I got to be in Spain for the spring of 2017, where I taught at Francisco de Vitoria University.  I lived in Madrid.

One thing that makes Francisco de Vitoria impressive was his response to indigenous Americans in the Spanish Empire.  A bit of a fanciful comparison might be thinking about how we would respond if we actually did discover new life forms on a planet in another solar system.  No one was expecting new continents between Europe and Asia, much less any new types of cultures.  Was this Asia or new land?  Were they people?  If so, did they have souls or rights?  His book on this remains worth reading.

Then, in June I had the chance to visit South Korea at the invitation of the Korean Big History Academy.

In this creative short story, The Illusionists, Lacy Loar-Gruenler shares her account of how Kurt Gödel and Albert Einstein “murdered” time. Or did they?

The text is available at https://ibha.wildapricot.org/resources/Documents/Origins/Origins_X_04.pdf#page=3

Lacy Loar-Gruenler has worked as a newspaper journalist, editor, and corporate lawyer. She is a summa cum laude graduate of Villanova University, and currently is a graduate student in Harvard University’s program in Creative Writing and Literature. Her interest in Big History, including religious tradition, is grounded in her love for forward-thinking philosophers who have explored the human need to answer existential questions. She is working on a memoir about her years living in France.

The video also features “Gravity’s Law” composed by Sam Guarnaccia and performed by the Main Line Symphony Orchestra. This piece is part of the Emergent Universe Oratorio, available at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLHx0AeNv1KqTv4bpv3nw7Smi0Yeb3NKK9 The story is narrated by Lowell Gustafson.

This is a video produced by the International Big History Association (IBHA) at https://bighistory.org/

How surely gravity’s law,
Strong as an ocean current,
Takes hold of even the smallest thing
And pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing —
Each stone, blossom, child —
Is held in place.
Only we, in our arrogance,
Push out beyond what we each belong to
For some empty freedom.

If we surrendered
To earth’s intelligence
We could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
In knots of our own making.
And struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again
To learn from the things,
Because they are in God’s heart;
They have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us:
To fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
Before it can fly.

Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows


The Tree of Knowledge System: A New Map for Big History

Gregg Henriques, Joseph Michalski, Steven Quackenbush, Waldemar Schmidt
1 – 17

Book Reviews


177 – 178



Journal of Big History (JBH)
Volume III Issue 1
Kilauea Eruptions and the Hawaiian Archipelago:
The Geology of Plate Tectonics and Hotspots

Barry WoodErupções do Kilauea e o arquipélago havaiano:
a geologia da tectônica de placas e dos pontos quentes

Barry Wood
Towards a Big History Model for Italian Schools:
The Convergence of Knowledge from Many Disciplines

Adalberto Codetta Raiteri, Marina Porta, Giovanni Grieco, Renza Cambini
Was there a Big Bang?
Leonid Grinin
The Evolution of Social Constructs
A Proposal for the Re-Conceptualization of Sociobiology for Understanding Interdependent Social Networks as Evolving “Organisms” Using Norbert Elias’s, The Court Society

Anthony NairnA Evolução de Construtos Sociais
Uma proposta de reconceitualização da sociobiologia para a compreensão de redes sociais interdependentes como “organismos” em evolução usando A Sociedade de Corte, de Norbert Elias

Anthony Nairn; Translated by Daniel Daniel Barreiros
A Theory of No-Thing
André de VinckUma teoria de nada
André de Vinck; Translated by Tatiana Massuno
¿De la Big History a la Gran Historia?
Conversaciones con Fred Spier

Carlos Daniel Pérez, César Duque SánchezFrom Big History to la Gran Historia?
A Conversation with Fred Spier

Carlos Daniel Pérez, César Duque Sánchez; Translated by Mason J. Veilleux

Book Review

The New Story, the Biggest Picture, and a Little Big History of Flight
A Review of Books by Wendy Curtis Barry Wood

Barry Wood

Student Research

From Ghoonghat to De Beauvoir:
Finding a Feminist Voice through Ethnography

Isha Mathur
Entire Issue
Journal of Big History III 1


Imogene Drummond
Connecting Castileblanco with the Cosmos
In August, artist and filmmaker Imogene Drummond had a solo show in Castilblanco, Spain, entitled “Connecting Castilblanco with the Cosmos.” It featured an interactive video installation in which people moved through the exhibit space and saw imagery of their local landscape mixed with the cosmos projected onto themselves.”
Yvonne Fritz
Conference Encounter
Yvonne Fritz originally studied civil engineering with a focus on traffic, water, environment. Later she turned her love for the English language into studying translation and became a state certified translator which enabled her also to teach English at her local folk high school in Meiningen, Germany. For that she acquired an adult education qualification. She has just started to introduce Big History there through an English course. Prospectively, she would like to teach Big History in German.
The political upheaval in East-Germany in 1989/90 was a major impact on her life. Being 17 at that time, she quickly had to learn how to manage life in a completely different kind of society without having role-models because her parents’ generation was going through the same experience at the same time.
Read about her responses to the 2018 IBHA conference.
Steven Gorosh
The Emergent Universe Oratorio Soars
Read Steven Gorosh’ review of highlight of the performance of the “Emergent Universe Oratorio” on at the 2018 IBHA conference. Composer Sam Guarnaccia’s innovative and inspiring composition, ably performed by the Main Line Symphony Orchestra and Choir conducted by Don Liuzzi, and delivered in the beautiful St. Thomas of Villanova Church, combined to provide a memorable evening. Recordings of the concert are here.
David Christian
Origin Story
Read why Bill Gates says that he has “long been a fan of David Christian. In Origin Story, he elegantly weaves evidence and insights from many scientific and historical disciplines into a single, accessible historical narrative.”
William Grassie
Applied Big History
Who should read William Grassie’s new book? Pretty much everybody. Big History is our common story—an origins story that transcends ethnic, political, religious, and linguistics differences. It provides a framework for understanding, debating, and solving the great challenges of our time. It provides an ennobling perspective on our lives, generating wonder, awe, amazement, and gratitude. The applied part of Big History impacts how we conceive every career and industry, every academic discipline and vocation, every problem and opportunity. Grassie’s book is unique in the field for exploring Big History as to its relevance to decision-making in business and finance.
2020 IBHA Conference
The 2020 IBHA conference in Pune, Maharastra, India at Symbiosis International University is our first conference in Asia. Please start making your plans to be with us at this exciting event!
Big History Meets the Montessori Method, by Lucy Laffitte
The North American Montessori Teachers Association hosted a conference in Cleveland, Ohio called “Montessori History: Searching for Evolutionary Scientific Truth.” Midway through the conference was a presentation called Big History. It proved to be a fruitful event as much post-presentation interaction between audience and presenter ensued. Here, then, is a distillation of what was presented: What is it; who is involved; where is it taught; how to get involved; and what Dr. Laffitte’s college students think about it.
Do Humans Have a Purpose on Earth? by James Tierney
A decade ago James Tierney would have said no to the question of a purpose for humanity. During the last decade, however, numerous scholars have observed that human culture drives a process through which our species is emerging as well as the habitat wherein we reside. He has been rethinking his answer.

Donna Tew | Office Coordinator
International Big History Association
c/o Lowell Gustafson
Villanova University University
SAC 253
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085 USA