|A moment in time... (Public Domain)|
"In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…" Although conventional textbooks on United States history have laid much emphasis upon this event, David Christian might consider it (relatively) "small potatoes."
That's because David Christian is consumed with "Big History" - an academic movement which he himself spearheaded. Wikipedia explains that Big History "examines history scientifically from the Big Bang to the present." Humans aren't even mentioned within the Big History curriculum until more than halfway through.
Christian, an Oxford-educated scholar of Russian history, began reading a wide assortment of cosmologically-oriented materials during the 1980s. He then began incorporating interdisciplinary findings (from astronomy, geology, biology, etc.) into history curricula.
Rather than relegate the history of the Universe to human-sized proportions, Christian's Big History gives students a sense of how humans fit into the bigger picture.
When Microsoft's Bill Gates first heard a series of lectures by Christian, Gates was self-reportedly "blown away." He and Christian are now leaders in the Big History Project, the goal of which is "to get Big History taught to as many students around the world as possible."
Copyright October 5, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke All Rights Reserved