IBHA 2016


Welcome one and all to the third biennial conference of the International Big History Association, “Building Big History. Research and Teaching." After our first conferences in Michigan and California, we're delighted to welcome you to the Netherlands and to the beautiful city of Amsterdam.

The members of the IBHA Board, the Programming Committee and the Conference Organizing Committee want to thank you all for your attendance. We're all very excited at the quality of the proposals, and the great turn out. Together, scientists and scholars, teachers and students, big historians and other academics interested in big history, are exploring the past and the future of the field of big history and the connections between humans and the environment.

Conference Opening

The Opening Keynote Address will be given by Fred Spier and Johan Goudsblom from 6 PM to 7.30 PM on Thursday evening, followed by the Opening Reception from 7.30 PM to 9 PM. Please join us at Aula of the University of Amsterdam for these events as we lift the curtain on the 3rd Conference of the International Big History Association.

Thanks and Appreciation

For many years, Amsterdam has been a major hub of global exchange networks, and probably not coincidentally our generous host the University of Amsterdam has been home to a vibrant big history program. We would especially like to thank Esther Quaedackers (IBHA Secretary) and Fred Spier (outgoing IBHA President) for all their hard work “on the ground" in making this conference a success. Let's also thank Lowell Gustafson (our VP) Craig Benjamin (our Treasurer), Donna Tew (the IBHA Office Coordinator) and Pamela Benjamin (Chair of the IBHA Advisory Council) who have been doing vital work to make this event happen. Lastly, thanks to the Programming Committee, David Christian, Fred Spier, John Mears, Esther Quaedackers, Andrey Korotayev, Sun Yue, Cynthia Brown, and Jonathan Markley.

We appreciate the generous support of The Big History Project for their generous contribution to the conference as well as to the field of big history.


This is a very exciting event for anyone interested in big history. The conference will give us all a chance to see some of the many different ways in which big history is flourishing, and to showcase the many different kinds of research, teaching and creativity that the field is generating. We hope it will also provide many opportunities, both in the formal sessions and in the informal networking, for attendees to discuss where big history is going, what we need to be working on in the next year or two, what have been our major successes (there are many!), and what are our major challenges. But above all, we hope you will enjoy the conference. Have fun!