dhr. dr. F. (Fred) Spier

  • Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica
  • POSTBUS  94224
    1090 GE  Amsterdam
    Kamernummer: C2.121
  • F.Spier@uva.nl
    T:  0205255183
    T:  0205255190

Dr. Fred Spier

Fred Spier is Senior Lecturer in Big History at the University of Amsterdam. He has organized and taught the annual 'Big History Course' at the University of Amsterdam since 1994, the annual 'Big History University Lecture Series' at the Eindhoven University of Technology since 2003, and the 'Big Questions in History Course' at Amsterdam University College since 2009.


University Education

Spier first obtained a M.Sc. in biochemistry at the University of Leiden with research experience in plant genetic engineering and the synthesis of oligonucleotides. He subsequently obtained an M.A. in cultural anthropology at the Free University Amsterdam (cum laude) and a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and social history (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam. As part of these studies, Spier executed a ten-year research project on religion, politics and ecology in Andean Peru, which led to the publication of two books: Religious Regimes in Peru and San Nicolás de Zurite (see below).


Current Activities
Developing a paradigm that helps to explain all of history. In his earlier article How Big History Works: Energy flows and the rise and demise of complexity (2005), downloadable below, the first outline of this theory was proposed. An improved and more elaborate version of this argument is presented in his book Big History and the Future of Humanity , Wiley-Blackwell (2010). The paperback version was released in January 2011. A translation in Spanish was published in 2011; a translation into Chinese by Truth & Wisdom Press is planned for August 2013; and also the contract for a translation into Arabic has been signed. Spier is now elaborating several big history themes related to the approach advocated in his book.

In addition to promoting big history in many different arenas, Spier currently serves as the founding Vice President of the International Big History Association (IBHA). He was Program Chair of the IBHA inaugural conference held in August 2012 at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids / Allendale, and is a member of the Program Committee for the 2014 IBHA conference to be held in August at Dominican University of California at San Rafael.


Spier, Fred. (2011). El lugar del hombre en el cosmos: La Gran Historia y  el futuro de la humanidad . Barcelona, Spain, Editorial Critica.
Grinin, Leonid E., Carneiro, Robert L., Korotayev, Andrey V. & Spier, Fred (eds.) (2011). Evolution: Cosmic, Biological,and Social. Volgograd, 'Uchitel' Publishing House.
Spier, Fred. (2010).  Big History and the Future of Humanity. Oxford, UK, Wiley-Blackwell.
Blank, Paul W. and Spier, Fred. (eds.) (2002).  Defining the Pacific: Opportunities and constraints . London, Ashgate.
Spier, Fred. (1996).  The Structure of Big History: From the Big Bang until Today . Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press.
Spier, Fred. (1995).  San Nicolás de Zurite: Religion and daily life of a Peruvian Andean village in a changing world . Amsterdam, VU University Press.
Spier, Fred. (1994).  Religious Regimes in Peru: Religion and state development in a long-term perspective and the effects in the Andean village of Zurite . Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Press.


2010 -  : Vice President of the International Big History Association
2001 -  : Member of the editorial board of the journal Social Evolution & History
1998  : Chairing the World History Association Committee for Scholarship Reform, together with Dr. Maghan Keita, Villanova University, Villanova, Pa.
1996 - 1999 : Member of the Executive Council of the World History Association .


Web sites

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