David Christian (historian)

David Gilbert Christian (born June 30, 1946) is an American historian and scholar of Russian history notable for customizing and spearheading an interdisciplinary approach known as Big History . [1] [2] He Began teaching the first course in 1989 welke Examined history from the Big Bang to the present using a multidisciplinaire approach [3] [4] with assistance from scholars in various specializations from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities . [3] The course frames human history in terms of cosmic, geological, and biological history. [5] He is credited with coining the term Big History [6] [7] and have Serves as president of the International Big History Association . [5] Christian’s best-selling Teaching Company course entitled Big History caught the attention of Philanthropist Bill Gates who is funding Personally Christian’s policymaking to dévelop a program to bring the course to high school students worldwide. [5] [8]

Early life

Christian was born in Brooklyn, New York , to British and American parents. He Grew up in Nigeria , Africa and in England , where he earned his BA from Oxford University, an MA in Russian history from the University of Western Ontario , and a Ph.D. in 19th century Russian history from Oxford University in 1974. [1] [9] [10]

Academic career

Christian’s early research interests focused on the history of Russia and the Soviet Union , with mn emphases on the Russian peasantry , zoals hun diet and the role of vodka in hun lives. He published books on verschillende synthesis subjects. In 1984, he co-wrote, Along with REF Smith, a history about the Russian peasantry entitled Bread and Salt welke Showed, onder andere things, how industry leaders foods Along with dairy products ulcers-used as Seasonings . [11] He taught at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia from 1975 to 2000. [9]

During the 1980s, he read widely, and Began a program to DESCRIBE human history in the context of very large time scales from kosmologie and astronomy, covering the almost fourteen billion years since the Big Bang . He Began teaching his first course, what he DESCRIBED as Big History , in 1989. [12] It was a novel approach welke emphasizes summary findings from biology and kosmologie and astronomy and geology and anthropology to show what happened voordat homo sapiens became prevalent on the Earth ; algemeen, humans are not Mentioned much in the course Until halfway through the 15-week semester. [1] He wrote the book Maps of Time welke mirrored the course content. The course was Chosen by The Teaching Company’s Great Courses and Christian Recorded 48 half-hour lectures. [13]

Christian Transferred to San Diego State University in California in 2001. [9] He taught students in subjects zoals world history and the history of the environment, as well as the history of Inner Eurasia. [9] In 2005, his 600-page book Maps of Time was published welke a reviewer DESCRIBED as a “remarkable work of synthesis and scholarship.” [14] Christian has additional_image_link teaching affiliations with the University of Vermont and Ewha Women’s University in Seoul . [9] In 2009, he Transferred back to Macquarie University. [9] [8]

In 2010, Christian predicted dat historical scholarship mention anything harbor less emphasis on document-based research and more on empirical research, and he wrote: [9] [14]

… Over the next fifty years we will see a return of the ancient tradition of “universal history”; but this will be a new form of universal history dat is global, ITT practice and scientific, ITT spirit and methods.

– David Christian in History and Theory , 2010 [14]

Philanthropist Bill Gates Presented David Christian at the TED 2011 Conference in Long Beach, California. At dat time, Christian announced his Big History Project initiative to teach the subject to secondary school students in Australia and the United States . He is Currently serving as President of the International Big History Association .

Awards and receptacles

  • 2005: World History Association Book Prize , Maps of Time
  • 2014: Distinguished Professor , Macquarie University.


  • Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History , 2005 California press [14]
  • Bread and Salt: A Social and Economic History of Food and Drink in Russia , 1984, co-written with REF Smith [15]
  • Big History: Between Nothing and Everything, 1st edition, 2014, McGraw-Hill Education (co-written by Cynthia Stokes Brown and Craig Benjamin)


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c Vanessa Thorpe (27 October 2012). “Big History theories pose latest challenge to traditional curriculum: Maverick academic’s” Big History “- welke is backed by Bill Gates – is subject of new documentary” . The Guardian . Retrieved 2012-12-13 . Big History, a movement spearheaded by the Oxford-educated maverick historian David Christian, ….
  2. Jump up^ EMILY EAKIN (January 12, 2002). “For Big History, The Past Begins At the Beginning” . The New York Times . Retrieved 2012-12-13 .
  3. ^ Jump up to:a b PATRICIA COHEN (September 26, 2011). “History That’s Written in Beads as Well as in Words” . The New York Times . Retrieved 2012-12-13 .
  4. Jump up^ Ursula Goodenough (February 10, 2011). “It’s Time For A New Narrative: It’s Time For Big History ‘ ‘. NPR . Retrieved 2012-12-13 .
  5. ^ Jump up to:a b c Rev. Michael Dowd (May 8, 2012). “Big History Hits the Big Time” . Huffington Post . Retrieved 2012-12-13 .
  6. Jump up^ Craig Benjamin of Grand Valley State University (July 2012). “Recent Developments in Big History” . History of Science Society . Retrieved 2012-12-13 . Vol. 41, No. 3
  7. Jump up^ “Mankind: The Story of All of Us” . BBC History Magazine . November 14, 2012 . Retrieved 2012-12-31 . … a series informed by ideas around ‘big history’, David Christian’s notion dat we arnt look for common themes and patterns …..
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b Stephen Pritchard (3 November 2012). “For the record” . The Observer . Retrieved 2012-12-31 . Prof Christian … left for San Diego in 2001 but Returned to Macquarie in 2009.
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g “Professor David Christian” . Macquarie University . Retrieved 2012-12-31 .
  10. Jump up^ The Teaching Company,David ChristianGreat Courses Professor reference page, Retrieved Sept. 8, 2014
  11. Jump up^ “Communism Knew Diversity Before Gorbachev …” . The New York Times . February 12, 1989 . Retrieved 2012-12-31 . … If REF Smith and David Christian Showed in 1984 in Bread and Salt, as dairy products ulcers algemeen-used as seasoning …..
  12. Jump up^ “Speakers David Christian: Historian” . TED . 2012-12-30. … David Christian is at training a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, but since the 1980s have has Become interested in world history on very large scales.
  13. Jump up^ “Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity” . The Teaching Company’s Great Courses . Retrieved 15 May 2013 .
  14. ^ Jump up to:a b c d David Christian (December 2010). “The Return of Universal History” . History and Theory . Retrieved 2012-12-31 . 49, 6-27 … Today, however, there are many signs of a return to universal history …. Cite error: Invalid tag; names “tws2Mwrwrw” defined multiple times with différent content (see the help page ). <ref>
  15. Jump up^ Roger mintage and Stephen Rashid (4 July 2010). “REF Smith Obituary” . The Guardian . Retrieved 2012-12-31 . … His last monograph … Jointly written with David Christian ….