Sam Wineburg is the Margaret Jacks Professor of Education and, by courtesy, of History & American Studies 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. Wineburg heads the Stanford History Education Group (, whose curriculum and assessments have been downloaded nearly ten million times, making it one of the largest providers of free curriculum in the world. His current work focuses 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. Wineburg's scholarship sits at the crossroads of three fields: history, education, and the psychology of teaching and learning. His articles and commentaries have appeared in such diverse outlets as Cognitive Science, Journal of American History, Smithsonian Magazine, 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. His latest book, Why Learn History (When It's Already on Your Phone), was published by the University of Chicago Press. In 2015 he was inducted into the National Academy of Education.

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

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

Honors & Awards

  • Inducted, National Academy of Education (2015)
  • Honorary Doctorate, Umea University, Sweden (2014)
  • Nehru-Obama Distinguished Chair, US-India Fulbright Commission (2013)
  • Frederic W. Ness Book Award, Association of American Colleges and Universities (2002)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Consultant, Mandel Foundation, Jerusalem (2018 - Present)
  • 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

  • Civic Education
  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • History of Education
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Secondary Education
  • Teachers and Teaching

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. Today his 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, 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 5 million times since 2009. 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.

2021-22 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • 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

  • Improving university students' web savvy: An intervention study. The British journal of educational psychology McGrew, S., Smith, M., Breakstone, J., Ortega, T., Wineburg, S. 2019


    BACKGROUND: Young people increasingly turn to the Internet for information about social and political issues. However, they struggle to evaluate the trustworthiness of the information they encounter online.AIMS: This pilot study investigated whether a focused curricular intervention could improve university students' ability to make sound judgements of credibility.SAMPLE: Participants (n=67) were students in four sections of a 'critical thinking and writing' course at a university on the West Coast of the United States. Course sections were randomly assigned to treatment (n=29) and control conditions (n=38).METHODS: We conducted a pre-and-posttest, treatment/control experiment using a 2*2*2 design (treatment condition*order*time) with repeated measures on the last factor. Students in the treatment group received two 75-min lessons on evaluating the credibility of online content. An assessment of online reasoning was administered to students 6weeks prior to the intervention and again 5weeks after.RESULTS: Students in the treatment group were significantly more likely than students in the control group to have shown gains from pretest to posttest.CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that teaching students a small number of flexible heuristics that can be applied across digital contexts can improve their evaluation of online sources.

    View details for PubMedID 30993684

  • History Assessments of Thinking: A Validity Study COGNITION AND INSTRUCTION Smith, M., Breakstone, J., Wineburg, S. 2019; 37 (1): 118–44
  • 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
  • LEE S. SHULMAN (1938-) ROUTLEDGE ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF EDUCATIONAL THINKERS Grossman, P., Wineburg, S., Cooper, J. A. 2016: 563–68
  • 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

  • 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-?
  • "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
  • What does NCATE have to say to future history teachers? Not much PHI DELTA KAPPAN Wineburg, S. 2005; 86 (9): 658-665
  • Crazy for history JOURNAL OF AMERICAN HISTORY Wineburg, S. 2004; 90 (4): 1401-1414
  • 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
  • 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)
  • 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 historical thinking is not about history History News Wineburg, S. 2016; 71 (2): 13-16
  • 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
  • Reading like a historian: Teaching literacy in middle and high school history classrooms Wineburg, S. S., Martin, D., Monte-Sano, C. Teachers College Press. 2012
  • Who is a famous American? Charting historical memory across the generations PHI DELTA KAPPAN Wineburg, S., Monte-Sano, C. 2008; 89 (9): 643-648
  • 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
  • Reading and rewriting history EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP Wineburg, S., Martin, D. 2004; 62 (1): 42-45
  • Slaves on screen: Film and historical vision. (Book Review) JOURNAL OF SOCIAL HISTORY Book Review Authored by: WINEBURG, S. 2002; 36 (1): 218-220
  • Knowing, teaching, and learning history: National and international perspectives Stearns, P. N., Seixas, P. C., Wineburg, S. NYU Press. 2000