What is the course about?
World (or global) history has emerged as a timely companion to the nationally oriented histories promoted around the world for most of the 20th century. World historians have centred meta-themes such as connections, communities and comparisons. Specific foci such as commodities, religions and regions have also gained popularity. Most recently, energy, climate change, recourse depletion and the Anthropocene have also become topics, reflecting that we are in a new stage of world history. Taking its cues from the last trend, this course offers a brief introduction to world history.
As an introduction to studying world history, this course surveys: 1) the world before fossil fuels, 2) the world of fossil fuels and 3) the world facing a future beyond fossil fuels.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
Looking at the world before fossil fuels, we will explore the primarily Eurasian agrarian empires and their proto-industrial and pre-capitalist market economies. We will move on to examine the world of fossil fuels and links to capitalism, industrialisation and the rise of new imperial and economic actors in Europe (and later the US and Japan). Finally we will connect to our time and the intensifying debates about how to move from oil and nuclear power to a post-carbon world.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Taking this course will give you a better understanding of the dynamic relationships between the negotiation of power between humankind and nature in world history. In doing so, it will also further develop your understanding of current affairs by way of history.
It is hoped that the course will provide a taste of what studying world history is, and excite you to study more.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
The course is ‘introductory’ and does not require previous studies on the topic. However, curiosity and a willingness to discuss will help both your learning and class discussions.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The class will be a combination of teacher presentation, brief individual exercises, and, most importantly, group discussion.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
There are no additional costs, but you might find a notebook or electronic device useful for notes.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Explore our range of World History courses in our online prospectus. Alternatively, you can speak to your tutor about possible courses in the World History subject area.