Special Topics in Comparative History: Big History

History 100U

Spring 2015
210 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
MW 4-530P
  • Note new room.
  • A growing body of interdisciplinary scholarly work has begun to attempt an integrated history of the universe from the Big Bang to the 21st century. Varieties of “big history” or deep history” have been especially influential among scholars working across the humanities and various physical sciences. Since the physical sciences have generally devoted themselves to the non-human past, and since most historians have confined themselves to the study of human events, we will be paying special attention to the difficulties that the interaction of human and natural environments have posed for theory and research. This course will introduce students to current debates by tracing the intellectual history of “big history” from the heyday of Universal History in the 18th and 19th centuries to its newfound popularity today. The course will be divided between lecture and class discussion of weekly materials. Students will be responsible for discussions, two brief papers, and a final blue-book exam.