RCL: Subjects
WORLD AND COMPARATIVE HISTORY World and comparative history is a new scholarly field. It can be found in most undergraduate programs as an introductory course and sometimes as an upper-division course. It only recently has begun to build a scholarly literature. World history is a reaction against the provincialism of what is called Eurocentrism in the old Western Civilization survey and in American history curriculums in general. The West did not always dominate the world. The emergence of world history also reflects the growing importance of the non-European parts of the world for the American economy today. Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and pre-Columbian America have a family relevance for the increasing number of students at American colleges and universities who are not of European descent. World history is rarely a history of the entire globe. Instead it is a perspective that typically emphasizes encounters and interactions between different geo-cultures (for instance, the medieval West and classical Islam). World history also makes comparisons between societies that lacked direct contact (for example, the role of religion in pre-Columbian empires of the Western Hemisphere and in various societies of Afro-Eurasia). Although comparative history can be found in every historical specialization, in world history it permeates nearly everything. Return to Subject List