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Light shines into the water just below the ocean's surface, photo by Cristian Palmer/Unsplash

Contending Voices: Problems in World History

A blog devoted to research and teaching in the history of humanity.

Photo of a lime quarry by Ivan Bandura

The Lithosphere

The extraction of minerals from the Earth today—the most dangerous change in our environmental crisis—is also essential to life as we know it. In a 2017 interview, ecological historian Gregory Cushman explains his work on humanity’s relationship with the lithosphere and provides valuable insights into this issue.

Photo by Iñaki del Olmo/Unsplash

The Case for ‘Bottom-Up’ History

The “bottom-up” approach to world history focuses on the most basic elements of human existence. It identifies problems and explores them through individual and group behavior, relying on multiple disciplines, especially anthropology. The objective is to link basic levels of society to the higher scales of activity. The work of E.P. Thompson provides valuable context.

Azadi Square in Tehran, 2017. Photo by Sam Moghadam Khamseh

Interactions in History

The events of history do not happen in a vacuum. Societies are deeply connected through their cultures and the exchange of ideas and values; they constantly interact and influence one another. This academic exercise helps students explore such interactions more deeply.

Settling the Americas

Recent research has shown that the human occupation of the Americas took place much earlier than previously thought. As documentation about the first Americans builds and new evidence about their experiences is uncovered, we gain a better understanding of the variety and innovation of early settlers throughout the hemisphere.

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