The evolution of big history: a short introduction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Big history represents a modern scientific form of an ancient project: that of constructing unified, coherent and universal accounts of reality. Such projects can be found within the origin stories of most human societies. But in the late nineteenth century, the universalistic project vanished within both the humanities and the sciences, as scholars in field after field coped with the modern tsunami of information by narrowing the scope of their research. The sciences began to return to larger and more universalistic perspectives from the middle of the twentieth century as new unifying paradigms emerged in field after field, and physicists even began talking of 'Grand Unified Theories' of everything. New information and new dating techniques made it more reasonable than ever before to attempt scientifically grounded universal histories and such attempts began to reappear in the 1980s. But not until the first decade of the twenty-first century has that project really begun to take off.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobalistics and globalization studies
Subtitle of host publicationbig history and global history
EditorsLeonid E. Grinin, Ilya V. Ilyin, Peter Hermann, Andrey V. Korotayev
Place of PublicationVolgograd
PublisherUchitel Publishing House
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9785705745791
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

First published in 2011 in 'Evolution: a big history perspective'. Grinin, L. E., Korotayev Andrey V. & Rodrigue Barry H (eds.). Volgograd, Russia: Uchitel Publishing House, p. 20-25.


  • Big History
  • universe
  • Darwinism
  • Big Bang
  • grand narrative


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