The big and the small of it: a conversation on the scales of history between David Christian, Merry Wiesner-Hanks and Marnie Hughes-Warrington

Marnie Hughes-Warrington*, David Christian, Merry Wiesner-Hanks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Histories have long been written on a variety of scales. Arguably, all historians shift scales within their works, and some historians have changed scales quite dramatically across their works too. There has been little reflection or discussion, however, on scale shifting in history making, including on why it is done and how it has been received. History theorist Marnie Hughes-Warrington explores the nature and purpose of scale shifting in this interview with two distinguished historians who have written on the biggest and the smallest scales, David Christian and Merry Weisner-Hanks. Christian, the founder of big history, and Wiesner-Hanks, a trailblazing gender world historian, reflect on the scale shifts across their careers. They explore whether little histories always turn into bigger ones, rather than the other way around, the ethics of scaling history up and down, and whether teaching is a key driver in establishing new approaches to scale in history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)520-532
Number of pages13
JournalRethinking History
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • big history
  • ethics in history
  • gender history
  • historical scales
  • historical training
  • microhistory

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