OWIT Modules

Temple of Literature, Hanoi

These are summaries of the initial set of OWIT Modules. Information for instructors and teaching materials will be made available soon.


An Object of Seduction: The Early Modern Trans-Pacific Silk Trade

3-4 sessions

This module looks into the 16th-18th century Asia-Pacific silk trade, with a particular focus on southeast China, Manila in Philippine, and New Spain (colonial Mexico). It traces the production, consumption, and regulation of Chinese silk textiles as they circulated through the social worlds and trade networks. Taking a comparative perspective, this module focuses on the similarities and interconnectedness between Ming dynasty China and colonial Mexico to understand how the fashion of wearing silk textiles contributed to the formation of the global market and affected the traditional empires.


Diversity and Imperial Strategies in the Early Chinese Empires

4 sessions

This module will ask students to find an answer for the following question: How did the Han dynasty manage to impose a stable, unified, centrally administered empire over a geographically vast and culturally diverse area?  Students will first survey the political and cultural landscape of the early Chinese world to gain an appreciation of the challenges any would-be empire might face.  Then, students will split into groups to examine sources from a single region or topic of interest in the Han (such as crime and punishment).


Questioning Decolonization

4 sessions

This module examines the separation of African and Asian colonies from European empires in the middle of the 20C. Students will explore the causes and effects of this phenomenon from multiple perspectives. They will also engage with the relationship between colonialism and current relationships with (neo-colonial) and understandings of those countries.



5-6 sessions

This module explores five sets of developments during 1905 as a basis of understanding modernity and globalization: the Russo-Japanese War, the Russian Revolution, the British partition of Bengal, the (non-progress of women’s rights, and Einstein’s annus mirabilis. Students will consider the connection between history (the events/developments) and History (the study of the past).


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