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World History as a Way of Thinking by Eric Lane Martin Essay

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In his short article “World History as a Way of Thinking” Eric Lane Martin, “…argue[s] that the most important things the field of world history has to offer the researcher, teacher, student, and general public are the conceptual tools required for understanding complex global processes and problems.” Anyone who follows the evening news or shops at Wal-mart, has encountered the processes and problems Martin speaks of. Our modern society puts pressure on a variety of citizens to grapple with and attempt to understand issues on a scale that moves beyond the local and national. History has long been a tool utilized by scholars, politicians and citizens to help them put current day happenings into context. That context has allowed for a deeper understanding of the present day. In an era when the issues cross national and regional boundaries the need for a different scale of history has become apparent. World history has emerged as a relatively new discipline within academia that is attempting to provide the context for large-scale processes and problems. As the field has grown a variety of authors, some historians, some from other fields, have attempted to write a history of the world. With such a daunting task how can we define success? How can we analyze the history that provides a true global perspective on processes and problems we face? By taking Martin’s two key characteristics of world history, one, it is defined by the kinds of questions it asks and two, it is defined by the problem-solving techniques it uses, we can analyze texts purporting to be world history and access their utility in providing context for the global processes and problems we face today.
Former Oxford professor J.M. Roberts wrote A ...


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...haped the world we live in today. It is imperative that we take both characteristics into account, for to truly benefit from the global perspective of world history we must ask global questions and frame them in the language of a global point of view. By taking the large-scale approach we can see issues in a different light that just may lead to solutions that work better for more people, not just the winners.







Works Cited

Martin, Eric Lane. “World History as a Way of Thinking,” World History Connected 2,
no.2 (May, 2005), http://worldhistoryconnected.press.illinois.edu/2.2/martin.html
(accessed Sept. 25, 2011).

Roberts, J.M. A Short History of the World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Stearns, Peter. A Brief History of the World. The Teaching Company Great Courses:
Lecture Series, 2007. Audio Recording.


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