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Problems in Big History - MHIS215

This unit will go deeper into the Universe, delving further into the grand narrative outlined in MHIS115, to look at some of the long term trends that unite all academic disciplines and all 13.8 billion years of history. From some of the most puzzling questions relating to the birth and death of the Universe, to the mysterious omnipresence of random variation and non-random selection in Universal Darwinism, to the evolutionary wiring that influences so much of history and the human character, we will be diving deeper into realms that forge together diverse beds of knowledge. From a high enough vantage point, all phenomena seem to have overlapping connections that extend back billions of years. We will explore to what extent these patterns drive micro-historical events, from rebellions to the rise and fall of empires, and, above all, chart what drives the furious rise of complexity from the first atoms to the lights of human civilization. We shall close with a look at human prospects in the 21st century and what the rise of complexity could look like if it continued unabated to the death of the Universe. The course will be a mixture of history, science, and philosophy. But only prior experience in MHIS115 is required. Classes will be small weekly seminars. Assessments will all be essays including a final research project on a Big History topic of your choice.

Credit Points: 3
When Offered:

S2 Day - Session 2, North Ryde, Day

S2 External - Session 2, External (with on campus sessions)

Staff Contact(s): Dr David Baker

MHIS115 Prerequisite Information


Unit Designation(s):
Unit Type:
Assessed As: Graded
Offered By:

Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Faculty of Arts

Course structures, including unit offerings, are subject to change.
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