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UNIT 1: Maps, Time, and World History

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VIDEO SEGMENT: Units of Analysis

The units of analysis historians use to organize their studies help to dictate the questions asked and the stories told about history. This segment explores some of these units of analysis and the implications they have for world history.

It begins with the nation-state, because this unit of analysis has dominated the historical profession since the emergence of history as a professional discipline in the nineteenth century. World historians, however, have advocated the use of alternative units of analysis in attempts to move beyond a nation-state framework.

These alternatives include civilizations, the environment, systems, and area studies, as well as sea and ocean basins. By considering, for example, the Mediterranean region as a whole instead of the independent countries that comprise it, historians can focus on commonalities and connections across conventional political borders. By focusing on such regions, historians can pay attention to local and regional experiences as well as larger global processes such as trade, disease, and migration.

SELECTED IMAGES AND MAPS


Anonymous, THE FRENCH REVOLUTION: BURNING THE ROYAL CARRIAGES AT THE CHATEAU D'EU (1848). Courtesy of The Library of Congress.

Anonymous, THE ROMAN FORUM FROM THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF ROME (1881). Courtesy of the Reed College Library.


Hot Pepper Studios, created for Bridging World History, MEDITERRANEAN RIMLANDS (2004). Courtesy of Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Jean-Marc Bouju, A TUTSI ARMY SOLDIER STANDS GUARD ON THE MAIN HIGHWAY NEAR CIBITOKE, BURUNDI, RWANDA (1996). Courtesy of the Associated Press.



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