Fellowships and Grants > Academia in the Public Sphere Grants Program

Our Shared Past

A collaborative grants program offered by the British Council and the Social Science Research Council

The program has been discontinued and this record is displayed for archival/historical purposes.

Da Materica Medica

The British Council and the Social Science Research Council are pleased to announce the launch of Our Shared Past, a collaborative grants program to encourage new approaches to world history curriculum and curricular content design in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America.

Our Shared Past is premised on the notion that many of the categories used to frame and teach world history—civilizations, nations, religions, and regions—occlude as much as they reveal. Although there have been successful attempts at incorporating recent historical scholarship in world history writing, the core of world history instruction continues to be shaped by civilizational, national, and regional narratives that emphasize discrete civilizations and traditions frequently set at odds with one another at the expense of historical and material connections.

Our Shared Past grants will promote the development of international scholarly communities committed to analyzing history curriculum and reframing the teaching of world history through the identification of new scholarship and the development of new curricular content that illustrate shared cultural, economic, military, religious, social, and scientific networks and practices as well as shared global norms and values that inform world history and society. The project will encourage both the synthesis of existing scholarship on these topics and the exploration of concrete ways that this reframing can be successfully introduced into teaching curriculum in European, Middle Eastern, North African, or North American contexts.

Our Shared Past grants may support workshops that convene scholars and advisory boards as well as partnerships between regional educational organizations and advocates. Additionally, projects may use a grant to support public-facing events that allow for engagement with curriculum reform around world history.

A final report must be submitted in the form of a white paper that analyzes world history curriculum in a specific country or region and details proposed curriculum reforms. A supplementary report listing grant-related activities, audiences reached through those activities, and expenditures against the grant will also be required.

We anticipate awarding five grants of up to US$75,000. The grant period will span twelve months, from September 1, 2012, to August 31, 2013. This program is supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York.


Grants will be made to research teams or research centers on US university campuses, including, but not limited to, Title VI National Resource Centers. While we especially encourage research teams/consortia that include partner institutions from the United Kingdom and/or the Middle East/North Africa region, the principal investigator must be based at a US university.

Funding Priorities

Funds are available to projects that will develop robust networks of faculty who possess the expertise to study existing world history curriculum (K–14, i.e., at pre-collegiate and collegiate levels) in a specific national or regional setting and who are positioned to propose alternative curriculum design based on that scholarship. Successful projects will make use of relevant distribution channels for all project deliverables.

Priority consideration will be given to applicants with a demonstrated ability to reform curriculum design and identify partner organizations/individuals that can help to put scholarly content or specific recommendations in the hands of educators and policymakers who can influence curriculum reform at national and local levels. In the case of public events, this may include identifying non-university partners who can successfully draw appropriate audiences to the theme as well as partners who will disseminate research findings strategically.

Application Process

Applications must be submitted online through the Social Science Research Council application portal. No hard copies will be accepted.

All applications are due by May 31, 2012.

Additional Information and Questions

This Program is directed by Thomas Asher, Program Director at the Social Science Research Council, and Emmanuel Kattan, Program Manager at the British Council. For further information, please contact the program directly at osp@ssrc.org. For questions for the British Council please email Tim Rivera, Project Coordinator. You may also contact Emmanuel Kattan, Project Manager at the British Council.

Program Director
Thomas Asher


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