Integrating Big History and the Anthropocene into Undergraduate Geography Curriculum

Authors: John Hasse*, Rowan University
Topics: Geography Education, Anthropocene, Historical Geography
Keywords: Big History, Geography Education, Anthropocene
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Astor Ballroom II, Astor, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper explores the challenges and rewards of integrating the concepts of Big History into introductory geography curriculum. The paper takes the position that geography as a discipline has an ideal platform to claim ownership (or at least be a major purveyor) of the pedagogy of the Anthropocene and that it can be most effectively accomplished by integrating the emerging framework of Big History into geography curriculum. Big History provides the temporal context for understanding the full significance of the Anthropocene and provides a unifying narrative that geography has essentially lacked. The paper sketches out a four unit approach to Big History/Geography integration : 1) Cosmic origins, 2) Earth's physical systems, 3) Human Emergence, 4) Anthropocene Earth. The purpose of the framework is to prepare students for creatively encountering today's world grounded in the understanding of how we arrived at present to better navigate the uncertainties of the Anthropocene future. The implications for educational practice are then considered, with a suggested framework for implementation and adaptation across the geography curriculum.

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