Wide Angle: Window into Global History


Drawing upon the powerful film resources of public television's award-winning series of international documentaries, Wide Angle, this collection comprises a range of resources intended as a compelling supplement to existing curricula. Our goal is that these resources will enrich the study of Global History by using contemporary examples as jumping-off points to engage students with historical themes that were as relevant in the past as they are today. We hope these resources help students understand why the study of different countries and cultures matters to their lives and the lives of others.

  • Life & Debt | Wide Angle

    The rural region of Vidarbha in central India has been hit hard by droughts, sinking cotton prices spurred by India’s entry into the World Trade Organization and increasing debt. These circumstances have led to a startling increase of suicide among the region’s farmers. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "The Dying Fields," watch Urkuda Attaram as she works the nine acre farm her husband left her when he committed suicide due to oppressive debt.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Legal System Expansion | Wide Angle

    The development of China’s market economy has created changes in many areas of its society. For example, the republic is creating a new legal system to manage the increasing number of cases that have been brought to litigation in recent years. Nearly four hundred law schools have been established and hundreds of thousands of judges and lawyers have been trained in the past twenty five years. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "The People's Court," law students participate in a practice court at Sichuan University in the city of Chengdu.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Israel and Palestine | Wide Angle

    The history of the conflict in the Middle East can be traced back to the Balfour Declaration of 1917 in which the British government stated its support for a Jewish state on the land of Palestine. Unrest soon followed and the conflict continues to this day. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "Suicide Bombers," two young Palestinian Islamic radicals explain their hatred for Israelis and Islam's justification for the use of terror as a way to take back their homeland.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Iraqi Refugee Crisis | Wide Angle

    This video segment from the Wide Angle film "Iraqi Exodus" provides an overview of the Iraqi refugee crisis and challenges the refugees face.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Value of a Girl | Wide Angle: 1-800-INDIA

    In all societies, women face obstacles of varying degrees. The role of women in India has, in many ways, been defined by India’s patriarchal society. Recent economic growth in India, however, has given women more opportunities for independence. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "1-800-INDIA," learn about Santosh Kohli, a young woman from a traditional Indian family of modest means, as she gains self sufficiency and determination.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Two Brazils | Wide Angle

    In an effort to provide equality in education, income and employment for its black population, Brazil has established an affirmative action program at one of its top public universities. The racial quota system implemented at the University of Brasilia has given hope to the underprivileged, but has also raised concern for the academic hopefuls of the upper class who fear the loss of available seating. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "Brazil in Black and White," meet Josie de Souza and Rafael Mendes, two college applicants from opposite sides of Brazil’s economic spectrum.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Home Village | Wide Angle

    Rural communities in China have been largely neglected by the government. Local infrastructures, such as roads and schools, must be supported by impoverished families who have limited incomes. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "To Have and Have Not," Dwanzhi returns to his village in the rural countryside where the economic gap has affected a community's development.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Gifts of Life | Wide Angle

    Ahmed Khatib, a Palestinian boy living with his family in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank, was killed by the Israeli army in 2005 when soldiers thought the toy gun with which he was playing was an assault rifle. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "Heart of Jenin," Ismael Khatib, Ahmed's father, decides what to do with his 12-year old son's organs and highlights the reactions of Druze, Bedouin, and Orthodox Jewish families who received them.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Moving Parts of a Market | Wide Angle

    This video from Wide Angle: "The Market Maker" looks at the efforts of Ethiopian market reformers led by Eleni Gabre-Madhins to create an Ethiopian Commodities Exchange (ECX) in the capital city of Addis Ababa. It explains the basic role of an exchange, outlines its key elements, and describes the specific challenges faced by the reformers-the greatest of which is farmers' traditional attachment to archaic and inefficient modes of trade.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Migrant Workers | Wide Angle

    There are strict laws in China, dating back to the Maoist era of the 1950s, that prevent Chinese citizens from the countryside from working in urban areas. Harsh conditions in China’s rural countryside, however, have left many undeterred and seeking employment in the city. These migrant workers have been denied social services and are subject to poor working conditions because of their illegal status. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "The People's Court," visit with migrant construction workers in Beijing.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Going Home? | Wide Angle

