40 Ways to Diversify the History Curriculum

A practical handbook

By: Elena Stevens


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Size222 x 182mm
PublishedJuly 2022

Written by Elena Stevens, 40 Ways to Diversify the History Curriculum is a practical, wide-ranging compendium of enquiries and case studies that helps history teachers diversify, reimagine and decolonise the history curriculum.

In writing this book, Elena  responds to calls for a more diverse curriculum – calls which have become more insistent following the reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement, the #MeToo movement and other landmark events.

Highlighting the lived experiences of women, the working classes, and BAME and LGBTQ+ communities in particular, 40 Ways to Diversify the History Curriculum draws upon a wide range of personal stories to illustrate significant historical moments and shed new light on topics that have traditionally been taught through narrower lenses. The book serves as a resource bank for teachers wishing to enliven and diversify history lessons at Key Stages 2–3, GCSE, A level and beyond.

Elena helpfully opens with a discussion of the theoretical/historiographical developments that lay behind calls to diversify the curriculum – and, to accompany each of the 40 historical case studies, she provides ideas and activities for translating the case studies into lesson plans and enquiries. Furthermore, Elena also guides teachers in shaping new enquiries from scratch.

Responding to broader cultural/academic developments, the book details ways in which new thinking about a decolonised curriculum might be applied to secondary school curriculum planning. Furthermore, it can help develop teachers’ understanding of topics that might already have been of interest to them (or might have reflected gaps in their understanding) in an accessible and readable way.

Suitable for teachers of secondary school and Key Stage 2 history.

Picture for author Elena Stevens

Elena Stevens

Elena Stevens is a secondary school teacher and the history lead in her department. Having completed her PhD in the same year that she qualified as a teacher, Elena loves drawing upon her doctoral research and continued love for the subject to shape new schemes of work and inspire students’ own passions for the past.


  1. An extremely useful toolkit to use as a starting point to help diversify, reimagine and decolonise the history curriculum. While shedding light on experiences of the working class, women, Black and LGBT+ communities, it provides thoughtful suggestions on how educators can teach key historical events through an alternative lens.

    Each chapter includes the background context to a history once forgotten and a viewpoint never seen. Online resources are also available to support chapters on African kingdoms, migration, and the empire and slavery. It encourages educators to challenge undermining notions of incivility and backwardness when it comes to African civilisation and culture.

    A great resource for teachers to deepen, enlighten and enrich their history lessons from key stage 2 upwards.

  2. This book is a must-read for any teacher of history which offers detailed, practical and insightful advice on diversifying the curriculum. These are not ‘top tips’ or tokenistic gestures of representation, but deeply thoughtful suggestions linking to second-order concepts which will help students understand how, as the author makes clear in her introduction, identity and representation matter in shaping our sense of self, our communities and the ways in which our conception of the world is constructed. In doing so, Elena Stevens doesn’t simply introduce us to people and situations we may have been ignorant of, but she offers a way of making us all better historians along the way. And, it would not be too much to claim, better human beings too.

  3. Designing a history curriculum is a fraught activity, with an unmanageably wide canvas to draw from and every decision saying something about the relevance, or significance, or impact of a particular event, person or period. An additional limitation is provided by what is already known to the teachers – not only can you not teach what you don’t know, but it’s also almost impossible to go looking efficiently if you don’t know where to start. To this end, Elena Stevens’ book is invaluable. If you are looking to move your curriculum beyond ‘Our Island Story’, then 40 Ways to Diversify the History Curriculum offers you a treasure trove of starting points: historical nuggets that have been looked over by a practised teacher’s eye and are accompanied by suggestions for enabling the stories to capture students’ learning and to swiftly develop their historical skills of enquiry and reflection. This is a fascinating resource that will send you off reading more about the questions that capture your imagination – there’s something new here for everyone to find.

  4. This is a timely and inspiring book which provides history teachers and educators with excellent theoretical and practical advice on how to diversify their curricula. Not only does Elena Stevens provide a clear rationale on why we should diversify many different areas of the ‘traditional curriculum’, but crucially she also offers many practical ideas, strategies and even enquiries to inspire teachers to help create a curriculum fit for the 21st century.

    40 Ways to Diversify the History Curriculum is a real practical guidebook that should be a core text in all history departments.

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