World History: An Introduction provides readers with the knowledge and tools necessary to understand the global historical perspective and how it can be used to shed light on both our past and our present. A concise and original guide to the concepts, methods, debates and contents of world history, it combines a thematic approach with a clear and ambitious focus.
Each chapter traces connections with the past and the present to explore major questions in world history:
- How did humans evolve from an endangered species to the most successful of them all?
- How has nature shaped human history?
- How did agricultural societies push human history in a new direction?
- How has humankind organized itself in ever more complex administrative systems?
- How have we developed new religious and cultural patterns?
- How have the paths of ‘The West’ and ‘The Rest’ diverged over the last five centuries?
- How, at the same time, has the world become more interconnected and "globalized"?
- How is this world characterized by growing gaps in wealth, poverty and inequality?
Sharp and accessible, Eric Vanhaute’s introduction to this exciting field demonstrates that world history is more of a perspective than a single all-encompassing narrative: an instructive new way of seeing, thinking and doing. It is an essential resource for students of history in a global context.
Table of Contents
Preface. Prelude. 1. World history 2. A human world 3. A natural world 4. An agrarian world 5. A political world 6. A divine world 7. A divided world 8. A global world 9. A polarized world 10. A fragmented world Literature guide
Eric Vanhaute is Professor of Economic and Social History and World History at Ghent University in Belgium. He has been Visiting Research Fellow at the Fernand Braudel Center, Binghamton and at Utrecht University, Fellow-in-Residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, and Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley, the Institute of Economic and Social History at The University of Vienna and the Institute for Social Economy and Culture at Peking University.
"Ten concise chapters convey ten insightful perspectives on the world. In each chapter, Vanhaute shows how crises of today emerge from long-term patterns. His compact style dramatizes each major issue and raises persistent questions. For students, this global check-list can link effectively to other regional or topical readings." - Patrick Manning, World History Center, University of Pittsburgh, USA
"It is certainly the best Introduction around right now." - Patrick O'Brien, London School of Economics
“Eric Vanhaute's World History: An Introduction provides a concise, thematic guide to the content, concepts, and great debates of world history…Vanhaute covers familiar ground, [and]he manages to do so in often provocative ways—and in a manner that will be helpful to teachers of world history as they prepare their courses...[and] by pursuing big questions …with an eye to the present, these chapters will help teachers who are looking to move away from "coverage" and toward engaging students in crucial debates.” - Mark Soderstrom, Aurora University
“This book is very handy in locating and linking many of the big issues at play in world history. Its concision should enable readers to keep in mind numerous historical factors, so that one can begin to consider their interactions… I expect to use it in graduate teaching as a way to introduce students to the benefits of keeping many world-historical issues in mind at once, as encouragement to read the books cited, and as a basis for the debates among them that will surely unfold.” – Patrick Manning, University of Pittsburgh
"In a decided and simple manner, Eric Vanhaute does what is needed to convince students to pay attention to the history of the world: he transforms past facts, events, moments into issues, problems and challenges for today. "An introduction to, writes Vanhaute, is more important than a summary of" (p. 15). People who want to interest themselves in world history, or who strive to interest others into it, will hail this stance. And get his book." - Pierre Yves Saunier, Université Laval, Quebec City
"Vanhaute führt äußerst kompetent in die jeweiligen Debatten ein und gibt seiner Leserschaft auch mit einem literature guide und den sparsamen Fußnoten eine wunderbare Orientierungshilfe an die Hand. Sein Buch ist eine überaus anregende Ermunterung zum Weiterlesen. Er spricht alle wichtigen Problemen einer Weltgeschichte auf dem Stand der heutigen Diskussionen an. Der Band sollte zum Kernbestand jedes Kurses gehören, der in die Welt- und Globalgeschichte einführt. Denn erstaun-licherweise gibt es über all den Weltgeschichten, die in den letzten Jahren das Licht der Welt erblickt haben, keine vergleichbar konzise Einführung in die Geschichte der Menschheit." [English: "Vanhaute’s book should belong to the core of each introductory course in world and global history. There does not exist a comparable concise introduction into the history of mankind."] — Matthias Middell, Leipzig University, in Comparativ