Each episode of Big History will begin with an iconic topic from the pages of traditional history such as the Great Pyramids, The Titanic or the American Revolution but then will spin into surprising journeys through other fields, weaving together insights and evidence from various disciplines such as astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, anthropology, history and economics. Spanning 13.7 billion years, Big History will ultimately pull together the puzzle pieces from all 16 half-hour episodes into an epic two-hour finale, creating one grand narrative and revealing the unifying link among all events.
Runtime: 30 minutes
Big History - Big History - Netflix
Big History is an academic discipline which examines history from the Big Bang to the present. It examines long time frames using a multidisciplinary approach based on combining numerous disciplines from science and the humanities, and explores human existence in the context of this bigger picture. It integrates studies of the cosmos, Earth, life, and humanity using empirical evidence to explore cause-and-effect relations, and is taught at universities and secondary schools often using web-based interactive presentations. According to historian David Christian, who has been credited with coining the term “Big History”, the intellectual movement is made of an “unusual coalition of scholars”. Some historians have expressed skepticism towards “scientific history” and argue that the claims of Big History are unoriginal. Others support the scientific merit but point out that cosmology and natural history have been studied since the Renaissance, and that the new term, Big History, continues such work.
Big History - Other themes - Netflix
Advances in particular sciences such as archaeology, gene mapping, and evolutionary ecology have enabled historians to gain new insights into the early origins of humans, despite the lack of written sources. One account suggested that proponents of Big History were trying to “upend” the conventional practice in historiography of relying on written records. Big History proponents suggest that humans have been affecting climate change throughout history, by such methods as slash-and-burn agriculture, although past modifications have been on a lesser scale than in recent years during the Industrial Revolution. A book by Daniel Lord Smail in 2008 suggested that history was a continuing process of humans learning to self-modify our mental states by using stimulants such as coffee and tobacco, as well as other means such as religious rites or romance novels. His view is that culture and biology are highly intertwined, such that cultural practices may cause human brains to be wired differently from those in different societies.
Big History - References - Netflix