DAVID CHRISTIAN is Director of the Big History Institute and Distinguished Professor in History, Department of Modern History, Macquarie University, Sydney.
By training a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union who received his Ph.D from Oxford University in 1974, he became interested in 1980s in World History on very large scales...or Big History.
He taught at Macquarie University in Sydney from 1975 to 2000 before taking a position at San Diego State University in 2001. In January 2009 he returned to take up a position at Macquarie University. From 2009 to 2013 he has held a position as a World Class Universities Distinguished Professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul; and over the same period, he has also held a position as a James Marsh Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont.
He was founding President of the International Big History Association, and is co-founder with Bill Gates, of the Big History Project, which has built a free on-line high school syllabus in big history. He is the Director of Macquarie University’s Big History Institute.
David Christian has written on the social and material history of the 19th century Russian peasantry, in particular on aspects of diet and the role of alcohol. He has also written a textbook history of modern Russia, and a synoptic history of Inner Eurasia (Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia) up to the time of the Mongol Empire.
In 1989, he began teaching courses on 'Big History', surveying the past on the largest possible scales, including those of biology and astronomy; and in 2004, he published the first text on ‘Big History’.
At San Diego State University, he taught courses on World History, ‘Big History’, World Environmental History, Russian History, and the History of Inner Eurasia.
He is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen [Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities], and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Global History and the Cambridge History of the World. David Christian has given numerous talks and lectures on aspects of Russian, Inner Eurasian and world and big history, and in March 2011, he gave a talk on “13.7 billion years of history in 18 minutes” at the TED conference in Long Beach.
Among his numerous books and publications his is co-author of Big History: Between Nothing and Everything (with Cynthia Brown and Craig Benjamin); and author of This Fleeting World: A Short History of Humanity, Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History; and Big History: Between Nothing and Everything.