Conrad Phillip Kottak (A.B. Columbia, 1963; Ph.D. Columbia, 1966) is the Julian H. Steward Collegiate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Michigan, where he has taught since 1968. He served as Anthropology Department chair from 1996 to 2006. In 1991 he was honored for his teaching by the University and the state of Michigan. In 1992 he received an excellence in teaching award from the College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts of the University of Michigan. In 1999 the America Anthropological Association awarded Professor Kottak the AAA/Mayfield Award for Excellence in the Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology.Professor Kottak has done ethnographic fieldwork in cultural anthropology in Brazil (since 1962), Madagascar (since 1966), and the United States. Conrad Kottak's articles have appeared in academic journals including American Anthropologist, Journal of Anthropological Research, American Ethnologist, Ethnology, Human Organization, and Luso-Brazilian Review. He has also written for more popular journals, including Transaction/SOCIETY, Natural History, Psychology Today, and General Anthropology.In recent research projects, Kottak and his colleagues have investigated the emergence of ecological awareness in Brazil, the social context of deforestation in Madagascar, and popular participation in economic development planning in northeastern Brazil.Recently, Kottak was inducted to The National Academy of Sciences. This is a private organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to the furtherance of science and its use for the general welfare.DAVID CHRISTIAN (DPhil, Oxford University) is by traininga historian of Russia and the Soviet Union. He has spentmost of his career at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, apart from an eight-year period teaching at San Diego State University from 2001 to 2008. Christian has published histories of modern Russia and also a study of the role of the trade in vodka in nineteenth-century Russia. In 1998, he published A History of Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia, the first volume in the Blackwell History of the World Series. He began teaching courses on big history in 1989 at Macquarie University. He first used the phrase big history for such courses in an article published in the Journal of World History in 1991 titled “The Case for ‘Big History.’ ” In 2010, with Bill Gates, he founded the “Big History Project,” which is building a free online high school course in big history due for release in late 2013. Christian is a member of the Australian Academy of Humanities and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. He is the founding president of the International Big History Association. CYNTHIA STOKES BROWN (PhD, Johns Hopkins University) spentmost of her career directing the secondary teaching credential program at Dominican University of California.She taught selected courses in the history department and wrote books about civil rights history and teachers, Brown’s book Big History: From the Big Bang tothe Present was published in 2007. Since then her interests have been consulting with the big history program at Dominican, serving on the board of the International Big History Association since its inception, and writing big history essays for high school students through the Big History Project funded by Bill Gates. CRAIG BENJAMIN (PhD, Macquarie University) is an associate professor of history in the Meijer Honors College atGrand Valley State University in Michigan. Like both his co-authors, Benjamin is a frequent presenter of lectures at conferences worldwide, and the author of numerous publications including books, chapters, and essays on ancient Central Asian history, big history, and world history. In addition, Benjamin has recorded lectures for the History Channel, The Teaching Company, and the Big History Project. He is currently a member of both the Advanced Placement and SAT World History Test Development Committees, vice president (president elect) of the World History Association, and has been treasurer of the International Big History Association since its inception in January 2011.
Born in Canada, William H. McNeill was chairman of the Department of History at the University of Chicago and one of the editors of the Readings in World History Series published by Oxford University Press. His one-volume "A World History," which gives equal space to Asia and the West, was greeted as a work of major importance by such recognized historians as Arnold Toynbee, Hans Kohn, Geoffrey Bruun, Stringfellow Barr, and John Barkham. Toynbee has acclaimed McNeill's "The Rise of the West," which took nine years to write, as "the most lucid presentation of world history in narrative form that I know." It won the 1963 National Book Award for history and the Gordon J. Laing Prize of the University of Chicago.