The following units are currently in the research and development stage at the Choices Program. Look for announcements on our website, newsletter, and social media regarding their availability!

The Russian Revolution

Why did democracy fail to take root in Russia in 1917?

Second edition. Forthcoming in Spring 2020. Russia’s revolution has had profound and lasting effects on the course of history. The study of Lenin’s effort to create a new socialist society allows students to understand the birth of an ideological system that would eventually compete directly with the United States for world primacy. Using primary source documents, readings, and simulations, students explore the historical opportunities that allowed Lenin and the Bolsheviks to assume power. In a role play set in Petrograd, students recreate the debate Russians had over their future.

NOTE: This edition is a major overhaul and replacement for this popular unit (originally released in 2005).

The Syrian Civil War

What led to the conflict in Syria, and how should the international community respond?

First edition. Forthcoming in Spring 2020. The Syrian Civil War and resulting refugee crisis is one of the defining humanitarian issues of our time. Since 2011, the violence of the conflict has prompted more than half of the country’s population to flee their homes. The war has claimed hundreds of thousands of civilian lives and injured more than a million more.

By exploring the history of Syria from the Ottoman Empire to French colonial rule, Syrian independence, and the rise of the Assad regime, students gain the necessary historical background to understand the recent conflict. They consider the legacies of colonialism, sectarianism, and authoritarianism that continue to shape the country and examine the evolution of the recent conflict in Syria–the Arab Spring, the violent repression of protests by the Syrian regime, and the civil war and resulting humanitarian disaster. Interactive lessons and activities challenge students to explore Syria’s geography, analyze historical images, and examine anti-colonial writings of the Great Syrian Revolt. Students also explore how social movements and resistance have shaped the country’s history, delve into refugees’ stories, and probe the international response to the recent conflict.

Imperial America: U.S. Global Expansion (1890-1914)

How and why did the United States embark on a process of global imperial expansion?

First edition. Forthcoming in Spring 2020. In 1898, the United States defeated Spain in a war that led to the U.S. claiming control over Spain’s colonial territories of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam. In an era defined imperial conquest, the War of 1898 signaled U.S. leaders’ intentions to construct the nation’s own overseas colonial empire. The story of American imperialism is often told as only a temporarily period of colonial expansion that departed from the nation’s foreign policy. In contrast, Imperial America connects turn-of-the-century imperialism to the settler colonial process of nineteenth-century westward expansion and to the various forms of “informal” imperialism that would characterize the U.S. empire throughout the twentieth century. Students explore and balance accounts of elite decision makers in Washington, D.C., with local experiences and cultural expressions of the inhabitants of American colonial territories. Students consider the social, political, cultural, and economic transformations experienced by Americans and those affected by American imperialism.

Slavery and the Making of the Modern World

How did the creation of racial slavery affect the history of the Americas?

First edition. Forthcoming in 2020. Slavery has existed since ancient times, but the form that took shape in the sixteenth century was distinctly race-based. By the 1660s, many European nations and their colonies associated race with skin color, and slavery with Africans. The slave trade and slavery enriched many. For centuries, those who benefited from the slave trade favored economic profit over concerns for the terrible human cost. Students explore how and why the system of racial slavery developed in the Americas and how it continues to shape society and affect the lives of people today. At the heart of the unit are the experiences of enslaved people as they navigated and resisted a violent and oppressive system designed to dehumanize them.

A Forgotten History: Slavery and Emancipation in the North

What role did the North play in the history of slavery?

First edition. Forthcoming in 2020. The fact that thousands of enslaved people lived in the U.S. North during and immediately following the colonial era rarely makes it into history textbooks. Students explore the economic and social effects of slavery and the slave trade in the North and consider the experiences of enslaved people of the period. Through readings and lessons, students examine the effects of the trade on enslaved people and slavery itself for the North and explore how history, and the telling of history, affects us today.

NOTE: Content in this unit is being significantly updated and expanded to replace the retired unit, A Forgotten History: The Slave Trade and Slavery in New England.

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