Big History: Between Nothing and Everything

Big History: Between Nothing and Everything

Paperback

By (author) David Christian, By (author) Cynthia Brown, By (author) Benjamin Craig

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  • Publisher: MCGRAW-HILL Professional
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 213mm x 274mm x 15mm | 635g
  • Publication date: 9 August 2013
  • ISBN 10: 0073385611
  • ISBN 13: 9780073385617
  • Illustrations note: colour illustrations, colour tables, maps, figures
  • Sales rank: 235,398

Product description

Big History: Between Nothing and Everything surveys the past not just of humanity, or even of planet Earth, but of the entire universe. In reading this book instructors and students will retrace a voyage that began 13.7 billion years ago with the Big Bang and the appearance of the universe. Big history incorporates findings from cosmology, earth and life sciences, and human history, and assembles them into a single, universal historical narrative of our universe and of our place within it. The first edition of Big History: Between Nothing and Everything, is written by the pioneers of the field, and presents a framework for learning about anything and everything. It encourages students to think critically about our cumulative history and the future of the world through a variety of lenses.

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Author information

DAVID CHRISTIAN (DPhil, Oxford University) is by traininga historian of Russia and the Soviet Union. He has spentmost of his career at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, apart from an eight-year period teaching at San Diego State University from 2001 to 2008. Christian has published histories of modern Russia and also a study of the role of the trade in vodka in nineteenth-century Russia. In 1998, he published A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia, the first volume in the Blackwell History of the World Series. He began teaching courses on big history in 1989 at Macquarie University. He first used the phrase big history for such courses in an article published in the Journal of World History in 1991 titled "The Case for 'Big History.' " In 2010, with Bill Gates, he founded the "Big History Project," which is building a free online high school course in big history due for release in late 2013. Christian is a member of the Australian Academy of Humanities and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. He is the founding president of the International Big History Association. CYNTHIA STOKES BROWN (PhD, Johns Hopkins University) spentmost of her career directing the secondary teaching credential program at Dominican University of California.She taught selected courses in the history department and wrote books about civil rights history and teachers, Brown's book Big History: From the Big Bang tothe Present was published in 2007. Since then her interests have been consulting with the big history program at Dominican, serving on the board of the International Big History Association since its inception, and writing big history essays for high school students through the Big History Project funded by Bill Gates. CRAIG BENJAMIN (PhD, Macquarie University) is an associate professor of history in the Meijer Honors College atGrand Valley State University in Michigan. Like both his co-authors, Benjamin is a frequent presenter of lectures at conferences worldwide, and the author of numerous publications including books, chapters, and essays on ancient Central Asian history, big history, and world history. In addition, Benjamin has recorded lectures for the History Channel, The Teaching Company, and the Big History Project. He is currently a member of both the Advanced Placement and SAT World History Test Development Committees, vice president (president elect) of the World History Association, and has been treasurer of the International Big History Association since its inception in January 2011.

Table of contents

Contents Preface Introduction: What Is Big History and How Do We Study It? Seeing the Big Picture Seeing the Whole of the Past What Is Big History? The Basic Shape of the Story: Increasing Complexity A Framework: Eight Major Thresholds of Big History A Note on Chronological Systems and Dates Summary Chapter 1 The First Three Thresholds: The Universe, Stars, and New Chemical Elements Seeing the Big Picture Threshold 1: Big Bang Cosmology and the Origin of the Universe Threshold 2: The Origin of Galaxies and Stars Threshold 3: The Creation of New Chemical Elements Summary Chapter 2 The Fourth Threshold: The Emergence of the Sun, the Solar System, and the Earth Threshold 4: The Emergence of the Sun and Solar System The Early Earth-a Short History Shaping of Earth's Surface Summary Chapter 3 The Fifth Threshold: The Emergence of Life Seeing the Big Picture How Life Changes through Natural Selection Threshold 5: The Emergence of Life on Earth A Brief History of Life on Earth Summary Chapter 4 The Sixth Threshold: Hominines, Humans, and the Paleolithic Era Seeing the Big Picture Hominine Evolution: 8 Million to 200,000 Years Ago Threshold 6: The Appearance of Homo sapiens The Paleolithic Era: 200,000 to 10,000 Years Ago Summary Chapter 5 The Seventh Threshold: Origins of Agriculture and the Early Agrarian Era Seeing the Big Picture Threshold 7: Agriculture Explaining the Agricultural Revolution The Early Agrarian Era The Emergence of Consensual Power Summary Chapter 6 Mini-Threshold: The Appearance of Cities, States, and Agrarian Civilizations Seeing the Big Picture Defining Cities, States, and Agrarian Civilizations The Buildup of Resources and Collective Learning Uruk, the First City, in Sumer, the First State Cities and States in Other Regions Summary Chapter 7 Afro-Eurasia during the Era of Agrarian Civilizations: Part 1 Seeing the Big Picture Introduction to the Agrarian Later Era The Era of Agrarian Civilizations First Trend: The Expansion, Power, and Effectiveness of Agrarian Civilizations and Their Administrations Summary Chapter 8 Afro-Eurasia during the Era of Agrarian Civilizations: Part 2 Seeing the Big Picture Second Trend: The Establishment of Significant Networks of Exchange among Agrarian Civilizations of Afro-Eurasia Third Trend: Evolving Social and Gender Complexity Fourth Trend: The Generally Slow Pace of Change and Growth Summary Chapter 9 Other World Zones during the Era of Agrarian Civilizations Seeing the Big Picture Agrarian Civilizations of the American Zone The Pacific and Australasian World Zones Chapter 10 On the Brink of a Threshold: Toward the Modern Revolution Seeing the Big Picture The Approach of the Modern Revolution Why Rates of Innovation Increased: Drivers of Innovation The World in 1000 CE The Postclassical Malthusian Cycle: Before 1350 CE The Early Modern Malthusian Cycle: 1350 to 1700 CE The World in 1700 CE Summary Chapter 11 Crossing the Eighth Threshold: Breakthrough to Modernity Seeing the Big Picture Threshold 8: The Modern World/Anthropocene Social, Agricultural, and Industrial Revolution in Great Britain The Spread of the Industrial Revolution Political Revolution: The Rise of the Modern State The Emergence of Two Worlds-Developed and Developing Other Consequences of the Industrial Revolution Summary Chapter 12 The Anthropocene: Globalization, Growth, and Sustainability Seeing the Big Picture Introduction Part 1: Political and Military Changes Part 2: Growth-More Humans Consuming More Part 3: The Impact of Growth and Industrialization on Lifeways and Societies Part 4: The Anthropocene and the Human Impact on the Biosphere-Is Growth Sustainable? Summary Chapter 13 The History of the Future Seeing the Big Picture Future 1: The Near Future Future 2: The Next Few Thousand Years Future 3: The Remote Future Conclusion-The End of the Story: Humans in the Cosmos Summary Glossary Credits Index