Sam Wineburg is the Margaret Jacks Professor of Education and, by courtesy, of History & American Studies, Emeritus, at Stanford University. Educated at Brown and Berkeley, he holds a doctorate in Psychological Studies in Education from Stanford and an honorary doctorate from Sweden's Umeå University. In 2002, Wineburg founded the Stanford History Education Group (, whose curriculum and assessments have been downloaded over 16 million times, making it one of the largest providers of free curriculum in the world. Since 2016 his research has focused on how people judge the credibility of digital content, research that has been reported in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, NPR, Time Magazine, BBC, and Die Zeit, and translated into dozens of languages. His articles and commentaries have appeared in such diverse outlets as Cognitive Science, Journal of American History, Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times. In 2002 his book, "Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching the Past" won the Frederic W. Ness Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities for work that makes the most important contribution to the "improvement of Liberal Education and understanding the Liberal Arts." In 2013, he was named the Obama-Nehru Distinguished Chair by the US-India Fulbright Commission and spent four months crisscrossing India giving lectures about his work, and in 2020, his work on digital literacy was honored by UNESCO's "Global Media and Information" award. His latest book, with co-author Mike Caulfield, is "Verified: How to Think Straight, Get Duped Less, and Make Better Decisions About What to Believe Online" (University of Chicago Press, 2023).

Academic Appointments

  • Emeritus Faculty, Acad Council, Graduate School of Education

Administrative Appointments

  • Director, Stanford History Education Group (2002 - 2023)

Honors & Awards

  • Global Media & Information Literacy Award, UNESCO (2020)
  • William and Edwyna Gilbert Award, American Historical Association (2019)
  • Inducted, National Academy of Education (2015)
  • Honorary Doctorate, Umea University, Sweden (2014)
  • Nehru-Obama Distinguished Chair, US-India Fulbright Commission (2013)
  • Best of the Best Book Award, Association of American University Presses & the American Library Association (2012)
  • James Harvey Robinson Award, American Historical Association (2012)
  • Distinguished Lecturer, Organization of American Historians (2009)
  • Frederic W. Ness Book Award, Association of American Colleges and Universities (2002)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, Advisory Board, Center for the Study of Historical Consciousness, Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC (2018 - Present)
  • Member, Advisory Board, How People Learn, Targeted Report for Teachers, National Research Council Committee (2018 - Present)
  • Member, Editorial Board, Cognition and Instruction, Journal of the Learning Sciences (2018 - Present)
  • Trustee, National Council for History Education (NCHE) (2018 - Present)
  • Fulbright-Nehru Distinguished Chair, Univ. of North Bengal, India (2014 - Present)
  • Visiting Professor, University of Haifa (1997 - 1998)
  • Assistant Professor to Professor, Educational Psychology, & Professor of History, Univ. of Washington (1989 - 2002)

Program Affiliations

  • American Studies

Professional Education

  • PhD, Stanford University, Psychological Studies in Education
  • BA, University of California/Berkeley, History of Religion, summa cum laude
  • ., Brown University
  • L.D.H. Doctor of Humane Letters, Umeå University

Research Interests

  • Assessment, Testing and Measurement
  • Civic Education
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • History
  • Teachers and Teaching
  • Technology and Education

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Sam Wineburg's work engages questions of identity and history in modern society: how today's youth use the past to construct individual and collective identities. His current work focuses on how young people learn about world through digital media; specifically, in the digital Wild West what do they decide to believe or reject? Over the last twenty-five years his interests have spanned a wide terrain, from how adolescents and professional historians interpret primary sources to issues of teacher assessment and teacher community in the workplace. His book, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts, won the 2002 Frederic W. Ness Award from the Association of American Colleges and Universities for the book "that best illuminates the goals and practices of a contemporary liberal education." From 2007-2009 he was the Executive Director of the Department of Education's National Clearinghouse for History Education, a collaboration between George Mason University, Stanford, and the American Historical Association. With the late Roy N. Rosenzweig, he created the award-winning website, In 2002 he founded the Stanford History Education Group, a research and development outfit dedicated to improving history instruction in the US and abroad, whose materials have been downloaded over 16 million times. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Sweden's Umeå University and the following year he was named the Obama-Nehru Distinguished Chair by the US-India Fulbright Commission. In 2015 he was inducted into the National Academy of Education. And in 2020, he was presented with UNESCO's "Global Media and Information" Award for his work on digital literacy.

2023-24 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Critical Ignoring as a Core Competence for Digital Citizens. Current directions in psychological science Kozyreva, A., Wineburg, S., Lewandowsky, S., Hertwig, R. 2023; 32 (1): 81-88


    Low-quality and misleading information online can hijack people's attention, often by evoking curiosity, outrage, or anger. Resisting certain types of information and actors online requires people to adopt new mental habits that help them avoid being tempted by attention-grabbing and potentially harmful content. We argue that digital information literacy must include the competence of critical ignoring-choosing what to ignore and where to invest one's limited attentional capacities. We review three types of cognitive strategies for implementing critical ignoring: self-nudging, in which one ignores temptations by removing them from one's digital environments; lateral reading, in which one vets information by leaving the source and verifying its credibility elsewhere online; and the do-not-feed-the-trolls heuristic, which advises one to not reward malicious actors with attention. We argue that these strategies implementing critical ignoring should be part of school curricula on digital information literacy. Teaching the competence of critical ignoring requires a paradigm shift in educators' thinking, from a sole focus on the power and promise of paying close attention to an additional emphasis on the power of ignoring. Encouraging students and other online users to embrace critical ignoring can empower them to shield themselves from the excesses, traps, and information disorders of today's attention economy.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/09637214221121570

