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2002 Speaker Biographies

Katheryn Twiss is a graduate student in Archaeology at U. C. Berkeley. Her work focuses on the anthropology of food and zooarchaeology in the Neolithic Near East.

2003 Speaker Biographies

As'ad AbuKhalil is a professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus and a research associate with the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley.

2005 Speaker Biographies

Sener Akturk received his bachelor's degrees in Political Science and International Studies, and his master's degree in International Relations, both from the University of Chicago.

2006 Speaker Biographies

Javier Alvarez-Mon holds degrees in Art History, Near Eastern Archaeology, and Ancient Religions, from the School of the Louvre (Paris), The Jesuit School of Theology, and the Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley (California), a

2007 Speaker Biographies

ROBERT ALTER is Class of 1937 Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, where he has taught since 1967.

2009 Speaker Biographies

CINDY AUSEC was born and raised in California.  After graduating from high school, she entered the U.S. Army, where she was trained as a German linguist and spent four years in Germany.  After army service, she earned a B.A.

2010 Speaker Biographies

CATHERINE CENIZA CHOY is an associate professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, where she teaches courses on Asian American history, Filipino American Studies, and contemporary U.S.

2011 Speaker Biographies

TIMOTHY ABDELLAH FUSON completed his Ph.D. in Music at U. C. Berkeley and is both a scholar and performer.

2012 Speaker Biographies

Richard Abrams is a professor emeritus of history at U. C. Berkeley. His expertise is in modern U.S. history, government-business relations, political economy of industrial societies, and the history of deregulation.

2013 Speaker Biographies

Nick Bartel taught two years with the Peace Corps in Micronesia, then worked for 37 years with the San Francisco Unified School District, interspersed with work in Korea, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and a refugee camp in Thailand.

2014 Speaker Biographies

Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton California and Director of Food Studies at the San Francisco campus.

2015 Speaker Biographies

Jo Ann Conrad is a folklorist who has researched in the field of narrative, specifically the Fairy Tale.


The Office of Resources for International and Area Studies (ORIAS) exists to help k-12 and community college teachers improve their understanding of global issues and incorporate World History topics into their courses. ORIAS is a joint program of the six Title VI National Resource Centers at UC Berkeley. We work to connect teachers and districts with the rich scholarly resources at UC Berkeley and around the Bay Area.


ORIAS helps teachers globalize their course materials.

Please do not hesistate to email with questions or requests for assistance.

Current Books

Our chosen topic, Migrations and Diasporas, seems particularly fitting given the current refugee crisis in the Mediterranean region.

Epic of Gilgamesh

Close-up of cuneiform tablet

See images of some of the original tablets. Learn about the history of writing. Hear parts of the epic read in the original Akkadian.

Foodways in World History

How has the history of human society been driven by food and agriculture? Watch the full set of lectures from this Summer Institute.

Hero's Journey Contributors

Between 1998 and 2000, ORIAS held a series of teacher institutes at UC Berkeley on the theme of teaching pre-modern history through literature.

Image Credits

2016 Community College Summer Institute, Women in World History:

Photo Collage

In Cairo: 1326

"I arrived ... at the city of Cairo, mother of cities ...

Monomyth: Hero's Journey Project

Joseph Campbell's Monomyth, developed in Hero With A Thousand Faces, describes the common heroic narrative in which a heroic protagonist sets out, has transformative adventures, and returns home.

Past Books

2016 - 2017 San Francisco & East Bay Books

Pop Culture in World History

Modern technologies enable young students to observe and - in some ways - participate in pop culture from around the world. What is pop culture and where does it come from?

Ramayana Resources

Scene from the epic Ramayana: Kumbhakarna battles the monkeys, 1100-1200 CE, former kingdom of Angkor

Read summaries of the narrative, including one illustrated with art from different regions. See a beautiful digitized version of the tale. Watch a controversial modern film based on the epic.

Ramayana through Dance

Music and dance are core aspects of retellings of the Ramayana. As part of the Hero's Journey Project, ORIAS contributors interviewed dancer and choreographer, Jyoti Rout.

Shadow Theater

ORIAS teachers visit ShadowLight Productions rehearsal for Feathers of Fire

Watch video from ShadowLight Productions about bringing Balinese shadow theater to America. Download lesson plans to use shadow theater with students of all ages.

Sundiata Plot Summary

This plot summary of the Sundiata epic organizes the tale using the Monomyth structure.

Call to Adventure

Teacher Travel


The Role of Technology in Shaping Human History

How have societies historically viewed the role of information technology from cuneiform tablets to social media? What conditions fostered innovation in industrial and military technology and what were the social consequences? Why did technologica

The Role of Travelers in World History

Travelers’ tales are older than writing itself and have lost little of their popularity over time. For historians, travelers offer unique insights into cross-cultural exchange, as well as interpretive challenges.

The Shahnameh

Close-up image from Mongol-era version of the Shahnameh showing Alexander and a talking horse.

Read a summary of the epic. Learn about its history and its author. Compare dozens of versions of the same scene in an extensive database. Plus, recommendations for English-language versions of the epic for children.

Travel Updates

Look below for recent news and application deadlines for travel opportunities.

Women in World History

How would your curriculum change if your default historical subjects were women, rather than men?

Yamato Bibliography of Sources

Literary Histories

Keene, Donald. Seeds in the Heart: Japanese Literature from Earliest Times to the Late Sixteenth Century, New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1993.

Yamato Plot Summary

This plot summary, by Hero's Journey Project scholar Stephania Burke, outlines the myth of Yamato Takeru within the Monomyth format.

Call to Adventure