Big History

John Hasse, Robert Flanagan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Big History is an accounting of all known historical knowledge on the broadest scale, combining cosmology, natural history, and world history into a unified universal narrative. Big History places humanity within the general context of evolution, relating each individual to everything, from the Big Bang to the present day, thus engaging the human in its fullest geographic setting. Such a universal epic requires a broad and interdisciplinary approach to knowledge that integrates the natural and social sciences as well as the arts and humanities. The research and pedagogy of Big History is being recognized as a distinct scholarly discipline, with several international conferences and a scholarly journal dedicated to the initiative. The organizational themes of Big History include complexity theory, thinking across scales, and collective learning. Big History founder David Christian organizes the narrative of universal evolution into nine thresholds of increasing complexity which mark the most significant transformational events out of which the present world has emerged. Big History has a number of synergistic intersections with human geography, including the latter's furnishing of a narrative-based nexus that connects human and physical geography as well as providing a temporal framework that enhances geography's treatment of the concepts and pedagogy of the Anthropocene. The teaching of Big History has become increasingly popular within the curriculum of secondary and postsecondary institutions and is supported by a growing set of open source internet-based media that has the potential for enhancing the teaching of human geography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Second Edition
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780081022955
ISBN (Print)9780081022962
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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