The history of human civilization is an astonishing story of migration, innovation, and social development. Now, the exciting new field of "big history" allows us to explore human civilizations in ways unavailable to historians of previous generations. Big history scholars take a multidisciplinary approach to study great spans of time, unlocking important themes, trends, and developments across time and space.
Unlike a traditional survey of history - with its focus on dates and events, kings and battles - The Big History of Civilizations is your chance to apply this cutting-edge historical approach to the epic story of humanity around the world. Taught by acclaimed Professor Craig G. Benjamin of Grand Valley State University, these 36 sweeping lectures trace the story of human civilizations from our emergence as a species, through the agricultural and industrial revolutions, and into the future.
It only takes a few minutes of one lecture for you to discover that Big History is an amazing approach to history. Its grand vision will give you powerful new insights into human civilization, and it offers a profound analysis of some of our biggest questions: What makes us human? Where did we come from? And where are we going? There may be no easy answers, but Professor Benjamin takes you on a powerful journey to the limits of our understanding.
What differentiates big history from any other field is the way it combines divergent fields, from archaeology and anthropology to ecology and philosophy, and ties them together, allowing you to see patterns of our past, present - and even future. From the just-right "Goldilocks factors" that allow civilizations to emerge to different ways civilizations have emerged across time and around the word, this riveting approach to history offers a multidisciplinary toolkit to tell the story about what makes us human.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2016 The Great Courses (P)2016 The Teaching Company, LLC
I don't know where to begin. He speaks in a mechanical, repetitive way--every sentence has the same delivery and intonation. He doesn't sound like he is talking naturally, more like he's reading a powerpoint presentation. But the worst part is that he is constantly interrupting his own lecture to promote his "Big History" brand of scholarship. It's more of an academic infomercial than a course. He can't seem to stay on any topic, because he keeps feeling the need to stress why his approach to history is so important. I understand that the whole idea is to make broad connections, but he jumps around so much that he starts sounding as though he has ADD. I love ancient history and can usually listen to lectures endlessly but I couldn't get through more than an hour of this before I turned it off in disgust.
I enjoyed the introduction and chapter 6. The middle has too many facts and not enough of the themes that interested. Then chapter 30 through the end I thought was just great.
The amount of work this took for the professor is staggering, just look at the bibliography. He has a good presentation as well.
It is one of the most interesting and thought provoking courses in The Great Courses series. I would have liked a broader topic like military history and innovation combined into one chapter rather than scatter the topic around to each civilization. The same for trade influences, religion, etc. instead I got a little board going through the history of each geographical area, but only a little. I will listen to this again and get more out of it. That is a sign of a great course.
As commonly heard these days, in a largely professional piece, history well rendered, with a total lack of critical thinking concerning those issues yet unknown. An excellent story teller, but no sage.
So important to read or listen and understand history! If nothing else it will help anyone gain perspective on present events occurring in our current political climate. Thank you for this lecture course!
"very interesting listen"
a very informative set of lectures but will probably need to get updated in a decade or two as new discoveries and understanding occurs
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