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Professor, Dept of Modern History, Politics and International Relations, Macquarie University

David Christian (D.Phil. Oxford, 1974) is by training a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, but since the 1980s he has become interested in World History on very large scales. He taught at Macquarie University in Sydney from 1975 to 2000 before taking up a position at San Diego State University in 2001. In January 2009 he returned to Macquarie University. He has written on the social and material history of the 19th century Russian peasantry, in particular on aspects of diet and the role of alcohol. He has also written a text book history of modern Russia, and a synoptic history of Inner Eurasia (Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia). In 1989, he began teaching courses on 'Big History', surveying the past on the largest possible scales, including those of biology and astronomy; and in 2004, he published the first text on 'Big History'. At San Diego State University, he taught courses on World History, 'Big History', World Environmental History, Russian History, and the History of Inner Eurasia.

He is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen [Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities], Affiliates Chair for the World History Association, and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Global History and the Cambridge History of the World. In 2008, he was appointed as a James Marsh Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont, and also accepted appointments as a Research Fellow at Ewha Women's University in Seoul and as a Professor of History at Macquarie University in Sydney.

In 2009 David Christian received an ARC grant to support research on the second volume of his history of Inner Eurasia, which will cover the history of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia from the Mongol Empire to the present day. Over the next few years he will also be working with the support of Bill Gates to create an online course in Big History for High School students through the Big History Project [ ]. In 2010 he became the inaugural President of the International Big History Association [ ].


  • 2009–present
    Professor of Modern History, Macquarie University


  • 1974 
    Oxford University, D.Phil.


  • 2004
    Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History,