    This video segment from the Wide Angle film "Iraqi Exodus" explores the challenges Iraqi refugees face and the tough decisions they make to either stay in a host country or return home.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Steven Pifer Interview | Wide Angle

    In its refusal to accept Chechnya’s independence, Russia has waged a long-standing war on the republic. In this video from the Wide Angle film "Greetings from Grozny," Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Steven Pifer shares the U.S. viewpoint on Russia’s war on Chechnya.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Changes in Turkey | Wide Angle

    Since its establishment in 1923, the republic of Turkey has strived for Westernization. Radical reforms to secularize the Muslim nation created a tradition based on Eastern and Western civilizations. This environment conceived “Turkey’s Tigers,” a new breed of businessmen who have found a balance between faith and enterprise. In this video from Wide Angle, meet Mustafa Karaduman, CEO of Turkey's largest Islamic-style clothing chain.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Widows in Israel | Wide Angle

    Financial independence provides strength and security, two invaluable aids in facing the vulnerability that envelops a woman who has been widowed. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "Pickles, Inc.," meet the widowed Palestinian Muslim women from the Arab-Isaeli village of Tamra in the Galilee who have started a pickle business and improved their financial and social status.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Why Trade Matters | Wide Angle

    Wide Angle: "The Market Maker" provides an introduction to the challenges faced by the developing Ethiopian economy and the tragic consequences of its collapse in 1984. Ethiopian market reformer Eleni Gabre-Madhins discusses Ethiopia’s new nationwide agricultural commodities trading system and its vital importance not only to the nation’s economy, but also to the very survival of a population which relies on trade to distribute food from where it is stockpiled to where it is needed.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Affirmative Action and the USA | Wide Angle

    Brazil has labeled itself a "racial democracy," believing that it has escaped the racism that has plagued the United States. The introduction of U.S.-style affirmative action has forced the country to abandon this approach, and start addressing deep-seated racial issues that have long been denied or ignored. It has also created a whole new set of problems. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "Brazil in Black and White," meet Humberto Adami, a civil rights attorney who has called in the help of lawyers from America’s NAACP in his effort to secure equal rights for Afro-Brazilians.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Night Transport | Wide Angle

    The working population of India’s BPO (business process outsourcing) industry is more than half women. In part because of this, India’s economic laws and structures had to be adjusted to meet the special demands of women employees. Safe forms of transport needed to be provided to ensure the security of women and to satisfy parents' concerns. In this video from the Wide Angle film "1-800-INDIA," learn about the women commuters of the BPO industry and an entrepreneur who has profited from providing night transport to the female workers of BPO firms.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Diverse Turkish Women | Wide Angle

    Although it officially became a secular state in 1928, Turkey has never fully abandoned its Islamic roots, out of which have sprung a religious resurgence that has made its way to the highest levels of government. Both Islamic and secular traditions currently coexist, but the roles of women within each tradition are on diverging paths. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "Turkey's Tigers," meet two Muslim women, one from a conservative and the other from a secular background, and learn about their lives in a secular Muslim nation.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Declining Profits | Wide Angle

    In 2002, the Indian government approved the sale of Bt cotton seeds, seeds that are genetically modified to resist pest infestation. In the region of Vidarbha, many farmers have abandoned using their own farm-grown seeds and have become accustomed to buying Bt cotton seeds. Unable to afford the expensive seeds, cotton farmers often take out loans for their purchases. This, along with declining cotton prices, can send farmers into a cycle of endless debt. In this segment from the Wide Angle film "The Dying Fields," cotton farmer Hanjari Chavan takes out a considerable loan and then uses nearly half of his funds to purchase Bt (genetically modified) cotton seeds.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Female Workforce | Wide Angle

    The increase of women entering the workforce in Ireland has greatly benefited the economy, but it has also had an effect on the structure of the traditional Irish family. In this video segment from the Wide Angle film "Mixed Blessings," learn about the traditional roles of women in Ireland and their status today.

    Grades: 9-12

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