The Toynbee Prize Foundation awarded its 2008 prize to Professor William H. McNeill in a ceremony on April 25, 2008 at the Harvard Faculty Club. Professor McNeill described the inspiration given to him by Arnold Toynbee and the importance of “Big History.”
Profs Akira Iriye (Harvard) and Bruce Mazlish (MIT)
What are the forces of globalization shaping our world (for better or for worse)? How can we bring an historical perspective to bear on them? How might we conceptualize a new sub-field of history-global history-and distinguish it from more traditional historical and world historical approaches? When did the forces that we associate with globalization become apparent, and how have these forces evolved since then to shape the contemporary world? Are we, in fact, entering a global epoch? This course is an inquiry into such questions, and into the materials relating to them, dealing specifically with transnational factors such as the step into space, satellite communications, the multinational corporations, migrations, environmental issues, international relations, and human rights; and with topics such as global culture, consumerism, and cities.
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