For Teachers: Lessons

Rethinking the rise of the West: The Great Divergence Debate

Konstantin Georgidis, Canterbury School, Ft. Myers, Florida


Instructional Objectives

  1. Identify the different ways historians have tried to explain the rise of the West.
  2. Explain what is meant by the term "world systems theory" and how world systems operate.
  3. Compare the basic issues in the debate on the great divergence between East and West which have become the focus of the historical research of the following scholars: David Landes, Andre Gunder Frank, Bin Wong, Kenneth Pomeranz, Peer Vries and Philip C. C. Huang.
  4. Identify and explain the kinds of evidence and arguments which are being used by opposing sides in this debate.
  5. Trace how historians’ changing views of the rise of the West in the last 25 years illustrate the dynamic nature of the discipline of history.