ORIAS Summer Institutes

ORIAS Summer Institutes invite educators to be students again.


ORIAS hosts two summer programs at UC Berkeley. Teachers of many disciplines, from elementary through high school, are invited to attend the k-12 Summer Institute. The Community College Summer Institute is designed primarily for community college and AP-level history and social studies teachers, particularly those who teach World History or regional histories.

Summer programs explore unique themes in World History and teachers leave ready to incorporate new content into classroom lessons. Presenters explain recent scholarship and address participants' questions. Throughout each day, educators have opportunities share ideas about both content and pedagogy.

Summer Institutes are free and open to all educators. Participants in the k-12 Summer Institute may also receive professional development credit. 

photo credit: Top of the Campanile via UC Berkeley (license)

***This event is now full. If you would like to be on the wait-list to attend, please register using the form to the right.***

Summer Institute for k-12 Educators

June 26 – 28, 2017

World History courses often begin with a survey of river-basin societies, exploring the connection between agricultural surplus, irrigation projects, and centralizing power. Oceans and seas are conceived of as places in between - natural regional boundaries traversed only by merchants and military forces.

But what are the contours of a different World History – one with a view from the sea?

A focus on the ocean suggests new ways of thinking about everything from geography and culture to technology and political boundaries. Proximity to favorable prevailing winds and fisheries suddenly seems as influential as access to fresh water and arable land. Ship-building and skillful navigation challenge the prominence of building of roads and canals. This focus on the places in between is also, by definition, a study of the history of global interconnectedness (and global conflict).

The 2017 Summer Institute for k-12 teachers will address maritime regions, economies, cultures, conflicts, and technologies to provide teachers with a rich exploration of the role oceans have played in World History.

Teachers from all disciplines are invited to attend this free program either as auditors (8:45 AM to 2:40 PM) or for professional development credit (8:45 AM to 4:00 PM). Space is limited to 35.

***This event is now full. If you would like to be on the wait-list to attend, please register using the form to the right.***

Summer Institute for Community College Educators

June 2 - 3, 2017


“The story of world history, if it is to be balanced and accurate, will inevitably consider the natural environment and the myriad ways in which it has both affected and been affected by human activities…Economics, trade, and world politics are regulated, whether humans wish it or not, and whether they are conscious of it, by the availability, location, and finite nature of what, in the language of development, are called “natural resources.”” 1


Environmental historians address the environment as the influential context within which (and in response to which) human actions take place. Human actions simultaneously respond to and alter the environmental context in a complex, iterative process. Environmental history poses questions that highlight this interplay between human actions and environmental circumstance:

  • How did climate-changing volcanic eruptions affect political developments in different regions?
  • How have forestry practices affected the long-term viability of different polities?
  • Why do outbreaks of bubonic plague differ so widely in intensity and effect?

Environmental history feels particularly relevant today, given widespread concerns about global climate change and sustainability. The 2017 Summer Institute for Community College instructors will explore topics in environmental history, providing teachers with engaging discussion and resources to enrich their courses.

This program is open to community college instructors and AP-level high school teachers. There is no cost to attend. Space is limited to 30.