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Global History


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies.


Global History addresses the large, structural patterns or webs that shape human experience from prehistory until the 20th century. The course examines connections as well as comparison; connections transcending societies, borders, cultures and regions and comparisons highlighting the differences and similarities between cultures as well as between the larger webs that (also) define them. Webs channeled and coordinated everyday human ambition and (inter)action and still do, often over distances unimagined. The history of these webs of interaction, exchange, cooperation and competition is by definition global. In the weekly lectures, the information in The Human Web: A Bird’s-Eye View of World History (J.R. McNeill & W.R. McNeill, 2003) is explained, added to, and contextualized. The bi-weekly tutorials under the guidance of tutors help students to gain an in-depth understanding of the material and offer an opportunity for questions and remarks.

Course objectives

  • To familiarize students with the fundamental concepts of global history – its themes, currents and historical facts; as we; as to facilitate an understanding how those concepts are used in the construction of global history narratives.

  • To familiarize students with a range of concepts linked to discussions about globalization in world history

  • To familiarize students with a chronology of global history that emphatically leaves behind older eurocentric perceptions of global history.


The timetable is available on the BA International Studies website.

Mode of instruction

One two hour lecture every week.
One two hour tutorial every two weeks

Assessment method

written exam (70%)
assignments (30%)


Blackboard will be used. Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

J.R. McNeill & W.R. McNeill, The Human Web: A Bird’s-Eye View of World History (New York: W.R. Norton, 2003)


The student administration will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University. General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable