The Centre for the History of European Discourses was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.

 

 

 

'Exploring the Grid: Chance and Necessity in Big History' 

Professor David Christian (Macquarie)
 
 
 
Thursday 19 April 2012
4.00m – 5.00pm
CCCS seminar room
Level 4, Forgan Smith Building
 
 
Fernand Braudel said in On History, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980 ‘the way to study history is to view it as a long duration, as what I have called the longue durée. It is not the only way, but it is one which by itself can pose all the great problems of social structures, past and present. It is the only language binding history to the present, creating one indivisible whole. This seminar suggests that Big History can help us see familiar historical problems in new ways by radically expanding the framework within which we think about them.
 
David Christian (D.Phil. Oxford, 1974) is a Professor of History at Macquarie University. By training, he is a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, but since the 1980s he has become interested in World History on very large scales. He taught at Macquarie University in Sydney from 1975 to 2000 before taking up a position at San Diego State University in 2001.  In January 2009 he returned to Macquarie University.  He has written on the social and material history of the 19th century Russian peasantry, in particular on aspects of diet and the role of alcohol. He has also written a text book history of modern Russia, and a synoptic history of Inner Eurasia (Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia).
 
In 1989, he began teaching courses on 'Big History', surveying the past on the largest possible scales, including those of biology and astronomy. In 2004 he published the first text on — Maps of Time (2005) — which has become a foundational text for the field. In 2009 David Christian received an ARC grant to support research on the second volume of his history of Inner Eurasia, which will cover the history of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia from the Mongol Empire to the present day. Over the next few years he will also be working with the support of Bill Gates to create an online course in Big History for High School students.

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