The Structure of Big History:
From the Big Bang until Today
(1996, Amsterdam University Press)
This book provides a novel structure for all of history, with special attention to the question of how human history fits into this
larger scheme. The proposed structure helps to better understand how everything in the Universe has become the way it is now, as well
as how all these different aspects are related.
This structure, based on regimes as processes ranging from the subatomic level
to the universe as a whole, came as a result of realizing in 1994 that by structuring our (then) novel University of Amsterdam big
history course, we were also structuring big history itself. This theoretical model evolved out of the regime approach used in
my earlier Peru studies.
Strongly supported by the US world historian William H. McNeill, the first version of this argument
was presented at the 1995 World History Association conference near Florence, Italy, where it was endorsed by its then president,
the US world historian and big history pioneer John Mears.
The Structure of Big History has received considerable international
interest and recognition, ranging from Argentina to Australia. It has been used in the United States (University of California at
Berkeley, the University of California at Santa Cruz, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Georgia State University and the University
of the Pacific, Stockton); in Great Britain (University of Newcastle); and in Australia (Macquarie University, Sydney).
the German edition Big History: Was die Geschichte im Innersten zusammenhält was published. In 1999, the extended Dutch translationGeschiedenis in het Groot: Een alomvattende visie was put into print, while in the same year, major parts of the argument were published
Praise for The Structure of Big History:
“A slim, insightful volume linking social and natural science
studies of the past” Eric Chaisson, Professor of Physics, Tufts University, Harvard Observatory, USA
“Engagingly modest but surprisingly
effective” Jon Turney, New Scientist, October 4, 1997
“A wonderfully adventurous enterprise. Spier is working towards the construction
of a sort of `Grand Unified Theory' of the past. I firmly believe that this is a project that should attract the support and interest
of any scholar with a serious interest in historical modes of thought.” David Christian, Professor of Modern History, Macquarie University,
“An ambitious and deeply intelligent attempt to see how history can be integrated more effectively with other
scientific disciplines.” Compass History
“Genuinely brilliant.” William H. McNeill, Emeritus Professor of History, University
of Chicago, USA