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Volume 1 of the Cambridge World History is an introduction to both the discipline of world history and the earliest phases of world history up to 10,000 BCE. In Part I leading scholars outline the approaches, methods, and themes that have shaped and defined world history scholarship across the world and right up to the present day. Chapters examine the historiographical development of the field globally, periodisation, divergence and convergence, belief and knowledge, technology and innovation, family, gender, anthropology, migration, and fire. Part II surveys the vast Palaeolithic era, which laid the foundations for human history, concentrating on the most recent phases of hominin evolution, the rise of Homo sapiens and the very earliest human societies through to the end of the last ice age. Anthropologists, archaeologists, historical linguists and historians examine climate and tools, language, and culture, as well as offering regional perspectives from across the world.
About the Author
David Christian is by training a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union. He taught Russian and Soviet History at Macquarie University in Sydney, and conducted research on the diets of the nineteenth-century Russian peasantry and in particular on the role of vodka in Russian society and fiscal systems. In 1989 he began teaching a history course surveying the history of the Universe and placing human history within that larger context. This approach has since come to be known as 'big history', and it led to an increasing interest in world history, particularly in world history at very large scales. David Christian is the author of Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History (2011), and co-founder with Bill Gates of the Big History Project (bighistoryproject.com), which has created a free online big history course for high school students. He is currently completing the second volume of a synoptic history of Inner Eurasia, the lands at the heart of the Eurasian landmass, from prehistory to the present day.