Call for Proposals: History for the 21st Century

Call for Proposals: History for the 21st Century

History for the 21st Century (“H/21”) is a collaborative faculty-led initiative of the World History Association with a central mission of enabling college and university faculty to introduce students effectively to historical thinking necessary for navigating an equitable and sustainable world through the twenty-first century. Most colleges and universities offer General Educational history courses at the first-year level that aim to help students to understand their lives in historical perspective, to make mature decisions today, and to gain intellectual tools to build on that understanding throughout their lives. Recent years have seen changes in the nature, focus, and preparation of students, innovations in educational technology and pedagogies, new curricular requirements, and new ethical and ecological imperatives. The goal of History for the 21st Century is to support adapting to this new environment through a faculty-led collaborative effort focusing centrally on General Education history courses. Our goal is to offer free, student-centered, inquiry driven, and user-friendly materials to help transform curriculum for students in the General Education history classroom. These materials will enable students to see themselves (and their ancestors) within historical narratives that provide meaning for the present and future of our world.

For the first phase of this project (2021–2023), H/21 will sponsor the production of free, digitally available teaching units (called Modules Ready to Educate, or MREs) that teach both skills and historical content suitable for introductory world history courses. These modules will:

  • be designed for college students in General Education courses.
  • engage students in active learning within large-class settings.
  • include content, primary sources, activities, and assessment tools that faculty at a variety of institutions can adapt to the courses they offer.
  • engage with the diverse range of human experiences, including going beyond standard world historical narratives and centering peoples commonly de-centered in or absent from those narratives.
  • help students understand historical learning in ways that can contribute to a sustainable and equitable twenty-first century.
  • be peer reviewed by content experts, vetted by experienced educators, and capable of revision based on future evidence.
  • be limited to short, two-week lesson plans, adaptable to a M-W-F or T-Th schedule.
  • be made available to faculty and students at no charge.

Proposals should include, in no more than 1,000 words:

  • The applicant’s name, institutional affiliation, and contact information.
  • A brief description of the proposed module, including its chronological and geographical scope, and an explanation of how it fits into the central mission of the H/21 project.
  • A description of the types of activities, primary source texts, and learning objectives to be included in the module.
  • A realistic timetable to produce the module before July 1, 2022.
  • An explanation for why the applicant’s experience suits the production of this module.

Applicants should also submit CV (maximum 5 pages) in a separate file. Authors will receive a $2,000 grant for this work, which will include initial creation of a module, participation in a peer-review and editing process, and revision of their unit. This work will also serve as a peer-reviewed publication of teaching materials. Selection will be made based on the quality of each proposal, consideration of the diverse geographical and chronological ranges of world history courses, and the contribution of the module to the central mission of the H/21 project.

Applications can be emailed to the project director, Jesse Spohnholz (Washington State University) at Applications will be accepted starting January 5, 2021, and ending on February 20, 2022. For more about the H/21 project, go to Subscribe at to receive periodic updates on our project. History for the 21st Century in an initiative of the World History Association.