Writing History in the Age of Globalization

History has often been written in reference to national economies, politics and cultures. Yet, current global networks of trade, finance, communications and information-sharing are borderless. These processes, known as globalization, affect the past as much as the present. Indeed, national historical narratives hardly explain such global phenomena and issues as capital flow, migrations, human rights or environmentalism. This course explores the relationship between history writing and globalization by asking: To what degree does context influence the way history is written and understood? In an age of globalization, is all history global? What might this mean for marginal and smaller-scale histories?

A $50 discount will be applied automatically for adults 55+.

Currently not available for registration.

Schedule clarification: This is a four-week online course. It runs from Monday, October 11 to Friday, November 5. Each week, all week, you can study that week’s material, post and respond to discussion board topics, and engage in course activities. You will participate in Zoom Meetings sessions each Friday from 1–2:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, you should be able to do the following:

  • Identify the relationship between academic history writing and globalization
  • Describe trends in history writing as a discipline
  • Examine what historical narratives tell us about historians and their context
  • Discuss how global interconnections affect the way history is written and understood

Learning methods

Your online learning will include the following methods:

  • Reading academic and non-academic articles
  • Participation in written discussions with other students
  • Participation in videoconference seminars

For Liberal Arts for 55+ Certificate students: you will write a reflective essay.


Week 1: The craft of history

We will review the 19th-century origins of the discipline of history, the relationship between the historian’s context and narrative, trends in historical methods and practices, as well as issues related to documentary evidence and archives.

Week 2: The history of globalization

We will look at explanations for the roots of globalization and the effects of this present interconnection on human society, in particular on how we imagine our place and belonging.

Week 3: Global history

We will explore the emergence and state of the field of global history, its approach and challenge to national historical narratives, and its emphasis on connections between, and flows and movements of, people, goods and commodities, ideas, flora, fauna and disease.

Week 4: Little big histories

We will evaluate the potential of global history to accommodate local, gendered and other marginal histories, and the importance of balancing large-scale causality with human agency in any account of historical processes.

Books, materials and resources

You will access course resources using SFU’s online course management system, Canvas.

Technical requirements

This course is delivered using SFU's online learning system, Canvas. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.  

To get the most out of this online course, you should be comfortable doing the following:

  • Using everyday software such as browsers, email and social media
  • Navigating a website by clicking on links and finding pages in a menu
  • Downloading and opening PDF documents
  • Posting, replying and uploading images to a discussion board
  • Participating in videoconferencing sessions

You will be participating in videoconferencing using Zoom Meetings. For this, your computer needs to have a camera, microphone and speakers or headphones. Your computer software should be up to date with the latest available operating system and browser versions.

Accessing your course

  • A few days before the course starts, we will email you more information about the course and how you'll access it. You will also receive an email inviting you to access the Canvas learning platform (click on the link in the invitation to join the course). Once you’ve accessed Canvas, you can begin exploring the platform on your own. The full course will be accessible on its start date.
  • We’ll also host a virtual drop-in time on Zoom Meetings a few days before the course starts. This will give you a chance to check that you can access Zoom Meetings, and that your computer’s camera and microphone and speakers are working properly.

If you're 55+, you may take this course as part of

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