When it comes to learning history, I've always struggled to have patience for the details. I am fascinated by the longterm trends and patterns in the story of where we've been and where we're going, but as soon as the conversation turns to memorization of dates and names, I begin to fade a little bit. I think this is why I was so keen on the idea of "Big History," a multidisciplinary approach that starts with the Big Bang and crafts a consistent narrative up until the present day, all within a single course developed and taught by historian David Christian.
48 lectures later, I'm hooked. Reading more about the course, it quickly became clear that I am not alone in my appreciation for this wide lens perspective. In the years since he first began teaching Big History, Christian's mission has expanded, with the help of Bill Gates and others, into the Big History Project, an organization that aims to put this unique style of teaching into high schools and colleges all over the world.
After finishing the course, I reached out to David Christian and asked if he would be willing to speak to me. I did not expect a response, but a few days later, I was speaking to him via Skype from his home in Australia. Much like the course itself, our conversation covers a wide range of topics, jumping around in scale and in discipline, but ultimately, he always brings it together in the end. I hope you enjoy.
Music Credit: "Little Walter Rides Again" by Medeski, Scofield, Martin & Wood