Institute Feature - David Christian
The Big History Institute is proud to celebrate the achievements of Professor David Christian (D.Phil. Oxford, 1974), who has been awarded the title of Distinguished Professor at Macquarie University, and has also received an Excellence in Research award for his work in Big History. These two awards pay tribute to two key aspects of David's career: his research and his teaching.
The prestigious title of Macquarie University Distinguished Professor is awarded to eminent Professors of Macquarie University who are of exceptional distinction and who have made an outstanding contribution to their field or discipline and to Macquarie University. The award is a title of high honour, with only a few exceptional applicants receiving the title each year.
The title recognises David's outstanding efforts in learning and teaching achievements, community engagement, research team leadership, and international scholarship.
Professor David Christian with Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Sakkie Pretorius
David was also awarded an Excellence in Research Award within Social Sciences and Humanities for his research developing The Big History Project: Education for the Anthropocene. This project builds on David's innovative concept of Big History: the study of the past at universal scales. This award recognises the creation of new knowledge and/or the use of existing knowledge in a new and creative way so as to generate new concepts, methodologies and understanding.
Watch the video here to learn more about David's work:
The Big History Project, co-founded by David Christian and Bill Gates, has been used as a resource for teaching Big History in more than 500 schools around the world, including over 100 schools in Australia and over 300 schools in the United States.
David Christian's 2011 TED talk triggered significant international attention. David has continued to generate significant interest in Big History with audiences around the globe. He has presented at international events including the World Economic Forum, Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia (CLSA), Techonomy, CERN, and Vivid Festival of Ideas. David's work has also gained widespread international media attention in international publications including the New York Times, The Guardian, The Times, and the Australian Financial Review.
David Christian at the World Economic Forum, Tianjin, in September 2014
These exciting achievements pay tribute to David's extraordinary career. Prior to his work in Big History, David Christian trained as an historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, and developed an interest in World History in the 1980s. David taught at Macquarie University between 1975 and 2000, and took up a position at San Diego State University for a number of years before returning to Macquarie in 2009.
David's extensive bibliography, which has been recognised in the awarding of both the Distinguished Professorship title and the Excellence in Research Award, includes publications on the social and material history of the 19th Century Russian peasantry; the history of Inner Eurasia (Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia); and most recently, publications on Big History, including Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History and Big History: Between Nothing and Everything.
David is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen [Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities], Affiliates Chair for the World History Association, and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Global History and the Cambridge History of the World. In 2008, he was appointed as a James Marsh Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont.
Today, David is continuing his work as the Director of the Big History Institute at Macquarie University, teaching Big History at Macquarie University, and working on a number of exciting projects including the Opening Real Science Project, and the Big History MOOC. The discipline of Big History continues to grow around the world, and the Big History Institute is proud to recognise David's pioneering role in this field.