In his new book, historian James Quirin examines the oral traditions, cultural practices, and written records of the Beta Israel, a community of farmers and artisans who lived near the Ethiopian kingdom. Quirin uncovers a lively historical record, showing how small ethnic groups can create significant historical change.
V-Dem’s 2023 Democracy Report shows that the overall level of democracy has, in recent years, fallen back to levels not seen since 1986. This essay helps readers explore the report to evaluate the details of democracy and autocracy in any nation
This post—the second in a three-part series—builds on the main categories and dynamics of human evolutionary change established in part one. I outline six phases of human evolution, exploring different models and hypotheses of growth and change.
When and how did Homo sapiens become a species? What are the roles of subgroups and migration in human evolution? The first in a three-part series, this post reviews six main categories of human evolutionary change and considers how each of them might lead to unification and/or differentiation of the human species.
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.
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.
Processes of evolution transform every aspect of human life. Households—the human centers of eating, resting, sleeping, and child-rearing—have evolved, too. This essay lists steps that show how the processes of biological, cultural, and social evolution have changed households.
The Contending Voices blog—initially focused on debating today’s social priorities—is shifting toward exploring the principles, problems, and possibilities of the study of world history. By examining these questions, we may gain insights into addressing some of the very serious crises that humans face today.