Conversations in World History

Conversations in World History is a bridge to the past connecting scholars to people interested in the deeper meaning of history. Here, my informal chats with historians open up the past, their research, and major questions and debates in the field. These episodes should help us all engage in the fascinating conversations of world history and to hear from the people who are writing the next pages. The host, David Sherrin, is an author and award-winning social studies teacher. Check out other episodes and his books at

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Monday Apr 15, 2024

I speak with Stefanos Geroulanos, professor of history at NYU, about his new book The Invention of Prehistory and how humans have thought, written, and discussed our deepest past.

Wednesday Jan 24, 2024

I speak with Professor Emeritus Judith Bennett about medieval women. Judith was a professor at USC-Dornsife as well as UNC Chapel Hill and she wrote the wonderful book A Medieval Life: Cecilia Penifader of Brigstock among others. 

Korean History with Eugene Park

Thursday Nov 09, 2023

Thursday Nov 09, 2023

Eugene Park is a professor of East Asian and Korean history at the University of Nevada-Reno. He earned his PhD from Harvard University in 1999 and has published numerous books and articles including the recent Korea: A History, which is the subject of our discussion.

Saturday Oct 21, 2023

In this episode, I speak with Karen Stohr about issues of ethics and morality involved in Hamas' terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens and Israel's retaliation. We discuss a variety of topics and questions in the abstract (or via other examples) to zoom away from the current crisis in order to discuss larger principles. Karen is a professor of metaphysics and moral philosophy at Georgetown University. Among other books, she has written Choosing Freedom: A Kantian Guide for Life, which I loved. 
Here are some websites and podcasts Karen recommends:
Elucidations podcast
Unmuted podcast
War (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
Why We Argue | Humility & Conviction in Public Life (

Tuesday Oct 17, 2023

Dr. Max Lazar is a social studies teacher and department chair at the Abraham Joshua Heschel School in NYC. He earned his doctorate in history from U.N.C. Chapel-Hill. His dissertation focused on Jewish integration in Frankfurt between 1914-1938. Max teaches a course called "Dual Narratives" at the Heschel School and he shares his insights and experience providing a balanced historical approach to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict to students at a pluralistic Jewish high school.
Resources recommended by Max:
Zionism: A Short History of a Big Idea by David Engel
The Third Way: A Journal of Life in the West Bank by Raja Shehadeh
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What Everybody Needs to Know by Dov Waxman
City on a Hilltop by Sara Yael Hirschhorn

Thursday Oct 05, 2023

Christopher Goscha is a professor of history at Université du Québec à Montréal, specializing in the Cold War in Asia as well as questions of colonisation and decolonisation in the Afro-Asian world. Chris  has published several books including The Road to Dien Bien Phu: A History of the First War for Vietnam (Princeton University Press, 2022), The Penguin History of Vietnam (Penguin/Random House, 2016), Vietnam, A New History (Basic Books, 2016, American version of the preceding book and winner of the 2017 John K. Fairbank Prize – American Historical Association finalist for the The Cundhill History Prize).
We speak about his book Vietnam: A New History, specifically discussing Vietnam in the ancient, medieval, and early modern world as well as Vietnam after the Vietnam War. For many who know only about America's involvement in Vietnam, there will be much of interest and much to learn here.

Wednesday Sep 27, 2023

Yesterday was the anniversary of the death of the great British Abolitionist Thomas Clarkson who died on September 26, 1846. In recognition and remembrance of Clarkson's monumental and tireless work to end the slave trade and slavery in the British Empire, I am re-airing my fascinating conversation with the journalist Adam Hoschchild, author of one of my favorite history books: Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves. We also just listened to this episode in my class and I hope other teachers and students can benefit from it!

Tuesday Sep 19, 2023

Dr. Gretchen Starr-LeBeau recently wrote the book Seven Myths of the Spanish Inquisition, which is the focus of our conversation. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Michigan and now is the chair of the Religious Studies Program at Principia College. She is a professor who cares about teaching, earning the Chancellor’s Outstanding Teaching Award at the University of Kentucky in 2001 as well as the Horace Edwin Harper Jr. and Evelyn Wright Harper Award for Teaching Excellence at Principia College in 2020. Gretchen's first book, In the Shadow of the Virgin (Princeton University Press, 2003), was a finalist for the 2004 National Jewish Book Award in history.
Here are three books recommended by Gretchen:
Inquisitorial Inquiries: Brief Lives of Secret Jews and Other Heretics
Village Infernos and Witches' Advocates by Lu Ann Homza
A Drizzle of Honey: The Lives and Recipes of Spain's Secret Jews
We also mentioned this book in the conversation:
The Friar and the Maya: Diego de Landa and the Account of the Things of the Yucatan

Monday Sep 11, 2023

I speak with Professor David Troyansky of Brooklyn College, a specialist in the French Revolution and the history of aging. Professor Troyansky has been teaching and writing at the university level for almost 40 years. 

Tuesday Aug 29, 2023

Wolf Gruner is a professor of history at USC-Dornsife, chair of Jewish Studies, and author of the recently published book Resisters: How Ordinary Jews Fought Persecution in Hitler's Germany. We discuss his book as well as the state of Holocaust Studies. 
Wolf recommends two other books on the Holocaust for a general reader:
David Engel's The Holocaust: The Third Reich and the Jews
Marion Kaplan's Between Dignity and Despair: Jewish Life in Nazi Germany


Conversations in World History

What is it? Conversations in World History is a bridge to the past connecting scholars to people interested in the deeper meaning of history. Here, my informal chats with historians open up the past, their research, and major questions and debates in the field. The "Teacher's Corner" episodes involve talks with K-12 social studies teachers to hear how they bring world history to life. These episodes should help us all engage in the fascinating conversations of world history and to hear from the people who are writing the next pages. 


Who am I?

I am an author of picture books as well as engaging and practical books about teaching social studies. I teach at Scarsdale High School in Westchester. I formally taught at Harvest Collegiate in New York City, where I was a founding teacher and served as department chair, instructional coach, and Master Teacher.


My picture books are:

  • Big Bad Wolf's Yom Kippur (Apples & Honey Press, 2023)

  • The Pirate Rabbi (Apples & Honey Press, 2024)

My pedagogy books are: 

  • Authentic Assessment in Social Studies: A Guide to Keeping it Real

  • The Classes They Remember: Using Role-Plays to Bring Learning to Life 

  • Judging for Themselves: Using Mock Trials to Bring Learning to Life.  


I was named a New York City Master Teacher for 2014-2015 and was the recipient of the 2014 Robert H Jackson Center National Award for Teaching Justice. I have guest lectured in various graduate school education courses and led professional development for teachers at places such as NCSS, Revolutionary Learning Conference, Columbia Teacher's College, and Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda. 

I spent two years as a street educator for Projeto Axé, a Brazilian organization that provides education and outreach for street children in Salvador, Brazil. 

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