Taught by: Charles Keith
The basic premise of world history is that it’s impossible to properly understand any part of the world without understanding other parts of the world. In this course, we’ll avoid a more traditional focus on a single world region for an approach that is comparative and connective. We will consider common patters of historical change across world regions as well as the networks, processes and events that link different world regions to one another. The course’s main argument is that modern history can best be understood through the various forms that world empires have taken across time and space, the transitions from older to more modern imperial forms, the effects of imperial rule on ordinary people, and the role of empires in global exchange and conflict.
The class is divided into seven units, one for each week of the class. Every week you’ll watch a series of short lectures and do a selection of readings, all available through our class website. Most of your readings will be “primary sources,” meaning documents created during the time period we’re talking about. The course assignments will be formal papers or blog posts that further explore the lectures and readings.