AP World History broadens students’ views on global history

Grace Gehrman

After being initially discussed earlier this year, on Feb. 1, the Tamalpais Union High School District (TUHSD) added the Advanced Placement World History (AP World) course as an alternative to the regular World History course, and in the place of the formerly offered AP European History (AP Euro) course. AP World had to undergo a process to be redesigned and approved as a sophomore-level course before it was voted on. The adoption of the course was mutually agreed upon by district trustees as well as teachers to help promote a less Eurocentric examination of history. AP World teacher, Ted Brown, remarks on the edition of the new course.

“We feel [adding AP World] aligns with the district equity work we’ve been doing over the last five years. By adopting a curriculum that encompasses every continent in a multitude of different societies, students will be better able to make global connections and become thoughtful, more culturally sensitive global citizens,” Brown said. 

Similarly, former AP Euro and current AP World teacher, Corin Greenberg, has welcomed the new course for its different curriculum and enhanced global perspective. Focusing on a wider variety of cultures, time periods and civilizations, the curriculum supplies a comprehensive look at the development of human society.

Featuring a map of the world, Greenberg’s room is a buzz of learning and excitement.

“I taught [AP] Euro for 13 years, so at this time in my career, it’s exciting to teach and learn something new,” Greenberg said. “It’s a really different course in the way that it starts in the year 1200, whereas AP Euro started around 1450.”

For current sophomore and AP World student Giselle Orson, the broader focus of this new course offers various learning opportunities.

“[I enjoy] seeing different aspects and perspectives from different cultures and I really enjoy learning about societies that we wouldn’t have learned about in AP Euro,” Orson said.

Though AP Euro also looked beyond Europe, AP World covers much more ground. Spanning a greater time period and overall geographical focus, the course heeds patterns throughout civilizations and common themes across the globe. For instance, AP Euro covers the history of Europe from 1500 CE to the present; AP World begins centuries before that and covers the entire globe. Sophomore Maisy Wiss, an AP World student, has found the course’s breadth to be one of its most appealing aspects.

“[In AP World] we’re learning about all the different types of religions and civilizations throughout the entire world. There’s just so much information to cover [that] it’s really interesting,” Wiss said.

Additionally, Greenberg believes the transition from offering AP Euro to AP World will contribute to students’ understanding of history as it pertains to the world as a whole. Looking past trivia, dates and facts, Greenberg stresses the importance of viewing history through a global lens.

“It’s not just learning new facts, it’s about learning new ways to look at history,” Greenberg said. “What’s cool about [AP World History] is not only are we teaching history to give students a broader context, [but] we are teaching the broader context with all the world’s regions.”