UvA Elective Big History Course
Would you like to know how everything around you has become the way it is today? How the histories of the cosmos, life, Earth and human societies have influenced each other and have jointly shaped important aspects of the world you live in now? And would you like to use that knowledge to develop a better understanding of the challenges our societies are currently facing? If you do, then the big history course is right for you.
In this course, a variety of renowned experts, ranging from astrophysicists to social scientists, will take you on a journey that covers all of history, from the Big Bang until today. State-of-the-art reading will explain what drove this history. In online assignments you will be stimulated to reflect on the often-unexplored connections between the various astrophysical, geological, biological and cultural aspects that shaped our world. And in a final research assignment, you will be encouraged to apply this knowledge to an important societal challenge and think about this in a creative and interdisciplinary way. While doing so, you will also reflect on what big history might mean for your future.
February to May 2021
Tuesdays from 16:00 to 17:00
UvA students must register through SIS. The registration period starts on 1 December 2020 and ends one week prior to the start of the course. The required study guide number is 5512BIHI6Y. Contract students and students from other institutions can enroll through Datanose.
Preliminary Program Spring 2021
What is big history?
How did our universe originate?
How do stars live and die?
How do planetary systems form?
How did the Earth develop?
Wim van Westrenen
How did life on Earth emerge?
Annemieke Petrignani & Hans Westerhoff
How did life on Earth develop?
How has climate change influenced history?
William Gosling & Henry Hooghiemstra
How did we become human?
Why did we invent agriculture?
Why do we live in states?
How did we initiate the Anthropocene?
What can big history tell us about the future?
Coyan Tromp & Esther Quaedackers