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Are there broad lines in history and if so can we explain them? This is the subject of the book Big History and the Future of Humanity by Dr. Fred Spier, which appears this month courtesy of the Anglo-American publisher Wiley-Blackwell.

Are there broad lines in history and, if so, can we explain them? This is the subject of the book Big History and the Future of Humanity by Dr. Fred Spier, which will be published this month by the Anglo-American publisher Wiley-Blackwell. Spier is a University Professor at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (IIS) of the University of Amsterdam (UvA). In his book he offers a new and simple blueprint through which all of history can be better understood. In addition to a clear overview of the historical developments, he also provides insight into what we can expect from the future.

The book is based on Spier's fifteen years experience of teaching and research in the field of big history. The big history approach places the history of humans within the context of the rest of life, the earth, the solar system, our milky way and the entire universe. This new view of history has led to an exciting discovery: by looking at the big picture, simple patterns can be seen that allow all aspects of history to be at least partially explained.

About the author

Spier studied biochemistry and cultural anthropology and received his doctorate for research into religion and politics in Peru, viewed from a global historical perspective. He has been teaching big history (the history of everything) at the University of Amsterdam since 1994 and has taught at the Technical University of Eindhoven since 2003. Spier is also a lecturer at Amsterdam University College (AUC), a joint initiative of the UvA and VU Amsterdam.

Book launch

On Wednesday, 26 May, Big History and the Future of Humanity will take centre stage during an event at the Amsterdam academic and cultural centre SPUI25. Spier will give an introductory address, after which UvA astronomer Ed van den Heuvel, paleontologist and paleo-anthropologist John de Vos and historian James Kennedy will give their views on the book. The round-table discussion will be led by biochemist Charles van Dam.

Publication details

Fred Spier: Big History and the Future of Humanity
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3421-0
2010, Wiley-Blackwell