Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

Teaching the Big History of the Americas

Department

Honors College

College

Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Disciplines

Education

Abstract

Although there was no significant contact between the Afro-Eurasian and American world-zones before 1492, both regions shared many similarities, but also some crucial differences. From the big history perspective, the question of why agriculture, early power structures, complex societies, and eventually large agrarian civilizations, appeared in both zones despite their relative isolation is intriguing. Yet ultimately the differences between the two zones, particularly the size of populations, the size and power of states, and the size and diversity of exchange networks, were of even greater significance. This paper outlines how these key similarities and differences are considered in the context of an undergraduate big history classroom, where the ultimate aim is to try and explain why the societies of Afro-Eurasia were able to so quickly dominate those of the Americas, and use their resources to facilitate the colonization of much of the world.

Conference Name

World History Association Annual Conference

Conference Location

Marriott Hotel, San Jose, Costa Rica

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