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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

  1. 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.
    1. To familiarize students with a range of concepts linked to discussions about globalization in world history
    2. 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 per week; bi-weekly tutorials.
Attending lectures and tutorials is compulsory. If you are not able to attend a lecture or tutorial, please inform the tutor of the course. Being absent without notification can result in a lower grade or exclusion from the final exam or essay.

Course Load

Total course load is 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours, broken down as follows:

  • Attendance in Weekly Lectures and Bi-Weekly Tutorials: 36 hours

  • Time for Reading/Studying Compulsory Literature: 54 hours

  • Time for Preparing Tutorial Assignments: 30 hours

  • Time for writing final essay: 20 hours

Assessment method

  • Tutorials 30%

  • Final Exam 70%

If the final grade is insufficient (lower than a 6), there is the possibility of retaking the full 70% of the exam material. No resit for the tutorials is possible.


Blackboard will be used. For tutorial groups: please enroll in blackboard after your enrolment in uSis

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)


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

The student administration will register all first year students for the first semester courses in uSis, the registration system of Leiden University.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Hum – OSZ Global History