A Brief History of the World
A Brief History of the World This course presents some of the highlights of the world-historical approach to the past, suggesting major changes in the framework of the human experience, from the rise of agriculture to the present day.
The lectures cover the emergence of distinct major societies as they deal with common problems but generate quite different institutional and cultural approaches. The course also discusses key changes in belief systems—the emergence and spread of the great world religions, for example—as well as alterations in trading patterns and basic shifts in technology, exploring why some societies reacted differently to technological change than others.
A Brief History of the World Pdf
Throughout the course, we will look at many parts of the world, including those clustered into shared civilizations. East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean loom large from the start. Sub-Saharan Africa, where the human species originated, has also played a great role in world history, as it ultimately has northern Europe, including Russia.
The Americas offer an important variant until their incorporation in global patterns from 1492 onward. Central Asia maintained a distinct position in world history until the 16th century. World history divides into a limited number of time periods, defined in terms of dominant themes.
The rise of agriculture requires a discussion of preagricultural patterns. Following agriculture came, in several places, the advent of civilization as a form of human organization. The classical period in world history draws attention to China, India, Persia, and the Mediterranean, when the expansion and integration of these large societies dominated over a millennium of human history.
The collapse of the classical empires ushered in a vital postclassical period when emphasis shifted to religion but also to more ambitious patterns of interregional trade. It was in this postclassical period (500–1500 CE) that the emphasis of major societies shifted from separate development to greater interaction and even deliberate imitation.
The early modern period highlights a renewed capacity for empire, the inclusion of the Americas in global systems, and—though this must be handled with a bit of care—the rise of Western Europe. What some historians call the “Long 19th Century”—1750 or so to 1914—was dominated by Western industrialization and its economic, military, and cultural impact on, literally, the entire world.
Finally, the contemporary period in world history, after World War I, features a bewildering variety of themes that must be sorted out, with emphasis among other things on the relative decline of the West, the huge surge in the human population, and the potential for greater globalization.
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