Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Change of title

When I first started writing this blog in 2005, I was using it mainly to communicate with my undergraduate students in history. That year, as for most years before that, I was teaching what might be called "early history." (Ask the average academic historian if before 1800 counts as early history; the average academic historian teaches modern history and will certainly agree with that characterization.) Furthermore, I was just about the only person at Nipissing University teaching early history. So calling the blog "Early History" reflected both my interests and my teaching role pretty accurately.

A lot of things have changed since 2005. Nipissing University now has other early historians, doing a variety of "early" courses and doing them well. Second, my regular course on the history of Islamic civilization has become more and more important to me. Although a good half of the course concerns events before 1800, both I and my students tend to be very interested in connections between earlier Islam and defense of the 20th and 21st centuries. So this interest drags into the blog a lot of very recent material. Finally, I continue to have a world history/world history of democracy orientation when I think about both the long-term and the immediate present. I do restrain my temptation to comment when it comes to recent material -- believe it or not! -- but things that are truly important I put it without apology. Like the space stuff, or the torture stuff.

Thus if a new reader came to this blog without being able to see the title, he or she would probably not say "This is a blog about early history." That reader might see it as a blog about all kinds of history and its connections to current events.

So I see it. This is pretty much a blog about one historian's view of world history, one I hope will be useful to all sorts of people, including my students in Islamic history and my medieval fourth-year seminar this fall.

Image: another tedious imperialist (Cecil Rhodes) bestrides the world, or at least Africa; on the other hand, that Cape to Cairo telegraph line, that's cool.


  1. Good choice of name change.

  2. I concur. May this be your blog's Patrick Troughton to its previous William Hartnell, or whichever regeneration you feel more fitting!