Big history and historiography

deep tides and swirling foam: the influence of macro-historical trends on micro-historical events

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Big history holds the potential to revolutionise how every historian thinks about micro-historical events and to reawaken one of the oldest debates on the relevance of meta-theory in historical scholarship, a debate which has long sat dormant, stagnant, and unresolved. Big history is well known for exploring broad trends that stretch across 13.8 billion years, rising complexity and collective learning being foremost amongst them. But those same broad trends trickle into every famine, every beheading, every palace coup, and every civil war in the past 5,000 years of conventional history. To revive Braudel’s metaphor, those events are surface disturbances, swirling foam atop the deep tides of big history.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge companion to big history
EditorsCraig Benjamin, Esther Quaedackers, David Baker
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Chapter9
Pages202-232
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9780429299322
ISBN (Print)9781138905818
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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  • Cite this

    Baker, D. (2020). Big history and historiography: deep tides and swirling foam: the influence of macro-historical trends on micro-historical events. In C. Benjamin, E. Quaedackers, & D. Baker (Eds.), The Routledge companion to big history (pp. 202-232). London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group.