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Transcript
Perspectives on World
History
What is the Appropriate Scope of
World History?

“Big History?”
• Considers broadest
patterns of life, universe

Beginning: “Big Bang”

End: “Big Crunch”
• Perspective: What
happens if we condensed
13 billion years – the est.
age of the Universe – into
13 years?
Perspective: If the Universe began
13 years ago, then at this moment….
• The earth would have existed for about 5 years
• Multi-cellular organisms, for 7 months
• The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs would
have landed 3 weeks ago
• Hominids (bipedal apes) would have existed
for 3 days
• Our own species, Homo Sapiens, for 53
minutes
• Farm based societies, for 5 minutes
• The entire recorded history, for 3 minutes
• Modern industrial society, for 6 seconds
What is the Appropriate Scope of World
History?


Existence of “man”?
Hominids split from
great apes about 4
million years ago
•
•
•
•
Australeopithecus
Homo Habilis
Homo Erectus
Homo Sapiens /
Neanderthal
Perspective: Man’s Existence

If you made a
timeline of man’s
existence with graph
paper, how long
would it be?
• Assume 1 square =
1000 years
• How long since man
split from apes?


4 million years
How many squares?
Perspective: Man’s Existence

Look at a sheet of
graph paper…
• 55 squares / sheet
•
So how many sheets of
graph paper are needed
to make our timeline???
• 73 sheets!!!
Perspective: Civilization

Of the 73 sheets, how
many represent nonhunter/gatherer man?
• Not even one sheet only 10-12 squares!


This change from
hunter gatherer to
settled farmer is
called the “Neolithic
Revolution”
The Neolithic
Revolution led directly
to civilization
What is the appropriate scope of World
History?

Civilization was driven by
agriculture
• More food = support more
people
• More people = more mouths
to feed
• BUT more people = more food
you can grow
• With more people & more
food, you must organize =
civilization
• THUS: CIVILIZATION IS ALL
ABOUT FOOD SURPLUS!!!
Why have Humans Succeeded?

Humans have been
successful at adapting to
their environment
• Natural selection (genetic)
• Individual learning (trial &
error)
• “Collective learning”
(Education, record keeping)

Since Industrial Revolution,
man has been successful at
adapting environment to
them
Appropriate Scope of World
History? Study of Civilization

Major points of
World History
• Neolithic
Revolution
• Rise of Civilization
• Columbian
Exchange
• Industrial
Revolution
• Modern Era
The “Columbian Exchange”