Essay about What is World History?

4758 Words 20 Pages
What is world history? Bruce Mazlish contends that "world" history, as opposed to "global" history, is the study of systemic processes of interaction among diverse peoples, best typified by the work of William H. McNeill. By contrast, "global" history is the history of globalization, a process that Mazlish argues did not begin to occur on a significant scale until at least the 1950s, and, more plausibly, the 1970s. Citing prominent economic historians, Nicholas Kristof asserts that globalization actually started in the second half of the 19th Century, when steamships, the telegraph, the railroad, and European, North American, and Japanese empire-builders brought humankind into a single densely interwoven community of trade, investment, …show more content…
To me, this is globalization, the global diffusion of humankind and human cultures. In only a few thousand generations, Homo sapiens was everywhere, and everywhere essentially the same, despite superficial differences such as skin color or width of nose or degree of hirsuteness. Globalization outran evolution. The sheer mobility and versatility of Homo sapiens precluded significant differentiation.

Accordingly, I would like to define world history as the history of all the doings of the species Homo sapiens on (and off) the planet Earth, the globe Earth, since its emergence in Africa more than 100,000 years ago. In all these millennia, humankind has swarmed over the whole planet and has exchanged ideas, institutions, technologies, and languages back and forth and every which way, often making it difficult if not impossible to ascertain which idea, institution, technology, or language first arose where or when. In short, we have been globalizing from the beginning, although I freely acknowledge that in certain periods, such as the middle of the 4th Millennium B.C., the 16th Century A.D., and the second halves of the 19th and 20th Centuries, we have seen significant upsurges in the tempo and scale of globalization.

All this means that the subject matter of

More about Essay about What is World History?