Synopses & Reviews
"Under Mojgan Behmandand#8217;s inspired leadership this large cohort of Dominican teachers have been at the forefront of designing and teaching innovative Big History courses for younger undergraduate university students.and#160; I know of no other Big History teachers who have thought about pedagogy and assessment in this field as systematically and rigorously as Behmand, et al."and#151;Craig Benjamin, author of Big History: Between Nothing and Everything
"This book offers a great many illuminating insights into the practice of big history teaching and is an excellent, indispensable resource for all teachers of the thresholds' approach to big history."and#151;Fred Spier, author of Big History and the Future of Humanity
"Rich, diverse and engaging, this is THE book for teachers new to Big History.and#160; Teachers at Dominican University tell what they learnt over four years as they collaborated to develop the worldand#8217;s first foundation program in Big History." and#151;David Christian, author of Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History, and Director of the Big History Institute, Macquarie University, Sydney
"In the twenty-second century, when Big History is taught in every university around our planet, future scholars of intellectual history detailing the rise of this new vision will begin their story with the faculty at Dominican University. Teaching Big History is both the story of their pedagogical creativity and a how-to handbook filled with their distilled wisdom. For anyone interested in joining this major revolution in education, there is no better guide than their carefully crafted and deeply inspiring book."and#151;Brian Thomas Swimme, coauthor ofThe Journey of the Universe
Big History is a new field on a grand scale: it tells the story of the universe over time through a diverse range of disciplines that spans cosmology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, geology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, and archaeology, thereby reconciling traditional human history with environmental geography and natural history.
Weaving the myriad threads of evidence-based human knowledge into a master narrative that stretches from the beginning of the universe to the present, the Big History framework helps students make sense of their studies in all disciplines by illuminating the structures that underlie the universe and the connections among them.
Teaching Big History is a powerful analytic and pedagogical resource, and serves as a comprehensive guide for teaching Big History, as well for sharing ideas about the subject and planning a curriculum around it. Readers are also given helpful advice about the administrative and organizational challenges of instituting a general education program constructed around Big History. The book includes teaching materials, examples, and detailed sample exercises.
This book is also an engaging first-hand account of how a group of professors built an entire Big History general education curriculum for first-year students, demonstrating how this thoughtful integration of disciplines exemplifies liberal education at its best and illustrating how teaching and learning this incredible story can be transformative for professors and students alike.
An introduction to a new way of looking at history, from a perspective that stretches from the beginning of time to the present day, Maps of Time
is world history on an unprecedented scale. Beginning with the Big Bang, David Christian views the interaction of the natural world with the more recent arrivals in flora and fauna, including human beings.
Cosmology, geology, archeology, and population and environmental studiesand#151;all figure in David Christian's account, which is an ambitious overview of the emerging field of "Big History." Maps of Time opens with the origins of the universe, the stars and the galaxies, the sun and the solar system, including the earth, and conducts readers through the evolution of the planet before human habitation. It surveys the development of human society from the Paleolithic era through the transition to agriculture, the emergence of cities and states, and the birth of the modern, industrial period right up to intimations of possible futures. Sweeping in scope, finely focused in its minute detail, this riveting account of the known world, from the inception of space-time to the prospects of global warming, lays the groundwork for world historyand#151;and Big Historyand#151;true as never before to its name.
"You've all seen the poster of the milky way galaxy with an arrow to a point about halfway out from the center and the caption, and#145;You are here.and#8217; This book is like that only more so. It locates the human experience in the entirety of space-time."and#151;Alfred Crosby, author of Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900
About the Author
Richard B. Simon
is Adjunct Professor of English at Dominican University of California, instructor of English at City College of San Francisco, and Contributing Editor at Relix
Mojgan Behmand is Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Dominican University of California. She is also Associate Professor of English and former Director of General Education and First Year Experience.
Thomas Burke isand#160;Assistant Professor of English and Cultural Studies at Dominican University of California.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
PART ONE: THE CASE FOR BIG HISTORY
1. What Is Big History?and#151;Richard B. Simon
2. Big History and the Goals of Liberal Educationand#151;Mojgan Behmand
3. Summer Institutes: Collective Learning as Meta-Educationand#151;Thomas Burke
4. Assessing Big History Outcomes: Or, How to Make Assessment Inspiringand#151;Mojgan Behmand
5. Big History at Other Institutionsand#151;Mojgan Behmand, Esther Quaedackers, and Seohyung Kim
PART TWO: A PRACTICAL PEDAGOGY FOR TEACHING BIG HISTORY
6. Teaching Complexity in a Big History Contextand#151;Richard B. Simon
7. Teaching Threshold 1: The Big Bangand#151;Richard B. Simon
8. Teaching Threshold 2: The Formation of Stars and Galaxiesand#151;Kiowa Bower
9. Teaching Threshold 3: Heavier Chemical Elements and the Life Cycle of Starsand#151;Richard B. Simon
10. Teaching Threshold 4: The Formation of Our Solar System and Earthand#151;Neal Wolfe
11. Teaching Threshold 5: The Evolution of Life on Earthand#151;James Cunningham
12. Teaching Threshold 6: The Rise of Homo sapiensand#151;Cynthia Taylor
13. Teaching Threshold 7: The Agrarian Revolutionand#151;Martin Anderson
14. Teaching Threshold 8: Modernity and Industrializationand#151;Richard B. Simon
15. Threshold 9? Teaching Possible Futuresand#151;Martin Anderson, J. Daniel May, Richard B. Simon, Neal Wolfe, Kiowa Bower, Philip Novak, and Debbie Daunt
16. Reflective Writing in the Big History Courseand#151;Jaime Castner
17. Activities for Multiple Thresholds
18. Igniting Critical Curiosity: Fostering Information Literacy through Big Historyand#151;Ethan Annis, Amy Gilbert, Anne Reid, Suzanne Roybal, and Alan Schut
19. A Little Big History of Big Historyand#151;Cynthia Stokes Brown
PART THREE: BIG HISTORY AND ITS IMPLICATIONS
20. Big History at Dominican: An Origin Storyand#151;Philip Novak
21. Teaching Big History or Teaching about Big History? Big History and Religionand#151;Harlan Stelmach
22. The Case for Aweand#151;Neal Wolfe
Annotated Bibliography of Big History Texts and Resources
List of Contributors