Big History is an approach to world history that takes as its subject the story of the whole of the Universe, from its creation, 13.8 billion years ago, in the Big Bang. It describes the creation of stars, the forging of new types of matter in dying stars, the formation of the first planets and moons, and the emergence of life on at least one planet, the Earth. Then it tells how planet earth... Read More »
Comparison is used in many different ways in world history, both implicitly and explicitly. Explicit types of comparison used by historians today include “entangled comparisons,” which compare pairs in which the similarities might come from interaction with each other; “encompassing comparison,” in which the pair may not interact with each other directly, but are both parts of some larger... Read More »
Environmental history lends itself particularly well to a world history framework. Environmental processes do not limit themselves to national or cultural borders. The climate, for example, has always been a global system. Environmental history may also consist of unusual sources and feature "archives" that exist in the natural world. For teachers, environmental history can be an approach that... Read More »
Gender history developed in the 1980s out of women’s history, when historians familiar with studying women increasingly began to discuss the ways in which systems of sexual differentiation affected both women and men. Historians interested in this new perspective asserted that gender was an appropriate category of analysis when looking at all historical developments, not simply those involving... Read More »
Globalization, defined here as the integration of an interdependent economy that simultaneously enhances cultural exchanges relying on the mobility of people, animals, plants, pathogens, objects, and ideas, is a useful concept for exploring connections across space and time. In this essay, scholar Diego Olstein traces the various ways the chronology of globalization has been understood by... Read More »
Claudius Ptolemy lived in the city of Alexandria in Egypt from about 100 to 170 CE. At that time Egypt was a Roman province and Ptolemy may have been a Roman citizen. A geographer and astronomer, Ptomely's book Geographia, influenced mapmakers on questions such as the size of the earth for centuries.
Geographia had been translated into Arabic in the 9th century and... Read More »