Contingency, pattern and the S-curve in human history

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


If you study an old-fashioned television screen up close, you'll see dots of different colors dancing in front of your eyes. You'll think you are looking at chaos. But stand back, and you will see a picture full of meaning. Something like this happens over and over again as we study the past. Stand too close to the details and it's hard to see anything but the idiosyncratic actions of individual human beings. Big history helps us stand back from the details and see the patterns. By doing so, it can transform our ideas of what history is about.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld history connected
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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