David Christian

Most Influential Person

American historian

Why Is David Christian Influential?

David Gilbert Christian was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1946. He completed his B.A. degree at Oxford University before earning his M.A. in Russian history from the University of Western Ontario, and eventually culminating his studies with a Ph.D in 19th Century Russian History from Oxford University.

Christian’s research focused on Russian studies early on, and then moved on to studies into human history writ large. He integrated his research of human history with astronomy, anthropology, biology, and cosmology, and called that field of study, Big History. His Big History Project, funded by none other than billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, teaches high school students throughout the United States and Australia to examine human history through an anthropological and biological lens.

He is the author of several books about Big History and the History of Russia. In 2005, he was awarded the World History Association Book Prize for his work, Maps of Time, and in 2014 he was honored as a Distinguished Professor by Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. His course on Big History has been selected to be included in The Teaching Company’s Great Courses, and is freely available online. Aside from the awards, his major contribution to the field of historical scholarship is in his integrated, multidisciplinary approach to understanding history.

Academic Website

Featured in Top Influential Historians Today

According to Wikipedia, David Gilbert Christian , a historian and scholar of Russian history, has become notable for teaching and promoting the emerging discipline of Big History. In 1989 he began teaching the first course on the topic, examining history from the Big Bang to the present using a multidisciplinary approach with the assistance of scholars in diverse specializations from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Big History frames human history in terms of cosmic, geological, and biological history. Christian is credited with coining the term Big History and he serves as president of the International Big History Association. Christian's best-selling Teaching Company course entitled Big History caught the attention of philanthropist Bill Gates, who is funding Christian's efforts to develop a program to bring the course to secondary-school students worldwide.

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David Christian is affiliated with the following schools:

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