    View details for PubMedID 37994317

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7615324

  • Lateral Reading on the Open Internet: A District-Wide Field Study in High School Government Classes JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY Wineburg, S., Breakstone, J., McGrew, S., Smith, M. D., Ortega, T. 2022

    View details for DOI 10.1037/edu0000740

    View details for Web of Science ID 000782235500001

  • Students' Civic Online Reasoning: A National Portrait EDUCATIONAL RESEARCHER Breakstone, J., Smith, M., Wineburg, S., Rapaport, A., Carle, J., Garland, M., Saavedra, A. 2021
  • Lateral Reading and the Nature of Expertise: Reading Less and Learning More When Evaluating Digital Information TEACHERS COLLEGE RECORD Wineburg, S., Mcgrew, S. 2019; 121 (11)
  • Improving university students' web savvy: An intervention study BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY McGrew, S., Smith, M., Breakstone, J., Ortega, T., Wineburg, S. 2019; 89 (3): 485–500

    View details for DOI 10.1111/bjep.12279

    View details for Web of Science ID 000482455500007

  • What's Difficult About Difficult History? Afterword TEACHING AND LEARNING THE DIFFICULT PAST: COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES Wineburg, S., Gross, M. H., Terra, L. 2019: 290–92
  • Why we need a new approach to teaching digital literacy PHI DELTA KAPPAN Breakstone, J., McGrew, S., Smith, M., Ortega, T., Wineburg, S. 2018; 99 (6): 27–32
  • What Is Learned in College History Classes? JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY Wineburg, S., Smith, M., Breakstone, J. 2018; 104 (4): 983–93
  • Can Students Evaluate Online Sources? Learning From Assessments of Civic Online Reasoning THEORY AND RESEARCH IN SOCIAL EDUCATION McGrew, S., Breakstone, J., Ortega, T., Smith, M., Wineburg, S. 2018; 46 (2): 165–93
  • Why historical thinking is not about history History News Wineburg, S. 2016; 71 (2): 13-16
  • Disciplinary Literacy in History A Toolkit for Digital Citizenship JOURNAL OF ADOLESCENT & ADULT LITERACY Wineburg, S., Reisman, A. 2015; 58 (8): 636-639

    View details for DOI 10.1002/jaal.410

    View details for Web of Science ID 000353969000004

  • Beyond the bubble in history/social studies assessments PHI DELTA KAPPAN Breakstone, J., Smith, M., Wineburg, S. 2013; 94 (5): 53-57
  • Undue Certainty: Where Howard Zinn's American Educator Wineburg, S. 2013; 36 (4): 27-34
  • Between Veritas and Communitas: Epistemic Switching in the Reading of Academic and Sacred History JOURNAL OF THE LEARNING SCIENCES Gottlieb, E., Wineburg, S. 2012; 21 (1): 84-129
  • Sam Wineburg, critic of history education AMERICAN HISTORY Carlson, P., Wineburg, S. 2011; 46 (5): 28–29
  • Was Bloom's Taxonomy Pointed in the Wrong Direction? PHI DELTA KAPPAN Wineburg, S., Schneider, J. 2009; 91 (4): 56-61
  • Goodbye, Columbus SMITHSONIAN Wineburg, S. 2008; 39 (2): 98-?
  • Who is a famous American? Charting historical memory across the generations PHI DELTA KAPPAN Wineburg, S., Monte-Sano, C. 2008; 89 (9): 643-648
  • "Famous Americans": The changing pantheon of American heroes JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY Wineburg, S., Monte-Sano, C. 2008; 94 (4): 1186-1202
  • Forrest gump and the future of teaching the past PHI DELTA KAPPAN Wineburg, S., Mosborg, S., Porat, D., Duncan, A. 2007; 89 (3): 168–77
  • Common belief and the cultural curriculum: An intergenerational study of historical consciousness AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH JOURNAL Wineburg, S., Mosborg, S., Porat, D., Duncan, A. 2007; 44 (1): 40-76
  • Comparative understanding of school subjects: Past, present, and future REVIEW OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH Stevens, R., Wineburg, S., Herrenkohl, L. R., Bell, P. 2005; 75 (2): 125-157
  • What does NCATE have to say to future history teachers? Not much PHI DELTA KAPPAN Wineburg, S. 2005; 86 (9): 658-665
  • Reading and rewriting history EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP Wineburg, S., Martin, D. 2004; 62 (1): 42-45
  • Crazy for history JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY Wineburg, S. 2004; 90 (4): 1401-1414
  • Slaves on screen: Film and historical vision. (Book Review) JOURNAL OF SOCIAL HISTORY Book Review Authored by: WINEBURG, S. 2002; 36 (1): 218-220
  • Toward a theory of teacher community TEACHERS COLLEGE RECORD Grossman, P., WINEBURG, S., Woolworth, S. 2001; 103 (6): 942-1012
  • Historical thinking and other unnatural acts PHI DELTA KAPPAN Wineburg, S. 1999; 80 (7): 488–99
  • Reading Abraham Lincoln: An expert/expert study in the interpretation of historical texts COGNITIVE SCIENCE Wineburg, S. 1998; 22 (3): 319–46
  • Civic Preparation for the Digital Age: How College Students Evaluate Online Sources about Social and Political Issues JOURNAL OF HIGHER EDUCATION Breakstone, J., Smith, M., Ziv, N., Wineburg, S. 2022