Big History is a history of the universe from its origins to the present and beyond. Its aim is to provide a wide, contextual understanding of human existence by integrating knowledge from the natural and social sciences with the humanities. The result is a more realistic understanding of how humans fit into the vast expanse of the universe, instead of the old-fashioned way of orienting the universe around humans.
Big History also considers the challenges of modern globalization, with an important theme being the quest to develop sustainable and ethical lifestyles. The overall focus of the course is on what such knowledge might mean in our everyday lives and how we as responsible individuals and a responsible species should conduct ourselves in this world…and off of it, as we venture further into space. It is, in short, a movement towards “global enlightenment.”