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Regular version of the site

Big History: Connecting Knowledge

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Delivered at:
Department of Humanities (Faculty of Computer Science, Economics, and Social Sciences)
Course type:
Elective course
2 year, 1 module


Kamenskikh, Aleksey A.

Course Syllabus


The discipline is realized with help of online-course “Big History: Connecting Knowledge”. About the online-course: «We currently face unprecedented challenges on a global scale. These problems do not neatly fall into disciplines. They are complicated, complex, and connected. Join us on this epic journey of 13.8 billion years starting at the Big Bang and travelling through time all the way to the future. Discover the connections in our world, the power of collective learning, how our universe and our world has evolved from incredible simplicity to ever-increasing complexity. Experience our modern scientific origin story through Big History and discover the important links between past, current, and future events. You will find two different types of lectures. ‘Zooming In’ lectures from multiple specialists enable you to understand key concepts through the lens of different disciplines, whilst David Christian's ‘Big History Framework’ lectures provide the connective overview for a journey through eight thresholds of Big History» (https://www.coursera.org/learn/big-history).
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • theoretical and methodological introduction into the complex of problems, embraced by the course: Big History, Critical Thinking, & Transdisciplinarity
  • introduction into the cosmological framework of the Big History: The Universe, Stars, and Planets
  • the biological history, or The Evolutionary Epic, from the origin of life c.3.8 billion years ago, the evolution of complex forms after c.550 million years ago, to the evolution of some very odd primates – humans
  • the history of humanity, from the origin of our species to the industrial revolution
  • Modernity: We have now arrived at one of the most dynamically changing periods ever seen in human history - our own times. This module will explore how the agrarian era that had lasted for 10,000 years transitioned to the modern era with its explosion of production and complexity. We will explore modern history, political science, and economics
  • The Future: We've looked far into the deep past, now is the time to take what we've learned and look ahead. In this module we will explore the near and distant future, what challenges we face this century, how we study the future on the scale of billions of years, and where complexity may go from here. The section incorporates climatology, cosmology, physics, and foresight
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • A student orients he/she-self in variety of conceptual approaches to the phenomena of the natural and social social history, their interconnections
  • A student owns conceptual framework of the contemporary cosmology and asrophysics
  • A student owns the basic concepts of the evolutionary biology, knows the main stages of biological history
  • A student knows the main stages of the human history
  • A student understands the key social, economic, and political aspects of the modernity
  • A student prepares, presents and discuss an essay on most problems of contemporary futurology
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Big History, Critical Thinking, & Transdisciplinarity
    - What is the Big History? - What is the relationship between historical & scientific explanation? - How do we decide what to believe? - How did our Universe get more complex?
  • The Universe, Stars, and Planets
    - What is the observable evidence for the Big Bang? - How do we know how stars form? - Where did the elements come from? - What is the periodic table? - How did the solar system form? - What is our Earth's history and how do we know it?
  • The Evolutionary Epic
    - Where did life come from? - How do we get dates for Earth's history? - How does evolution work? - How do palaeontologists study the history of life? - Why did our ancestors evolve such unusual abilities?
  • Human History
    - How did people live in the Palaeolithic? - Where did writing come from? - Reading Hieroglyphs - What were the Silk Roads? - What were the main changes in agrarian civilizations?
  • Modernity
    - What was the Industrial Revolution? - How did Modernity evolve after the Industrial Revolution? - How far can globalization go? - Why is the world economy so integrated?
  • The Future
    - How is our climate changing and what does this mean for our future? - Why is the future of the Universe easier to study than the future of humanity? - What have we learned from the Big History story?
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking the control point
  • non-blocking activity at the seminar
  • non-blocking independent work (online course)
  • non-blocking Written exam
    Экзамен проводится в письменной форме с использованием асинхронного прокторинга ВШЭ. Экзамен проводится на платформе Дистанционные испытания НИУ ВШЭ, прокторинг на платформе Экзамус (https://hse.student.examus.net). К экзамену необходимо подключиться за 15 минут. На платформе Экзамус доступно тестирование системы. Компьютер студента должен удовлетворять следующим требованиям: https://elearning.hse.ru/data/2020/05/07/1544135594/Технические%20требования%20к%20ПК%20студента.pdf) Для участия в экзамене студент обязан: заранее зайти на платформу прокторинга, провести тест системы, включить камеру и микрофон, подтвердить личность. Во время экзамена студентам запрещено: общаться (в социальных сетях, с людьми в комнате), списывать, пользоваться собственными письменными конспектами (в тетради или на распечатанных листах). Кратковременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается прерывание связи до 5 минут. Долговременным нарушением связи во время экзамена считается прерывание связи 5 минут и более. При долговременном нарушении связи студент не может продолжить участие в экзамене. Процедура пересдачи аналогична процедуре сдачи.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (1 module)
    0.3 * activity at the seminar + 0.1 * independent work (online course) + 0.2 * the control point + 0.4 * Written exam


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Christian, A., Hommen, D., Retzlaff, N., & Schurz, G. (2018). Philosophy of Science : Between the Natural Sciences, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities. [N.p.]: Springer. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1743450

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Shvedovsky, V., Standrik, A., & Bilan, Y. (2016). Economic and Social Institutions : Modelling the Evolution Paths for the Archaic Society. Economics & Sociology, (2), 137. https://doi.org/10.14254/2071-789X.2016/9-2/9
  • Свиридов В. В., Свиридова Е. И. ; Под ред. Свиридова В.В. - КОНЦЕПЦИИ СОВРЕМЕННОГО ЕСТЕСТВОЗНАНИЯ 3-е изд., испр. и доп. Учебное пособие для вузов - М.:Издательство Юрайт - 2019 - 310с. - ISBN: 978-5-534-09649-1 - Текст электронный // ЭБС ЮРАЙТ - URL: https://urait.ru/book/koncepcii-sovremennogo-estestvoznaniya-438369