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Technological And Environmental Transformations, to C. 600 B.C.E.

In this theme, trace the origins of human civilization. Evaluate the impact of major technological and environmental transformations as hunter-gatherer societies evolved.

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Big Geography and the Peopling of the EarthFree

Delve into the global migrations and geographical adaptations of early humans during the Paleolithic era.
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Spread of hunter-gatherers from East AfricaFree

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The Neolithic Revolution and Early Agricultural Societies

Explore how the Neolithic Revolution gave way to more complex economic and social systems.
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Development of complex economic and social systems

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Impact of agriculture and pastoralism

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Early Agricultural, Pastoral, and Urban Societies

Analyze how urban societies developed, laying the foundations for the world’s first civilizations.
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Early Civilizations

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The role of culture in state unification

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Organization And Reorganization Of Human Societies, C. 600 B.C.E. To C. 600 C.E.

How did humanity begin to organize economically, politically, culturally, and socially? Explore the birth of the world's major religions, historically significant civilizations, and prominent trade routes.

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Codification of Religious and Cultural Traditions

Explore how the development of states and empires led to a transformation of the world’s religious and cultural systems.
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Codification of religious traditions

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Emergence and spread of new religious and cultural traditions

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Cultural traditions

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Development of States and Empires

Examine how the quest for land, wealth, and security led to the rapid expansion of key states and empires.
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Expansion of empires and political unity

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Advances in central administration

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Social and economic stratification

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Decline of key empires

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Emergence of Interregional Networks of Communication and Exchange

Explore the symbiotic relationship between large-scale empires and long-distance trade.
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Land and water trade routes

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New technologies that enabled long-distance communication and exchange

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Spread of goods, people, technologies, beliefs, crops, and diseases

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Regional And Interregional Interactions, C. 600 C.E. To C. 1450

What happened after classical civilizations fell? How did the civilizations that followed seek to consolidate power, often around religion, and avoid the mistakes of their predecessors? Examine this period of expanded trade, migration, and cultural exchange.

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Expansion and Intensification of Communication and Exchange Networks

Although Afro-Eurasia and the Americas remained geographically separate, the expansion of commercial networks fostered intercultural exchange, mass migration, and the growth of trade empires.
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Transportation technologies and increase in trade

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Environmental and linguistic effects of migration

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Cross-cultural exchanges

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Continuity and Innovation of State Forms and Their Interactions

While human interaction rapidly intensified, states demonstrated a high degree of diversity — with some regions turning to traditional sources of power and others, to new state forms.
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Increased Economic Productive Capacity and Its Consequences

Explore the consequences of this period of increased economic productivity — on gender, the environment, and agriculture.
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Urban decline and revival in various regions

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Labor management, gender relations, and family life

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Global Interactions, C. 1450 To C. 1750

Examine how the emergence of powerful European empires bridged the gap between Old and New World cultures, crops, and animals. How did this usher in a new period of environmental and human degradation—an era that bore witness to chattel slavery and the colonization of native peoples?

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Globalizing Networks of Communication and Exchange

Investigate the circumstances and effects of early globalization, from cultural and commercial exchange to increased migration to mass devastation of native populations.
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New trade patterns

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Transoceanic maritime reconnaissance

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East-West connection results in Columbian Exchange

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Expansion of inter-hemispheric interactions speeds spread of Religion

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New Forms of Social Organization and Modes of Production

Investigate how agricultural innovations changed social and economic structures and gave rise to long-distance trade networks that commodified and trafficked human bodies.
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Modes of production

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State Consolidation and Imperial Expansion

What does an empire look like? Investigate how imperial satellites — from remote trading posts to socially-stratified settlements — influenced and were influenced by surrounding cultures.
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Rulers consolidate their power

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Gunpowder, cannons and the arms trade

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Industrialization And Global Integration, C. 1750 To C. 1900

Examine the evolution of various historical processes, including colonialism, economic development, and industrialization. How did their attendant political, cultural, and social revolutions shape our modern geopolitical landscape?

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Industrialization and Global Capitalism

Push beyond the popular but mistaken idea of a single, static “Industrial Revolution” and analyze the roots of a slow-burning industrialization whose reach eventually impacted economic, cultural, and social structures worldwide.
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New patterns of trade and production

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Global capitalism

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Imperialism and Nation-State Formation

Investigate the relationship between industrialization, militarization, imperialism, and nationalism — as well as the way in which those relationships led to European hegemony.
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Transoceanic empires

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Imperialism, state formation & contraction

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Racial ideologies justify imperialism

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Nationalism, Revolution, and Reform

What is the relationship between oppression, intellectualism, ideology, and revolt? Investigate how local resistance to imperialist regimes sparked a period of global unrest and attempts at reform.
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The Enlightenment

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Imperial discontent, reform and revolutions

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Accelerating Global Change And Realignments, C. 1900 To The Present

Explore how developments in technology, communications, and transportation made the world both smaller and more fraught. From the advent of total warfare to the rise of global capitalism, the 20th century ushered in unparalleled technological innovation while also bearing witness to unprecedented levels of geopolitical conflict.

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Science and the Environment

Explore how rapid advances in science and technology fundamentally changed the human relationship to the environment, fostering dramatic population growth while unleashing a new age of ecological devastation.
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Rapid advances in technology spread across the globe

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Global Conflicts and Their Consequences

Analyze how early 20th century efforts to overturn the European-dominated political order and the formidable resistance to these efforts resulted in global warfare and unprecedented human casualties.
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Large empires give way to new states

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Anti-imperialism and the dissoluton of empires

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Demographic and social consequences stemming from political change

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Global military conflicts

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Opposition and proponents of conflict

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