This class challenges students with a radically different approach to political history that presents events from the perspective of stateless peoples and explores the idea of state-making as a form of “internal colonialism.”

Students’ views on international politics, history, demographics, and even their fundamental ideas about what constitutes civilization will be reexamined. A radical re-evaluation of the civilizational narratives of lowland states will be explored from a new perspective–  from the perspective of self-governing people living on the periphery of expansionary states.

We will explore how civilizations started, and why mountains are a refuge for isolated, unassimilated communities. We will look at why there are so many languages spoken in the Caucasus, and we will learn about the social structures that emerge to organize commercial relationships within stateless societies.

A new way to think of area studies will be applied to runaway, fugitive, and marooned communities, be they Gypsies, Phoenicians, Appalachians, Scythians, mountain tribes in Afghanistan, or San-Bushmen.

In this 8-week class, we will explore political economics, ideologies, anarchism, economic sociology, class relations, and why civilizations can’t climb hills.

This is an 8-week course that is designed to increase the student’s ability to:
-Analyze the differences and interactions between sedentary farmer civilizations, and stateless peoples residing on their periphery
-Evaluate the cause and effect of state expansion
-Use primary sources to identify patterns in the stratification of social structures across ancient and classical civilizations
-Construct an argument for the significant and enduring political, economic, technological, social, and cultural contributions of the earliest civilizations
-Evaluate historians’ interpretations regarding the development of civilizations
-Explain the development of democratic features in stateless and self-governed societies
-Describe the complex cultures of indigenous, stateless and self-governed societies
-Explain the impact of state expansion, global exchange, and colonization
-Identify cause and effect relationships between expansionary states and self-governing societies residing on their periphery
-Identify emerging global conflicts and evaluate solutions

Polyhistoria classes emphasize critical thinking, analyzing, evaluating, and creating. We believe that students learn history best by doing what professional historians do.

(Read more about our approach to history.)

1) Students’ cameras and microphones must be in working order and turned on during the class.
2) This class requires the continuous use of logical thinking & hypothetical reasoning skills to critically analyze the topics covered in the class. These cognitive functions are generally not sufficiently developed until a student is 13+ years old. Students must have the ability to think critically and logically to analyze the topics covered in the class.

This class will include lectures, active discussions, and light, weekly homework assignments including documentaries, readings, and participation in classroom discussions on the classroom board.

[A lot of interaction in classes with more than 6 students can cause students’ computers to freeze and the video call to be dropped. Therefore, the class interaction level will be modified in classes with 6+ students because of the Zoom limitations. Larger classes will be taught in the format of an engaging lecture with moderate interaction.]

Meets once a week for 8 weeks
4 – 9 learners, ages 13-17

Thrilled by the opportunity to teach cutting-edge social science scholarship to teenagers, I leapt at the opportunity to teach classes online. I enjoy old, rare books and gardening in Colorado, where even the incompetent can have beautiful roses. In addition to teaching and gardening, I remain actively involved in competitive sports, and you are cautioned not to wager against me at the ping-pong table.

I teach ancient languages, human & political world geography, history, philosophy, economics, political science …and anything else that catches my interest.


Feel free to send me an email at


Come hang out with me on Twitter for more tidbits of interesting research, linguistic curiosities, and forgotten history.