inc., was formed as a nonprofit corporation to advance global
          connections in world history, with funding from royalties earned from the sale of the
          Migration in Modern World History CD-ROM.

    World History Center (Northeastern University)

          From 1993 to 2004, the World History Center at Northeastern University supported
          research, graduate study and teaching in world history. In addition, the World History
          Resource Center carried on an active program of professional development for teachers of
          world history from 1998 to 2003. The website of the Northeastern Center and Resource
          Center remains online as an archive at


2013. African Network in Global History, Ouagadougou (co-organizer)
2013. Coloquio Internacional: Latinoamérica y la Historia Global, Buenos Aires (co-organizer) 2012. Linnaean Worlds, Pitt (co-organizer)
2011. World History Dissertation Workshop, Pitt (co-organizer)
2010. World History Dissertation Workshop, Pitt (co-organizer)
2010. NOGWHISTO First Congress, Amsterdam (co-organizer)
2011. Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), Pitt (co-organizer) 2009. African Network in Global History, Ilorin (organizer)
2008. NOGWHISTO Founding Meeting, Dresden (co-organizer)
2008. Asian Association of World Historians, Tianjin (co-organizer)
2008. Andre Gunder Frank, in memoriam, Pitt (organizer)
2006. Research Agenda in World History, Boston (co-organizer)
2004. World History: The Next 10 Years, Boston (co-organizer)
2000. World History Association, Boston (local arrangements chair)


I have served as consultant and external reviewer to a number of history departments, providing suggestions on how they might advance their graduate and undergraduate offerings in world history.

2005  University of California - Riverside

2004  Salem State College

2003  Delaware State University, University of Pittsburgh, Concordia University, University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Arizona State University, University of Florida, University of Massachusetts-Amerherst, Wabash College

2002  Salem State College, Georgia State University, University of Kentucky, Howard University, Florida International University, Rice University, Miles College

2001  California State University - Northridge, Miles College

2000  Hawaii Pacific University

1999  Brooklyn College