Teaching & Researching Big History:
Exploring a New Scholarly Field
Volgograd: ‘Uchitel’ Publishing House, 2014.
Edited by Leonid Grinin, David Baker, Esther Quaedackers, and Andrey Korotayev
According to the working definition of the International Big History Association, ‘Big History seeks to understand the integrated history of the Cosmos, Earth, Life and Humanity, using the best available empirical evidence and scholarly methods.’ In recent years Big History has been developing very fast indeed. Big History courses are taught in the schools and universities of several dozen countries. Hundreds of researchers are involved in studying and teaching Big History. The unique approach of Big History, the interdisciplinary genre of history that deals with the grand narrative of 13.8 billion years, has opened up a vast amount of research agendas. Big History brings together constantly updated information from the scientific disciplines and merges it with the contemplative realms of philosophy and the humanities. It also provides a connection between the past, present, and future. Big History is a colossal and extremely heterogeneous field of research encompassing all the forms of existence and all timescales. Unsurprisingly, Big History may be presented in very different aspects and facets. In this volume the Big History is presented and discussed in three different ways. In its first part, Big History is explored in terms of methodology, theories of knowledge, as well as showcasing the personal approach of scholars to Big History. The second section comprises such articles that could clarify Big History's main trends and laws. The third part of this book explores the nature of teaching Big History as well as profiling a number of educational methods.
This volume will be useful both for those who study interdisciplinary macroproblems and for specialists working in focused directions, as well as for those who are interested in evolutionary issues of Astrophysics, Geology, Biology, History, Anthropology, Linguistics and other areas of study. More than that, this edition will challenge and excite your vision of your own life and the exciting new discoveries going on around us!
Introduction. Big History's Big Potential
Section 1. Understanding and Explaining Big History
David Christian Swimming Upstream: Universal Darwinism and Human History
David Baker Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Collective Learning as a Key Concept in Big History
Lowell Gustafson From Particles to Politics
Esther Quaedackers To See the World in a Building: A Little Big History of Tiananmen
Sun Yue Chinese Traditions and Big History
Ken Gilbert The Universal Breakthroughs of Big History: Developing a Unified Theory
Ekaterina Sazhienko The Future of Global Civilization: Commentary of Big Historians
Section 2. Big History's Phases, Regularities, and Dimensions
Leonid E. Grinin The Star-Galaxy Era of Big History in the Light of Universal Evolutionary Principles
Andrey V. Korotayev, Alexander V. Markov Mathematical Modeling of Biological and Social Phases of Big History
Ken Baskin The Dynamics of Evolution: What Complexity Theory Suggests for Big History’s Approach to Biological and Cultural Evolution
Abel A. Alves The Animals of the Spanish Empire: Humans and Other Animals in Big History
Craig Benjamin Big History, Collective Learning and the Silk Roads
Barry Rodrigue Retrofitting the Future
Joseph Voros Galactic-Scale Macro-engineering: Looking for Signs of Other Intelligent Species, as an Exercise in Hope for Our Own
Section 3. Teaching Big History
Michael Duffy, D’Neil Duffy Big History and Elementary Education
Tracy Sullivan Big History and the Secondary Classroom: A Twenty-First Century Approach to Interdisciplinarity?
Cynthia Stokes Brown Constructing a Survey Big History Course
John Fowler Cosmology, Mythology, and the Timeline of Light .
Jonathon Cleland Host Big History Beads: A Flexible Pedagogical Method .
Contributors to the volume