The Biggest Story Ever Told: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Historiographic Origins of Big History, 500 BCE to 2010 CE

This thesis examines the historiographical background to the contemporary macrohistorical phenomena called Big History. The first chapter explores traditions of universal history through Western historiography to the early twentieth century. Chapter two establishes the connections between Big History and contemporary historical fields, such as world history and environmental history. Chapter Three develops the relationship of Big History to twentieth and twenty-first century scientific narratives. The principle argument is for the incorporation of competing claims made in the literature on Big History’s origins into the Big History narrative itself. Analyzing these origins facilitates a better understanding of the basic structure of the field, as well as its political, intellectual, and historical implications.